The merchant services industry is changing. Small businesses like yours have more tools and opportunities than ever before to become thriving successes, but there are also a number of challenges out there. If your business feels like it’s lagging behind or not taking full advantage of its resources, keep an eye on what’s ahead. Here are the payment processing industry trends your small business should anticipate in the coming year.
#1 Full-Tech Processing Platforms
Gone are the days of doing your books by hand. Money now moves at lightning speed, and your business can benefit if it’s using the right processing platforms. As technology continues charging ahead, expect to see more payment processors that offer full-tech platforms for businesses. These processors won’t just help you accept payments, but they may also offer you a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, outreach system, and more.
These tools, combined with standard payment processing, can help your business engage customers and build loyalty, all while bundling the cost into your processing charges. To add to the convenience, these services are often targeted at specific businesses, like an “end-to-end solution for your gym.”
These bundles can save you time in setting up these tools, but remember that hidden fees come in all shapes and sizes! If this is a trend you’re excited about, consider comparing CRMs and other tools separately. You can likely create your own tool stack for less money and end up with a more suitable solution.
#2 The Arms Race of Card Fraud
Card processors have never before put so much emphasis on protecting your money, but it’s important that you realize fraud has never been easier to commit as a business. The escalation between card security and the amount of fraud continues, meaning services offering fraud protection are set on a path for major growth. Still, your business needs to protect itself from all angles if you want to prevent fraud.
Be wary of the so-called “advanced” fraud protection solutions companies set out to offer your business and, when in doubt, talk to an individual security consultant to get your business on the right track. The way you process, store, and use credit card information can all play a role in security compliance and preventing fraud. Don’t blindly trust a service that promises to protect you for $X dollars per month.
Our partners at Fraud Wrangler offer an exceptional solution that integrates fraud detection and prevention along with predictive AI that helps keep your merchant account live and processing for as long as possible.
#3 Mobile and Contactless Payments are the New Normal
Is your business accepting contactless payments yet? A contactless terminal is rapidly becoming a must-have, especially with a bigger emphasis on hygiene and security these days. Contactless payments are just as secure as chip payments but far faster and cleaner. With a contactless terminal, a customer need only hold their contactless-enabled card a couple of inches away or, better yet, pull out their smartphone, to complete the payment with their digital wallet.
Mobile payments are quickly becoming the “new normal” thanks to how quick and easy it is to pay using a digital wallet. Consumers also like the convenience of not needing to carry a bunch of physical cards in their pocket and the security of knowing they’re keeping all their information safe. Offering contactless payments will certainly modernize your business and make the payment experience faster and more enjoyable for patrons.
#4 The Rise of 3-D Secure
The newest protocol to help ensure security, 3-D Secure, adds an additional layer of protection for credit and debit card transactions. The name means “three domains,” referring to the backend protocol where the issuer domain, merchant domain, and interoperability domain interact to verify and process the transaction.
Right now, 3-D secure only applies to online payments, and a customer must enroll their card in the 3-D Secure program to use it. The program is free for customers and adds an extra verification step during checkout, requiring them to enter a password to authenticate the transaction. It’s great for giving consumers peace of mind, but there are downsides.
The cost and potential for a higher rate of transaction failures is something every business must consider before they delve into the 3-D Secure protocol. As for right now, it’s far from necessary, but it’s a new protocol you should keep your eye on, especially if you’re in a high-risk business.
How Can You Future-Proof Your Business?
As you consider these emerging trends in the payment processing industry, you may be left feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the changes happening. However, your small business needs only to think about its customers’ immediate needs at the end of the day.
Don’t get caught up in implementing new protocols on your own. Your small business should prioritize a quick, secure, and easy checkout process for every customer. As trends like 3-D Secure gain more widespread adoption and use, then you might consider implementing such protocols into your business.
In the meantime, if you feel like you’re “behind” on these trends, try to prioritize based on actual adoption, functionality, and usage. For instance, out of these four trends, contactless terminals are, by far, the most widely used and wanted by customers right now.
Take Control of Your Small Business
If you feel like you need help getting a handle on your small business’ payment processing methods and services, it’s time you joined NMA. The National Merchants Association is designed to help small businesses like yours thrive. With fair pricing, no hidden fees, and membership perks that can power your growth, NMA is your small business’s best partner in the payment processing industry.
Where others add smoke and mirrors to try to upsell you on features and services you don’t need, NMA strives to offer honest and transparent plans with the functionality, protection, and support your business will come to depend on. Interested in learning more about how NMA can help your business thrive? Reach out to NMA for more information on a merchant account that Works For You®.