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The 3 Critical Components of Optimal Merchant Onboarding

Real solutions to one of the payment industry’s top concerns

by: Mark Bishopp
CEO | Amaryllis Payments

Every industry has buzzwords that come and go. The problem with buzzwords is that while everyone uses them, their meaning is often vague and confusing. For example, when it comes to Merchant Onboarding, we’ve noticed companies promising lightning-fast, safe and secure onboarding processes and using buzzwords like instant boarding, complete control and flexible underwriting.

But what do these words really mean? If you are not sure, consulting the websites of the companies using them probably won’t answer your questions. Third-party payers know they need speed, flexibility and scalability, but for every vague offer of desired benefits, there’s scarce detail on what those benefits actually mean.

When choosing a third-party payment platform, it’s important to separate the substance from the hype. Here are the bottom-line basics of merchant onboarding without the buzzwords including the critical components you need to understand before you pick a provider.

What is Merchant Onboarding?
Simply put, merchant onboarding is an underwriting review to ensure merchants meet Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements before bringing them onto your platform. The specifics depend upon the types of merchants you plan to board, the regions in which they operate and the requirements of the acquiring relationship. In general, though, every onboarding solution has three critical components:

  1. A merchant onboarding process
  2. An underwriting management solution
  3. Provisions for flexibility and control

Let’s cover each of these components in a little more detail.

Component 1: The Onboarding Process
Plenty of providers use the phrase, “instant onboarding,” but it’s a bit of misnomer. “Instant” is a relative term, and few, if any, providers can guarantee a specific speed for all clients and situations. In many cases, merchants themselves may be the bottleneck!

Your potential partner needs to be clear in defining the term “instant” – or whatever phrase they’re using to advertise their speed – and the following questions will help you get the facts.

  • How quickly can my merchants start processing once they’ve provided the necessary information?
  • What is the typical service-level agreement to get to a yes or no?
  • Can they provide MIDs for a preapproved set of MCC codes?

As you interview solutions providers, you’ll hopefully find satisfying answers to these questions and gain a better grasp of the speed with which you can onboard your merchants. Depending upon the provider, however, you might find that “instant” isn’t so instant, after all. 

Component 2: Your Underwriting Management Solution
A viable underwriting management solution must satisfy two parties: you and your provider. Plenty of players claim to offer “complete control,” but you’ll only achieve that level of control if their requirements mesh with yours. Again, know what questions to ask:

  • Does your solution support progressive onboarding, where basic merchant data is collected initially, and additional information is collected as required?
  • Do you provide the ability to define merchant risk profiles based on my (your) compliance and risk requirements?
  • Does your solution monitor merchant boarding activity and trigger real-time notifications and alerts?

Last but certainly not least, you’ll want to ask whether other third-party payment providers are already using their underwriting management tool. If not, why not?

Component 3: Enabling Flexibility and Control
Achieving true flexibility and control is all about making your business model the priority – not letting your partner’s limitations define yours. Key questions for your technology provider:

  • Does your solution allow me to brand and control the customer experience?
  • Will I own my merchant relationships and control their risks?
  • Is your solution acquirer-agnostic, offering me complete control of my acquiring relationships?

Some platforms offer all these features and more, while others are far more rigid. Make sure you understand your freedoms and limitations up front!

Want to learn more or have questions? We’ll provide answers without the buzzwords. Contact us.

 

When choosing a third-party payment platform, it’s important to separate the substance from the hype. Here are the bottom-line basics of merchant onboarding without the buzzwords including the critical components you need to understand before you pick a provider.

– Mark Bishopp | CEO Amaryllis Payments

Third-Party Payments: Hype vs. Reality

by: Mark Bishopp
CEO | Amaryllis Payments

As consumers, we face a constant assault from marketers fighting for our limited attention. In fact, studies show that the average consumer is exposed to up to 10,000 brand messages a day.

Many of these marketing messages are filled with claims that blur the lines between hype and reality.

Rice Krispies once claimed that the cereal improved a child’s immunity with “25 percent Daily Value of Antioxidants and Nutrients.” Improving immunity proved to be a little more difficult than snap, crackle, pop- Kellogg’s was accused of misleading consumers and forced to pay a settlement.

The complex payment space is no different as most claims (like the sample listed below) are more hype than reality.

  • Total control
  • 100% customizable
  • Instant onboarding
  • Fast, painless integration

As a third-party payment SME, I believe most of what is out there is hype or at best a broad generality left for interpretation. What provider doesn’t have the best solution? Can any provider really make such promises without concessions? The list goes on and on.

