It still surprises me at how many Business processes are not integrated with credit card processing. My local dry cleaning shop has software that tracks the customer’s preferences and clothing through the process of dry cleaning. However, when I come to pick up my cleaning I hand my ticket (if I can find it) and credit card. While they enter my ticket (or more often then not my phone number) into their system which tells them the status of my order and how to find it, they must use a separate platform to process my credit card. The merchant goes to one terminal to retrieve the amount, then swivels to a credit card terminal and re-enters the amount into the machine, swipes (or inserts) my card and waits for a response. This is far more common than one would expect in the 21st century. This process inevitably leads to the manual correlation of the data in one system with that in another.
Credit card processing has been made much easier in recent years. When I first started doing this (more years ago than I care to admit) the processing of credit cards was a very closed system, with dial-up terminals and few integration points affordable to small business. Today’s processing models are very open and affordable integration is possible for even the smallest of businesses.
If you are not familiar with how credit cards are processed, you may benefit from Credit Card Processing 101
Integrating Credit Card Processing into your Business Process
As a small business consultant, we are often asked to find cost effective solutions for integrating business processes. Credit card processing is just one of the processes we consider. Sophware Solutions has a Java based solution that is capable of interfacing with multiple gateways and multiple merchant platforms. We chose Java due to its portability across platforms. Our Java based solution is free to any system integrator and can greatly simplify the challenges of credit card process integration.
The primary consideration for integrating your credit card processing will be the hardware platform you are using to process cards today. It is important to find a credit card gateway that is capable of supporting your existing hardware (when applicable) as well as your future needs.