Growing your payments revenue through easier merchant onboarding

As a SaaS platform, you only earn payments revenue from merchants who actually use your platform to accept payments. When merchant onboarding is fast and easy, more merchants sign up to take payments, processing volume increases, and your revenue increases with it. 

March 14, 2024

Product news

As a SaaS platform, you only earn payments revenue from merchants who actually use your platform to accept payments. Regardless of industry, one of the biggest barriers preventing merchants from using embedded payments is the merchant onboarding process.

When merchant onboarding is fast and easy, more merchants sign up to take payments, processing volume increases, and your revenue increases with it. 

On top of that, a simple and predictable merchant onboarding process reduces support requests, freeing up your support team for other high-value activities. Merchants who use embedded payments are also less likely to churn, which means that optimizing the merchant onboarding process will inevitably boost retention. 

This is why we’re thrilled to unveil our recent updates to merchant onboarding.

Merchant onboarding with Rainforest

Even before these updates, merchant onboarding with Rainforest was already fast and easy.

  • The merchant onboarding flow is built into our embeddable merchant onboarding component. The merchant onboarding component presents the merchant with only the relevant questions and required fields, based on the merchant’s earlier responses.
  • Many merchants were approved in real-time, and those that required manual review were usually approved within hours (not weeks) of submitting corrected information.
  • We provide actual, human support. If you have a question about the status of one of your merchants, we answer your questions and work with you to find the best path forward. And unlike some big-name payment providers who are known for shutting merchants down or freezing their accounts with no warning, we collaborate with you to make sure we have all the information and find the best resolution.

“Fast and easy” is good, but one of our core values is quality and that means we don’t settle. We want to create the best merchant onboarding experience in the industry.

First screen of merchant onboarding component showing approximate completion time -- 5 minutes and 30 seconds.

Merchant onboarding enhancements

To further optimize the merchant onboarding process, we’ve implemented a number of updates.

Plaid integration

We noticed that asynchronous bank account verification could significantly slow the onboarding process. If the account couldn’t be verified, the platform would have to follow up with the merchant later to resolve the issue, and the onboarding would be paused until the merchant responded to the platform to correct or verify the routing and account number.

In order to eliminate the wait, we embedded Plaid’s instant bank account verification flow for authenticated bank logins. This enables us to verify both the existence of the bank account and that it is controlled by the merchant, instantly.

Plaid screen where users select their financial institution

Simplified instructions for payment activity onboarding questions

We also discovered that merchants might misinterpret payment jargon like “max ticket size”. This can cause them to contact your platform’s support team or input the incorrect information. 

In order to make it easier for merchants to enter the correct information, on the first try, without needing to contact support, we’ve reworded the payment activity questions on the merchant onboarding form.

Updated payment activity questions where "ticket size" has been replaced with "payment amount"

Improved visibility into merchant onboarding status

We received feedback from platforms that they’d like more insight into how many of their merchants are applying for payments, where they are in the process, and which merchants might need help.

To provide this, we’ve exposed the merchant application status and timestamp in the Platform Portal. This allows platforms to search and filter merchants based on payment onboarding status, so that platforms can track their payments adoption rate and follow up with merchants to provide assistance.

Merchant report in Platform Portal showing a new column for merchant application status.

Self-service for merchant onboarding application corrections

It’s fairly common for merchants to input incorrect information. These are usually unintentional errors, like transposing two digits in an SSN or entering a nickname instead of a legal name. Other times, merchants are reluctant to share personal identifying information so they provide generic inputs, like a string of zeros, and hope it will pass the verification (spoiler alert: it does not).

Resolving these issues can create a lot of work for the platform’s support team who needs to locate the incorrect or mismatched information, communicate the issue to the merchant, and work with the merchant to resolve it.

To solve this, we’ve added a “Needs Information” status to the merchant application. This allows platforms to:

  1. Listen to merchant application webhooks to know when a merchant application enters this status
  2. Automate notifications to merchants that they need to return to the onboarding application to make corrections
  3. Automatically present the merchant with exactly the information that needs to be updated, so the merchant can make the change and resubmit their application – all through the platform’s merchant UI

These updates to the merchant onboarding component make it possible for the platform to automatically notify a merchant when changes need to be made to their application, and for the merchant to make these changes and resubmit the application – without any involvement from the platform’s support team.

Prompt to merchant. "We were unable to match the business legal name and Tax ID. Please update one or both to match IRS records." Below the prompt in a form where the merchant can input the requested information and resubmit.

Document upload self-service

When we’re unable to verify a merchant’s bank account based on the information provided in the application, we need to request a bank document. We went ahead and added a self-service option for that, too!

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