Cloud Computing: 10 Things Businesses Should Know About Cloud Payment Systems
10 Things Businesses Should Know About Cloud Payment Systems
by Chris Preimesberger
Consolidate Payment Vendors
Each vendor relationship costs time and money. It's usually more cost-effective and efficient to use a full-service payments provider who can process all payments (credit cards, debit cards, ACH [Automated Clearing House payments], check services and gift/loyalty cards), and using all methods (retail, point of sale, Web, phone, mobile, check scanner).
Maximize Your Sales Channels
Close the sale by being accessible in all the places your customers want to buy from you: over-the-phone, on the Web, at the tradeshow, in the field, etc. Forcing your customer to call you or go into your store to purchase a product limits sales opportunities.
Embrace Credit Cards
Customers buy from stores and vendors they feel comfortable with. Not allowing your customers to use credit cards might make you lose future sales. Additionally, if you're a business-to-business shop, being credit-card friendly can position your business as the first alternative when your competitor is out of inventory.
Integrate Payments Data with Your Accounting System
A best-in-breed practice is integrating your payment data and storing it in your accounting system. Not only will this eliminate the inaccuracy of manual data entry, but it will reduce your DSO (days sales outstanding) and enhance your audit and compliance positions.
Have a Mobile Payments Strategy
The infrastructure is there. The technology is there. Are you there? Mobile payments are more than an iPhone that can process a credit card, or a mobile phone that replaces a credit card. It's also about delivering information and building loyalty through an array of mobile devices that your customers use.
Have a Check Payment Strategy
As e-payments increasingly replace check payments, don't lose sight of the potential for increased exposure to fraudulent checks. Converting paper checks electronically to ACH, checks-by-phone, Web, Check 21, and check guarantee can increase cash flow and mitigate losses.
Choose a Technically Savvy and Financially Stable Payments Provider
Due to product complexities and ongoing investment in infrastructure and security, payment systems have moved from being bank-owned to business software company owned and operated. Select a technically savvy and financially stable payments provider that can meet your business' unique needs in a safe and secure environment.
Get PCI Certified and Scan Your PCs
Payment Card Industry (or PCI) is a requirement of all businesses that interact with credit or debit cards. PCI certification ensures that you're up-to-date on the latest best practices to protect your business and customers from payment fraud. And, just as you use virus software on your PC, you should use payment security software that scans your PC and alerts you to potential security leaks.
Use a Payment Provider that Supports End-to-End Encryption Technology
E2EE (end-to-end encryption) starts with your payment capture devices, and goes all the way to the transaction being authorized. E2EE prevents the card account data from being stolen electronically and lessens the cost and impact for your business to become PCI-certified.
Understand Cost vs. Product, Service
Using the low-cost provider comes at the expense of limited product functionality, potential security holes and lower levels of customer service. In today's competitive environment, take the time to study the best practices of your competitors and understand how your payment system touches your customer and your back-office operations. Taking the lowest cost route could cost you business.