In our previous articles we addressed different types of payment terminal solutions. If you decide to utilize an embedded terminal solution, then one of the key questions you have to address is how to implement fulfillment of the terminals, which is going to involve proper key injection into the brand-new (or factory-unlocked) terminals, and how to do the initial software load.
The classical arrangement of fulfillment process is as follows. A contract is signed with a reseller of payment terminals. The reseller (fulfillment company) is going install the necessary applications, inject encryption keys, and ship the terminals to the merchants. Some fulfillment companies also can do servicing of the terminals, as well as provide support and take inbound customer calls.
When you select a payment terminal fulfillment partner, it is important to keep several points in mind. First, your partner should be capable of installing the applications you need, including the ones you’ve developed yourself. Second, your partner needs to be able to inject the keys for the processors you need (in those countries you need to be processing). This second aspect is particularly important when you are working with multiple acquirers and in multiple countries.
When you think through your payment terminal fulfillment mechanism, we highly recommend you to map out the following processes (and how they will occur).
- Initial order. How is the payment terminal order going to be captured from a merchant? Who will capture the order (you or fulfillment center)? If it is you, how is it going to be placed in the fulfillment center? (The merchants can place the order on your web-site, so that you will forward the order to a fulfillment centre, or they can directly address the fulfillment centre themselves). How will the appropriate terminals be set up within your gateway and/or terminal management system (TMS)?
- Modification of orders. A merchant ordered three terminals of a certain model and then decided that he needed an extra terminal. Or, maybe, he decided that one of the terminals had to be of a different model. Appropriate procedures must be developed for the cases, when an order has not been sent for fulfillment yet, as well as for the cases when the order has already been submitted for fulfillment (or even has been shipped).
- Cancellation of orders. Procedures, similar to the abovementioned order modification scenarios must be developed.
- Return of terminals. A terminal can have some defects, or a merchant can terminate his partnership with a respective payment service provider. In both cases, the terminal has to be returned. Respective procedures for return or exchange of the terminals must be implemented. A re-stocking strategy must also be in place, as the returned terminals (previously rented by some merchant) might be re-purposed elsewhere.
- Maintenance issues. If merchants experience technical problems with a terminal, there needs to be a service they can contact. Respective support procedures should be thought through.
- Stock shortages. You should also consider your strategy for potential stock shortages. The two most common approaches are as follows. First, you can pre-purchase terminals of certain models in advance. For example, you may purchase 500 terminals from a fulfillment center, and when only 50 of them are left in stock, you automatically order the next 500. Second, you can sign agreements with several fulfillment centers and maintain some stock with each.
If you are a provider of embedded terminal solutions, you need to pay particular attention to your payment terminal fulfillment process, and make sure that it is tailored for your needs or needs of your merchants, and those of your embedded solution.