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Eight Top Tips for Successfully Upgrading Your Payments System

Transitioning to a new payments system is a strategic manoeuvre that impacts the very heartbeat of your business operations. No matter the size of your business, or your stage of growth, navigating this shift requires foresight, thorough planning, and a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies and complexities involved.

It can be a daunting task, however when done right the rewards almost certainly lay the foundations for long-term success and business growth. With that in mind, here are eight top tips designed to help streamline your decision-making and transition process to maximise the benefits of your new payment infrastructure:

1. Think of tomorrow, not just today

Payments touch every part of the business in some way. It’s also very easy to overlook how a small system change can significantly affect other departments. When introducing any new payment infrastructure, think meticulously about how it will need to meet not just your needs for today, but far into the future as well. Furthermore, consider how any potential disruptions can be navigated. For example, what new legislation could impact how long your new system is compliant for? How will it integrate with your accountancy software? How easy is reconciliation?

My advice is to always involve at least one member from each department – not just the CFO, COO, and IT - in your decision-making process to avoid retendering a year or six months down the line.

2. Work with a partner, not a supplier

Always aim to have a consultancy relationship with your supplier. While getting the right technology is essential, the service and technical support accompanying it is equally important. Sometimes you need more help than being told to ‘turn it off and on again’. Working with a company that provides a bespoke service, knows your business inside out, and is fully in tune with the solution provided will help save a lot of stress not just during implementation but when any challenges crop-up in the future too.

3. Don’t ignore the warning signs

One major mistake is waiting until there is a fault with your payment solution until you seek help. Instead, work with a partner that is always innovating and leading the way with the latest payment technology. Work with them to anticipate how your needs might change or be impacted by wider market shifts and trends. For example, we worked with a leading tour company to anticipate demand and ringfence stock that would enable them to continue to expand operations and quickly access new payment devices despite a worldwide chip shortage.

4. Ignore employees at your peril

When it comes to planning a new payments system, the needs of employees are often overshadowed by those of the customer. However, employee needs are just as important to the success of a new payment system. Work with a focus group of employees who’ll be using the payment devices and new system day-in and day-out to make sure it works for them. The system must be easy for them to use and come with plenty of tech support and training. Maybe even consider asking your payment partner for an employee hotline where they can quickly reach expertise when and if it’s needed.

5. Streamline to success

It is easy to keep adding new payment systems every time a business expands to a new territory, processes payments in a new currency, or launches a new payment method. After a while, having multiple systems connected creates complexity and challenges when issues arise. Consider how the current setup can be simplified when looking at a new payment system. Having a single payment gateway for all payments, regardless of currency, location, or type is a great way to reduce complexity while creating one central view of all payment data.

6. Security and fraud

Due diligence regarding security and fraud is vital when rolling out a new payment system. The dangers of not protecting customers and their data are huge and present an existential risk to every retailer. Don’t ignore or overlook checking that a payment system has up-to-date and relevant security certificates.

7. APMs

Research from Mastercard shows that 85% of global consumers have used at least one emerging payment method. Alternative payment methods (APMs) are constantly evolving and becoming increasingly commonplace. Stay vigilant and adaptable, embracing new payment trends like Apple Pay, Google Pay, crypto or Pay By Bank. Importantly, ensure that your payment system can accommodate emerging payment methods to remain competitive.

8. Pay By Bank 

Global spending through QR codes payments reached a staggering $2.4 trillion in 2022 and is set to continue its rapid growth. Pay By Bank - where consumers have the option to pay for items by scanning a QR code and opening their mobile banking app to complete a transaction – is growing in appeal thanks to its simplicity.

Importantly, for retailers, making provisions for Pay By Bank also has huge advantages compared to other payment methods. By removing credit and debit cards from the transaction there are zero interchange and scheme fees equating to substantial savings on every transaction. Furthermore, there’s no need to clutter payment devices with third-party apps as no additional downloads for Pay by Bank to work are required.

Keeping pace with the latest payment trends is an ongoing battle for retailers. However, for those focused on deploying a payments system that helps grow their business, following these eight tips, and selecting a payment partner that offers speed, flexibility, and a bespoke customer service will most certainly help set them up for success.

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