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How to get the best out of a payments partner


What makes a great partner relationship? With our significant sector experience, we outline 5 key touchpoints that any potential partner should be considering

CashFlows has been providing merchant acquiring services since 2009, focused on partner channels. In that time, we’ve worked with ISOs, MSPs, payment facilitators and tech platforms that require a payment module - and will soon be accommodating the payments needs of marketplaces. We’ve learnt a lot about what makes a good partnership, so here are our five prerequisites for a successful relationship.

1. Cultural fit and the importance of excellent account management 

Choosing the right partner is not just about doing due diligence on the counterpart’s financials, legalities and competence, although clearly this is important. Nor is it just about agreeing a scope of work, a robust contract and project plan. Successful partnership is about the strategic alignment and cultural fit between organisations.

Being able to have honest and transparent dialogue from the start is a must. As is simply taking the time to get to know your partner. Some other considerations are:

  • What frustrations have led a partner to terminate or change acquirers?
  • What are the range of merchants a partner works with, and do these align with your own policies?
  • What are your partner's future plans to develop their business, and how do these relate to potential payment requirements?

Tellingly, it is the people and partnership-related factors, rather than the process and procurement-related ones that contribute most to a successful partnership. So, ensure your Account Manager understands the key drivers to your business. This may be the sectors you operate in, your functional requirements or reporting needs.

The more information the Account Manager has, the better they can serve your business. Share information relating to future strategy so that you can plan payment development requirements together. Ensure that you meet regularly and have a fixed agenda around the payment metrics that matter. And have access to more than one contact, preferably a more senior one, should you ever need to escalate.

2. Clear-cut, flexible commercials

No-one likes to receive a bill that is unexpected. Either due to the size of the bill or the fact they were being charged for something without realising it.

At CashFlows we take the time to ensure that our clients are fully aware of what they are being charged for. There are no ambiguities. Our monthly statements are easy to understand with no hidden fees.

Similarly, we can be flexible on commercials. For example, we’ve agreed volume-based pricing with a number of our clients, so our businesses grow together.

3. Instant decision and rapid on-boarding 

On-boarding is frequently the first critical test, which all too often results in a negative experience. Merchant go-live dates can drag out and expectations can be mis-managed. This can be deeply frustrating for partners. Not only do they end up committing valuable resource to managing a merchants’ expectations, but they also end up micro managing the acquirer. CashFlows aims to turn around a merchant approval and activation within hours, ensuring that revenue is realised at the earliest point for a partner. Ultimately our vision is to get this down to minutes, which we’ll achieve later this year.

4. Providing clarity around risk 

Culturally it’s beneficial to work with an acquirer that tries to on-board as many of a partner’s merchants from the outset. Rather than work with one who is immediately looking for reasons to decline merchant applications.

Merchants come in all different shapes and sizes – and we understand that. We take a pragmatic and practical attitude to risk. We like to be able to say ‘yes’ to as many merchants as we can. So, we have conversations with our partners up-front about tailoring collateral, settlement, boarding and commercial requirements to make that happen.

We also understand that cash flow is king and have a flexible approach to credit risk with a range of settlement options that provide swift payment – same day if required.

5. Access to data insight

Understanding where you can enhance your overall business performance is paramount. Payment providers have a wealth of data at their disposal. But data does not always equate to insight.

CashFlows has invested heavily in data scientists and data visualisation. This is to ensure our clients understand the impact various payments levers have on their business, whether that be understanding scheme acceptance rates in certain geographies or sectors, tracking transactions in real time, or getting the complete picture on chargebacks.

Find out more

For more information on how partnering with CashFlows could help your business, get in touch with one of the sales team today.