Three Questions to Ask as You Consider an Integrated Payments System

integrated payments system

Taking the leap from a traditional, detached accounting system over to an integrated payment solution has the potential of making big waves in your credit card processing.

First of all, it will completely change your perception on what’s an acceptable timeframe for credit card data entry. People that currently manually enter credit card details into a terminal, and then have to reconcile payments with unpaid invoices at the end of the day- will have an awakening of sorts. Yes- the difference can be that drastic. The reason is simple:  Integrated processing automatically updates unpaid invoices with the appropriate credit card payments as you receive them. It also automatically balances your general ledger in real-time.

Secondly, integrated processing has the financial benefit of substantially lowering your processing costs overall. In fact, some integrated payment systems include enhancements directly within the application that automatically match transactions to lower processing rates, whenever these rates are available. For many business owners, these lower rates are often enough of a reason to switch to integrated payments.

As you can see, a payment system with so much potential is worth researching. Thus, it’s a good idea to consider a few basic questions whenever evaluating a potential switch. Also, these three  general concepts can serve as a good indicator of just how experienced and knowledgeable your current merchant service provider really is.  Any reputable merchant account manager should be able to answer these questions clearly and provide you with enough detail to arrive at your own a conclusions. Let’s begin…

1- Will it save enough time to justify the switch?

Now that we have hinted at the time-saving benefits associated with integrated payment processing the next question naturally is “Just how much time exactly?” The following formula is a good way to measure how much time exactly your business can gain with an integrated payments solution:

A. How many credit card transactions do you accept daily?  

For our example, let’s say 20.

B. How much time does it take to enter each credit card into your terminal, print a paper invoice, staple the receipt to the invoice, and then (at the end of the day) manually reconcile each credit card payment with the matching invoice?

Let’s say 3 minutes for each.

C. Now, multiply A by B to see the total time you spend dealing with your credit card payments with a common standalone terminal system.

In our example: 60 minutes total

D. Okay, now eliminate having to print out any extra documents, having to staple to any receipts, and having to re-enter the data into your accounting system at the end of the day. In other words, count only the time it takes just to conduct the transaction on your computer.

For our example, let’s say: 30 seconds.

E. Now, multiply A by D. This is the total time you’d spend each day processing credit card payments with an integrated payments system.

In our example: 10 minutes total

F. Subtract E from C to compare the time you would save daily by switching from a standalone terminal system to an integrated payments system.

Result: 60 minutes vs. 10 minutes

In our example, you would be saving 50 minutes a day by implementing an integrated payments system into your business. Would an additional 50 minutes a day or an extra 4 or 5 hours a week of productivity, be worth making the switch? It’s definitely a question worth asking yourself.

2- Will this system be secure and PCI compliant?

A relevant question,  considering how often we hear words like data breachestokenizationencryptionfraud, on the nightly newscast. Cautious business owners have a right to ask about payment security.

With security as a major concern, many developers of payment processing software plug-ins build their programs specifically to protect customer credit card information and retain PCI compliance; however, not every program is designed this way.  In fact, some integrated payment systems may appear PCI compliant but are not. Programs like PCCharge, for example, have been widely used over the years despite not being fully PCI compliant.

Thus, in order to answer properly answer the security question, the best thing is to thoroughly research your prospective credit card processor and seek reliable, unbiased sources on the internet.

Tip: Look for the following hallmarks of a PCI compliant integrated payments system:

  • Does not store credit card information locally.
  • Does not provide system users access to full credit card numbers for future use.
  • Offers a tokenization feature, which substitutes sensitive card data with securely generated digital vouchers, or tokens.

3- Will training users on an integrated payment system be tedious?

Difficulty of training is obviously a matter of opinion, but the learning curve to use an integrated system should be fairly simple. This is because an integrated payments system is designed to remove multiple steps from your traditional daily procedure.

Tip: If your company’s plan for an integrated payment system is met with internal resistance, handle the situation with product with a simple tutorial. In fact, a proper demonstration of the benefits associated with integrated processing, can often sway reluctant employees once they realize how much easier their day-to-day processing tasks can be.

Conclusion: Does a switch make sense for you?

In the end, incorporating an integrated payments system will never hurt a business, but some companies can clearly benefit more than others from such a system upgrade. If after considering these three questions, you recognize an immediate benefit for your business switching to an integrated payment system, learn more about this payment processing solution. The internet provides numerous resources to explain the next step towards integrated payment processing.

Tip: The following website is good place to start: Further resources on integrated payment processing

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