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As both our personal and professional worlds become increasingly digitized, sticking to old cash-and-check payment systems means businesses are losing time and money. Even for companies that are already accepting card payments, investing in modernized and integrated processes improves efficiency; provides value through increased collections, lowered cash handling costs and incentives; and improves your business’s relationship with clients and customers, inspiring loyalty.

The COVID-19 pandemic may have accelerated the need for more contactless payment solutions, but the evolution of payments was already underway. Small retailers and service providers and their customers had gotten comfortable with “smart” and mobile payments. Today, business-to-business industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, and real estate are embracing digital and contactless payments.

The Benefits of Integrated Payment Acceptance

The right payment platform is customized to your business and can begin providing positive outcomes as soon as it's implemented, such as:

  • Allows you to meet customers or clients where they prefer with omni-channel payment acceptance including innovative point-of-sale (POS), e-commerce, mobile, and bill-payment solutions.
  • Flexible and adaptable to your industry, so it’s the right fit for your business and improves both internal and external experiences.
  • Reduces the cost and labor of paper processing and speeds up sale to revenue cycle, allowing businesses to use resources more efficiently and reinvest in your business.
  • Integrates seamlessly to your existing ERP (enterprise resource planning), POS and deposit accounts to reduce opportunities for errors or duplicated work.

Making Internal Processes Smoother

Adding more ways to receive payments in a digital environment can relieve a huge pain point for business owners and their employees. If payments currently are handled separately and manually, it is time-consuming, error-prone and difficult to scale.

With integrated digital payments, no longer does everyone need to “manage the mundane.” Employees can spend time doing the jobs they were hired for and are good at — not constantly trying to manage or fix systems that are broken. Not only does this eliminate redundant practices and systems, it also increases employee satisfaction and retention.

Getting the Most Out of Your Payment Collection

A meaningful discovery and diagnosis conversation begins with showing value by calculating potential return on investment. One quick and relevant way to do this is by analyzing your own card processing environments and the total cost to you.

For example, perhaps level 2 or 3 data are not being captured and passed to the card network during presentment. Thus, transactions are downgrading, causing merchants to pay a higher interchange of as much as 70 to 90 basis points. Enabling a payment gateway could solve for this and essentially pay for itself.

Interchange optimization is just one area to review; debit routing is another. Merchants should consider fees, customer experience and fraud protections and security. Finally, the right servicing relationship can also offer incentives through pricing or convenience fee sharing.

A Relationship-Driven Approach to Payments

For the most flexibility and customization, business stakeholders should seek out a banking relationship that puts them at the center and offers sustained high-level customer service and account management long past the onboarding stage. Some major banks either already have or are moving towards mandated use of in-house technology and channels. That means merchants must agree to use only internal bank systems, minimizing the need for third parties, no matter the potential for better fit, customization, or value.

KeyBank’s payment advisors bring all stakeholders to the same table, including connecting clients with a vast array of third-party processing partners from brand name to emerging tech. Since one size does not fit all, an industry vertical approach helps recognize individual needs, then identifies the most appropriate partners.

Your strategic account management team understands and is responsible for every step of the customer journey. In addition to validating that technology solutions are appropriate, they also help ensure that everyone involved is comfortable with the enhancements and switches. They lead ERP integration and implementation activities with your team and third-party partners and act as a single point of contact. If a problem arises, both human and online solutions are available to provide quick and convenient support and service.

Making Your Payments Program Work for You

In today’s efficiency-focused sales and service environment, optimizing your payments processes can be a boon for your business, employees and customers alike. To achieve this, a successful integrated payment system needs more than just technology. The KeyBank Merchant Services team brings together industry-centered consulting proficiency, third-party flexibility, and service and accountability to put you on the path to the right solution for your business.

To learn more, visit key.com/KMS.

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