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Onboarding new merchants, underwriting merchant applicants, monitoring transactions for fraudulent activity – technology is continually making all of these jobs easier and faster for payment facilitators. And available tools expand and improve rapidly as the PF model grows and as merchant and consumer expectations increase.

So which technology tools are critical to payment facilitator success today? In a panel discussion at PF WORLD 2019 hosted by Deana Rich, CEO and founder of Rich Consulting and co-founder of Infinicept, experts talked about how tools are enabling PFs to build better businesses.

Todd Ablowitz, CEO of Infinicept, described three primary processes where PFs rely on tools: “They have to get merchants live, they have to tell them about their transactions, and they have to pay them,” he said.

Each of these processes can have many individual tasks that need to be performed. 

For example, knowing your customer is a key part of the underwriting process, according to Linda Spinner, director of sales for LexisNexis. 

“Understanding who that merchant is, along with the owners, that’s the number one priority when [PFs] come to us that we talk about,” she said.

But thanks to rising merchant expectations, that understanding must come quickly.

“The name of the game right now is automated, automatic onboarding. That’s key,” Spinner said. 

“That’s what the largest, most forward-thinking payfacs are doing right now. As quick as you can get there, that’s what the merchants want. They don’t want to wait around, they want to say, ‘yes, I want you,’ and they want you to say, ‘you’re on, start processing,’” she continued.

And while underwriting is part of getting a merchant live, the process doesn’t stop there. Ablowitz described the need for PFs to perform what he called continuous or progressive underwriting.

“You don’t do all the underwriting at the moment when you meet the merchant when they first apply, because you might be hitting a mosquito with a sledgehammer. But you continue to underwrite repeatedly throughout,” he said. 

Ultimately, Ablowitz told the audience, it’s important for payment facilitators to remember that underlying all of the processes is a single driving force: the customer.

“The [PF] model is not an event, it’s a journey, it’s not a thing by itself, it’s just a means to getting you to better have control and serve your customers,” Ablowitz said. 

While many PFs are driven by a desire to increase their revenue or their valuation, it all starts with the customer, and that is where development and business planning should be focused, he said. 

Which means that if you find available tools or decide to build something yourself to serve your audience or make the work happen faster, “Great. Go that direction. But focus on the customer,” he said.