Payments as a Service: The Future for Integrated Payments for Software Platforms and ISVs

by | Jan 11, 2023 | Blog

Revenue Growth

Payments as a Service (PaaS) or Payment Platforms as a Service is quickly emerging as a viable alternative to the seemingly archaic and antiquated onboarding, underwriting, risk management, and sales processes of yesterday.  

More than ever, electronic payment transactions, whether B2B or B2C, are being cultivated, managed, and sold via SaaS companies who offer their own business management software to the merchant as a bundled or integrated offering. The explosion of integrated payments has created the much needed disruption the industry as been screaming for. 

The Nightmare of Prior Payment Processing Explained:

Based on personal experience with the payments infrastructure, I have counted at least five different eComm players (systems) required to manage a single transaction.  Those systems included the bank/processor, the payment gateway, the ISO, the billing software, and website/shopping cart.  The interaction and communication between these different systems was laughable; it created a clunky, time draining, and overly exasperating experience for the merchant.  

The merchant was caught in the middle of the cluster, and when support was needed, and with so many different login credentials to choose from, the merchant’s frustration was apparent. They had login credentials for at least three of the necessary systems involved for a transaction to occur; the processor, the gateway, and the shopping cart; all of this to process and accept a simple credit card payment.  Not cool!

Kickin’ PaaS and Taking Names

Payments as a Service (PaaS) has been that glimmer of hope for that retail or ecommerce merchant who’s had to live in the dark ages of traditional payment processing. By empowering SaaS companies with the ability to integrate, streamline, consume and then render a seamless payment option to their customers, it’s been a major breath of fresh air for the merchant community.  

What once took weeks to approve, provision and activate a client, it can literally be done within minutes.  Instead of having multiple systems to track and manage from a client perspective, all of the statements, reports, and business functions can reside in one centralized system.  PaaS is like the Bruce Lee of payments, and the old way just took a roundhouse to the face!

How do SaaS Companies Become PaaS Enabled?

At Zift, our experience in working with SaaS platforms and other ISVs has proven that it doesn’t have to be a major investment, whether of time or financial resources, for these companies to become an integral part of the payments ecosystem.  In many instances creating Payments as a Service for SaaS companies can be as simple as partnering and integrating with a company that has the right technical specifications, processing connections, and financial sponsorships. We consider that the heavy lifting, and Zift has done all of that already! The SaaS platform simply integrates and starts boarding merchants.

We have found that most SaaS companies “think” they want to become their own payments company, commonly referred to as a ‘PayFac’, only to find that it’s a major investment of time, technical and financial resources to make that a reality, not to mention the compliance and risk that is involved.  Many of our existing integrated partners have shared with us after the fact, that having Zift manage the onboarding, underwriting, payment processing, reporting, and compliance was the right move for their business for the following reasons:

TIME TO MARKET:

Software Platforms and Business Management Software Solutions can launch their offering in a fraction of the time it would normally take to build it themselves. 

COMPLIANCE:

PCI Compliance and other Regulatory requirements are already in place.

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BRANDING:

Enables Software Platforms to co-brand or white label the technology and embed it as part of their core offering.

RISK MITIGATION:

Much less financial risk as the PaaS partner than contracting with the banks and processors themselves.

MONETIZATION:

The ability for SaaS providers to monetize payments by sharing in the processing revenue from their merchants’ activity.

SUPPORT:

Partnering with an existing payment platform company, who handles the incoming support needs, makes all the difference by removing the potential financial and personnel burden.

PaaS for All Business Types

The beauty of an integrated Payments as a Service solution offered by SaaS providers is the simplicity, breadth and reach of its capabilities.  Ecommerce, EMV retail,  mobile and ACH processing are now so easy to manage through one centralized system – offered natively through the SaaS company’s software.  The merchant is already familiar with the software they are using to manage their business, and to have payments as another module or feature inside the existing software’s core platform is so sweet indeed!  

One Merchant ID to Rule Them All

When a SaaS company wants to work with Zift, we get rave reviews explaining the ease and simplicity of having one Account ID to manage all the types of payments being processed.  It used to be a MID for a gateway, a merchant account, ACH account, Hosting account, etc.  Now, with Zift, there’s one Account ID, and in it we can process all major credit cards, third party transactions (Apple Pay), debit cards, and ACH payments.  The merchant has one set of credentials which allows them to manage all of this natively with their SaaS company’s reporting system, or through Zift’s merchant console. In addition, the reporting provided through Zift is second to none.  All payment processing activity is consolidated and reported clearly in a daily or monthly settlement statement.  Again, the keys are simplicity, seamlessness, and consolidation!

The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

The increase in cashless payment transactions is staggering!  It’s anticipated that eCommerce transactions will tread north of $500 million as we enter 2023.  For retail based payments, it’s expected that the numbers will be above $2.336 trillion; both of these are record highs.  The continued push for SaaS companies to assist with better systems, processes and an overall better merchant experience is not going away.  Payments as a Service coupled with familiar software functionality is truly the future of payment processing. And with the continued partnering of payments companies and software companies the future looks very bright indeed!