Payment integration, No. 1: What is payment integration?

The world of payment processing is incredibly complicated, with lots of different moving parts. Depending on how your business or organization operates, it only becomes increasingly complex. Payment integration is the process that simplifies all of that, ensuring a seamless experience across various systems, platforms, or applications.  

In this article – part one of a two-part series on payment integration – we look at what payment integration is, and its benefits for both the merchant and consumer.  

How does payment integration work?  

Integrated payments happen when a merchant’s payment processor is connected with their point-of-sale system (POS), e-commerce platforms, accounting software, or other business management tools, such as a CRM. This means customers can pay with credit, debit, Apple Pay, and more, without the need for manual processing, separate terminals, or when purchasing online, without leaving the platform or switching to another application or website.  

Likewise, because it connects to other management software, integrated payments allow for the real-time monitoring of inventory and sales data.  

Essentially, all payment integration processes should: 

  • Make the user experience seamless.  
  • Streamline the merchant’s operations. 
  • Increase efficiency. 
  • Offer multi-channel support, across all of the platforms you require.  
  • Be incredibly secure.  
  • Offer reporting and analytics. 

Integrated payments are commonly facilitated through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) – protocols that allows different software applications to communicate with each other. 

Why does your business need to think about payment integration? 

On top of the benefits to your own operations, customers expect ease and convenience when making payments. Not only that, they expect options. As much as 63% of retail customers prefer to use integrated payment options – such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc. – when making purchases. Your customers want online options, want to be able to pay from their phone, and don’t want to have to enter their information every single time they shop with you. All these factors come down to payment integration.  

Integrated payments can improve your bottom line. 

Simply put, payment integrations save you time and money, which in turn, makes your business more profitable. It does this in the following ways: 

  • Reduces the gap of time between your customers’ transactions and you receiving funds. 
  • Reduces cart abandonment in online interactions by making the process as simple as possible for the customer. 
  • Potentially reduces costs by amalgamating several payment and accounting processes into one application.  
  • Minimizes mistakes made by human error.  

What if you don’t utilize payment integration? 

Of course, there are alternatives. And for some businesses, these methods may work just fine and make sense for the kind of transactions they process. These include: 

  • Manual processing – where employees input details by hand into a payment terminal or processing software. 
  • Hosted gateways – where a third-party service that processes online payments requires customers to leave the business’s platform and go to a separate payment page to complete their transaction. 
  • Standalone payment processing software – where a business employs a software specifically designed to handle payment transactions independently without being integrated into a larger business application or system. 

As your business grows, considering payment integration might be prudent for anticipating customer needs and making operations more seamless. 

In conclusion… 

In the era of e-commerce and mobile payments, integrating your merchant services solutions is key to staying on top of business growth and meeting your customers’ needs.  

Next issue… 

In the final issue of our two-part series on payment integration, we take a look at payment integration connectors, and how they can save your business even more money on payment processing expenses.