Joining with an electronic bill payment and presentment (EBPP) or digital payment partner is essential to doing business in today’s competitive environment. Channel sellers need the most innovative digital payment solutions on the market if they intend to compete. Most banks, systems of record (SORs), and integrated software vendors (ISVs) have already selected an EBPP partner. The question is whether that original choice is still the most suitable for meeting their client’s needs now and in the future.

If you aren’t satisfied with your current solutions, it may be time to reconsider your relationship with your current digital payment partner. Here are some questions to consider:

1. What is Your Current Digital Payment Partner’s Uptime?

Ideally, a digital payment system would function 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Consistent uptime ensures that all payments, online or otherwise, can be processed whenever the payment is initiated by the payer. Because your digital payment partner hosts those payments, the speed and efficiency with which they are transacted are dependent upon their system uptime.

If you’ve ever experienced significant lengths of downtime with your payment system, you may want to look for a more reliable partner. Many EBPP solution providers cite scheduled maintenance as a primary reason for downtime, but even maintenance shouldn’t interrupt the flow of payments coming from your clients and their customers, the payers. If your partner has given no indication of their current uptime percentage, they may be attempting to gloss over costly system issues.

A good system up time should be higher than 99%. Preferably, it will be close to 100%, at 99.99% or greater. The extra nines in a system uptime percentage actually matter. For example, 99% system uptime would mean that a system is down for 87.6 hour every year, or three and a half days. 99.99% system uptime would mean that the system only goes down for less than an hour each year. A system that has been operating for years at 99.99% uptime is ideal.

2. Does Your Current Partner Reinvest in their Technology?

Many EBPP solution providers offer one-off solutions to their channel partners. A good digital payment partner will invest part of their budget into research and development every year. This guarantees that they can offer new services and improvements to their current solutions.

Ask your current partner what they do in terms of research and development. Ask for specific details about what new solutions they plan to offer you in the future. If they don’t reinvest in their own technology, it may be time to consider a new partner.

3. Do Your Current Partner’s Solutions Give Your Clients More Control?

Many EBPP solution providers offer solutions with rigid functionalities. They are often designed for clients in specific industries and can’t be reconfigured to suit every client in a channel partner’s diverse portfolio. Additionally, some solution providers don’t allow the white-labeling and reselling of their products.

The best payment solutions can be rebranded, reconfigured, and resold to unique clients in various industries. They should also give your clients control of their own solutions, so that they can be customized to suit the needs of their own customers. You should also ask your current digital payment partner if they can provide you with assistance in marketing their white-labeled products.

Add-on features that help you and your clients save on costs should also be available. If your current digital payment partner doesn’t provide add-on features to their signature solutions, you may be missing an opportunity to increase sales and provide your clients with additional value.

4. Are Your Current Partner’s Solutions Scalable for Growth?

In addition to customization, your partner’s solutions should be scalable for your own growth and the growth of your clients. For example, if you or one of your clients finds that they have grown exponentially, the loads of payment data that are being inputted into the system will also increase. You need a digital payment partner that can handle increasing loads of data without straining their system.

New clients and their customers also need to be onboarded seamlessly into your systems. Ask your current partner if they offer Single Sign-On (SSO) for their solutions. SSO removes the need for channel partners, clients, and payers to create new login information to use new and expanding systems. Your partner should be able to offer you a plan for growth.

5. Does Your Current Digital Payment Partner Provide Sticky Services?

‘Sticky’ services are solutions that increase your client retention rate. If your partner provides you with solutions that can’t be found elsewhere on the market, such as incentive-based tender type and payment card steering, they will help you retain existing clients and attract new ones.

Ask your current partner if their solutions are unique or if they are like those offered by other providers. Determine if their solutions are useful only for transacting payments, or if they offer add-on services that provide cost-savings and extra value.

6. How Quickly Can Your Partner’s Solutions be implemented?

Does your current digital payment partner calculate its implementation rate in hours, or months? Fast, customizable implementation and rapid speed to market is essential if you intend to compete in today’s innovative payment environment. If your current partner’s solutions take extensive amounts of time to implement, and if integration of new clients isn’t seamless, you could lose clients to your competitors.

7. Does Your Current Partner Offer a Product Roadmap for the Future?

At least one third of channel managers don’t track their partner’s success, according to Channel Partners Online. Above all else, your digital payment partner should offer you a plan for your future. That plan should include a roadmap that indicates how all your solutions can be scaled for growth and resold to new clients.

The best digital payment partners will be able to offer you actionable solutions that increase your ability to retain clients and attract new ones. They should offer you a referral partnership and be heavily invested in increasing your revenue. If your current EBPP and digital payment partner isn’t invested in your continued growth, it’s time to consider searching for a new partnership.