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Marci Gagnon: The Benefits of Integrated Payments

Once a company gets to a certain size, they begin to look at software options to assist in route management and back office operations. Also likely is that the chosen software provider has its own payment option or partnerships with a variety of other entities to support payment processing, including payment processors, payment gateways and other payment solution providers. Using these various touchpoints to process payments can create an unnecessary, convoluted process that drives up fees and opens the door for higher chances of confusion and error.

Marci Gagnon

For example, imagine you run into an issue as simple as forgetting a password. Who do you turn to?

If you are working with multiple vendors, you may be unsure of who the correct person is to help you. This could mean spending a great deal of time reaching out to various parties until you find the right person.

With a single, integrated payments solution, you can go directly to your vendor and save yourself the headache of exhausting your network. 

Much like running into issues on the administration end, problems with transaction processing can create time-consuming puzzles of what went wrong and where. Transaction processing issues may be discovered via the cost of a transaction (making it way too late to resolve), through reporting or being unable to process a payment. Unlike multi-vendor solutions that create a spider web of connection points, integrated payment providers are able to quickly pinpoint an issue, problem-solve and then implement a solution if needed. Not only does this decrease the impact of problems, including potential downtime, it also saves the extra labor needed to research and manage various workarounds.

Companies can lose billions of dollars a year in wasted time, incorrectly processed transactions causing high transaction costs and downtime. Anything that can be done proactively to mitigate those losses will be beneficial to the success of the company.

The same situation occurs with reporting and identifying where money is being spent and how transactions will be covered. Companies spend a great deal of time pulling reports from various systems and then analyzing each individual report. Having one consolidated report, on the other hand, reduces the amount of time spent retrieving this information. If a business can free up resources that were previously spent on collecting, reviewing and correlating data among disparate platforms, they can reallocate that labor elsewhere and ultimately become more efficient and cost-effective. 

Similarly, a single integrated payments provider helps streamline compliance. In each of its relationships with vendors, a business must understand its role in payments processing and whether it is involved in collecting, storing or processing full cardholder data. When the business completes the required annual Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) questionnaire, it must describe a vendor’s process and disclose whether it touches cardholder data, as well as list what its associated PCI status is. This in and of itself is laborious, repetitive and time-consuming. With one, integrated PCI-certified provider, the business saves the time required to understand and list each vendor separately and can move on to more pressing tasks.

While the processes of reporting and compliance are vital to the operation of a functioning business, they should not become a drain on resources and talent. The act of reducing vendors and consolidating into one integrated payments provider can make a world of difference in removing the clutter of busy but necessary work.

While it may be challenging to make the switch to one integrated payments provider after establishing relationships and trust with the various providers your business has built over the years, not doing so could be harmful to your business overall. It is important to compare your current systems to other technology on the market to ensure that you are being offered the best features possible. This also means doing your homework and ensuring you are finding the right integrated payments partner that meets the needs of both your business and your staff.—Marci Gagnon  

Marci Gagnon is vice president of strategic alliances for Qualpay. Her concentration is on recurring billing and the energy space. Qualpay provides processing solutions to fuel delivery and service businesses. Contact Marci Gagnon at marci@qualpay.com or visit https://www.qualpay.com/industry/utility-and-energy

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