10 Things Your Merchants Hate About You


April 11, 2022

The payments industry doesn’t stand still. Buoyed by advances in technology, growing consumer appetite for digital solutions, and a shift towards real-time transactions, this dynamic sector offers both opportunities and challenges for payment facilitators (PayFacs).

Developing a close relationship with their merchants will help these PayFacs unearth the opportunities and ride out the challenges. Why? Because merchants are the foundation of your business  and the fuel that keeps it running – without merchants there would be no need for payment service providers so it follows that what’s good for them is good for you. And what’s good for them is changing as the market changes. Payment facilitators who can’t keep pace run the risk of falling behind. 

Merchants are picky. They have to be. Your average consumer doesn’t just want to buy a product, they want a seamless, convenient, and quick purchasing experience. If you can’t help their merchant deliver that experience, that merchant will find a payment facilitator who can. And in a market where competition is intensifying by the day, they have plenty of places to go. 

What merchants are thinking

“We need to differentiate ourselves…with Agreement Express we are ahead of the curve.” 

We regularly hear feedback like this from our clients and that’s because they understand that good business is all about standing out from the crowd. 

Merchants on the hunt for transformative technology that offers superior yet cost-effective service need to know that you can deliver. And quickly. Their business relies on rapid service so your business has to match that momentum. Payment facilitators who are proactive and take the time to reflect on what merchants actually want (rather than what payment providers assume they want) will have the edge over their complacent competitors.

A disjointed merchant onboarding process, slow approvals, lack of support – there are lots of ways to lose your merchants. Fixing these troublespots doesn’t just keep your existing merchants satisfied and attract new ones, it’s also a good opportunity to audit your infrastructure and finally address the operational obstacles that are holding your business back. 

Is your current merchant onboarding software up to the task? If you’re regularly receiving complaints about the onboarding process, you’re damaging client goodwill and hindering your growth. Making merchant applications and data collection as frictionless and pain-free as possible is key to retaining and attracting business.

Approval process taking too long? Clients will always gravitate towards seamless merchant processing solutions as time waiting for approvals is time away from doing business. Delays in decision-making, lengthy KPI checks, and manual underwriting act as speed bumps, slowing down your merchants in the race to market. 

Are your compliance procedures and operational audits holding you back? While compliance and operational oversight are essential for reducing risk and maximizing workflow, over-complicated protocols can do more harm than good. The most successful payment facilitators are able to walk that crucial line between managing regulatory requirements and internal inefficiencies without impacting their end users, the merchants. Done well, your merchants should remain blissfully ignorant of these back office processes while enjoying consistently high-quality service throughout the entire merchant lifecycle.

If you’re running into any of the above roadblocks, it’s a sign that it’s time to clean house. 

After all, if your team is having issues, your merchants are too.

10 Things Merchants Hate About You

1. Your Customer Support Is Lacking

The payments industry is a complicated niche, and even the most experienced merchants sometimes need help navigating the complexities of such a multi-faceted space. All too often PayFacs fall into the trap of sidelining customer support, moving it down the priority list until it becomes an afterthought rather than a crucial element of merchant management.  

Don’t fall into that trap. Customer support is where you can make a real difference to your merchants – offering them a helping hand at 5am on a Monday morning when a payment goes awry, or guiding them through a tricky transaction on a holiday weekend. 

In a world of 24/7 shopping, merchants expect 24/7 support – not just for their own sake, but for their customers too. If a merchant can’t depend on you, they risk letting down their own clients and that’s very bad for their bottom line. A third of customers consider switching businesses immediately after getting sub-standard customer service.

2. You Have Limited to No Fraud Protection

With the rise of digital payments comes a corresponding rise in risk. Credit fraud is now one of the most common types of fraud and comes at a high cost to its victims. In 2015, card fraud scams cost over $8 billion in the US alone. To allay merchant fears, PayFacs need to get serious about security, ensuring they’re fully PCI SSC compliant and exceeding industry best practices.

3. Your Data Is Hard to Access

For most businesses, paperwork isn’t just a necessary evil, it’s an invaluable resource that informs their company’s goals, strategy, and direction. As their payments service provider, you’re a key link in that chain – providing a deluge of transactional data that gives your merchants insight into their operations. 

But that data isn’t doing them much good stuck behind the software equivalent of Fort Knox. Without a reporting dashboard  you won’t have the ability to quickly and easily pull records for your merchants, and that means you’re hindering their business.

4. You Have Limited Payment Options

There are two words guaranteed to strike dread into the heart of every merchant – payment declined. For most customers, having their payment rejected at the point of sale means game over. They walk away, leaving your merchant mourning that lost revenue. And when they hit the second stage of grief, anger, they’re going to start asking their payment facilitator some hard questions. 

It sounds obvious but as a payment service provider, you need to make sure you can process all types of payments. Mobile payments, bank transfers, credit cards, debit – there’s a whole world of cashless solutions out there, and merchants encounter most of them in a single day’s business. When you block those payments, you’re effectively pulling your merchants from the race before they reach the finish line. 

5. You Don’t Share Your Processing Rates

The way we do business may have fundamentally changed with the advent of the internet, but some core principles still hold true. People will always feel more comfortable doing business with someone they trust. Honesty, integrity, openness – these are as valuable as billions in the bank when it comes to building and maintaining merchant relationships.