We’re publishing a six-part series on ‘what good looks like’ in supporting marketplaces, payment facilitators, and other third-party complex payment models. The series will explore what a complete technology solution for complex payment models looks like and the types of questions that need to be asked when evaluating a solution. Key topics will include:

  • Merchant onboarding
  • Transaction processing
  • Billing
  • Compliance and risk
  • Payouts
  • Reconciliation and reporting

No such thing as a perfect platform
Each of us at Amaryllis has been in the payments space a long time. It’s naive to think that there is a solution out there that is all-encompassing or a perfect fit. Based on our experience, merchants and their businesses are like fingerprints and snowflakes — none are alike — with unique business needs and targets.

What we promise our clients
We are the only software provider that has experience from both sides of the table, uniquely positioned to be a trusted advisor serving this market. We take a different approach than our competition by sitting down with potential clients, mapping out business models and talking about different solutions.

Custom Solutions
We guide you to the features and modules your business needs.

Business Support
We work with your team to help you target and pursue the most profitable opportunities.

Best Practices
We help you to embrace the fundamentals and best practices for omni-channel retail and the platform economy.

The series will guide you through our process as we explore what a complete solution for complex payment models looks like.

About Amaryllis
With a vision to optimize the complex world of payments between buyers and sellers, Amaryllis has developed a payment engine to support marketplaces, payment facilitators, and other third-party complex payment models. Built from the ground up, our modular design offers a complete, end-to-end payments platform or a single functionality to round out capabilities.

We’re publishing a six-part series on ‘what good looks like’ in supporting marketplaces, payment facilitators, and other third-party complex payment models. The series will explore what a complete technology solution for complex payment models looks like and the types of questions that need to be asked when evaluating a solution.

– Mark Bishopp | CEO Amaryllis Payments

Amaryllis Closes Significant Round of Financing – Continues Momentum

November 16, 2017
Excerpt: This month, Amaryllis has closed a significant round of financing, made two strategic hires, connected directly with industry professionals to answer questions and comments on the startup’s first CEO chat and made an impression at a major payments conference.

CEO Mark Bishopp says it’s been a whirlwind, but he’s pleased about the momentum and hopes to ride the wave as far as possible.

Article
“Startup Check-In: Startup Amaryllis Attracting Buzz”


Read Full Article >

Amaryllis Named a Top 10 B2B Payments Platform by PYMNTS.com

Excerpt: The PYMNTS.com Payments Powering Platforms TrackerTM is designed to give an overview of the trends and activities across B2B industry payment platforms. The Top 10 rankings are the highest scoring companies in the Tracker’s Scorecard based on PYMNTS.com’s proprietary methodology. The methodology evaluates providers based on the speed, onboarding, flexibility, processing, security, risk management, compliance, enablement and value added services offered.

Article
“The PYMNTS Payments Powering Platforms Tracker™”


Download PDF
http://pymnts.fetchapp.com/files/d6776c


Read Full Article >

PYMNTS.com Highlights Amaryllis’ Recent Success

Excerpt: Unlike its namesake flower, startup payment platform Amaryllis did not bloom quickly or easily. It did, however, do so dramatically in pursuit of its goal to redefine “what good looks like” in the market.

The startup was founded in 2011, but it was not until 2015 that it began working on its end-to-end third-party payments platform that is gaining traction today. That platform has recently been white labeled by Global Payments and Heartland, one of the top five merchant acquirers in the world.

Article
“Startup Check-In: Amaryllis In Full Bloom”


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Where Do Banks Fit in the Fintech Stack?

Governor Lael Brainard
Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System

At the Northwestern Kellogg Public-Private Interface Conference on “New Developments in Consumer Finance: Research & Practice”

Excerpt: By now, we’ve all heard estimates of the thousands of fintech companies that have launched in the past few years and the billions of investment dollars that are flooding into this sector. But for all of the talk of “disruption,” I want to underscore an important point: More often than not, there is a banking organization somewhere in the fintech stack.

Speech
“Where Do Banks Fit in the Fintech Stack?”


Download PDF
https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/speech/files/brainard20170428a.pdf


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How collaboration in the fintech industry can unlock digital growth

Jonathan Auerbach
This article is part of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting

Excerpt: Looking ahead, neither start-ups nor traditional financial institutions will be able to single-handedly provide the array of specialized products and services needed to address the increasingly fragmented financial lives of 21st century individuals and businesses.

  • New customer expectations are drawing traditional institutions out of their comfort zones.
  • The ability to scale remains a challenge for fintech start-ups.
  • The global economy is in a constant state of uncertainty.

Article
“How collaboration in the fintech industry can unlock digital growth”
Jonathan Auerbach


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The Amaryllis Payment Platform is a modular, scalable, feature-rich payment engine with years of best practices built in.

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