Like walks on the beach? Good sense of humor? When looking for a partner, there are plenty of attributes to think about. The situation is the similar when considering a payment solutions provider.

Based on many years in the payments industry, here are five key areas to look for in an effective payment solutions provider:

Level 1 PCI DSS compliance

Payment card security is a growing concern and should be a priority for any provider worth its salt.

The pinnacle in data security is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). This is a globally recognized commercial compliance standard for organizations that store, process or transmit credit card holder information. It represents a common set of industry tools and measurements to help ensure the safe handling of sensitive information.

The top level of PCI DSS compliance – level 1 – must be externally assessed, with approximately 380 mandatory controls. These include building and maintaining a secure network, protecting cardholder data, regularly monitoring and testing networks, implementing data security awareness training with employees and maintaining an Information Security Policy.

This means level 1 compliant companies must have the policies, procedures, physical structures, and technologies to ensure credit card information is protected. It involves assessor visits to validate compliance and extensive external and internal penetration testing, and regular reviews between audits.

Level I PCI DSS compliance helps businesses respond to and mitigate potential data security breaches and cyber security attacks; as well as assisting customers to become more efficient, leading to an improved bottom line. Businesses that place importance on detailed data security measures clearly demonstrate they take their responsibility as a trusted organization seriously, giving peace of mind to all involved.

Exceptional customer service

Effective and efficient customer service that’s helpful and hassle free makes a significant difference for an organization.

A proficient customer service team will apply your organization’s rules of engagement in all its dealing with your customers, operating as an extension of your team. Accurate and effective support in this area will free up your business’ valuable time, allowing your team members to concentrate on other aspects of the business.

Payment schedule options

Flexible payment options is a major aspect of getting paid on time! An effective payment solutions provider will allow payment frequencies to be arranged weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly so your customers can align their payments to fit their lifestyle – and ultimately you receive regular funds as owed.

The provider should also work with your customers to arrange any follow up or additional payments accordingly.

Accurate reporting

A full suite of reports are critical for organizations working with a payment solutions provider. These reports should detail activities including new customers, change requests and other key information that assists with account/deposit reconciliation.

The information should be current, meaning electronically is the way to go. This will allow you to have an up-to-date snapshot of activities with the option to look over the details of collections and outstanding payments as you wish.

Full, part or no service?

A number of organizations claim they offer a full service but what does it mean? In this industry and based on significant experience, full service means you can focus on running your business and your provider collects the outstanding payments.

There are many ways to do this including an email or SMS with a link to pay online, letters and phone calls. The difference is having a dedicated team managing responses and following up where appropriate to ensure communications are responded to and actioned.

A successful working relationship with a payment solutions provider is about understanding your business and facilitating payments from your customers – all in a stress-free way that supports your organization, making it easier for you to do business.