Robert Jablonski, Vantiv PayFac Marketing Team

If you’re familiar with payment facilitation, chances are that you’re already savvy about payments. As a payment facilitator, you become a “mini-acquirer,” managing your own community of merchants.

Payment facilitation can be critical to enabling new business models, but for developers it can present gnarly technical challenges. The top five “must-haves” for payment facilitator APIs are described below:

  1. Boarding & Sub-merchant Vetting

As your business grows, manual merchant boarding and vetting (think criminal background checks, credit checks and the like) will be impractical to handle manually. Look for API features that allow you to programmatically post information about legal entities and individuals, while providing services to automate background checks and approve underwriting. This allows you avoid spending hours or even days vetting every merchant application.

Transaction Tagging

This is pretty basic stuff, but payment transactions (authorizations, captures, reversals and the like) need to be sub-merchant aware. Look for API features that allow you to tag each transaction with a merchant identifier. You’ll need this flexibility in your application for processing, reporting and reconciliation. Beyond simple tagging, you’ll want interfaces that accommodate additional metadata for things like campaign identifiers – features you’re sure to need as you start facilitating payments at any scale.

Chargeback Management

Chargeback management is a hassle for merchants. Now imagine hundreds or even thousands of sub-merchants processing against a MID for which you’re accountable. Similar to boarding & vetting, chargeback processing needs to be as fully automated as possible. A chargeback management API needs to not only allow tracking of chargeback activities by sub-merchant, through all phases of the dispute process, but also needs to accommodate the variance of rules and policies associated each card brand.

Merchant Funding

The whole point of a sub-merchant signing up for your service is to get paid, so doing a good job in this area is key. Small payment facilitators may be able to manage paying sub-merchants themselves, but at any scale, automation becomes essential in this area as well. Look for flexible APIs that allow for precise funding instructions to quickly move money to sub-merchant accounts, various holding accounts, as well as your own accounts. As revenue grows and business models mature, funding APIs help ensure that information systems don’t get in the way of delivering new capabilities that can provide a source of competitive advantage.

OmniChannel Transaction Support

The way that consumers make payments is changing fast, with mobile payments, digital wallets, and various forms of stored credentials becoming ever more popular. A payment facilitator building an eComm/mobile payment solution today may need a point of sale solution tomorrow.

The payment APIs used to handle sub-merchant transactions need to be flexible and support a variety of card-present and card-not-present payment methods. The last thing a payment facilitator developer needs are separate sets of transactional APIs for each channel or each new method of payment.