Unfortunately, “My payments vendor oversold me” is a statement we hear far too frequently from higher ed institutions.
How exactly does this happen?
There are a few ways that overzealous sales reps bend the truth in order to bulk up and/or finalize an order. For example:
What you hear: “This is a P2PE terminal.”
What they may mean: This is a P2PE terminal only if used with a PCI-validated P2PE payment processor and gateway.
What you hear: “This payments solution will work across all departments and integrate with systems campus-wide.”
What they may mean: We have no idea what software each department is using, their current challenges with existing systems and the overall integration requirements. But I know that cross-campus integration is a must-have, so I’ll sell now and figure out the details later.
Tips for the Tightrope Walk of Choosing a Payments Partner
While most sales reps truly do want to help institutions with all their payment processing needs, many toe the line when it comes to accurately portraying what their solutions are capable of providing and how. To make sure you have the best solutions in place—and to procure the best solutions in the future—take a look at these tips:
Work with a payment systems expert to create an inventory of various department’s current software, platforms and technologies that need to integrate smoothly and securely with payment solutions.
Conduct a periodic review of existing vendor relationships and contracts to see where upgrades may be needed and where improvements and new features may help streamline processes.
When engaging a new payment solution provider, ask about the following to ensure that there won’t be any disruptions or hiccups to the needed services:
Are there volume caps or will services be impacted during high-volume periods for payments (pre-registration, fall periods, housing selection, etc.)
How will payments systems communicate across campus departments to ensure that we are not causing uncalled distress for students and families (e.g. how do we avoid unnecessary holds on classes or food funds because the payment system for the office of the bursar is disconnected from registration, etc.)
Will we be able to quickly and easily collect payments from multiple sources (partial scholarship, financial aid from state, financial aid from private sources, student bank account) for tuition and accurately reflect a student’s tuition payment status?
How will your system integrate within each departments unique software stack to cut down on manual data entry?
Will POS systems be EMV-ready to handle chip cards and help us eliminate chargeback risks?
How do these solutions impact our network security, PCI compliance requirements and data breach risks?
Do I need to upgrade any of my existing hardware or software versions to utilize this technology?
Will these solutions work with my existing payment processor, will I need a new payment processor and will there be additional transaction fees?
How will we reconcile the transaction activity through these systems with our general ledger (ie manual vs automated)?
Championing Secure, Streamlined Payments
Arrow Payments is experienced in helping higher ed institutions streamline payment processing systems, integrations and PCI compliance.
We have upgraded payment systems across campuses to ensure that they remain functional, connected to ERP systems, and secure from hackers or fraud. All the solutions we work with are PCI-compliant, and we consult on how to easily maintain long-term compliance without excessive costs, resources or headaches.
Our strong suit is reducing administrative burdens across all departments of a college or university while maintaining the highest level of payments security.
Talk to us today to learn about our long-term customer service, support and ongoing guidance to help your institution grow and evolve.