A man pay8ing at a POS system with a woman employee standing behind it.

What is an integrated payment system?

Friday, January 03, 2014

Helping to streamline your business processes

Small business owners know how tough running a business can be. There’s so much you have to do to keep your business moving and you know the importance of streamlining certain processes to make it easier for everyone at your company. One way you can streamline your business is by implementing an integrated payment system. If you’re not familiar with an integrated payment system, that’s okay, because in this article, we’ll be taking a look at it – what it is, how it works, and why your business can benefit from one. To start, let’s define an integrated payment system.

What’s an integrated payment system and how does it work?

When it comes to running your business, there are a variety of processes you need to have in place. One of these is a payments system – the ability to accept and process multiple payment methods at your business. While credit card processing is integral, integrated payments are more than just accepting debit and credit card payments.

An integrated payment system takes the payment processing function and connects it to other business-critical functions. Some of these business-critical functions include inventory management, sales data and customer analytics, and customer relationship management (CRM) processes.

Instead of each one of these processes operating independently, an integrated payment system unites them into one system. That means that all of your data filters through the same processes and can save you valuable time because these processes automatically sync with one another.

Furthermore, the integrated payment processing system can consolidate under one piece of software instead of having multiple pieces of software running different aspects of your small business.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you run a bakery. Whether you’re selling your goods to customers in store or online via ecommerce, an integrated payment solution can help you run your business. When a customer places an order, the integrated payment system not only records that transaction with the customer’s payment information and updates the necessary sales records, but it also updates your available inventory to reflect that sale and capture the customer’s data so that you can analyze your customer base and also reach out to them via CRM in the future. Maybe you want to offer a weekly bakery delivery service to clients. With an integrated payment solution, you’re even able to take recurring payments. As you can see, an integrated payment integration can unite and perform a variety of common tasks, and in turn streamline how you run your business. Now, let’s look at some of the biggest benefits of implementing an integrated payment system.

What are the benefits of an integrated payment system?

  • It saves you time: Tracking down transaction data and manually entering it into your records can be cumbersome. Pair that with matching payments to invoices and constantly needing to manually update stock levels, and the long hours can really add up. But an integrated payment system can help alleviate the stress of managing all your books. That’s because it automatically links the core financial systems of your business. That means real time updates of sales accounts, inventory, invoicing, and more, so you can spend less time on admin and more time running your business.
  • It improves the customer experience: An integrated solution can help your business during the checkout process by ringing up sales faster. And a faster checkout experience leads to shorter lines and happier customers.
  • It improves your cash flow: One of the main themes with integrated payment systems is the streamlining of operations. This is also true of your cash flow. Integrated payment systems let you automate and sync payment and accounting processes, therefore increasing your cash flow. By linking your integrated point of sale (POS) and bookkeeping tools, you can post payments automatically in your ledger and your accounts. That can ease the friction that comes with manual accounting systems and help you receive payments in your merchant account faster. By erasing manual data entry, you also reduce the time it takes to compile and pay your bills, thereby speeding up the invoicing process.
  • It minimizes mistakes and unnecessary costs: Normal processes can leave you manually processing payments for hours on end. Because an integrated payment system is an automated process, it can check for and minimize errors you otherwise may miss. This can help remove the human error that tends to increase with manual data entry. Plus, consolidating all of these systems into one can help you cut unnecessary and redundant costs. With an integrated payment system, you no longer have to update data in multiple places. The system will do that for you.
  • It can boost the security of your business: Another reason to utilize an integrated payment system is that it can enhance security at your business. Consolidating your systems into one can cut the number of possible access points for fraudsters who are trying to steal financial data. With integrated payment solutions utilizing cloud-based software, you can store and access your data from anywhere, keeping it protected even if there’s a disruption like a flood or fire at your physical location. In addition, integrated payment systems also include certain cybersecurity protections like PCI compliance, EMV chip transactions, tokenization, and point-to-point encryption that ensure the safety of your data.
Now that you’ve learned more about integrated payment systems, what’s the right solution for your business? There are different factors to consider, but solutions should fit your business’s needs. Some small business owners may want a simple package that consists of integrated POS hardware and software, while other businesses prefer specific, tailored solutions designed for their company or industry. What might be right for another business may not be right for yours. In addition, pricing considerations can affect your business’s investment into integrated payment systems. That’s why it’s important to evaluate these needs when choosing an integrated payment provider. At the end of the day, integrated payment systems should free you up to do what you do best – run your business.

Ready to work with a payment processor who can help you with integrated payment systems?

Heartland is the point of sale, payments and payroll solution of choice for entrepreneurs that need human-centered technology to sell more, keep customers coming back and spend less time in the back office. Nearly 1,000,000 businesses trust us to guide them through market changes and technology challenges, so they can stay competitive and focus on building remarkable businesses instead of managing the daily grind. Learn more at heartland.us..