If you are in a business that requires software—and what business doesn't these days?—it is likely that you work with an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) to support your needs.

It's also likely that an ISV handles your business's payment processing. To manage this processing, your ISV probably has partnerships with a variety of vendors that handle separate components of the payment process, like the actual processor itself as well as the payment gateway.

Unfortunately, all these extra vendors create added touch-points that can make the processing system appear a lot more complicated than necessary.

Worse, added touch-points not only lead to additional steps that drive up fees, but they can also increase the likelihood of confusion, loss of data, and errors while processing payments.

For example, imagine you run into an issue as simple as forgetting a password. With multiple vendors, you may not know the correct person to help you with this problem. You can spend a great deal of time reaching out to various parties to get a handle on this issue, only to be pointed in many different directions.

Or imagine you have an even more pressing concern or problem. This can quickly become a time-consuming puzzle of what went wrong and where it went wrong when you are dealing with so many different vendors.

Also, whatever problem you are experiencing with a multi-vendor processing system might only be revealed long after a payment transaction has been initiated. It might not be until you are reconciling the payments that you discover something is wrong. By the time you realize something is not right, it could be too late to resolve the actual problem you are having.

So what do you do? Switch to an integrated payments provider.

With a single, integrated payments solution, you can go directly to just one vendor and save yourself the potential problems inherent in relying on a processing system that depends on multiple independent vendors.

Unlike multi-vendor solutions that create a spider web of connection points, integrated payment providers can quickly pinpoint an issue, address the problem and then implement a solution if needed. Not only does this decrease the impact of issues, including potential downtime, it also saves the extra labor required to research and manage various workarounds.

The advantages of an integrated payment provider are numerous.

One core advantage of using an Integrated payments provider is their ability to support new features required by customers, react to changes in purchase option trends, and support new initiatives introduced by the payment networks. Rather than waiting for each of the vendors in your processing chain to support a change, an integrated provider can quickly build and release support. Giving a business the ability to promptly support changes in their environment and be competitive with offering the latest payment options while taking advantage of potential new pricing initiatives provided by the payment networks.

Consolidated reporting, and having the ability to reconcile from transaction to cash, and from a deposit to all the related transactions, ensures that a business will spend less time pulling reports from various systems and then analyzing each report. Integrated payment providers typically provide one portal that consolidates both the payment gateway and merchant account reports, giving a holistic view of deposits and transactions..

If your business deals with chargebacks/disputes, you may hear about these by letter or fax, which typically means you have little time to respond, with responses being supported by fax, letter or email. This function is the domain of the merchant acquirer, and the dispute information is not accessible via a payment gateway. Integrated payment providers will provide the dispute information in their portal and allow for disputes to be responded to promptly.

An integrated payments provider significantly reduces the incidence of incorrectly processed transactions, saving you time and money. Similarly, a single integrated payments provider helps streamline security and compliance.

For each vendor your business works with, you need to understand the vendor's role in the payments process and whether that role involves collecting, storing or processing full cardholder data. Then when your business completes the required annual Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) Questionnaire, you must describe each vendor's role in the payments process and disclose whether the vendor handled cardholder data. What's more, you have to list what each vendor's associated PCI status is.

It's not hard to see just how difficult, repetitive and time-consuming such compliance requirements are. But with one, integrated PCI-certified provider, your business saves the time required to understand and list each vendor separately, allowing you to move on to other tasks.

While the processes of reporting, dispute management, and compliance are vital to the operation of a functioning business, they should not become a drain on resources and talent. The act of reducing vendors and consolidating into one integrated payment provider can make a world of difference in removing the clutter of busy but necessary work, and provide access to new features.

Don't hesitate to make your business more efficient and productive—for both you and your customers.

While it may be challenging to make the switch to one integrated payment provider after establishing relationships and trust with the various providers you have built over the years, not doing so could be harmful to your business overall.

It is also essential to do what is best for your customers. Customer satisfaction is, after all, the key to business success. That means comparing your current systems operations to other technology on the market to ensure you are offering your customers the best features possible.

About Qualpay

Qualpay is a fully-integrated payments platform that utilizes the most up to date technology to reduce costs and streamline back-office operations. Its comprehensive system addresses and resolves the payment challenges businesses face, ensuring a stronger, more robust infrastructure that allows companies to focus on growing their business. Qualpay's reporting intelligence and data analytics allow customers to quickly and efficiently manage their payment finances, saving them both time and money. Simply put, Qualpay provides a better way to manage payments. For more information, please visit www.qualpay.com.