What is a card issuer?
What to look for in a payments partner
You're an ambitious business on the hunt for a payment service provider.
But after some initial research, you're buried in a maze of payment jargon and technical complexity, and are left not knowing how to move forward.
Cut through the complexity with these 12 critical questions you should ask potential payment partners to determine the right one for your business.
Get familiar with the provider's technology and operating philosophy
Similar to a well-tuned car engine, the technology that underpins your payment experiences will determine the performance you get, directly impacting sales revenue.
The unfortunate truth is that many payment platforms are built from old technology patched together or are reliant on third-party providers. But, at first glance, it may be hard to ascertain whether or not the provider is built using modern or legacy technology. Ask these questions to find out:
1. Is your payments platform built in-house?
Proprietary payment technology means the provider has more control over performance, can deliver innovations faster and has an army of developers at the ready to build and drive the latest payments innovations.
2. Why was your company founded?
Listen carefully for the "reasons of existence" to understand the provider's vision and if they're a player or (preferably) a change maker in the ecosystem. Make sure they have a clear mission and the resources to deliver it.
3. When was your company founded?
Anytime before 2005 likely indicates at least some old technology will power the platform. Can this technology handle the demands of the 21st-century digital economy? That's the question you need to answer.
4. How many payments do you process on average annually?
Look for an answer in the billions and across multiple geographies. This will indicate the provider can expand with your business and doesn't struggle with downtime during busy periods.
5. How do you ensure my payments will get approved?
The perfect answer should include machine learning optimization, the ability to set rules and capabilities across gateway, risk, processing, acquiring and issuing.
Find out if the provider will fit your business, rather than the other way around
Payments are complex. To succeed, you need a partner with the knowledge and know-how to cut through that complexity and allow you to focus on your core business.
Not every provider can do this. Too often, payment providers have a "one size fits all" approach. Their technology, processes and support are built for businesses, not your business. So avoid getting stuck with a payments provider that forces you to abide by their ways of working by asking:
1. What payment methods do you offer?
Your provider should allow you to easily accept:
- Debit or credit cards, like Visa and Mastercard
- Digital wallets, like Apple Pay and Google Pay
- Bank-to-bank transfers
- And include specific payment methods for your key geographies, such as ACH in North America.
2. Do you serve brands in my industry?
Your needs are unique, so your payments provider must have experience working in your industry and with other businesses like yours. Be sure you ask for a client reference too.
3. How will you help me protect my revenue?
Disputes over delivered goods or advanced machine-powered fraud attacks are a growing risk for many businesses. Look for a provider with experience combating payments fraud like friendly fraud, card testing, account takeovers, triangulation fraud, and click farms.
4. How does your pricing work?
Payment pricing can be transparent or opaque. Look for a partner that prices card processing with Interchange++ — a more transparent way to see fees from the card holder's bank, the card scheme and the acquirer. Also, see if they offer volume-linked pricing, so the more payments you put through their platform, the cheaper it gets.
Uncover whether you're getting a partner or a provider
It’s not just about a meeting of the minds; your payment partner should also match the values and ambitions of your business. From your philosophy around lines of communication and ways of working to giving you the level of granular data you seek.
Look for a partner that shares your cultural norms by asking:
1. What does your support model look like?
A dedicated local support manager — not a generic ticketing system — is key. Check what channels are utilized (hint: look for on-demand channels like Slack or WhatsApp), if there are associated costs and ask about response SLAs. At Checkout.com, our average response time is less than 30 mins.
2. How do you monitor and influence key legislative and regulatory change?
Look for membership with industry associations like EMVco, ISO certifications and if the payment provider has access to local industry and government bodies.
3. How do you keep your customers' needs front and center?
Look for a provider that has established health and innovation programs like regular NPS surveys, customer advisory councils, and conducts design thinking/ collaboration workshops.
Why Checkout.com is the payment provider of choice for the digital economy
Businesses like Crypto.com, Frasers Group, Getty Images, Grab, SHEIN, Sony and Wise asked all these questions and choose Checkout.com as their partner to support them to thrive in the digital economy.
That's because we are purpose-built with performance, scalability and speed in mind, and our modular payments platform is ideal for enterprise businesses looking to integrate better payment solutions seamlessly. And, with more payment experts in 19 offices worldwide, we offer global coverage and expertise you can count on as you navigate the complexities of an ever-shifting world.
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