What Payment Enablement Companies Actually Offer

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read

On the Numeric Citizen Blog:

Explain to us how payment providers can differentiate themselves? It’s a very basic and narrow feature. Why one dev would use XYZ payment processing over Apple’s? It’s not about commission %? Are you sure? That’s the only differentiating factor.

As someone who works in payments, I wanted to add some color here, because the different percentage is far from the only differentiator. I see a lot of people discussing payments online and while some are experts or are merchants who use these services, most are not merchants selling goods online, and far fewer have payments expertise. There are a multitude of things that payment providers (acquierers, ISOs, ISVs, and gateways, but we'll focus on gateways and ISVs).

In addition to lower fees, benefits of using a payment provider include:

  • Secure, tokenized customer data
  • Unified reporting across platforms and payment methods
  • Faster (next day, in many cases) funding
  • Card present processing
  • Level III data
  • Chargeback management and protection
  • Webhooks
  • Robust recurring options
  • Easy integrations with other services/marketplaces/etc.
  • Automatic card updater services
  • Invoicing
  • Hosted checkout and product pages
  • Full on hosted storefronts
  • Specialty certifications (airlines, medical, etc.)
  • Mobile and desktop apps
  • Inventory management
  • And more…

And these are all just features that merchants can pick and choose from to let them run their businesses how they want. And in most cases, merchants can get all of this and still pay far less than 30% of their revenue to the provider.


Let’s face it: a payment processing system is a feature, not a product. They accomplish a narrow task of allowing users to purchase with a credit card or other payment methods for goods (digital, virtual or physical). That’s about it.

Again, you’re going to get a hard disagree from me, and I would argue that while the customer experience may seem like they’re all the same, the merchant experience and the platform experience are quite differentiated. Not only that, the many big names in payments are fiercely competing to acquire merchants with innovative technology and features that let merchants run their businesses better. If this were a commodity business, then we’d all be racing to the bottom, but that’s not the case at all.

You may still think that having Apple process every payment for every company who’s customers are on iOS is better, but to argue that all payments arer the same and that merchants can only save money by using someone other than Apple is simply not looking at the full picture.

And if you're at all interested in how e-commerce works for most merchants these days, check out my video on how this works in that space.