CNP Expo: Choosing a Processor

May 22, 2013

A good relationship between a merchant and a payment processor can make for smooth business dealings. What should merchants look for to make sure that relationship works? Panelists at a Wednesday afternoon session of the 2013 CNP Expo agreed that merchants should evaluate their payment methods and service providers often, especially as they grow.

“Initially, they just want cash flow,” said Karen Coffey, payments strategist with W. Capra Consulting. “But, as a company continues to mature, [payments processing] should not be something they forget.”

There are many options when choosing processors, ranging from large banks to small operators. And, panelists urged the audience to remember that the next payment product to be invented could change your payment priorities.

Key attributes to consider are price, overall cost, expected growth, flexibility, experience and how responsive and available to you a vendor is. Also, be prepared to renegotiate pricing and terms every 18 months.

“Payment acceptance could be your highest cost,” Jimmy Scarborough, Bank of America merchant services director, said during the session.

For businesses that want to enter the international market, the considerations when evaluating a processor are different. The biggest obstacles will be how to sell in different currencies and how to bring the money home, said Joe Emig, vice president of business development for international acquiring at Payvsion. There also might be taxation issues, which the processor must be familiar with.

“The world really is a single marketplace,” Emig said.