Integrated payments and security: Small business benefits
Things are looking good in the small-business sector. According to recent data compiled by the National Federation of Independent Businesses®, the "Small-Business Optimism Index" rose two points in December to 98.1, its highest level since February 2007.
Expectations for economic improvement grew 16 percent in December 2014, while the number of small-business owners who expect sales to be higher increased 5 percent. As commercial revenue is expected to grow, small businesses need to equip themselves with seamless integrated payment systems to better serve the projected influx of customer transactions.
The increasing optimism comes at a time when consumer demands are changing rapidly with the growth of new technology. Businesses must keep pace with cutting-edge payment systems, or else their transactional infrastructure will become stale and obsolete. Integrated payments from a small-business perspective add value to the overall consumer experience, which can ultimately improve retention rates and bottom-line revenue.
How do small businesses benefit?
Integrated payments have a large and lasting impact on small businesses for a number of reasons. Since a company consolidates its payment infrastructure with its processing partners, small-business owners can use a number of value-added services, from detailed reporting to mobile payment acceptance and everything in between.
Prior to digital technology, merchants had to manually imprint credit card numbers before a transaction was complete. Integrated payments developed once the electronic cash register was released because it combined the cash drawer with other operational aspects, such as the printer and the price display. At the turn of the century, operating systems became available and merchants could use desktop computers for payment processing.
The integrated payments space has become a marketplace where value-added benefits are created based on real business needs. Merchants now can have greater visibility with real-time reports and improved accessibility to business information while enjoying faster, more convenient transactions. What's more, integrated payment systems are designed to scale with a business, so growing and adopting new technology is as seamless as your current operations.
Security for the win
Data security is also a major talking point in the payment processing field. According to a recent ACI Worldwide® and Aite Group® joint study, 29 percent of consumers in the U.K. stated they think current merchant security systems aren't able to protect their card or account information when they shop. A positive solution for this issue comes in the form of integrated payments. Small businesses can not only bolster network security, they can also use the added protection as a selling point to customers.
As mobile technology continues to grow, new developments are being designed with security in mind. For instance, both tokenization and end-to-end encryption are value-added services of integrated payments. Small merchants not only have better access and visibility to their operations; they also can guarantee their customers' information is better protected from a potential breach.
With integrated payments systems, small businesses have the ability to scale and add value to their transaction infrastructure at a pace that is comfortable and appropriate for them. As new technology continues to evolve, the modern-day small business needs to have the flexibility in its operations to pivot since consumer and operational needs are fluid.