By Allen Kopelman
Nationwide Payment Systems
If you're not accepting multiple forms of payments and currencies, there's a good chance you're losing residual income streams to alternative payments. Merchants are accepting all types of payments, and if digital wallets, cryptocurrencies and other emerging methods are off your grid, it's going to hurt your bottom line.
If you've seen a dip in your merchant services residuals, maybe it's time to evaluate your customers' spend and see where the money is going. If you're not accepting multiple forms of payments and currencies, there's a good chance you're losing residual income streams to alternative payments. If this is the case, you may want to consider adding digital wallets, cryptocurrency and other emerging payment forms to your products and services.
Many of today's advanced digital commerce solutions do more than just process payments; they can also help ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs) assess customer payment flows, spending patterns and residual income earnings across their merchant portfolios. This data can show trending activities and trigger alerts when urgent matters require immediate attention.
Additional diagnostic tools can be found in the merchant portals that most processors and ISOs offer that enable MLSs to track their merchant portfolio activities in real time. These portals provide a single-access view of all the accounts you've signed under a processor or ISO and their related activities. Why not leverage this tool by routinely checking in and running reports to chart your growth and identify areas in need of improvement?
As someone who's been in payments for more than 20 years, I remember when processing systems were low-tech and back-office systems were paper-based. In my early days of selling, before portals were even a thing, we had to create our own spreadsheets to track our merchant account activities and residual income streams.
I recall when I first saw a high-speed check scanner in 2001, at a meeting in Baltimore, Maryland. The machine could scan a check and transfer funds directly to a processing host for deposit. That was pretty cool tech for that time. We sold a ton of those machines and rode that wave for a while.
One thing stood out about that meeting: the person teaching the class gave everyone the book Who Moved My cheese? by Spencer Johnson and Kenneth Blanchard, a business bestseller. The book describes four characters who run through a maze looking for cheese. The characters willing to embrace change have a better outcome than others who are stuck in their old ways of doing things. I can see why the book was a hit with so many readers; change is a constant in any business, and as new opportunities replace old ones, there's always new cheese to find.
The pandemic accelerated a new wave of changes in the payments industry, especially in the restaurant industry, which continues to deal with labor shortages, obsolete technology and shrinking profit margins after a lengthy shutdown period.
The business shutdown created a surge in online ordering, which pushed numerous restaurants into partnerships with third-party service providers—like DoorDash, Uber Eats, Grubhub, Postmates and more—popping up every day.
Inside dining processing volumes declined as restaurants began selling food through mobile apps and began to cut back on their indoor POS systems. This impacted our business as well as numerous other ISOs and MLSs, as digital commerce and ecommerce took off like a rocket.
In fact, a study published Aug. 2, 2022, by Juniper Research predicted the total number of digital wallet users will exceed 5.2 billion globally by 2026, up from 3.4 billion in 2022, a 53 percent increase driven by "superapps" in developing countries, researchers found.
As our restaurant processing volumes declined in recent years, we began to focus on other areas, such as digital wallets, cryptocurrency and ecommerce. But ironically, we began to see a second wave as ecommerce volumes begin to decline. And upon closer examination, we saw a ton of checkout options being offered on ecommerce sites, including PayPal, Venmo, ShopPay (Shopify), Amazon Checkout and more.
I recently attended a conference, the MPC Digital Commerce Event in Atlanta, where there were a lot of discussions about new wallets and alternative forms of payment. We heard from all sorts of fintech companies offering a range of payment types, including wallets from other countries and cross-border payments in local currencies.
When you consider the profusion of changes taking place in the payments ecosystem, it can't hurt to check your merchants' websites to see what other forms of payments they're accepting besides credit cards and what other third-party services their payments are flowing into.
If you've seen a dip in major credit card activity, it's possible your competitors or even your own customers are moving your residual cheese. If that's the case, here's a simple fix: find newer, better cheese in the form of digital wallets, cryptocurrencies, touchless commerce and other emerging payment methods, and tap into new recurring revenue streams.
Allen Kopelman, a serial entrepreneur, is co-founder and CEO of Nationwide Payment Systems Inc. and host of B2B Vault: The Payment Technology podcast. Email him at email@example.com, and connect on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/allenkopelman/ and Twitter @AllenKopelman.
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