Finding an affordable payment systems provider is an important consideration for all merchants looking to grow, especially during the busy holiday season when volume tends to increase dramatically.

In fact, many businesses earn more during November and December than they do during multiple quarters throughout the rest of the year.

It is estimated that U.S. shoppers will spend $119.99 billion during the 2018 holiday season, marking a 15.5% increase compared to the 2017 holiday season, according to Internet Retailer. Plus, U.S. consumer confidence is the highest it’s been in 18 years, which suggests that people will spend freely this year.

If you’re looking to have your ecommerce business set up for the holidays, you’ll need an end-to-end affordable payment systems provider that can handle the volume and chargebacks that you may face. Here’s what you need to know as the holiday countdown continues.

Key Features of Payment Processing

Perhaps the most important element of an affordable payment systems processor is a flexible and comprehensive payment gateway. This allows online retailers to accept multiple forms of payment in order to accommodate customers with a variety of payment preferences.

This means that your affordable payment systems provider should support all major credit and debit cards, cash payments and bank payments. Alternate payment methods should also be considered, including PayPal and Apple Pay.

If your business operates internationally, your payment processor should also support multiple currencies, enabling customer to purchase in their local currency. Also consider translating your payment pages and prompts in multiple languages to help shoppers navigate your online shop and checkout process with greater ease.

It’s also important to consider an omnichannel approach to payment processing, which can go a long way toward expanding your customer base. This means that you can seamlessly accept payments across various mobile devices, online, via mail-to-order or through your call center. Today’s consumer is looking for convenience, and merchants that meet consumers on their preferred channels stand to gain the most.

Chargeback Management and Fraud Prevention

Chargebacks happen year-round, but can spike during (and after) the holidays. Both true and friendly fraud can take a big bite out of holiday profits. Not only are they costly in terms of fines and fees imposed by card networks and banks, but they rack up expenses in the form of lost merchandise and shipping fees.

In order to keep chargebacks at a minimum during the holiday season, you should work with an experienced payment processor that excels in chargeback management. Payment processors that can provide consultative services may be able to recommend the best chargeback prevention tools (like alerts or notifications) and help you implement a plan to avoid unnecessary disputes and to resolve them if and when they do happen.  

Reducing chargebacks and fraud comes down to having the right combination of professional guidance and advanced technologies. In addition to working with someone who can advise on best practices and chargeback management tactics, a solid affordable payment systems provider will also implement fraud prevention tools that are customized for your business’ unique needs.

Understanding Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance is also essential. PCI DSS outlines measures for merchants to secure sensitive customer data, which can also reduce fraud. Any affordable payment system should include a PCI-compliant gateway.

Another tactic a payment processor may be able to provide is tokenization. Tokenization is similar to encryption, but uses a token rather than a secret key to make payment card data indecipherable. Unlike encrypted data, which can be reverted back to the original form, tokenized data replaces sensitive payment data with a “token”. The token can only be mapped back to the original data with a tokenization system, which is isolated and segmented from data processing systems. In the event that hackers breach the data, they would only have access to meaningless tokens.

An All-in-One Solution

The key to attaining an affordable payment systems processor is finding an all-in-one solution capable of handling the various facets of your payment processing needs. Be sure to be upfront about your specific needs when talking to different payment processors, ensuring they can provide the services you need for a successful holiday season.

The high-volume holidays are the perfect time to make sure your payment processing operations are optimized. More sales can lead to more fraud and chargebacks, so it’s important to tap affordable payment systems that can maximize sales while minimizing fraud.  

Looking to get your online shop in gear for the holidays—and beyond? Get in touch with our end-to-end payment specialists today.