If you are running a business or plan on setting one up you seriously need to consider your payment channels.

The payments market has experienced a radical transformation over the past few years. Total cash payments have now been overtaken by non-cash payments, with credit/debit cards, contactless and online payments accounting for the majority of transactions.

Innovation and technological advances within online and mobile have been the driving forces behind this revolution, and customers are now coming to expect that businesses cater for these payment channels.

For a business to be successful in this current market it needs to be able to cater for online payments, digital wallet services, new mobile point-of-sale technologies as well as front-end consumer technologies such as mobile apps.

The eCommerce Generation

Most forward thinking businesses have embraced this progress and have already implemented an eCommerce solution such as Magento, WooCommerce, Shopify, Bigcommerce or eSeforward-thinkingexploit online sales channels. As a business, however, the most important aspect is selecting the right solution to accept payment for goods.

To take payments online you need both a payment gateway and a merchant account. A merchant account is where funds are held before being deposited into your bank account. The role of the payment gateway is simply to decline or approve a transaction.

Payment Service Providers (or PSPs) act as both a merchant account and the payment gateway, helping businesses to collect and manage their payments. Payments go to the PSP and are then transferred on to the business.

There are numerous payment service providers available. Some, such as PayPal, Sage Pay, Worldpay and Stripe, are more widely known than others, but most should be easy to integrate with any eCommerce platform. The main issue that arises is PSP or payment gateway integration with accounting, CRM or ERP packages.

Control over the management of payments is vital for a business to succeed. The finance team need to make sure that transactions have been approved and there is no fraudulent activity in order for them to approve distribution. Obviously, any delay in relaying this information to the accounting package can have an effect on other departments.

Additionally, the payment providers hold a wealth of critical customer information that needs to be reconciled with ERP or CRM applications. This data needs to be shared around the organisation so that each department can fulfil its obligations.

The limitations of payment gateways

The approach that many businesses tend to adopt is to rely on manual processes to push that information into the relevant business system.

This manual data entry process can be costly, slow and prone to errors. It can also present significant security implications for both the business and the customer – something that is not acceptable, but easily avoidable.

This is particularly relevant when it comes to bank reconciliation processes. Not only is this a critical process in terms of despatch management, it’s a hugely time-consuming task and susceptible to human errors. Employees can take a while to spot discrepancies between data held within accounting or ERP solutions and the payment provider, or completely miss them altogether.

As the business grows and more and more transactions start entering the system an organization will need to look at automating these processes, otherwise, they will have to employ more staff just to monitor or report on exceptions that may or may not occur.

Automating bank reconciliation and payment monitoring

Codeless Platforms’ BPA Platform enables businesses to easily integrate any payment service providers with any accounting or business software. Once integrated, the platform allows for the automation of bank reconciliation processes so that product despatches only occur when payment has been received.

The BPA Platform also removes the need for the manual monitoring and comparison of data generated by the payment service providers with an accounting solution, such as Sage, SAP or Microsoft Dynamics, and will automatically inform employees via email or SMS of any discrepancies that appear.

Automating these processes will improve the flow of data and will enable staff to concentrate on other tasks. It also adds another layer of security to the transaction process, by eliminating human intervention as well as the possibility of fraudulent activity.

For more information on payment gateway integration contact us today to discuss your payment integration requirements.