Sometimes in the industry, we forget that most people do not understand its jargon. One prime example of this is the concept of integrated vs non-integrated credit card processing. To clear the air, I wanted to write a quick piece explaining the differences for businesses.

Integrated Payments

Simply put, integrated processing means the processing is built into the point-of-sale system, CRM, or PSA Software you are using. Integrated processing solutions are best suited for businesses that require their billing tool to integrate with existing software that helps them run efficiently. This is because integrated payment solutions typically do not require you to re-enter an amount into a payment terminal/virtual terminal. Instead, the payment solution pulls the amount from the software system itself.

Integrated processing is convenient and efficient. Typically, when you have integrated processing, there is a lower chance for errors as the data is coming directly from the system you are using and does not rely on additional data entry by a human.

Lots of companies that have complex invoicing processes would benefit from integrated payments, as it creates a centralized location to track customers’ transactions, and updates the data in your accounting software, or PSA software.

Non-integrated Payments

Non-integrated processing solutions are the opposite. They typically require input from a human outside of the software solution being used. This can sometimes cause reduced efficiency or human error in transposing the value to be charged from the software solution. The real benefit of a non-integrated processing solution is it can be much more flexible than an integrated processing solution, as you are not limited by the capacities built into the software.

Non-integrated processing also means you can utilize the latest payment technologies and solutions without having to wait for your software solution payment provider to catch up with the latest industry trends. Since they are not restricted by the technology they integrate with, adapting to the newest payment methods takes less time. In addition to staying on top of current trends, most non-integrated processing solutions also need to be more competitive on pricing as they know they can be easily replaced.

If my system offers integrated processing, should I use it?

This question comes up more often than you would think. For your business, it comes down to two options: do you want the ability to take multiple types of payments, or the ability to integrate with specific software your business uses?

Some systems with integrated processing have limited options for processing, meaning you can only process ACH or credit card payments. The reason for this is because older software systems may not support features like EMV or NFC payments, or are still catching up on developing those capabilities for their software if they ever do.

Some merchants want to utilize a cash discount program, which is not supported on most Integrated solutions. Sometimes, integrated payment solutions have a higher than necessary price as they know that no other processor can replace them as the integrated solution, so they feel that they do not need to be competitive.

The main issue is that you will have to sacrifice some of the omnichannel payment options that integrate directly with the other software tools, which help run your business.

So, which one is better?

That is not an easy question to answer.

For some business types, the efficiency and accuracy of an integrated processing solution are very important. For other business types, the ability to accept payment the way your customers prefer can sway some businesses to move to non-integrated solutions.

Not sure if you have the best payment solution for your business? If you are trying to decide which is best for your business and you would like to discuss the pros and cons of each option, feel free to contact us and one of our sales professionals can walk you through the options.