Choosing the right payment service provider as a small business

Why you need to take care in choosing the best payment services provider for your small business, and how to go about finding the right one?

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Choosing the right payment service provider as a small business

14 December 2021

card machines

A payment service provider (PSP) can help any business to process and manage the acceptance of a wide range of payment options. It’s their job to make sure a transaction is safely and securely completed, from the moment the customer pays to the point at which it lands in your merchant bank account.

With a PSP playing such an important role in the safe management of your money, it’s only natural you’ll want to make sure you’re working with someone you can trust and rely on. But how do you go about finding the right provider for your business? 


How to choose the right payment service provider


There’s a lot that goes into finding a PSP who provides the right kind of balance for your business. You’ll need to assess a range of factors in order to decide what works best for you. Some of the most important things to keep in mind include: 


  • Transaction recording and reporting. A good PSP should be able to provide you with a thorough and detailed breakdown of all transactions. This allows you to go over your sales with a fine-toothed comb, and pick out the data which is most relevant to helping your business grow. 


  • The services they provide. The services you’ll be offered should be at the core of your decision. Some examples of what a PSP might provide include things like recurring customer functions, offering monthly subscription payments, and same or next day settlement so you get your money faster. If you have any specific requirements, chat with a provider about these ahead of making a decision.


  • Their fees. You’ll find that all payment providers will expect some sort of fee for their services. There are lots of different charges and fees from card machine rental, transaction fees (which can vary from debit to credit cards and how the payment is taken) and additional services like faster payments and PCI compliance. So be sure to do your research, be clear on the costs and find one that offers good value for money in accordance with your needs. 


  • Flexibility and customer support. A good PSP will offer customer services and a detailed help section on their website, meaning you’ll be able to access help around the clock. A dedicated customer service department will be able to offer support and advice when you need it.


  • Existing software compatibility. You’ll need to find a provider who is able to naturally integrate with your existing software. This seamless transition is incredibly important, as it means your store can continue to operate effectively without any sort of downtime. 



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The benefits of using a payment service provider 


We’ve already discussed how using a PSP will help you stay on top of and manage your finances safely. But what other advantages can partnering with a payments provider have for your business? Let’s take a closer look at some of the most important benefits: 


  • Fraud prevention. Having a PSP managing transactions means that payments will only process once a customer’s card details have been verified, and it’s been confirmed they have enough money in their account to make a payment. If a payment service provider finds either of those factors to be lacking, the transaction is terminated – preventing a potentially fraudulent purchase. 


  • Multi-currency processing. If you’re fortunate enough to have customers from all over the world, a PSP may also be able to automatically convert currencies for you. This is great for businesses with existing foreign interests, as well as those specifically looking to branch out.


  • Accepting multiple payment methods. Customer satisfaction is key for any small business – and providing them with the option to use any payment method they like at the checkout is one of the best ways to keep them happy. 


Usually integrating payment options like e-wallets, mobile and online banking, and even debit and credit cards can incur costs. With a PSP, these can be added to your store free of charge.


Choosing the right online payment system 


With the explosion in online shopping, it’s increasingly important to ensure your PSP has a strong online payment product, known as a payment gateway, for online payments. 

Things you need to consider when making this decision include:

  • Processing speed. The speed at which your payments are processed can play a huge factor in customer satisfaction. What’s more, search engines will often look favourably on websites that have quicker loading times. This could help you appear higher organically on results pages. 


  • The merchant dashboard and analytics. We’ve already discussed how having a breakdown of reports and customer trends can be really handy when using a PSP. The same is true of your payment system’s internal dashboard. Depending on which option you choose, some of these will offer you the chance to follow a customer’s journey from A-to-Z – assessing how they entered your site, what else they viewed, their demographic, and other valuable information. 


  • Security features. Assess what security is offered by any online payment system. This is something that most systems will take very seriously, but it’s always wise to do your homework and see what policies they have in place. It’s vital both you and your customer’s sensitive financial information is kept protected. 


  • Cost. Your payment services provider will be able to guide you through how costing works and give you a pretty accurate assessment of how much you should expect to pay each month.


  • Integration. Talk to potential providers about your business and objectives. There may be services, apps, or integrations that you can benefit from. 

Best practice for keeping your online payment system secure 


While your PSP will do a lot to ensure your money is safe, there are also steps you should be taking on your own to keep their sensitive information protected. Some of the most important would be to:


  • Attain an SSL certificate. Having one of these means your website uses secure sockets layer technology to ensure all data is encrypted when it travels between your website and a server. Your site will be identified as SSL certificated if it shows a padlock in the customer’s web browser, as well as if “https” appears in the URL instead of “http”.


  • Use a payment gateway and PSP with proven track records. It’s your job to ensure you’ve done everything you can to ascertain the security standards of your payment gateway and PSP. Make sure they have a clearly defined privacy policy, as well as highlighting how they ensure security standards are met. 


  • PCI compliance. Payment card industry compliance is a must-have for anyone taking payments through their website. In fact, it’s a legal requirement to adhere to the rules and standards laid out by the governing body (the PCI DSS). This is something most, if not all, payment service providers should be on top of. 

Use this article as a springboard in the hunt for a PSP that is right for you. And remember, RMS have years of experience helping small businesses flourish financially. Make sure to get in touch if you have any further questions.

Are you ready to start taking card payments with a payment services provider?

If you still feel like you could do with further guidance, be sure to reach out to a member of the RMS team


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