Your payment processor is an integral part of your property’s booking process and if it’s anything less than seamless, you could lose bookings. A solid payment processor is crucial to a secure online booking experience. And of course, when accepting payments in person you want to make sure the process is also quick and painless. This guide is meant to help you navigate the many options when it comes to selecting a payment processor.
What is a payment processor?
A payment processor is the middleman that translates and transfers data from your business to your customer’s bank. Once a customer inputs their billing information, it verifies the information, makes sure they have enough funds, and then approves the request.
Classic Payment Processors vs. Modern Payment Processors
There are two different types of payment processors – classic and modern. Classic payment processors often have lower transaction fees than modern payment processors, but they require a merchant account. Therefore, they’re more cumbersome. Modern payment processors, like Stripe or PayPal, are easy to set up because they don’t require you to set up a bank account.
If you’re a large property doing a lot of transactions every day, it might make sense to go through the extra work of going with a classic payment gateway. But, the ease of a modern payment processor tends to make more sense for a lot of businesses these days.
When you’re dealing with payments and sensitive information like debit and credit cards, security is a number one priority. On the most basic level, your payment processor should meet the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard – more commonly referred to as PCI DSS. PCI compliance applies to any company who accept card payments, store, and process data, you need to meet their standards.
Related to security, you want to make sure your payment processor company has documented processes for credit card disputes and contested charges. Most banks will take care of payment disputes, but double check when choosing who to work with.
All payment processors will have some sort of associated fees. Most payment processors charge a per-transaction fee or a flat monthly fee. Per transaction fees can vary greatly between payment processors, some are a percentage of the transaction, a flat fee, or a combination of both.
For example, Stripe charges 2.9% and $0.30 per successful transaction but has no monthly fees.
You also should consider other fees for things like refunds, international credit cards, ACH, Bitcoin, etc. Each company differs, so make sure to read the fine print.
Compatibility and Integrations
When deciding which payment processor to use, you want to make sure that it’s compatible with your existing systems. Depending on your property, this could include your property management system, booking engine, a point of sale system, etc.
For example, not all payment processors are integrated with every property management system. Cloudbeds, for example, only connects to high quality, safe payment processors. While there are hundreds of different payment processors around the world, we connect to those that serve the most amount of people in a safe, secure way.
Each payment processor has a different setup process. Modern payment processors are relatively easy and fast to set up because they only require some basic information. But, some classic payment processors may take several days to a few weeks to set up if they require things like merchant accounts. Whichever route you decide to go, make sure you set aside enough time to setup your account.
Related to compatibility, you have to select a payment processor that works in your country. Some companies, like PayPal, work in almost every country around the world, while others will only work in a handful of countries or in specific regions.
A solid customer support team who is available in your timezone is ideal. If you have issues with payments, you want to make sure that you are dealing with a company who has a knowledgeable, accessible support team. In the unfortunate event that something with a payment goes wrong, you want to make sure that dealing with the payment processing company is fast and efficient.
Choosing Your Payment Processor
Ready to choose your payment processor? We’ve created a dedicated page that shows each payment processor Cloudbeds connects to and which regions they operate in.