If you‘re selling your own products online, handling payments can represent a great deal of challenges for your business. The onus of payment processing, billing, fees and taxation is fully on you. It‘s a heavy burden that affects your business’ performance and might disturb its balance. Payment obligations can not be neglected, and need to be dealt with actively, effectively, and most importantly, flawlessly. Collaboration with an external Merchant of Record is a possible solution.
What exactly does Merchant of Record mean and why should your business use such a service? Let’s summarize how it works and review its benefits with a real example of the partnership between the Survio and cleverbridge platforms.
What’s the Benefit of Merchant of Record?
Merchant of Record is a third-party platform authorized to take over full financial responsibility for processing any credit and debit card transactions made by consumers. This includes declined payments, user refund requests, attempted frauds, and a myriad of other complications that can arise when trading with your products online.
Simply put, Merchant of Record outsources a complete service, including billing, invoicing, and all other sales support concerning payment processing. Your product is being sold, but you do not have to keep up with all the frustrations around payments – the money goes to your account without any mistakes or complications.
Merchant of Record also manages other administrative duties for you, regardless of the final destination of the transaction. Merchant of Records always acts in accordance with the region’s current laws, ensures proper compliance with the PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) regulations, manages local VAT, and charges. That way, there’s no need for you to worry about whether the local standards and regulations are met. The name of the respective Merchant of Record will also be displayed on the customer’s account statement.
Is the Merchant of Record Model Worth it?
At a glance, the involvement of an external Merchant of Record may appear to be a more costly option than the use of one’s own resources, or compared to a Payment Only platform for instance. These other options may seem more financially affordable and ensure a secure payment process for your bank account, but all other financial responsibilities and administrative tasks will remain for you to address.
Needless to say, the more customers you have, the more intensively you have to face the payment issues, and even a small deficiency can lead to enormous losses and encumbrances for your business.
Ultimately, using Merchant of Record not only saves you total costs, but also a lot of time that can be used for other, no less important aspects of running a successful company, such as development or customer service. Properly secured Merchant of Record services also lead to a much better customer experience (CX).
Use Case: Survio and cleverbridge
Survio, a Czech platform for building online surveys located in Brno, Czech Republic, provides not only unpaid free services, but also premium accounts with an expanded range of useful features. The entire platform is translated into 15 languages and has users in 190 countries. With the rapid increase in the number of users and the expansion into many countries around the globe, plenty of new problems and queries have emerged. “Initially, our accountant had to process thousands of new invoices, and customer service was suddenly swarmed with questions. All the new tasks had to be delegated to other departments of the company,” says Survio CEO Ondřej Coufalík.
In 2017, Survio established a partnership with subscription commerce provider cleverbridge to act as its merchant of record. Because cleverbridge is a full-service ecommerce provider – offering everything from recurring billing to global payments to an optimized customer experience – they’re ideal for mid-size to large enterprise companies looking to scale globally.
“In order to open a dialogue with [cleverbridge], you can not be at the very beginning. It is necessary to have a turnover of at least 1 million Euro per year, which Survio managed,” added Coufalík. “The fundamental differences in work efficiency and the overall, versatile benefits did not allow for a long wait.”
How has it proved useful?
● Thousands of service invoices per month were concentrated into only two.
● The customer care team are dealing with more than 30 percent fewer tickets (specific payment issues to solve) related to the payment process, refunds, and similar issues, and has thus more time to support the service itself and for technical queries.
● Currently, Survio covers 48 types of payment methods, including novelties such as Swedish Real-Time Banking or Malaysian Ringgit, anywhere in the world without having to deal with some of them not working properly.
● The fewer costs and human capacity are now being used to develop and improve the product which is pushing Survio forward and increasing its competitiveness.
● All of the mentioned benefits together have led to a considerable increase in sales.
Forging a partnership with a Merchant of Record is a significant strategic step for every business and needs to be considered carefully in advance. Approached properly, however, it can definitely bear fruit.
Learn how cleverbridge can help manage, monetize and optimize your digital business as you continue to grow. We take responsiblity for recurring billing, global payment processing, compliance, customer service, and more. Contact our sales team today.