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Merchant service providers and getting the customer experience right in a competitive market

By Max Worrall | June 5th 2019
Merchant service providers and getting the customer experience right in a competitive market | encompass blog

Merchants demand a quick, effective way of dealing with all aspects of processing payments. A competitive market has meant that frictionless onboarding, setup and customer experience are among the differentiators for new prospective merchants.

But what exactly does a good experience look like, and how can technology solutions such as the Encompass platform assist, particularly in the onboarding stage, in making it a reality?
We delve into the issue, explaining the key indicators in the digital age and how this applies to the payments industry.

The changing landscape

The main authority on all things connected to the payments sector is the Payment Card Industry (PCI), who set the standards and best practices that merchants, service providers, banks and card issuers have to adhere to.

The PCI defines merchant service providers as

Business entities that are not a payment brand, involved in the processing, storage or transmission of cardholder data on behalf of another entity. This also includes companies that provide services that control or could impact the security of cardholder data.

Given the developments that we have witnessed over recent years, the industry and its key players have had to expand and adapt to what we need at a point in time, which is currently a wide array of different payment solutions.

From face-to-face cash transactions to online virtual currency transactions, there has been a significant shift in the payments landscape.

The evolution of the digital age and the way consumers and businesses operate – as well as the increasing need for quick and easy options – has led to a rise in the use of credit cards as opposed to cash, with ecommerce, rather than traditional methods, now leading the way for many.

This reliance on the internet when it comes to purchasing and processing payments has also meant that it is not just large organizations that require access to innovative payment services.

A considerable number of small businesses also now have to take advantage of companies providing these methods in order to meet the needs of their customers and excel when it comes to reaching expectations of what customer experience should look like in today’s world.

What defines good customer experience?

As mentioned, in such a crowded market, it is important that a merchant service provider gets the basics right in order to attract and retain customers. Whether it’s point of sale systems, payment processing hardware or payment gateways, there are several features that they will be expected to be able to advise on and offer.

While the specific needs of businesses will differ depending on their particular market and objectives, across the board, there are elements that will help providers to stand out. One of these is onboarding, and in particular the degree of ease and simplicity associated to setting up an account with a payment service provider through an app or website.

This early stage sets a precedent for the ongoing relationship between merchant and provider and, at this point, key factors that will set you apart from competitors is ensuring that the programme you have in place is;

  • easy and intuitive
  • quick to complete, particularly when it comes to initial set up and data gathering
  • safe and secure
  • efficient and collates all information required in a simple way that supports compliance

How technology can make a difference

Encompass adds value to merchant onboarding in two specific ways.

  1. Delivering access, through a single maintained API, to global Know Your Customer (KYC), Identity Verification (IDV), Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Business provider data sets. This provides significant value in terms of real time automation to access the core information required to validate, screen and onboard a new entity without a merchant provider changing data providers or risk based approach. The ongoing maintenance of multiple API’s is handled by encompass providing time and expense back to CIOs.
  2. Leveraging a blend of Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) and business logic, it unwraps complex corporate structures, identifies ultimate beneficial ownership and seamlessly screens relevant parties for money laundering risk. The platform allows merchant service providers to continually monitor for risk and move away from periodic manual checks and client outreach.

The Encompass SaaS-based API can be deployed immediately and offer a seamless transition from manual to automated processes.

By using a single API to bring all data on a customer together, time and cost efficiency are at the heart of the process. This helps teams responsible for SME businesses to execute best practices, with the use of technology enabling an onboarding process that better serves the merchant and allows the provider to ensure all regulatory obligations are consistently met to the highest standards.


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