Additional considerations when choosing an online payments system
While the Eight Payment Dimensions cover the core of what you need to consider when choosing an online payment method, it can be valuable to undertake a few additional considerations.
This distinction between push payment methods and pull payment methods is useful to understand. Push payment methods require the customer to take action in order to pay you. These include:
- One-time card, mobile, or digital wallet payments
- Bank transfers
Pull payment methods, however, enable you to take money from the customer without needing approval for each and every transaction. These include:
- Automated card payments
- Direct Debit (requiring just a one-time mandate)
- Automated payments from digital wallets
For recurring payments or subscription payments, pull methods are strongly preferable for you as a business, since they require no ongoing customer action (and as such score higher in the Preference, Cash flow, Success, and Churn Payment Dimensions).
2. Specialist versus generalist payment service providers
You can find payment service providers that specialise in one particular payment method, as well as those that have a more generalist offering spread across many methods. As such, businesses may choose to handle all their payments through one generalist provider, or engage the services of various specialist providers, to offer the same payment methods to their customers.
Specialist providers tend to:
- Offer the best-in-class solution for their area of speciality
- Provide better service and support for their area of speciality
- Charge lower fees for their particular service
Generalist providers tend to:
- Offer a broader spectrum solution for businesses
- Simplify the experience for businesses (i.e. businesses only have to sign up to one provider to have access to multiple payment methods)
There’s no right or wrong answer as to which option is best for your business. You should consider the above benefits and shop around the market - looking at costs, terms and conditions, and reviews and references for each provider.
3. Security and regulatory requirements
It's not the most exciting aspect of online payments but it is essential. A breach of security may leave you or your customers out of pocket, destroy your reputation, shut down your business, and even leave you facing legal action.
By handling your payment processing in-house, as opposed to going through a payment service provider, you’ll need to ensure you meet all the relevant security and regulatory requirements. And as the regulatory landscape is ever-changing, you’ll need to spend an ongoing resource cost to ensure you are always up to date. (In September 2019, for example, a new regulation for authenticating online payments is rolling out across Europe - Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) - and it’s making a significant change to the buying process for online purchases.)
If you don't want to shoulder this cost and responsibility, you can use a compliant payment service provider instead. Be sure they can demonstrate proof of full regulatory compliance, and check they have a good reputation.‹ View table of contents