Three (3) problems online businesses face with Payment Integrations


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Three (3) problems online businesses face with Payment Integrations

digital , 05-05-2020

The world is grateful for all the hard work from frontline workers these past months. Some of us who have to work from home have discovered another face of the economy that we realize is not yet optimized – Digital Payments.
Whatever the need, there is a business online at your service. From education, banking, shopping, booking a flight, renewing media subscriptions, hailing a ride among others. In addition, there are e-governance services. Just last month, the West African country, Benin, completed a new online portal –, to provide a single-window for business registration, as part of measures to support social distancing protocols. The Coronavirus pandemic is shaping the social and economic rules and is forcing countries to adapt to the new reality.

By integrating with payment systems, an online business enables customers and visitors to interact with their online portal, website, or App to transact from their electronic accounts, i.e. mobile money and bank accounts, payment cards, digital wallets, and USSD options. Failing that, the business becomes what Jack Ma – the founder of Alibaba, the biggest online business by some measure, referred to as a mere “e-marketplace for information” – where users “don’t do any business because there is no payment” (World Economic Forum – Bloomberg TV Interview, January 2015). This also turns into a lack of opportunity.


Making Sense of Payment Integrations
While payment integrations and electrical connections seem unrelated, everyday use of electricity may help us make sense of it. Imagine this. When a stranger visits your home requesting to connect their appliance to your power supply, it is hardly a straightforward decision. Apart from whether you trust their motive, to begin with, you may want to establish a few things. Does the plug fit your socket; is the appliance safe, and who bears responsibility for any resulting damage among others?
Likewise, when an online business approaches a payment provider, for example, a bank or mobile money company seeking to connect or integrate their two systems, you know there will be several conditions to satisfy. While that characterisation may be oversimplified, it points to some barriers to payment integrations. Consider these three.

1. The technical requirements can be burdensome
If you have attempted payment integrations, chances are, you may have heard of API – Application Programming Interface. This is a plug and play connection (i.e connect and begin receiving payments) that allows the creation of applications that access the features or data of another service, or application. . What you find is, when the online business provides their plug, it does not quite fit the socket of banks, mobile money providers and other payment systems. The delays and resources associated with this can be off-putting, businesses will have to source technical resources in order to manage the connection. The question becomes the ease of connection and how can merchants select the easiest solution to start transacting digitally.

2. Emerging interoperability issues
There are proprietary issues that constrain transactions involving different payment service providers. Consider the use of Point of Sale (POS) terminals for online businesses with physical stores. POS terminals do not universally accept bank-issued cards. As a result, it is common for customers to ask who the POS provider is, particularly, ahead of an in-store transaction or online card payment. Some android POS also accept mobile money, which represents an added convenience for the end-user.

3. Multiple collection points
One major issue with collections online is this, can my business collect all forms of payments (Mobile money, bank accounts, cards, USSD) digitally without experiencing any hiccups. Multiple payment systems may lead to many revenue collection points i.e collecting these payments from different points. Such complexity has built-in risks and presents no meaningful business case for small businesses with trickle revenue. Having all inflows in one-place makes for easy monitoring and end-of-day settlements.

While most customers remain unaware and frankly have no regard for payment integration, they certainly mind that transactions are seamless and secure. There should be no barriers to achieving this, even for micro-businesses. With the right support, payment integrations can be set up in a day, complete with online and USSD payments at suitable settlement terms.

Claud Hutchful


DreamOval Ltd