The New Year is often a good time for online retailers to take a step back from the day-to-day rush, and think about what you need to do to make your business run that bit better. More than anything else, you don’t want anything standing in the way of you making sales: if you can’t take payments, you aren’t in business.

If you have any concerns about your payment provider’s reliability, perhaps it’s time to make a change.

Changing payment providers is a big decision, but done properly it shouldn’t have a major impact on your day-to-day business. Here’s a short summary of how to go about it:

  1.  Do your research – search through online business forums, talk to peers, and build a shortlist. Do the providers on your list work with businesses like yours? What can you find out online about their uptime and customer service? Do they offer any value-added services you may need in the future?
    2. Register with your new provider – in many cases you can register for an account online with a few personal and business particulars.
    3. Tell your bank – for everything to run smoothly, your acquiring bank needs to know you’re making the switch in plenty of time.
    4. Break it off with your current provider – They may offer you a discount or a free upgrade to your package, which of course you’ll want to consider. But payments are the lifeblood of your business. If you have any doubts over your current provider’s ability to guarantee the flow of cash, you need to make the switch.
    5. Sign on the dotted line – to seal the deal, pass your Internet Merchant Account and bank details to the new provider. In return, they’ll give your developers all the information they need to integrate the new payment platform into your site and test it thoroughly.
    6. Switchover time! It’s time to make sure your site integration really works well. When you’re happy with everything, let your new provider know so they can finalise the switch with your acquiring bank. This usually takes two or three days, and your new provider will tell you when it’s done.

Payments are the lifeblood of any business and being able to process them is vital to maintaining a good reputation and a high level of sales. Having to change payment providers is something which most online business owners wish they never have to do – but it is an eventuality which you should at least be ready for. Hopefully, knowing what action you need to take will make the process much easier.