As the payments industry evolves in ever-more complex ways, something curious is happening to the products powering these changes: many are becoming easier to set up and more user-friendly. PaySimple's cloud-based merchant platform seems to embody this dichotomy, giving businesses a multitude of ways to accept payments, track customer information and self-promote, yet doing it in a way that the company says significantly eases the usual headaches that accompany POS management.
"Our platform is an all-in-one, easy-to-use software that streamlines and simplifies the business of collecting payments and managing your customers," said Nicole Baraff, Director of Business Development for PaySimple.
Of particular interest to the industry feet on the street: in 2012, PaySimple launched ReceivablesPro, a turnkey, white-label version of its platform designed for resale by ISOs, Baraff said.
PaySimple is a cloud-based software service that includes payment acceptance, electronic invoicing, recurring billing, customer relationship management (CRM) tools, payment reporting and the seamless integration of mobile activity. "We see it as a way for small businesses to grow to the next evolution in payments through actionable insight," Baraff said, adding that PaySimple offers a more comprehensive management tool, not merely a virtual terminal.
According to Baraff, PaySimple is used primarily by "professional services" companies that exist outside of the cash register world and commonly provide memberships or ongoing services such as gyms, medical offices, law firms, accounting businesses and schools. PaySimple's invoicing, billing and customer management features are geared to meet the demands of these types of merchants, according to Baraff.
Merchants who apply for an account with PaySimple fill out the application online and, if they're in good standing, are approved quickly and automatically, Baraff noted. "It's all cloud-based," she said. "We streamline the application process, and once they're approved, they get a username and temporary password and can set up their [merchant gateway]."
PaySimple then provides a full-service virtual terminal, including acceptance of bank cards and automated clearing house payments. For seamless integration, businesses can brand PaySimple's payment and invoicing functions to match the texture of their own sites, according to Baraff.
"They can use our system to create a website payment page - no coding or hardware required," Baraff said. "It's all drag-and-drop. You can upload a business logo, pick colors and just click, 'publish.'
"And once you've created your design, we generate an HTML code that you copy and paste to your website, creating a template where customers who come to your website see the 'Pay Now' button and, when they click on it, are taken to the PaySimple payment page. But it's labeled and branded with the merchant's logo and colors."
PaySimple allows merchants to access their payment and customer information from any device with an Internet connection, including smart phones, by simply downloading the PaySimple merchant app, Baraff said. "When you enter new customer information on your smart phone, it will also be on your desktop at home," she added. "It's all seamlessly linked together."
Baraff said PaySimple streamlines a number of POS management tasks. It allows merchants to accept payments from any Internet-enabled device (including in-person card payments that are enabled by the use of a dongle attached to a smart phone). It also allows merchants to send a bill or invoice electronically, and, with repeat customers, automatically. For customers, paying an invoice requires only that they click a button contained on the e-bill.
Repeat customers have the option of filing their payment information with PaySimple, making the payment instant when they click "Pay Now." Merchants can also set up recurring billing cycles with their customers to make ongoing payments completely automatic. "Customers can set up accounts for login, so anytime they come back they don't have to give their payment information again," Baraff said.
She added that PaySimple, which is Level 1 Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard-certified, performs all storage of customer payment information for its merchants.
According to the PaySimple website, the company's platform includes a search feature for quick customer look-up; it also allows merchants to build customized profiles of clients that include specific information for both merchant reporting and customer invoices - for example, upcoming appointments or medical data.
"They'll usually have the customer's name, address, phone number, but they can also add to their CRM customer profiles anything that is relevant to that business," Baraff said. "So if you're a daycare, you might have your emergency contacts, food allergies. ... Anything that's relevant or important can then be accessed immediately within our system."
Merchants can itemize bills, displaying discounts, coupons, fees, taxes and so forth. Upon payment, customers receive an email receipt within minutes, according to the company. They can also be automatically notified, via email, of payment due dates, payments received and overdue payments. "The business can offer early payment incentives or late penalties, all of which is calculated automatically in the system," Baraff said.
PaySimple gives business owners an easy-to-read, real-time financial report that shows payments made, payments pending and payments past due, Baraff said. The reports provide a very detailed portrait of a merchant's financials and a lucid overview of broader trends, she added. Merchants can drill down to view details about methods of payment, payment amounts, balances and other information pertaining to specific customers, but are also shown total amounts owed, pending and due, complete with a "dashboard" of pie and bar charts that provide a quick snapshot of a business's overall monetary trending, Baraff said.
"The dashboard not only shows funds already processed, but also money that's set to come in for the month," Baraff said. "So you can get a prediction that helps you to look ahead. Bar graphs show how much money has been collected monthly, and you can customize them to see trending on a daily or weekly basis. And they're color coded to be super intuitive.
"Anywhere you have an Internet connection you can log in to see anything you want," she added. "You can open your mobile app on the go and get a quick summary of what you need to take care of. A lot of our merchants are on the go and out providing services to their community, and we want to make sure they can continue to manage their business without being tied to a desktop."
Baraff added that the information provided by PaySimple's dashboard can be leveraged to develop sophisticated marketing campaigns. "The CRM database is a very powerful tool," she said. "You can view payment histories by customer, see who your best customers are, or maybe which customers haven't visited in awhile. So you can then use that information to make specific offers with discounts, or to advertise promotions aimed at one kind of customer or another, or all of your customers."
One way to make those offers is to customize payment receipts so they mention special offers or upcoming events. "You can use receipts for advertising, and they're good links to things like Facebook and Yelp," Baraff said.
Another PaySimple feature allows merchants to integrate their reporting information with other accounting software, like Intuit Inc. QuickBooks and Microsoft Corp. Excel, so that everything flows into the general ledger, Baraff said.
She noted that merchants currently have to export the information from one program to the other, but that PaySimple is developing a new feature - set to launch within months - that will automatically incorporate the different bodies of information.
"It will be a fully automatic, two-way sync, so customers can sync all their payments, customers and invoices - all of it seamless," she said.
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Senior Vice President of Business Development
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