What are integrated payments?

Last updated on June 17, 2024

Prior to the emergence of integrated payment systems, businesses had to rely on multiple payment systems and standalone platforms depending on the customers’ chosen payment method. eCommerce shoppers were often directed to separate payment websites to complete their payments. When shopping in person, customers were commonly limited to cash and card payments, as the store’s payment infrastructure couldn't support a wider range of payment methods (e.g. digital wallets).

Not only did this fragmented framework make for a more tedious and sub-par customer journey, but it also made it very difficult for businesses to track payments and analyse sales data. With integrated payments, all transactions—regardless of the payment method—are processed under one, comprehensive system, improving the customer experience and streamlining operations for businesses of all types and sizes. 

What are integrated payments?

Integrated payments are a streamlined way of paying for goods and services where payment processing is embedded directly into the seller’s website (for eCommerce sales) or point-of-sale system (for in-store sales). Rather than being redirected to external payment gateways or forced to enter payment data manually, customers can make their payments using a single, unified interface.

What are the benefits for businesses?

1. Greater operational efficiency
One of the most significant benefits of an integrated payment system for companies is the way it helps streamline multiple areas of the business. For example, an integrated system can automatically update stock levels with each sale, regardless of which sales channel or payment method is being used. This ensures businesses always have an accurate view of their inventory and are never at risk of over-selling or over-ordering stock.

Marketing and customer relationship management are also made more efficient with an integrated payment system, as it’s easy to link purchases and preferences to customer accounts to create a detailed profile for each customer. This allows for more efficient, targeted communications that help boost customer satisfaction and loyalty.

2. Higher transaction success rates

There are several reasons why integrated payment systems increase transaction success rates and reduce cart abandonments. 

  • Firstly, they make it easy for businesses to accept multiple payment methods, including quick and easy digital wallets. When shoppers can use their first-choice payment method, they’re much more likely to follow through with the transaction.
  • Secondly, with integrated systems, the entire checkout process occurs within the seller’s website or mobile app. In this familiar and secure environment, customers trust their data will be protected and are happy to complete their purchases. This differs from non-integrated systems where shoppers are sent to third-party payment gateways or websites, potentially causing them to hesitate or abandon their cart altogether.
  • Finally, without relying on hosted payment gateways and multiple third parties, an integrated payment system reduces the likelihood of technical glitches and processing errors. This leads to more successful transactions and more revenue for the business.

3. Improved analytics and reporting

A major benefit of integrated payments for businesses is the ability to track and analyse all transactions in one, easy-to-use platform. From a single merchant dashboard, businesses can view detailed sales data, generate reports, and gain valuable insight into their customers’ behaviour. All of this can be used to further improve operations, create more targeted marketing strategies, and enhance the overall performance of the business.

Comprehensive, cross-channel data tracking also enables more accurate financial reporting. This reduces the workload of finance and accounting teams, streamlines tax filing and reporting, and allows leadership teams to make informed business decisions based on real-time financial insights.

4. Heightened security 

Integrated payments give businesses more control over the security of their payment system. By working with a single integrated payments provider, IT security teams no longer need to oversee the security protocols of multiple platforms and vendors. There’s far less complexity involved and therefore fewer potential security vulnerabilities.

Consolidating your payments infrastructure also makes it easier to manage compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and other payment industry regulations. It centralises the compliance process and gives compliance managers a single point of contact for all PCI DSS questions and concerns. 

What are the benefits for customers?

1. Faster checkout process

Today’s consumers, whether paying for items online or in-store, expect a speedy checkout process. Gone are the days of multi-page checkouts and buffering payment screens. Integrated payment systems eliminate the need for manual data entry, reduce dependency on potentially unreliable third parties, and allow customers to complete their transactions in just a few seconds.

An integrated payment platform doesn’t just support faster online payments, but also speeds up in-person payments as well. By allowing customers to pay with a tap of their card or mobile device, checking out has gone from a minutes-long to a seconds-long process. This reduces queues at the register and helps enhance the overall customer experience. Furthermore, in some retail environments, integrated payments eliminate the need to queue completely, with staff able to move throughout the premises to take payments via portable card terminals.

2. Greater choice of payment methods

Increasingly, today’s consumers want to pay on their own terms. Whether a customer prefers to pay with a digital wallet, credit card, Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) service, or cash, an integrated payments system can accommodate them all. This flexibility not only allows you to meet the expectations of modern consumers but also has the potential to expand your reach by attracting new customers with specific payment preferences. For example, by accepting mobile wallets AliPay and WeChat Pay—the two most popular payment methods for Chinese consumers—your business can tap into a massive international market.

