Whether you develop applications for use on mobile devices in the field or web-based applications that businesses leverage for customer engagement, you can offer greater value to your clients if you enable payments.
But where do you start?
Marci Gagnon, VP of strategic alliances for Qualpay, says that answering these four questions can help you determine if a payments solution is the best fit for your customer — and if the payment company is the best partner for you.
1. Is the integrated payments solution secure?
When you’re considering a partnership with a payments company, Gagnon says it’s important to confirm that the company on the list of validated payment applications on the Visa Global Registry website. Validation shows that the company is registered with the card brands and complies with PCI standards, which are policies and procedures designed to protect cardholder data. Gagnon says also to feel free to ask the company for proof of their certifications, which they should be happy to share.
Gagnon points out that when you partner with a PCI-compliant payments company and configure a solution to accept payments through their system, you only need to follow their documentation so your clients can process transactions efficiently and securely. In this case, if the gateway offers a hosted solution, the burden for security falls on the payments company.
She points out that if an ISV or their client wants to collect and store payment data within their own systems, they will have to go through a PCI compliance audit to process electronic payments.
“The majority of merchants won’t do that,” Gagnon comments. “They reduce their PCI scope and have the transaction occur on the payment gateway side to avoid a major audit.”
2. Does the integrated payments company offer the right solution set?
After you’ve confirmed that your prospective payments partner is PCI compliant, you need to evaluate the features of the payments solution to make sure it will meet your customer’s needs. There are a number of integrated payments options to choose from, but their features will vary.
“Many established payment solutions work well, but they may not have the most updated technologies,” Gagnon points out. For example, recurring billing is vital to efficient field service operations, but not all solutions will give your client the ability to store a token and bill monthly — or automatically notify your client or the customer when their payment card information needs to be updated. “Make sure the payment solution is a good match for your customer,” Gagnon says.
3. Does the payments company have the right resources to assist developers?
All payments companies have resources for ISVs, but the degree to which they are prepared to provide assistance can vary. “It’s great to have a knowledge base that developers can use to find information, but sometimes people just want to ask a question,” says Gagnon. “With some payments companies, they get told that they should go to the company’s website and search for the information or their question gets put into a queue and it takes a few days to get an answer, which can slow down development,” Gagnon says.
She advises working with a company that provides you with a main point of contact, so when you have questions or need to resolve an issue, you know who you can call directly.
If you have reservations about what it will be like to work with the company, Gagnon says to do some research and talk with other developers to get a realistic idea of what you can expect.
4. Do you and your customer understand and accept all the costs involved?
Gagnon says to make sure pricing terms are transparent and that the costs your customer will incur are within their budget. Costs and fees can vary, so although this shouldn’t be the only factor in your decision to work with a payments company, it is an important consideration for you and your customers.
When you are evaluating costs, you may also want to consider establishing a reseller account, integrating the payment solution with your application and receiving recurring revenue as long as your customer uses it. Of course, you have the option to integrate the solution and allow your customer to work directly with the payments company.
Integrated Payments Pitfalls to Avoid
Gagnon also points out there are some missteps ISVs can take that can interfere with end-user experiences. Make sure that:
- Backend experience matches the front end. You go to great lengths to make sure your applications are easy to use and engaging. Then don’t take users to a payments page that is hard to use and starkly different from the UI on the rest of the application.
- Your customers have visibility into transactions. “There’s nothing worse than taking a large payment in the field and then not knowing if you will be able to track it,” says Gagnon.
Great Customer Service Should Go Without Saying
Finally, make sure you can fully trust the payment provider to treat your customers like VIPs. “It’s about relationships,” says Gagnon. “Feel really secure about the customer service aspect.”
“It goes back to having a main point of contact. If something does go wrong, make sure there’s someone you can hold accountable,” she says. “Make sure the payments company will provide excellent customer service. It needs to be a true partnership.”