Struggling to understand the difference between an integrated platform versus a gateway platform?
Think of it this way: You’ve just arrived at the front doors of your favorite sandwich shop - but instead of ordering there, you already pre-ordered your sandwich online AND paid for it. All you need to do is walk in, pick up your order, and go on with your day. This is an integrated payment platform.
A gateway platform, conversely, is the traditional method of payment if you didn’t have that sandwich shop app. Instead of literally skipping the line by ordering and paying online or on your phone in advance, you have to do it the old-fashioned way.
The app itself is essentially one portal which stores all your data - Information such as your past orders, your personal information for delivery options, as well as your payment information.
All you need to do is open the app and log in. It’s always there, ready to go.
For the traditional brick and mortar sandwich shop, though, you lose those benefits. The cashier is going to start from the beginning every time you walk into that store, and you will have to navigate through several different steps before that sandwich is in your hands. And for most, maybe that’s fine.
With a subscription-based business, however, that sandwich shop app might make your business stronger, faster, and more efficient for everyone involved.
Six Points to Consider for a Better Customer Experience
Erika Mitchell is the Senior Partner Success Manager at WePay (a Fusebill partner), and she has made her career in the payments industry since 2012.
Today technology has the reputation of making life easier, but as Erika put it, “a small- to medium-sized business won’t necessarily understand the complexities and layers of technology involved” in the background and they shouldn’t have to.
1. An Integrated Payments Platform is Different than a Gateway Platform
As a merchant, you want to be able to focus on providing quality merchandise to your consumers, without spending too much time handling potential issues with transactions. With your integrated payment platform, not only do your customers have the chance to skip the line, but your business does too!
Erika points out the benefits of using an integrated solution as, “having a one-stop-shop where everything payments related is built within the tools you are using today to support your business. Merchants will have a level of visibility into what’s going on with individual transactions without having to toggle multiple portals.”
But sometimes issues can occur. Your client’s credit card has expired or is denied; they may want to use a different payment method; or worse, their credit card information has been stolen by an outside party. No matter the circumstance, you’ll need to fix the problem, however complex.
No need to fear, help is here! An integrated payment platform makes these processes easier for the merchant and consumer alike.
According to Erika, you “can go into Fusebill and see a holistic view of all your recurring transactions and payments, versus logging into the payments management tool to see what’s been recurring and then having to log into your payment provider’s portal to see payments completed or denied.”
An integrated payments system like Fusebill Payments is beyond a gateway in that their reporting and subscription management services are integrated into an all-inclusive pricing, all in one solution.
“When you have a gateway, it’s another layer, another portal you must log in to see your activity and another potential breakdown when processing payments,” says Erika.
“When you have a subscription management platform with integrated payments, it provides one less thing that merchants have to toggle or manage.”
2. A Subscription Management Platform with Integrated Payments should have an Automatic Account Updater
For most subscription-based businesses, there are usually monthly or annual fees. The consumer will typically be put on a recurring billing cycle where their payment information will be securely stored and accessed each time the subscription is automatically renewed.
However, potential issues, like expired credit cards, will come up. If your business flow seems to be consistently interrupted by the extra time and money it takes to manage all these systems, a platform like Fusebill can save the day with its automated account updater service.
“Fusebill specifically has been building out additional reporting in Fusebill,” Erika explains, “and the account-updater service automatically updates that card on the back end when it’s reissued by the card company. It’s helping to minimize lost revenue for the merchants on that side… specifically for recurring billing.”
The platform automatically updates token-ized, stored credit and debit card information kept on file to keep the flow of recurring payments uninterrupted and prevent any unnecessary friction with your customers.
3. Your Subscription Management Platform should Support Compliance Requirements
“Card brands are always looking out to ensure that the best practices in their regulations are being adhered to. When you think about storing a credit card, it just creates a whole other level of complexity because you need to store the card in a way that won’t be accessible to fraudsters,” says Erika.
Subscription-based platforms, she says, provide a convenience in the fact that they are storing important and personal payment information, truly making it a no-touch billing process.
Accepting payments online, a space where the card doesn’t necessarily have to be present, is often referred to as ‘Card Not Present’ (or CNP) transactions.
“When it comes to ‘Card Not Present’ transactions, there’s definitely a higher risk associated with that because it’s easier to get a credit card’s information and manually put it into a computer, as opposed to having to replicate a card.”
Information protection is, “something that Fusebill works hard to ensure,” Erika explains. “In the end, consumer’s payment information and personal information is protected.”
Fusebill offers worry-free compliance by offering regulatory and network compliance, automated tax reporting (1099-K), and SAR filing to help customers secure their payment solution without an added burden to business operations.
Additionally, Fusebill hosts a PCI-compliant vault in which Fusebill customers no longer need to hold payment information on their side. All of their payment data is stored in the Fusebill vault, which is trusted by tens of millions of end customers.
Complete Guide to Subscription Billing.
This guide will walk through the wide range of features required to automate your recurring billing, subscription management, and payment processes.
4. Risk Management is Critical in a Subscription Management Platform with Integrated Payments
Transitioning to a technology-driven business comes with more risk. And although risk factors are important to consider, there is a lower risk level in subscription-based models because most subscriptions are typically a series of identical transactions that process around the same time.
While CNP transactions carry some danger, according to Erika, “Risk isn’t usually as high because it is a recurring transaction. The same payer and payment method is used repeatedly.”
Regardless of the reduced risk factors, Fusebill offers automated risk management and fraud protection tools to protect sensitive information and minimize payment fraud. And because not all fraud decisions can be made by algorithms, all flagged transactions go through an additional round of manual exception handling.
“It pauses that transaction, and then a human from the Risk Team will manually go in and review and investigate that transaction to ensure it’s valid which could help mitigate a charge back on the merchant’s behalf,” says Erika, speaking specifically to where the risk management action is at a merchant-level.
“So, to make sure that this is in fact not a stolen card, this automated process implements technology and algorithms to identify any characteristics of individual transactions that fit outside the norm. Then our risk team will manually review flagged transactions while we further investigate.”
5. Your Platform Supports Proactive Charge-back Handling
Charge-backs occur when a customer notices something unusual or wants to challenge a service rendered or product received. They call their credit card company, which then triggers a charge-back, resulting in an investigative process.
“In subscription-based businesses you may see chargebacks because the amount of the transaction changes over time such as the case with promotional pricing or maybe you change the name of your company so the name showing up on the transaction changes.”
Fusebill resources inform and guide you through any charge-back disputes from end-to-end by consulting through the resolution process - from email notifications to processing and posting credits - ultimately saving you time and minimizing losses.
6. Platforms Should Offer a Dependable Single Support Interface
Lastly, it’s always important to feel as if the payment platforms and subscription management is dependable. Fusebill provides a dedicated team of customer support professionals who are highly specialized and have a deep understanding of your business operations and payments flows. This ensures you get the best support from a centralized team for all your payment-related issues.
All of this means spending less time on payments and billing management, lowering the total cost of ownership.Fusebill’s Billing and Payment integration safely streamlines your entire recurring revenue billing and payment processes, so you will see a return on your investment almost immediately.