In addition to enhancing customer satisfaction and expanding your reach, accepting multiple payment methods also helps increase conversion rates, as customers are more likely to follow through on their purchase if their preferred payment method is available.

3. Detailed order tracking and receipts

Unlike with a more old fashioned and fragmented payment system, where sales data is disconnected from order management, an integrated system consolidates all relevant purchase information in one place. It makes it easy for customers to track outstanding orders, view their order history, and see detailed receipts of their purchases.

By linking payments and order management, an integrated system adds more transparency and convenience to the shopping experience. This is particularly valuable in regard to refunds and exchanges, as both customers and customer support teams are able to easily view order information, get on the same page, and coordinate next steps.

4. Enhanced data protection

Using an integrated, end-to-end payment platform guarantees that customer data is encrypted throughout every stage of the transaction journey. Customers can make purchases knowing their sensitive payment information is being safeguarded by a centralised and robust security protocol.

Although fragmented, multi-party payment systems can offer customers adequate data protection, it’s much easier for security lapses to slip through the cracks. If one party fails to adhere to security protocols, the entire system is vulnerable to data theft and fraud. An integrated payments system benefits greatly from reducing the number of parties responsible for overseeing data security. 

How to set up integrated payments

Planet’s Single Payment Platform allows you to accept payments in every way, shape, and form—whether you require online payment processing, in-person payment processing, or both.

Getting started with Planet is a simple, five-step process:

Step 1: Create an account with Planet

If you’re ready to start benefiting from an integrated payment system, the first step is to contact us to discuss your payment needs.

Our team will take the time to learn about your business and will suggest the most fitting solution—whether it’s our all-in-one platform or a handful of specific modular components that best suit your specific business operations. As part of this conversation, you can discuss whether it makes sense to use Planet as both your acquirer and payment processor, or whether it makes more sense to continue with your existing acquiring bank.

Creating an account with us is an easy and quick process. During the onboarding process, we’ll ask you to supply us with basic information about your business and its owners (e.g. legal business name, tax ID number, contact information, etc.). The process can take as little as a few hours to finalise or a few weeks, depending on the nature of your business. 

Step 2: Customise your payment methods

Once your account with Planet is up and running, you can customise the backend of your payment system based on which payment methods you would like to offer your customers. This is a good time to consider payment options that you haven’t offered in the past but which might enhance the customer experience and broaden your reach. 

For example, in addition to choosing which card brands to accept, consider whether you would like to integrate any mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and AliPay, as well as Buy Now Pay Later services such as Klarna. Think about your current customer base, as well as any new consumer segments you’re hoping to attract. Research the payment preferences of both groups and use this research as the basis of your decision-making process.

At Planet, we have experience and expertise across a broad range of sectors and geographical regions. We’re happy to provide you with insight into consumer trends and payment preferences and offer our recommendations on which payment methods best suit your business. 

Step 3: For online payments, add Planet’s API to your website and/or mobile app 

For eCommerce businesses, or businesses with an eCommerce component, the next step is to add our unique Application Programming Interface (API) to your website and/or mobile app to enable online payments. This can be as simple as adding a few lines of code to your existing checkout page. Although you’ll be using our API as the basis of your checkout process, you’ll be able to customise the look and feel of your payment page to match your brand.

Our team can help guide you and your web development team through the API-integration process and are available to assist with any troubleshooting required. 

Step 4: For in-person payments, set up your POS terminals and tills 

For brick and mortar businesses, the next step is to set up your point of sale (POS) terminals and till system. During the onboarding process, we’ll gain a thorough understanding of your in-store operations and can recommend the best POS devices for your business—from traditional countertop terminals to mobile terminals for on-the-go payments. Once you’ve ordered your hardware, you can be up and running within a few days. 

Step 5: Test and launch your new integrated payments platform

Before going live with your integrated payments platform, we make it easy for you to test it and train employees on the new system in a “sandbox” environment. We can help you make any adjustments necessary, and once you’re happy with the set-up, it’s time to launch your new and improved payment system.

After going live, we remain on-hand to assist with any questions you may have. As a Planet customer, you’ll be assigned a dedicated account manager and have access to 24/7 support should you require it. 

Simpler, safer, better

Although the advantages of integrated payments are numerous, many companies still operate using fragmented and outdated payment systems. It’s common for businesses to stick with an inferior platform simply because it’s familiar. Often, it’s the system that was set up when the business first began and the thought process is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This mentality, while seemingly harmless, actually hinders growth, contributes to a poor customer experience, increases the risk of security breaches, and embeds inefficiency into multiple areas of the business.

Business leaders that properly engage with the benefits of an integrated payment system quickly recognise that it’s a vital component of running a successful, modern business. Embracing integrated payments is essential for remaining competitive now and into the future. 

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