“So, what is integrated payment processing, and why should we implement it?” That is a question many merchants of all types have asked us over the years. It is also a question that deserves a comprehensive, but straightforward answer, starting here.
Integrated Payment Processing: The ‘What’
In an integrated payment processing scenario, the elements a merchant uses to handle the payment processing function—for example, an online payment portal, hosted web page, or point of sale system—are connected to its business (back office) operating software and systems, typically through an application programming interface (API). Payment data automatically moves from one connecting point to the other, with no manual intervention.
Consider this example: Consumer A is a customer of Utilities Provider B, which leverages integrated payment processing. When Consumer A uses a credit card or electronic check to make an online payment via Utilities Provider B’s web page, by text, or via some other digital means, the information “flows” directly into the system Utilities Provider B uses to record and track payments, with the payment automatically posted to his account. Here is another example: Consumer C rents furniture from rent-to-own Merchant D and is on a recurring payment plan that calls for monthly automatic withdrawal of her payments from her payments from her checking account. Because Merchant D utilizes integrated processing, Consumer C’s payments are automatically processed and posted to Merchant D’s billing system.
Integrated Payment Processing: The ‘Why’
A look at the benefits of integrated payment processing makes it easy to see why implementing it is a smart move.
These benefits include:
- A reduction in accounting errors that cause accounting discrepancies, payment reconciliation mistakes, and revenue reporting inaccuracies. Integrated payment processing eliminates the need for manual data entry because transaction information is automatically relayed from the point of payment to the appropriate back office software (e.g., accounting).
- Time and labor savings, with increased employee productivity. No two ways about it: Manual data entry is tedious and time consuming. So, too, is investigating and correcting the inevitable errors that occur. By removing these tasks from the table, integrated payment processing not only saves time; it also allows employees to focus on and become more productive in other business areas.
- Cost reduction. Integrating all aspects of payment processing conserves labor costs. How? By enabling fewer employee hours to be devoted to inputting, reviewing, and potentially correcting payment data as well as to investigating and resolving inaccuracies. Additionally, as stated above, manual data entry can lead to errors, many of which can be costly to resolve.
- Better customer experience. Integrated payment processing streamlines the process of completing transactions, in turn improving the customer experience and potentially enhancing customer loyalty.
- Improved data security. Melding payment processing and accounting functions decreases the likelihood of data compromise, as multiple points of data entry (e.g., when data is entered at the point of sale/payment and again when it is input into the accounting system) mean multiple potential points of exposure.
E-Complish supports integrated payment processing and makes it easy for merchants of all types to adopt an integrated payment processing model. Learn more or schedule a consultation by clicking here.