5 Essential Features of a Payment API

5 Essential Features of a Payment API
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If you’re an independent software vendor (ISV) who is evaluating payment APIs, you have much to consider. There might be a number of Payment Gateways seeking integration with your software; or maybe you want to offer your customers several partners to choose from, but you don’t know where to start.

It’s important to integrate with the right payment provider because integrations take time to build. You don’t want to invest months of development work into a provider that will harm your customers with unethical billing practices, poor service or outdated technology. A bad experience for your customers won’t simply reflect poorly on the provider you choose; it could also threaten their relationship with you.

To help ISVs select a payment API worth partnering with, we’ve curated a list of five essential features to look for in a payment API. With technology rapidly evolving in the payment space, it’s vital to partner with a provider that offers future-focused features.

  1. Cloud-Based Terminal Control

    Most Merchant Account Providers offer credit card terminals that have middleware. That means the terminal has to interact directly with the business’s computers and network.

    Middleware is a problem for two reasons. First, it delays transaction speeds, leading to longer wait times at checkout. Second, and more importantly, middleware puts businesses squarely within PCI scope.

    Any business that stores, transmits or processes credit card data is within the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. If you integrate with a provider that uses middleware, you are more vulnerable to fraud and face expensive annual or quarterly audits to assess your software and customers’ data environments.

    Thankfully, there is a work-around: cloud-based terminal control. For instance, PayJunction’s Smart Terminal plugs directly into the business’s Ethernet, allowing cardholder data to bypass both your software and the business’s network. The data goes straight to PayJunction, keeping you and your customers outside of PCI scope.

  2. Tokenized Access

    Tokenization is a fancy word for safe data substitution. Unlike encryption, which simply masks data and is decoded at each point in the transaction process, tokenization swaps the cardholder data in its entirety. Only the end destination — the payment processor — can look up what the token means. The token is randomly generated and has no mathematical connection to the cardholder data. A token could be XOIW-239D-1DLS-0HGS for the credit card number 1234-5678-9012-3456.

    Tokenization is common among payment APIs, but you should make sure that your prospective provider implements it. This technology reduces cardholder data exposure, further shrinking you and your customers’ PCI scope. Think of it like this: the better your software protects customers, the less vulnerable you’ll be to a data breach. According to Retail News Insider, almost half of surveyed consumers said they’d shop less, or stop shopping altogether, at a retailer that experienced a security breach. You want your customers to be successful, so do right by them by protecting consumers with tokenization and a PCI Level 1 provider.

  3. Advanced Payment Features

    Why offer your customers the bare minimum? Your customers likely turn to you for efficiency improvements; meet their expectations on all fronts.

    Ask a prospective payment provider if it offers secure customer vaults. Also referred to as accounts on file, this feature will let your customers:

    • Refund and recharge customers with a click
    • Automate recurring payments

    These features are an efficiency boon for your customers; they contribute to convenient and positive consumer experiences.

    Remote signature capture makes it easy for your customers to obtain signatures for card-not-present transactions — a task that normally requires faxing receipts and conducting painstaking follow-up. Remote signatures defend your customers from chargebacks, granting them peace of mind.

    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, paying for storage space (most businesses hold onto receipts for three to seven years), and wasting time reconciling their batches and deposits. These efficiency boosts will make your customers strong promoters of your software.

    If your customers take card-present transactions, look for a provider that has a Smart Terminal that’s EMV-ready and accepts mobile payments like Apple Pay.

  4. Open, Public Documentation

    As we said before, building a payment integration can take time — but it doesn’t have to take too long. By partnering with a payment API that offers open, public documentation, you can reduce integration timelines from months to weeks.

    Integrating payments into your software increases its functionality. Give your customers a better experience and move onto new initiatives faster with open-source code, accessible sandboxes and sample code to get the job done fast.

  5. U.S.-Based Support

    We imagine you’re busy and don’t want to take the time to troubleshoot customer inquiries about your payment integration. We recommend partnering with a Merchant Account Provider that offers U.S.-based support for both you and your customers. For instance, PayJunction offers U.S.-based support, helps ISVs build their integrations and individually underwrites every customer generated from the integration. This means that your customers are truly ours; we offer them the same hands-on support as we do merchants who use our technology exclusively.

    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.

Learn why a semi-integrated solution is ideal.


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.

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Christina Lavingia

Christina Lavingia delights in crafting content that helps business owners fight fraud, reduce risk and process payments with ease.

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