Premier Payments Online (PPO) is a registered ISO and agent with multiple acquirers and processing partners. They offer both domestic and international merchant services. Via a network of providers, they service all merchant types and sizes. Funding payments are made directly from the banks to the merchants, with any reserve funds held directly at the bank. For merchants requiring international processing, their customer service specialists can assist with the entire process, including establishing international corporations. Matthew Conway, PPO's chief financial officer, says one of the company's strengths lies in discovering and implementing specialty processing solutions for unique business operations. He shared more insights with West Chester Lifestyle.
- Take us into the interesting world of the payment industry.
Most people reading this have at least one credit card, yet probably don't know how a transaction happens. The process of how their information gets transmitted and ultimately either accepted or declined is rather complicated. To summarize this process, first it's important to define some of the key players. Issuing banks are financial institutions that provide traditional banking services, such as savings and checking accounts, loans and credit card issuance to consumers and commercial businesses. Acquiring banks are financial institutions that provide merchants with merchant processing accounts and handle the acceptance and payment of credit card transactions on those accounts. After you swipe your card, or enter your card info online, the merchant must validate your card information and get authorization to charge your account. This is handled by the card-issuing bank, which either approves or declines the transaction. Transaction info is transmitted to the card-acquiring bank, which automatically routes data to the card associations (MasterCard, Visa) network, also referred to as interchange. Here the card-issuing bank is identified, and the transaction is forwarded to that bank. The card-issuing bank then checks the customer’s account to see if the transaction can be approved. If approved, the issuer sends an approval code that's sent back through interchange to acquirer until it reaches the merchant's POS terminal, and the merchant knows the transaction has been approved. This is only half of the equation, as there's still the matter of how the merchant receives funds. There's a ton that goes into the process. all in a matter of seconds.
- What business sectors does your company serve?
We service all business sectors and can meet all their retail and eCommerce needs.
- Do you service merchants of certain sizes?
We service merchants of all different sizes with a particular focus on small- and medium-sized businesses. Nowadays, merchants of any size can utilize an Omnichannel approach, and we make it easy for merchants to process eCommerce, retail, mobile and scheduled payments on any device, anywhere, all from one payment gateway platform.
- What exact financial services do you provide?
We provide merchants with all the necessary tools needed to accept credit card payments. We offer merchants a bevy of features to make both their, and their customers' lives, easier. Whether talking about a tailored hardware or software solution, or ensuring merchants are protecting themselves and customers from fraud, PPO covers it. Are you a retail or restaurant business looking for an exciting mobile-based solution? Or perhaps you're in construction and need a cloud-based invoicing solution that automates accounts receivable from bill presentment, follow up, collection and reconciliation, without changing your customer's current process. We offer services to optimize businesses.
- What benefits are provided to PPO clients and how do you operate differently than competitors?
We pride ourselves on our customer service. We're a small business, so when one of our merchants needs help, it is myself or one of my colleagues there to assist. You won't have to wait on hold to get through to us like other competitors that outsource customer service responsibilities. We also offer merchants the ability to have a merchant service solution tailored to their specific business.
- How did you adjust your business approaches for the COVID-19 pandemic that hit merchants during 2020?
The biggest effect the pandemic had on the payments industry is it accelerated the need for a strong digital presence, and not just giant retailers. Merchants of all sizes must be able to offer their customers a digital experience. Whether that's through an online shopping cart, or a shop online pickup in-store feature, if there's one thing this awful pandemic has shown us, it is customers' buying experience is changing.
- What measures did your company take in assisting clients to adapt to pandemic-related changes in customer service?
With the increase in online payments that the pandemic brought, so has come an increase in fraud. Scammers have gotten better at stealing consumers' information through phishing campaigns, which is why it's even more imperative that merchants have every tool in place to guard against bad actors and their scams. We work with our customers to make sure they are PCI-compliant and are setup to protect themselves and customers from getting their information stolen.
- Are you launching new services for 2021?
There will be a continued focus on digital technology.
- What else is important to know about PPO?
As a local small business, we know what others like ourselves go through, and want to make your life as easy as possible. With 15-plus years of experience in the payments industry, we understand the importance of leading technology that can adapt to any business, store, industry or customer type.
925 Harvest Drive, Blue Bell, PA