What is merchant onboarding?
Merchant onboarding is a critical first step in every platform’s payments journey. Why? Because this is when a merchant is underwritten and what allows your business to accept card payments.
The merchant onboarding process involves collecting all the necessary information about your customers and their businesses for underwriting purposes. Examples of information collected include who the business’s principal owners are, the business address, tax ID number, and more.
For a deeper look into this process, check out our guide to managing merchants.
Finix merchant onboarding
Finix provides multiple ways to onboard merchants for SaaS platforms: APIs to build your own custom, self-hosted forms, and our prebuilt hosted forms. This is the starting point for how your customers are approved to accept credit card payments.
Here’s a breakdown of the use cases and differences between these options.
Custom-built, self-hosted form
The custom option puts you in the driver’s seat as you’ll be building your own form from scratch, on top of Finix’s API. This includes everything from aesthetics to the required data fields. While some fields are non-negotiable, others come down to what level of processing you’re aiming for.
You’ll also be responsible for hosting the form, collecting your customer data, and relaying that information to Finix.
Companies that want to self-host their form are typically striving to provide an onboarding experience that matches the rest of their user experience. By building their own form, they maintain complete control over the entire look, feel, and user flow.
What you’ll need
Since you’ll be in the driver’s seat when taking the custom-built route, you’ll need the development resources to shift out of park, get past neutral, and drive—as well as to perform ongoing maintenance. For example, your development team will need to make any updates to the form, including required data fields.
While this may seem like a con, the control this gives to platforms with the right resources makes it a major pro.
Prebuilt, Finix-hosted merchant onboarding form
We built this form so you don’t have to. It gives your platform a fast, convenient way to start onboarding customers while still providing them with a seamless experience. It’s also mobile-friendly for ultimate convenience.
While this form is built and hosted by us, it can be white labeled. This means you can make it yours by adding your logo, company color(s), and using a branded subdomain of your choosing. Finix runs in the background, but you’re front and center.
To help speed up the onboarding process, you can send pre-filled forms to customers that are already in your sales funnel. Merchants also have the ability to pick up where they left off if they can’t complete the form right away.
This option works best if your priorities are speed and managing your developer resources. Finix's prebuilt form can save your platform as much as three months in development time and get you to market faster.
Any size company can benefit from using our prebuilt form—you can always hop in the driver’s seat and build your own form later.
What you’ll need
Using the prebuilt onboarding form, Finix is in the “driver” seat, but you’re still part of the pit crew. You don’t have to worry about building your form, hosting it, or collecting the data, as we do all of this for you.
All you’ll need to do is customize the form with your logo and color(s), make a button or call-to-action that will initiate the onboarding process via an embedded link from us, and create an API call to pass information between your platform and ours. And voilà—you’re off to the races.
Check out our hosted merchant onboarding process flow chart to see how this works. For the nitty-gritty API details of how Finix onboarding forms work, visit our developer docs.
What else do I need to know about how merchant onboarding works at Finix?
Even if you’re building and hosting your own merchant onboarding form, you’ll need to add all the data fields included in our prebuilt form, as this information is required for underwriting. Since you’re creating your own form, you also have the option to include any additional fields you wish.
What sets Finix apart from other providers is that we do all of our due diligence for proper underwriting upfront. That means there’ll be no unwanted surprises or unexpected cancellations for you or your merchants as long as they remain PCI compliant.
Many other providers ask for bare-bones information which might make onboarding a smidgen faster, but can often result in processors dropping a merchant later—and sometimes without advance notice or any notification at all. This, of course, creates a terrible experience for you, your customers, and their customers. No one wants that kind of surprise!
We also provide support for passing multiple gateway and processor combinations via API calls. This means your merchants can be underwritten and provisioned for in-person and digital payments without having to fill out multiple forms.
The merchant onboarding experience matters more than you think
Whether you choose to build your own form on top of Finix API or use our prebuilt, hosted form, our merchant onboarding forms and processes are designed with the customer experience in mind—yours and your customers.
At Finix, we allow room for you to grow as your business scales. You can start with our prebuilt hosted form and build your own later, keep using our form, or build yours from the get-go. It’s all up to you. Either way, you and your customers can expect a seamless experience and you’re backed by a team of payment experts who are happy to help you along the way.
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