What makes a business’ payment needs enterprise level?

Saturday, November 20, 2021

How do you know your business has grown large enough to need enterprise payment processing solutions? There’s a short answer, a long one and a fun one.

But in the interest of time, we’ll spare you the nerdy Star Trek references or a long-winded spiel about the payments ecosystem and cut to the chase.

There’s no denying that with success comes complexity. But regardless of your company’s industry or origin story, the importance of the payments experience for your business really doesn’t change.

So how can you identify each stage in the payments journey (including what a good partner looks like during them), and separate must-haves from the fluff? Read on to find out.

How does enterprise payment processing differ from an SMB?

It all comes down to payments infrastructure — what works now and what you need in order to move forward profitably.

This stage is all about survival and the next small step toward sustainability.

New business / micro merchants

You start out needing a way to process debit and credit card payments (because who carries cash anymore, really?), but most people aren’t overly stressed about optimization or payment innovation at the beginning of the small business journey.

Small business

Growing into this next stage usually involves new logistical needs, like setting up your website, taking that first ecommerce order or sending out your first batch of invoices. The quick and easy payments solutions from your business’ early years don’t always provide the right benefits for your new priorities — things like data security concerns, which can be mediated by tokenization, compliance with PCI standards or simple options for accepting all payment types. You also need access to real-time payment data reports so you can make more informed business decisions, which — if all goes well — lead to better customer experiences. It may sound like a dry list of tasks and technical concerns to a casual passerby. In reality, it’s all heartfelt, challenging and fueled by a passion that is only known in small businesses.


The jump to mid-market is a little more complicated. In this stage, you’re focused on standardizing your systems and processes across multiple locations. You’re also likely to be expanding your market reach, growing your customer base exponentially and looking for solutions that scale. At the mid-market level, you’ll be seeking to optimize every aspect of your business to keep expenses lean and profit high. If those pieces don’t come together, the growth you’ve worked so hard for could end up stalling out.

So what’s the big difference between mid-market and enterprise? Things like well-established and complex infrastructure, high volume customer demand and an extra helping of liability.


In terms of payments, all of these factors point to higher than ever processing volume and an increasingly complex business model supported by a payments platform that doesn’t quit.

Ok, I get the general idea. Now hit me with the details.

To put it in less complicated terms, let’s talk boats. It’s easy to turn on a dime when you’re the business equivalent of a dinghy...but an ocean liner is a very different story.

So when your organization has spread to include thousands of locations over various states, it’s hard to pivot quickly. That’s why it’s ideal for enterprise organizations to have a payments provider that offers flexible solutions in a variety of areas.

For instance, omnichannel payment processing is a given at this stage. You need the ability to accept all types of payments, anytime, anywhere, including ACH transfers, in-person credit cards and mobile wallets, online and phone payments. But with exponential growth, it becomes more important than ever to streamline clunky operations without compromising on a consistent, efficient customer experience across all payment types.

You’ll likely need more advanced features like automated debit routing, account updater capabilities, automated billing and invoicing solutions, integrated accounting and reporting and more.

The beauty of reaching this stage is the negotiating power you bring to the table. A high-quality enterprise payments solutions provider should be interested enough in your business to provide tailored and fully custom options to fit your needs. That could mean they work with a variety of POS devices and play well with third-party vendors, offer tiered fraud protection, provide low, volume-based transaction rates and consistently deliver excellent customer support. It all really depends on who your partner is. One enterprise may have a very different set of priorities than another.

From our vantage point, there are a few areas you should never need to compromise in as you scale up your organization:

Depend on data security and safe storage

Our customers trust Heartland Secure, which combines EMV electronic chip card technology to authenticate that a consumer’s card is genuine, end-to-end encryption that immediately encrypts credit and debit card data as it is entered so no one else can read it and tokenization technology to keep credit card information hidden from thieves.

Plug and play integrations

You should be able to integrate other technology solutions with ease using an open API. It’s an efficient way to support online checkouts, subscription management and eBilling and invoicing. It’s also how you can connect business tools you rely on, like enterprise resource planning solutions, customer relationship management systems, accounting software and ecommerce partners.

Report results and select next steps with confidence

Making the sale is a good first step, but it’s crucial to know exactly what your inventory status is at all times, who your customers are and where they’re spending money, and the difference between squeaking by versus having a record-breaking quarter. Make sure you get centralized, robust sales data so it’s simple to measure the success of your initiatives, share performance metrics, simplify ROI conversations and fuel your ongoing success.

Save yourself some future stress.

Breaking up is hard to do. It may be less emotional when it’s a payments provider, but it’s not any less time consuming or complicated.

Why fall in love with a provider who only fits for a season, just to find yourself going through the vetting and selection process all over again?

Whether you’re just starting out or well on your way to enterprise, your goal is likely to grow. It’s a strategic decision to partner with a payment processing company with solutions for every stage from the start. A partner who can take those first steps into simple mobile payments or accepting online payments with you...but won’t be out of their depth when you’re ready to scale into new markets or adopt new partnerships.

If you’re wondering what the payoff to better payments is, check out our blog about how modern billing solutions improve business and the customer experience.

To learn more about our solutions, visit heartland.us/products/payments-plus.

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