In the crowded, highly competitive B2B SaaS market, it’s essential that your subscription-based business is adaptable and flexible. In practical terms, this means that your business should be able to pivot to address evolving customer needs and solve for their pain points.
One such potential pain point is the payment process.
Now, while most of your customers (and your customers’ customers) likely don’t actively think about the payment experience, they certainly will notice—and have feelings—if the process is clunky or disjointed.
Fortunately for you, you can offer a payment processing solution that solves this issue for your customers, and also monetize the process. So, not only are you adding value and enhancing the experience for your customers, but you’re also creating a new revenue stream for your own business, reducing churn, and setting yourself apart from your competitors.
Now that’s a win-win.
You may be thinking to yourself, “This all sounds great, but I don’t know how to create or implement a recurring payment processor. How could I possibly monetize this?”
In short, you can implement a white-label payment processing solution from a third party, which allows you to reap the benefits of monetization without the heavy lift of actually creating your own system to process recurring payments.
I’ll take you through exactly how to do that, but first, let’s back up a bit.
What is payment monetization?
First, let’s take a deeper dive into what ‘payment monetization’ actually means.
Essentially, for you as a SaaS business leader, it means that:
- you add payment processing as a feature available to your customers,
- you earn additional recurring revenue when they purchase this feature.
Let’s look at an example.
Wix, a popular website builder, offers its VIP website plan for $45 per month at the time of writing. However, it charges a premium—$59 per month—for its Business VIP plan, which allows users to build eCommerce sites and securely accept recurring payments.
While Wix’s primary offering is still its website-building services, it has created an add-on offering (payment processing) that allows Wix to charge higher monthly rates for customers who choose to use the service. Wix isn’t a payment processor, but as an independent software vendor (ISV), it has implemented a white-labeled solution from a third-party payment processing business.
This allows Wix’s (the merchant’s) Business VIP customers (the sub-merchants) to process payments from their customers through a Wix-branded solution.
To the sub-merchant’s customers, it appears as though their payments are going directly through the sub-merchant’s website. In reality, a third-party payment gateway is securely handling the transaction behind the scenes.
But, the sub-merchant’s customers already trust the Wix branding website and can feel secure using a Wix-branded payment gateway as well.
Top payment monetization methods
Monetizing the payment process can be beneficial for many types of B2B SaaS businesses, although software and professional services are the most common verticals. There are several different methods you can use to monetize payment processing which allows for greater flexibility and implementation opportunities. Monetization methods include:
- Bundling payments into your existing subscription plans. This is what Wix did when it added payment processing capabilities to its regular VIP plan to create the Business VIP plan.
- Offer payment processing as an add-on service. In this scenario, you would keep your existing plans and price points, but add payment capabilities as an à la carte option that can be added to some or any of your plans.
- Monetize individual transactions. You can mark up payment processing costs, so every time your customers use that service, you’ll take a percentage. This can be applied for one-time as well as recurring payments.
- Charge by the feature. Besides offering a base payment processing feature, you can also charge for additional features such as generating recurring invoices, advanced reporting, pre-authorization, automatic payments, storing payment information, and so forth.
Depending on the functional requirements of your customers, you can select the best recurring payment processing monetization strategy—or you can experiment with different methods to find which results in the strongest payments-led growth for your business.
The impact of payment monetization on customer experience
When you offer a white-label payment processing solution to your customers, they can enjoy a more consistent, seamless experience—you become a one-stop shop by offering more features, greater value, and increased functionality. They won’t feel like they have to deal with third-party payment processors since everything will be handled by you (in partnership with your payment processing solution). The right partner will be able to help you with risk mitigation, strategizing, and onboarding to make the transition as smooth as possible for both you and your customers.
The entire process of payment monetization is designed to promote a high level of brand recognition and trust, both between your customers and you, and between your customers and their customers.
All this trust from a simple payment processing add-on?
Yep! Plus, when your customers are getting more value from your platform than they would from your competitors’, you’ll find that customer satisfaction improves and churn rates decrease. So, not only are you making more money from your new revenue stream, but your customer lifetime value (CLV) likely goes up as well since your customers are sticking around longer.
Who would say no to that?
How to start monetizing your recurring payment processing
If you decide that monetizing payment processing makes sense for your SaaS business, there are several steps to complete, including:
Obtaining a bank sponsorship
In order to offer payment processing services, you’ll need to be backed by a sponsor bank that is a member of an approved bank card system. It can take time to build a strong relationship with a high-quality sponsor bank, so this should be your first step.
Note: If schmoozing with banks sounds like the last thing you’d ever want to do, keep reading for an easy way to avoid this step.
Ongoing risk management is crucial—obviously, no one will use your recurring payment processing system if it’s rife with fraud and data breaches. So, you’ll need systems in place to ensure you meet regulatory and security requirements.
Merchant underwriting and onboarding
Before your customers can begin using your payment processing system, you’ll need to underwrite them—basically, vet them to ensure they are qualified and legally allowed to accept payments. Once they’ve obtained their merchant account (i.e., approval), they’ll need to be onboarded and trained on how to use your system effectively.
Fine-tuning your settlement process
A settlement process ensures that your customers actually receive money in their bank accounts when they accept payment from their customers and that it happens quickly and predictably. You’ll need to create a rock-solid, efficient distribution and settlement process that functions smoothly—or else you’ll soon have merchants pounding down your doors.
Offering excellent customer service
Finally, you’ll need to be prepared for inevitable questions, trouble-shooting needs, and chargeback requests that’ll arise. By having a friendly, knowledgeable customer service team standing by, you can ensure that potential concerns are resolved quickly and positively. Trusting a new system—especially with their money—can be difficult for some people, so be prepared for some soothing and hand-holding at the outset.
An easy solution to monetize recurring payment processing
Feeling overwhelmed by all those steps? Stax has a solution that’ll help with all the moving pieces. Stax Connect can:
- Save you the trouble of building a sponsor bank partnership from scratch,
- Underwrite and validate your merchant customers,
- Deliver branded enrollment systems to onboard your customers,
- Ensure strong security and mitigate risk with their in-house risk management team,
- Take complete ownership of your settlement process,
- Offer a wide variety of SaaS recurring payment processing methods, and
- Provide expert customer service to your merchants.
Plus, for an even more convenient and streamlined experience, you can pair Stax Connect with Stax Bill, which can take care of automating your recurring billing and subscription management processes.
Schedule a meeting with a member of the Stax team today to learn more about how we can handle your recurring billing and help you monetize your own payment processing system. We can’t wait to share more details about how payments-led growth can help scale your business, even during an economic downturn.