If you are running an online business selling products and services or even a SaaS (Software as a Service) provider, your customers would like to interact with your business and make purchases from a central and convenient hub.
This might involve looking at products, comparing them, looking at reviews, testing applications, and making payments among others. All these processes can be connected using APIs (Applications Programming Interfaces).
The payment part is one of the most sensitive in any application. Fortunately, APIs have made things easy for both businesses and developers. Using the right payment gateway is crucial when it comes to increasing value and convenience for your customers.
It also provides businesses with growth opportunities, creating new avenues for them to increase revenue generation. However, just like any other software application or system, payment systems might fail. So, what is it with APIs that can help you with your payment processing systems?
But before then…
What is a Payment Processing API?
An API is a programming interface that dictates the communication and sharing of data between applications. A payment API is tasked with integrating your software application with payment companies such as PayPal to provide your customers with an amazing checkout experience.
Some businesses might opt to use a different checkout process. For example, you can implement a third-party checkout page where your customers are redirected to a payment processing company’s page such as PayPal.
Unfortunately, this kind of checkout does not give you the same amount of control as the one you get when you use APIs. With APIs, you can control the experience of your customers and implement additional features to match their requirements.
Here are a couple of things you should know about APIs when it comes to payment processing systems;
You Do Not Have to Worry About Customer Data
A few years ago, online businesses preferred using hosted payments to avoid the risk that came with keeping customer payment data on their websites. It makes sense because losing such data would be catastrophic.
Well, this has been changed by payment processing APIs, something that has contributed to their popularity. Modern payment APIs allow you to customize the kind of shopping experience you want for your customers. You can even include all the functionalities that you want.
While doing this, the API provider is tasked with ensuring that customer payment data is secure. Fortunately, you can use API testing automation to test all these security features and ensure that your customers will always be safe when making purchases from you,
When choosing a payment system, you need to choose one that allows you to handle different types of transactions while at the same time making sure that the transactions are secure. With such an API, your payment system will never fail.
You Can Integrate Various Payment Systems
Imagine running a very successful eCommerce store with a single payment system. On a busy day, you receive a lot of orders and your payment system fails. This would leave your business exposed and lead to losses.
That notwithstanding, successful businesses understand the need to implement different types of payment methods. This might include different types of credit cards, online payments such as PayPal, and mobile money transfers. Your payment system should also support payment with multiple currencies.
Building such a system from scratch can be a challenge and might require you to outsource software development. It would even cost a lot of money and resources. Fortunately, you do not need to do this.
With the right API, you can get all this implemented in your system. If one type of payment fails, then you have all the others working before you can sort out the issue.
Accept Payments From Multiple Places
Did you know that you can use a single payment API but accept payments from multiple places? For instance, if you have created an effective website design but your payment system on the website is not working, does it mean that you will not make any sales until the issue is resolved?
Well, smart businesses no longer rely on a single system for sales. This has been made possible by APIs. A good payment system API should allow you to interact with buyers exponentially on different platforms.
Apart from your web-based application, for instance, you can use the same API to allow payments from your company’s social media accounts such as Instagram and Twitter, as well as your mobile applications. These can act as your backup payment method.
This means that even when your payment system on one platform is not working, you can direct customers to other platforms before you fix the issue. This is important for business continuity.
Now that your payment system is not working, do you have to engage the API provider via phone or email to try and fix the issue despite the disadvantages of these modes of communication? This is something you need to think about before even implementing any API into your system.
Technology advancement has provided businesses with a wide variety of APIs to choose from when implementing a certain functionality. Before settling on an API, you need to test it and evaluate the kind of support you get from the provider.
Fortunately, modern APIs come with detailed documentation. If something is not working the way it is supposed to, you can simply check the documentation for possible solutions. You can even check the kind of errors you are getting and what they mean to make it easy for you to fix your payment system.
If the API provider does not provide you with documentation or structured and effective customer support, then look for other options. There are possibly tens or hundreds of APIs that have the functionality you are looking for.
Use APIs to Meet Customer Needs
Each one of your customers comes with unique needs. As a business owner, you need to find ways of meeting each one of these needs. For instance, some customers might prefer paying with a credit card while others want to pay through mobile money transfer. In such a case, you can implement a robust API to meet each one of their requirements.