As a merchant running an ecommerce or brick-and-mortar store, the way you process payments can greatly impact your efficiency. Manually inputting sales information into your accounting software can be slow and prone to errors. An integrated system for your payments, meanwhile, can streamline your payment process while eliminating discrepancies caused by manual data entry. Here’s what you need to know about integrated payments.
What are integrated payments?
Integrated payments systems are a type of software that connects payment processing with other company systems like accounting software and customer relationship management (CRM) software. By connecting your point of sale (POS) with your financial management software, integrated payment systems streamline the payment process. This makes the work of managing accounts receivable (AR) easier, since it automatically links payments and invoices, reducing the need to do that work manually. An integrated payment system can also record transaction information (like the price of the sale, the time of the transaction, and the payment method) to your CRM software.
How integrated payments work
Integrated payment systems communicate directly with the other important software your company uses. An integrated payment system processes payments internally and can automatically post transaction data to an accounting system, or send information to other company software like an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system with shared databases for the whole company.
For ecommerce stores, an integrated system like Shopify Payments collects payment data without redirection to a third-party payment service provider (PSP). In brick-and-mortar stores, an integrated system for payment processing connects the payment processor directly to the point of sale (POS) terminal. This means the cashier doesn’t have to manually type in the purchase price into the POS—the integrated payments gateway automatically loads price and inventory information.
6 benefits of using an integrated payments system
- Increased efficiency and convenience
- Improved customer experience
- Enhanced security and fraud protection
- Cost savings and reduction of human error
- Efficient cash flow
- Better information for marketing
Using an integrated payment system can offer several benefits to your ecommerce business, including:
1. Increased efficiency and convenience
An integrated payment solution can make your accounting system efficient by automatically inputting transaction data into one or more databases. Integrated payment systems send accurate and secure transaction data directly to the relevant systems in real time.
2. Improved customer experience
Integrated payment solutions make it quick, safe, and easy for your business to accept payments from customers. For example, integrated payments systems can save online customers the trouble of being redirected to a third-party merchant services company to complete a transaction. They’re also designed to accept a variety of digital payment methods. With mobile wallets accounting for roughly half of the global ecommerce market, it’s more important than ever that your company’s payment system is as intuitive as your customers’ payment methods.
3. Enhanced security and fraud protection
An integrated payment system keeps payment data more secure than a non-integrated system, since it holds sensitive data like credit card information in one secure place. Integrated payments systems don’t have to send customer data through third parties, and they input transaction information directly into your accounting software. This means there are fewer potential weak links where customer data could be compromised.
4. Cost savings and reduction of human error
An integrated solution for payment processing saves time and money by reducing the amount of human errors caused by manual data entry. With the right integrated payment processor, you can streamline your accounts receivable and save money in the long run by reducing the number of hours your AR department has to work remedying errors.
5. Efficient cash flow
Efficient cash flow management helps ensure that you have more working capital available to your business at any given moment. Payment integration automates invoicing and accounting systems by sending transaction information directly to your general ledger and accounts receivable, allowing you to move money in and out of your company faster than with a manual system.
6. Better information for marketing
Real-time payment information gives your company faster and more reliable data about customer buying habits. By using an integrated payments system to input customer data to your customer relationship management (CRM) software, you can easily sort customers by the products they buy, the amount of money they spend, and the number of times they’ve made purchases from your store. This can help you hone your target market and develop marketing materials better suited to your customer base.
What to look for when choosing an integrated payments provider
Here are factors to consider when choosing an integrated payments provider:
- Transaction fees. Research how integrated payments providers structure their fees. Common charges include merchant setup fees, monthly fees, and transaction fees. Read the fine print and check for hidden costs before choosing a provider.
- Security features. Choose an integrated payments provider that offers protection against data breaches, especially when it comes to credit card processing. Make sure that your integrated payments provider has a PCI-compliant gateway for debit and credit card transactions by using a provider that includes secure digital wallet options, like Shop Pay.
- Customer support. Look for integrated payment providers with 24/7 customer support systems to help with payment processor setup and to ensure that your payments gateway remains connected to your other business software applications.
Integrated payments FAQ
Is it safe to use integrated payments?
Integrated payment solutions use data encryption to keep customer information secure. Make sure to confirm that your integrated payment processing system is PCI compliant. Shopify, for instance, is certified Level 1 PCI DSS compliant, and if you host your store on Shopify, this compliance certification extends by default to your business.
Can I customize the checkout experience with integrated payments?
Integrated payment systems allow a customizable checkout experience for your customers. By keeping your customers on one site during the payment process, integrated payments give you the option to design your company’s checkout flow from start to finish.
What are 4 benefits of integrated payment systems?
There are many benefits to integrated payment systems, however, four top benefits include: Cost savings through automation, which reduces the potential for human error and speeds up transaction processing. Increased efficiency for your business by allowing information to flow to multiple databases at once. Better security, since data is held in one place. An improved customer experience, since an integrated payment system keeps customers on your site rather than redirecting them to a third party.