PayFacs who hide or obscure their rates aren’t doing themselves any favors. Who would you rather do business with – the company that happily supplies a quote so you can gauge your investment and budget accordingly? Or the company that hides behind a policy of non-disclosure? The former appears reliable and forthright, the latter secretive and potentially malicious. Your rates reflect the value you place on your expertise. If you’re not willing to share them, you’re sending the message that you don’t stand by your services.

6. Your Underwriting Processes Are Too Slow

If the payments processing lifecycle is an obstacle course then approval is the final hurdle that separates the winners from the losers. Overcoming this hurdle requires underwriting processes that are speedy enough to satisfy merchants, while remaining rigorous enough to reduce risk and stay compliant with KYC and AML protocols.

Your merchant is eager to start earning and you don’t want to be the one holding them back. If you can’t steer their business to shore quickly, merchants have no problem jumping ship – 70% of merchant abandonment stems from slow underwriting.

Successful PayFacs are leveraging emerging technology to maximize efficiencies in their underwriting workflow. Streamlined onboarding software, advanced analytics, and automated decision-making can all take the burden from busy underwriters, sifting out the merchant applications that need a closer look without holding up the ones that can be almost instantly greenlit. 

7. Your Onboarding Process Is Confusing 

Your merchant may be comfortable doing business online, but that doesn’t mean they have Steve Jobs-level tech skills. Your role as a payment facilitator is to make their onboarding experience as painless as possible, with a clean, user-friendly interface and easy-to-follow instructions.

Staying competitive means getting your merchants from potential applicant to fully approved client in a matter of minutes. With hassle-free onboarding, your merchants can get down to business ASAP, and you’ll be able to grow your portfolio – processing more merchants in a shorter time frame.


8. Your Merchants Encounter A Horrible User Experience

There’s a reason it’s called the ‘net – the web is a tangled place where it’s easy to become ensnared in endless form-filling, maze-like page layouts, and buttons that do the exact opposite of what you want them to do.

As a PayFac you may not have a brick and mortar store, but your user interface is the closest thing you have to an office. Just as an untidy conference room can sabotage efforts to land a high-profile client, a chaotic user experience will sour merchants on your service. 

Your underwriting and onboarding processes have to make sense, offering a cohesive experience that leaves merchants feeling empowered, informed, and engaged.


9. Lack of Integration Capabilities

From Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms to cloud-based office suites, there’s a wealth of technological tools on the market and merchants will likely be using a combination of products. 

That means your software needs to play well with others. Merchants want to leverage their data across various departments, such as sales and marketing so, at a minimum, their payment records should seamlessly input into their CRM and/or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) programs.  

They’re also looking for a degree of flexibility, to be confident that your systems can blend with their systems even if they scale up and expand their technology stack.

If your processes don’t have that integration capability, merchants won’t bother dismantling and rejigging their entire infrastructure just to accommodate you, they’ll simply look elsewhere. 

10. You Can’t Support Multiple Merchant Types

Much like death and taxes, change is inevitable. Your merchants know that running a successful business means knowing how to pivot – finding the opportunities in good times, cutting their losses in bad. It doesn’t matter whether they’re with you for a year or a decade, their business will change in that time. It might shrink, it might expand, it might go entirely online, it might even branch out into new industries. As their PayFac, you have to be nimble enough to handle those shifts without missing a beat.

Satisfy Merchants With Agreement Express

The relationship between merchants and payment facilitators is a bit like a marriage. If they’re not happy, you’re not happy, and their success is your success. So give them what they need to thrive!  

With Agreement Express, PayFacs can offer their merchants the kind of service they need to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace. Our innovative software is easily integrated into most tech applications to work seamlessly with your merchant’s existing systems, and any they may add as they grow. All payment records and data are securely collated and stored, while remaining easily accessible so they can be pulled at a moment’s notice if the merchant needs to urgently double-check a transaction. 

Our digital onboarding platform competes with the best in the business, reducing wait times to less than 20 minutes from initial application to final approval. We’re able to offer those game-changing turnaround times thanks to our digital underwriting tool, Merchant ScanXpress, which automates the underwriting process. Automated decision-making means your team can quickly and easily flag high-risk applicants for manual oversight while compliant applications flow smoothly through the onboarding process without a hitch. 

We offer an instinctive interface that’s tailormade for ease of navigation. Intuitive workflows guide your merchants through every step so even the most inexperienced feel comfortable and confident digitizing their payments. And if you or your merchants need support, our team is only a click or call away. We pride ourselves on providing unparalleled customer service. Whether you’ve a question about our software or just fancy a chat, we’re always available!

With more of our lives going online, the digital payments sector is poised for exponential growth. Agreement Express can help you ride that wave. But, wait, more merchants means more risk, right? Not necessarily. With the right technology, you can grow your portfolio without exposing your business to additional risk. Our software is built to scale, giving you the sturdy foundation you need to expand your merchant network. With our digital underwriting, automated risk scoring, and frictionless onboarding, you can confidently handle more volume – drawing in all types of merchants from a wide variety of industries. 

Contact our team today to find out more or book a demo to see our transformative software in action.

transform your underwriting process