For consumer-facing businesses, payment processing services are a fundamentally necessary part of doing business. Because every business needs them, the opportunity to provide merchant services is enormous – and many different companies and entrepreneurs are trying to sell them. However, merchants aren’t looking for fly-by-night companies to sell payment processing services alone. They want to work with a trusted partner who will provide a real benefit to their business.
Timothy Cormier, member of The ASCII Group and president of Big IT, Inc., says his approach is first to earn the customer’s trust and then offer payment solutions as an added benefit. “We offer credit card processing to our clients as a value-add service. As trusted advisors, we facilitate the relationship between our clients and the merchant account provider,” he explains.
Cormier adds, “As software developers, we also integrate payment solutions into our products for ease of use and to offer our customers a low-cost payment solution. We see offering credit card processing as key to our role of providing a well-rounded solution to clients.”
New Opportunities to Provide Payment Processing Services
Consumer demand for digital payments is nothing new. Still, a shift in buying behavior that accelerated in 2020 has put even more pressure on businesses to meet new demands, and that year marked a tipping point. In 2020, for the first time, one in every four dollars of discretionary spending was spent on e-commerce.
This increase in consumer demand for e-commerce also increased the demand from merchants for the ability to accept payments online. Your clients are using hosted payment pages – third-party webpages where a consumer’s transaction can be completed securely without complex Payment Card Industry (PCI) requirements for your clients. While it is an external page, your payment partner’s solutions and your expertise can help your clients ensure consumers’ online experiences are consistent and uninterrupted.
Your clients can also benefit from a virtual terminal solution, which allows merchants to accept digital payments by phone, mail order, email, in person, and even by fax. When using this payment method, merchants collect the consumer’s payment information and securely enter it into the virtual terminal via an internet browser.
Another opportunity for value-added resellers (VARs) and managed services providers (MSPs) is to help their clients expand the payment methods they accept. For example, merchants can offer contactless payments where credit cards, smartphones, or smart watches can be used to purchase without physically contacting the merchant’s terminal. Additionally, some of your clients may benefit from QR code payments, for example, restaurants that want to give guests the ability to pay from their tables with their smartphones at their convenience. The restaurant can print the code on the bottom of the receipt, and customers can scan and pay at their convenience.
Also, in these times of labor shortages, many merchants are looking for ways to free up their employees and are turning to unattended payment kiosks where customers can place their orders and make payments on their own.
How Payment Processing Services Can Transform B2B Payments
While new consumer behaviors and engagements continue to create opportunities to sell new payment processing services, you also have the chance to sell them to your B2B customers – or use them yourself to operate more efficiently if you take advantage of these services yourself. In the past, paper checks were the payment method of choice. But starting in 2020, more people worked from home, and fewer were in the office to process invoices. Digital invoicing and payments adoption began to grow. The trend is far-reaching. According to a study by Mastercard, 82 percent of respondents said their business changed how they send and receive payments in the wake of the 2020 shutdowns.
Moreover, paper invoicing is a costly, tedious, and time-consuming activity. And digital invoicing decreases the time from when you provide a service until you get paid, improving cash flow. In addition, the back office saves time by eliminating the tasks of printing and mailing invoices and tracking collections. You can also save a small fortune on postage, filing cabinets, storage space, and paper.
You can probably find businesses that need solutions for sending invoices electronically and allowing their customers to pay via various digital methods, including automated clearing houses (ACH) and alternative payments like PayPal and Venmo. The use of credit cards has increased in B2B transactions as well. Cormier comments, “Credit cards can reduce the friction in completing a sale. Many companies, especially those run by younger owners, are more comfortable spending on credit cards, and offering credit cards as a form of payment can increase sales.”
With B2B payments, Cormier says to use similar principles for selling B2C payment processing services. “We recommend shopping for the best rate when accepting credit card payments. Knowing the volume of transactions you will accept will help you choose the best merchant account type you should go with. For example, if you are low volume, a service with no monthly fee may be the right choice. An interchange plus arrangement may be best if you are doing more volume. Working with someone who knows the options is always a good idea,” he says.
Change is Creating Opportunities
Changing B2C and B2B payment preferences creates opportunities for VARs and MSPs to provide new or expanded payment processing services or integrate them with their solutions. Don’t miss this opportunity to build stronger customer relationships by offering an essential service and adding payment residuals to your monthly income.
About The ASCII Group, Inc.
The ASCII Group is the premier community of North American MSPs, MSSPs, VARs and solution providers. The group has over 1,300 members throughout the U.S. and Canada, and membership encompasses everyone from credentialed MSPs serving the SMB community to multi-location solution providers with a national reach. Founded in 1984, ASCII provides services to members, including leveraged purchasing programs, education and training, marketing assistance, extensive peer interaction and more. ASCII works with a vibrant ecosystem of major technology vendors that complement the ASCII community and support the mission of helping MSPs and VARs to grow their businesses. For more information, please visit www.ascii.com.