11 Integrated payments allow value-added resellers, independent software vendors, and software as a service E-Commerce platforms to provide a one-stop-shop solution to their merchant clients. © Shutterstock

»Powering the one-to-many payments ecosystem«

We recently spoke to Carla Erlick, SVP Business Development at Paysafe, about integrated payments, and the crucial role they play in supporting business growth.

What are integrated payments?
Integrated payments are the invisible force that underpins the one-to-many payments ecosystem. They allow value-added resellers (VARs), independent software vendors (ISVs), and software as a service (SaaS) E-Commerce platforms to provide a ‘one-stop-shop’ solution to their merchant clients. They do this by combining payment processing with other vital business tools – such as Point of Sale, customer relationship management (CRM), accounting, scheduling, and marketing – within the confines of a single platform or application.

In today’s fast-moving world, merchants need a way of processing payments quickly and securely, and in a way that reflects the needs of their custom­ers. However, the onboarding process, which is where new merchants are added to the VAR’s, ISV’s or SaaS’ platform, can often be slow, with complex and costly set-up fees. Integrated solutions not only remove these pain points; they also help support business growth through a number of unique benefits.

Could you tell us a bit more about these benefits?
The right integrated payments solution leverages state of the art APIs, making it a fast and simple way for ISVs/VARs (de­v­el­opers, fintechs, etc.) to integr­ate payment capabilities into their core offering. This single point of integration allows these businesses to ­increase their merchant enrolment as merchants no longer require multiple solutions to process different types of transactions. And with the right partner that has connectivity to ­global payment rails, the ISVs/VARS can extend their ­reach into new territories, as they are able to support the local ­currency and payment methods in these markets. This latter point is proving to be a really exciting game ­changer for many businesses that we’re speaking to.


»Integrated payments are the invisible force that allows everybody to provide a one-stop-shop solution to their merchant clients.«

- Carla Erlick,

SVP Business Development at Paysafe

Which sectors have been the earliest adopters of ­inte­grated payments?
We have seen strong growth in the membership platform sector, particularly in the health and well-being and professional association industries. For ­example, gym membership platforms may integrate a global payment solution, which is then white-labelled to ­serve smaller gyms and yoga studios. This allows ­these merchants to provide a holistic service – everything from class scheduling to membership management and most crucially, payments acceptance by web, ­recurring payments or in location. We have also seen ­significant traction in education, field service and ­donor management platforms as well as gig marketplaces.

Where do integrated payments have potential to cause the greatest market disruption?
One of the biggest markets set to benefit from inte­grat­ed payments is tech. Fintech startups, whether based in Silicon Valley or Silicon Roundabout, are constantly ­coming up with new and interesting apps and tools, but often struggle to monetize them. Integrated payments are a great fit for fintechs because they allow them to focus on what they do best, and leave the payments to the experts – and because they are tech-savvy, they can often manage the implementation themselves, while knowing exactly what features and payment methods their users desire. Integrated Payments provides a way for these startups to monetize their offerings and start to turn a profit through a share of payment revenues.

There is also huge scope for the field service sector. In the event of a boiler breakdown, for example, a platform that allows engineers to accept payments while on-site is beneficial for everyone involved, as it ­eliminates the need for bank transfers or cheques, cuts down on transaction processing times, and ­reduces ­admin. Along the same lines, imagine a home renova­­tion project where you can receive an estimate electro­nically, make a deposit online or in app and pay the balance online using your card on file, or on-site upon completion of work. While an individual engineer may be a sole trader or run a micro-business, if 5,000 ­engineers can be onboarded on a single platform, this is an easily scalable market, and you’re looking at a very different, very profitable scenario. Again, because the onboarding process is so streamlined, engineers can start accepting payments almost immediately – remov­ing the barriers that may have prevented the individual from implementing this type of solution themselves.
In the US, we’re seeing growth in the property ­rental market. Many renters pay their rent via cash and cheques, but this is beginning to shift towards ­payments being made by e-cheques, direct debits, and credit cards via rent management platforms.

Are integrated payments the next big thing for the payments industry?
I absolutely believe that integrated payments are ­going to be a hugely significant component for many payment processors – but probably not all. Some, like us, will choose to operate in this area and others will shy away due to the complex nature of the industry. Consumers should rightly remain oblivious to ­these “invisible” payments, but if the payment process is ­disjointed or not available, a consumer may look for an alternative merchant who can offer a better service.

Ultimately, the merchants who succeed are the ones leveraging a platform with an integrated ­payment solution. In turn, in order to land grab market ­share, platforms are going to need to make it simple for their sub-merchants to adopt new technology – ­including payments. Payment processors who have a good ­understanding of the market are very well-positioned to facilitate this process.