When sourcing a new partner, knowing the right questions to ask is half the battle. When gathering information from a potential partner or vendor, it goes without saying that you need all the black-and-white facts. But not asking the right questions, or enough questions – especially as they relate to your specific business, goals, and pain points – could mean missing out on valuable information and finding the right partner.
A Request for Proposal (RFP) process should be a two-way street. The other half of the battle is arming your candidates with all the relevant information they would need to help you make the right decision – be specific about your request and scope of the job. Remember, an RFP is a chance for vendors to show you their full capabilities and qualifications while also allowing their personalities to shine through.
When it comes to payments RFPs, things can get complex as each business will require its own specific set of tools and requirements. For teams tasked with finding the right payments service provider, we’ve compiled an RFP guide to payments to make the process smoother, easier to evaluate, and help you make the most informed decision for your business.
A Request for Proposal (RFP) is a public document that businesses use to solicit bids from potential vendors for a specific project or service.
The RFP outlines the scope of the project, any specific requirements, deadlines and other criteria that vendors must meet in order to be qualified for the work. They should also provide details about your business, the bidding process, and the terms of the contract.
In the payments ecosystem, RFPs can be used to procure services like payment gateway solutions, merchant processing, the issuing of credit and debit cards, or any other service related to the management and processing of payments.
The process of issuing and responding to an RFP generally involves the following steps:
RFPs play a vital role in helping businesses select the right payment providers for their needs according to a number of key criteria:
If you’re just starting to shop around and want to gather information but have no concrete plans or timelines, start by submitting a Request for Information (RFI) to learn more about the payments landscape, what you’re looking for in a provider, and the players in the space based on your key markets and goals.
Once you’ve gathered all the necessary information, determined key players, and outlined your goals, you’re ready to issue an RFP. We also recommend submitting an RFP only after you’ve established timelines and budgets.
So you’re ready to issue an RFP! Before diving in, be sure to send your RFP candidates an NDA if required.
Provide an overview of your business, your customers, and your company’s mission. This will help us better understand your requirements such as payment methods needed, geographies required, or existing partners to ensure that our solution aligns with your goals.
Provide information including:
To get an accurate pricing quote, be sure to include the following details:
Submitting a blind RFI or RFP? Blind requests can be tricky. While not uncommon, be sure to still provide enough information so your candidates can understand the general business and scope of requirements. Without key details, you may miss out on valuable information or significantly limit your options.
Providing RFP candidates with a clear timeline will ensure there are no missteps. Also, building in extra time for candidates to ask clarifying questions can ultimately save time and effort for both parties, and provide you with the most accurate responses tailored to your requirements.
Once you’ve issued the RFP, it’s important to include a timeline that takes into consideration the following:
Include information such as:
Tell us your absolute must-haves. For example, if you need to target specific geography or regions, need a particular payment method, or must have a certain payment tool - let us know! This will help us determine early on whether we can support your business effectively. This will also give us the opportunity to share our workaround capabilities, alternative and bespoke solutions, or roadmap. Some examples of non-negotiables include:
Share your pain points. Let us know, in detail, what issues you are trying to resolve or what improvements you’d like to make to your payments process so we can determine the scope of work.
Some common pain points include:
To save time and ensure alignment across your organization, we always recommend coordinating internally with all parties and departments that would be affected by changes in your payment process.
What role will the RFP winner play in your payment process? Be clear and detailed about your expectations and what problems they should be solving for you.
Be as detailed as possible, some examples of goals include:
Be as extensive and specific as possible. No question is too big or small; and the more the better. Some examples and FAQs to ask your candidates:
Please tell us any specific formatting rules you’d like us to follow. This could mean no attachments, yes/no answers only, no hyperlinks, text-only responses, no images, and no Dropbox/Google Drive links.
Every business is unique. By providing as much relevant information as possible, your vendors can craft a proposal tailored to your objectives. Asking the right questions will also save time for all parties involved, helping you reach your goal even faster.
When it comes to payments, every single element in the value chain matters, and any one, if not up to scratch, could have a knock on effect that could impact your acceptance rate, security, and revenue.
That's why it’s vital to not only ask the right questions, but to know the answers you’re looking for. You need to understand how any specific vendor will help you business to meet its goals, whether those goals involve conquering new markets or increasing your acceptance rates. And that’s where we can help.
Reevaluating your payments solution provider? Contact our payment experts to learn more about our solutions or submit at RFP.