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How to Issue an Effective Payments RFP


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.

1. Should I issue an RFI or RFP? 
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.

2. The Basics: Tell us about your business.
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:

  • Overview of your business and mission statement
  • Goods or services sold
  • HQ location and other legal entity locations
  • Number of employees
  • Where your customers are located
  • Where you require local processing 

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.

3. Give us a realistic timeline
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:

  • Deadline for partners to accept the request
  • Period for vendors to ask clarifying questions 
  • Submission deadlines: Make sure to include the date, time, and timezone
  • When finalists will be selected for the next round
  • When a final decision will be made
  • When you would like the winner to accept or decline the bid
  • Solution implementation date 

Include information such as:

  • A clear description of how you currently process today. If you can, include visuals of your processing flows. 
  • Third-parties you’re working with
  • PCI status
  • Type of solution you need: e-commerce, POS, or omnichannel
  • Regions you’re currently processing in
  • Currencies you’re processing in

5. Tell us your “non-negotiables”
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:

  • Must be able to process on POS
  • Must have specific third-party integrations
  • Must have Account Updater
  • Must have local processing in Europe

6. Tell us your pain points or issues you’d like to resolve.
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:

  • Cost and reconciliation inefficiencies
  • Too many third parties
  • Geographic limitations
  • Growing too fast and need redundancies 
  • PCI compliance
  • Lack of payment methods
  • Lack of customer support 

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.

7. Tell us about your goals. 
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:

  • Would like a consolidated “one-stop shop” solution
  • Looking for a new provider or secondary provider
  • Need to boost approval rates
  • Need support for global expansion
  • Need more payment methods
  • Want to improve uptime
  • Better fraud and security protection
  • More revenue - increase sales, increase conversions, or cost savings.

8. Submit your questions
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:

  • Where do you support local processing?
  • What payment methods do you support?
  • What is your disaster recovery plan?
  • What reporting do you make available and at what level?
  • What solutions do you have for PCI compliance?

9. Formatting 
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.

  • Additional collateral. Let us know if you’d like additional materials such as an executive summary, a company overview, contact information, or customer references.
  • Delivery method. How would you like to receive responses to your RFP? For example: physical mail, email, Dropbox/Google drive folder or link, or a secure file upload. Also, include the contact information of all recipients you wish to receive the response.

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.

Reevaluating your payments solution provider? Contact our payment experts to learn more about our solutions or submit at RFP.