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For colleges and universities, finding the right payments partner can be daunting. With multiple departments to manage across one or more sprawling campuses, campuses are a lot like little cities. Each department has its own payment needs, including unique processes and software. Working with the right payments partner can help you streamline processes across departments and campuses – while working with the wrong one can hamstring operations across the board. Here are five traits of an ideal higher education payments partner to consider. 

1. Payments Experience

It may seem obvious but evaluating the level of payments experience a prospective partner has is imperative. Not all partners are created equal. In a landscape that is evolving quickly, it’s important to vet partners’ experience and comfort level with various types of payment technology, processes, compliance, and security protocol. As new payment methods and preferences emerge, will your partner be able to adequately advise on the best path forward to ensure you can meet students’ needs?

2. Security & Compliance

According to research by Comparitech, K–12 school districts and colleges/universities across the US have experienced over 1,850 data breaches impacting over 28.6 million records since 2005. When you consider the number of transactions that occur on campuses, the potential risk is staggering. The increase in digital payments can introduce new vulnerabilities for higher ed institutions, making security and compliance a critical – and mandatory – consideration. Your payments partner should be security- and compliance-minded, enabling you to adhere to PCI standards, reduce scope, and improve revenue collection. A partner should also be able to: 

  • Assess and Implement Solutions – Manage and optimize payment systems and handle merchant services support.
  • Oversee Payment Systems – Help you in offering students and campus visitors a modern experience by implementing new services, software and integrations easily with our team.
  • Manage Chargebacks and Holds – Monitor, manage, and track so you can focus on the business of the university.
  • Offer Continuous Training – Offer educational support to your teams on an ongoing basis to stay ahead of emerging threats. 
  • Track and Submit SAQs – Track SAQs, ensure the right questions are answered, and help address PCI compliance at every step.

3. Support

Your partner should be just as committed to supporting students and their families as you are. Planning and implementation are important pieces of the puzzle – but transitioning departments to new systems is an ongoing process. An ideal payments partner will be there to assist you every step of the way, helping to align your employees and processes. It should be easy for you to access reliable training, continuous support, and ongoing maintenance. 

4. Expertise

It may seem like a nuanced difference, but experience and expertise are two different things. Find a payments partner that has both and can not only provide a wealth of knowledge about payments technology, processes, and systems but who can create efficiencies and reduce costs. When you choose a payments partner with deep expertise, they can take the payments-related minutiae off your plate so you can focus on running your college or university. Great payments partners will have relationships with best-in-breed payment processors, platforms, security tools, and more – and know the best ways to integrate with your existing systems to streamline payments from end to end. 

5. Emotional Intelligence

This is an often-overlooked piece of the payments puzzle, but working with a partner that has a mission rooted in emotional intelligence. This kind of partner will look at business as a force for good and strive to improve the lives of their clients through collaboration, authentic communication, respect, and listening. 

Arrow Payments believes that life is about so much more than work. It’s about growth. And love. We believe love is how we care for our clients, respect one another, and watch over ourselves. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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