Independent Software Vendors (ISV) have a lot to consider as they evaluate payment gateway and platform providers. It calls for comprehensive research that includes the company, the developer experience, payment features, security and compliance, and customer support.
It’s important to integrate your software with the right payment partner. Integrations take time to build, so make sure you don’t invest weeks or months of development work only to end up with a provider that harms your customers with unethical billing practices, impersonal service or unstable technology, or outdated features. A bad payment experience could reflect poorly on you, leading to an increase in customer attrition—and revenue—for your core software.
We’ve curated a list of four essential payment API features to help you evaluate payment providers.
Find a partner that makes it easy to integrate payment solutions into your core software. Providers should offer ISV-friendly tools and resources including a modern tech stack, a solid self-service developer journey, and an experienced team of real people ready to help you and your customers.
Integrators that code to an open-access RESTful API can quickly activate credit, debit and ACH payment acceptance from within their software without having to build payment-specific code. Look for a developer experience that includes public, open-source code, accessible sandboxes, free developer payment terminals and sample code to get the job done fast.
Webhooks are an important feature if you are developing a SaaS application. In comparison to long polling, webhooks are asynchronous, resulting in a better architecture for your SaaS application. You’ll obtain data with less code complexity, which reduces development resources and time to market.
Secure Cloud Connectivity
Any business that stores, transmits or processes credit card data is within the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. Beware of providers that connect payment terminals and POS systems to their network via middleware. This leaves you and your customers vulnerable to fraud and may require expensive data security audits to assess your software and customers’ data environments.
A cloud-based API solution means that no cardholder data is stored or processed on the local systems or networks belonging to an ISV’s or their clients. ISVs reduce the scope of sensitive data and simplify PCI DSS compliance by working with a PCI Level 1 provider like PayJunction since the onus of PCI standards falls to the systems hosted in their data centers.
In-person payments should be initiated on a cloud-connected EMV terminal that routes transactions directly to the provider. PayJunction’s Zero Touch and Portable terminals connect via the business’s Ethernet or Wi-Fi. You and your customers remain out of PCI scope since cardholder data bypasses both software and the business’s network.
Processors like PayJunction store tokenized payment details in a secure cloud-based customer vault. Look for a Payment API that allows integrators to automatically add or update customer profiles when transactions are processed, eliminating the need for staff to manually manage customer details and preferences.
Advanced Payment API Features
Many payment gateways’ APIs only support digital and ecommerce payment acceptance, requiring third-party connectivity for more complex in-person payments. Why offer your customers the bare minimum? Look for important payment API features that streamline acceptance, boost productivity, improve the customer experience, lower costs, and protect data.
Extend your customers a single omnichannel payment experience by integrating features that boost productivity wherever payments take place: in stores, in apps, online, via invoices, and more.
Ask a prospective payment provider if it offers a tokenization API for secure customer vaults, which are also referred to as accounts on file. This feature lets businesses:
- Pull up a customer record to run a future transaction
- Refund and recharge customers with a click
- Automate recurring or subscription payments
Digital invoices are convenient for customers and improve cash flow. Businesses quickly create an electronic invoice from within their software, attach supporting documentation, and send to customers via email. Customers enter payment details, hit “submit,” and receive an electronic receipt.
Remote signature capture makes it easy for your customers to obtain digital signatures for card-not-present transactions. Remote signatures defend your customers from chargebacks, granting them peace of mind.
Certain corporate, business, and purchasing cards are eligible for lower Interchange rates if the transaction includes Level 3 data, such as shipping amounts, order date, product codes, etc. ISVs that do a lot of B2B and B2G business will want to ensure that their payment partner supports Level 3 processing. Integrators should be able to pass the data captured in their software to a provider like PayJunction, producing significant savings for their customers.
Take efficiency to the next level with a provider that stores digital receipts and transaction records in the cloud. With digital receipts, your customers can stop filing paper receipts and wasting time reconciling their batches and deposits.
If your customers take card-present transactions, look for a provider that has a customer-facing payment terminal that supports NFC contactless payments like Apple Pay and Google Pay.
Live, U.S.-based Support
ISVs know their vertical segments inside and out. But when it comes to payments integration, sometimes developers need more than chat and text support. Don’t waste their time—and access to a new revenue stream—while they go back and forth trying to integrate features. Make sure your payments provider supplements online API support documentation with live support from technical payment specialists.
We recommend partnering with a Merchant Account Provider that offers live support for both you and your customers. For instance, PayJunction offers U.S.-based support, helps ISVs build their integrations using an award-winning API and individually underwrites every customer generated from the integration. This means that your customers are treated as ours; we offer them the same hands-on support as we do merchants who connect directly to our technology.
A partnership like this reduces headaches on your end and ensures that your customers’ needs are met. Furthermore, because PayJunction is a Merchant Account Provider and Payment Gateway all in one, your customers can eliminate one of their providers and consolidate their bills. Streamlining providers makes it easier for your customers to decipher their effective processing rate and to report or troubleshoot any issues they face. All questions can be directed to a single, award-winning support team.
What other features have been helpful when integrating with a payment API? Let us know what you’d add to this list in the comments section below.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in July 2017 and has been updated for comprehensiveness and accuracy.