So you’ve chosen a Payment Services Provider (PSP) to provide you with the e-commerce solution necessary to accept card payments online, but how can you be certain it’s the right one for your business?
And how do you actually put it into practice? It’s essential that the payment solution you choose can be properly integrated with your website and your operations.
For example, if you’re planning to sell goods using shopping cart software, it must be supported by a PSP – otherwise the complexity of integration will be substantially increased. Or, if you do plan to integrate your website directly with a PSP, check that you’ve got the in-house expertise to accomplish this. Then again, you’ll find that some PSPs are already integrated with a wide range of shopping cart options, further reducing potential complications and the technical burden on your team.
Sounds like a minefield? Not if you make sure your chosen PSP offers a range of integration options.
Would you be prepared to run your own ecommerce page? Or would you prefer to delegate? Which route is right for your business? Let’s look at PSP hosted versus merchant hosted…
A complete payment page hosted by your PSP is a solution for smaller start-ups. There are PSP hosted solutions for larger more established business too.
This is the no-hassle route. A PSP hosted solution is designed to be easy to implement and use. It’s ideal for businesses who are happy to leave the PSP to handle security and processing of customer payments.
Integration with a hosted payment solution often only involves putting a simple HTML Form code on your website to redirect customers to a dedicated secure payment page. That means you don’t need to worry about security and can get on with other areas of business. Any PSP worth talking to will also let you brand your page.
However, far from being a basic solution, a good hosted payment page still offers bags of functionality – such as triggering instant notifications when a customer completes their transaction on the PSP server, or issuing email payment receipts on your behalf. It’s the all-encompassing ‘out-of-the-box’ solution of the payments world.
This means creating an ecommerce experience within your website via integration with an Application Programming Interface (API) provided by your PSP. It requires a certain level of web development experience at your end, but it does allow you to keep the customer on your site from start to finish of the transaction process. Which means you can tailor the look, feel and functionality of the payment process exactly to your needs.
So this more advanced integration lets you interact directly with your customers while processing their payments behind the scenes via remote requests to a PSP. It also gives you access to a powerful toolkit of real-time payment processing instructions with which to develop the customer experience.
But that’s not all – the transparent format you get with an API toolkit lets you integrate a payment solution just about anywhere that has an internet connection: with a mobile applet (Java program), an automated phone system, on customer service software, in unmanned kiosks... it’s wonderfully versatile.
The two types of solution above require differing levels of technical expertise but are typical of PSP integration options. Between them, they can – and do – support the widest possible range of merchants, from individuals and start-ups needing simple re-direct solutions, right through to large blue chip enterprises developing complex billing models.
If you’re a smaller business getting started in e-commerce and even the simpler solutions cause you concern, don’t forget that many PSPs are integrated with a range of shopping cart software that already incorporates everything you need to get started. Either way, talk to your PSP. The more they understand your needs, the better they can serve you.