Choosing a payments provider

Payments providers are not all one and the same. Price is not everything, service is not everything and processing uptimes are usually not as they seem.

More than ever, there are a number of additional payment options that are providing alternative avenues of payment, as well as offering new opportunities for businesses to expand in to new overseas markets.

So here’s a quick list of things to think about in choosing your payments provider.

How is fraud managed? Do you get charged for fraudulent activities occurring in your payment acceptance processing (highly likely) or do you avoid any fees for fraud occurring (unlikely, unless it’s a product such as Afterpay, which charges a higher processing premium but keeps you safe from fraud).

What is the guaranteed service level uptime of the payment processing service? Do they publish an open website where you can see their statistics on uptime, and in real-time. In the event of an emergency or an outage who notifies you and how do you know that a human has responded to the incident.
Pro tip: If being available for payment processing 100% of the time, 24 hours day, means something to your business, chances are you narrowing down the field of choices very quickly.

How are refunds managed? Do you get charged a refund processing fee? Do you pay transaction fees (either merchant service fees, or transaction fees, or any other type of fee)?
Pro tip: if you’re not paying fees for these types of transactions, you are going to pay for it somewhere else in your contract.

What are the security standards being offered?
Every company that processes, stores or transmits consumer credit card (and debit card) information and data must comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (also known as PCI-DSS). There are various levels or grades of compliance and audits must be conducted by a third party on annualised basis. The level of compliance for a payment processor is usually Level 1 – which means that the payments processor should be certified to be PCI-DSS Level 1 compliance.
Pro tip: As part of your due diligence you should ask any prospective gateway for a copy of their Certificate of Attention for PCI-DSS Level 1 compliance. If they can’t provide it you, then perhaps think about finding another provider.

Where is your data stored and what data is stored from your transaction and customers during a transaction with that payment processing gateway and downstream parties.

Is an integrated checkout method offered or is it simply a linked payments processing page? How flexible is the integrated checkout method? Does it have the payment processor’s logo all over it and does this clash with your branding?

What sort of customer support is offered to you and what hours of the day and days of the week is offered?

What sort of currencies do you support and do you support my home country? It is important that the payment provider operates in your country and can move money in your local currency. Otherwise, the great rate of processing that you thought you once had will be quickly swallowed up in currency conversion rates, inter-country and cross-boarder acquiring fees and the pain and regulation of moving money from one country to another.
Pro tip: There are many regional payment processors that can handle inter-country payment processing requirements.

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