360 Payments: Payment Processing For Parts Ecommerce – Insider Interview Series

We’ve recently come to know 360 Payments, a payment processing company with a huge presence in the auto industry (primarily in automotive repair, but also in several other niches). We interview one of 360 Payments account executives (Taylor Maxwell) below, specifically focused on how their payment processing solution can integrate with popular parts and accessories ecommerce platforms.

NOTE: Before we get into this interview with 360 Payments, we want to make sure everyone reading understands that we don’t mention 360 Payments casually. If you visit the 360 Payments website, you’ll see that we are an official partner. We do not agree to partnership-type relationships as a general rule, but because we have vetted this particular company carefully, we have seen what they can do, and we don’t hesitate to recommend 360 Payments alongside our other preferred processors.

Photo of Taylor Maxwell 360 payments
Taylor Maxwell, Partner Account Executive, 360 Payments

Can you describe your service?

We started with a simple mission: to help business owners provide for their families by making payment processing an afterthought. The credit card processing industry has a reputation for being shady, dishonest, and confusing. We work every day to be the exact opposite of those stereotypes by delivering honest and pain-free payments.

What’s your standard ‘elevator pitch’ for your company?

360 Payments is the leading payment processing and gateway services company for the automotive industry. We make credit card payments simple, secure, and streamlined for auto parts retailers and shop owners through seamless integration with dozens of leading shop management software and digital vehicle inspection tools and features like Text-to-Pay, 360 CFP (consumer financing), and 360 Capital (business financing).

What are the most common misconceptions people have about your business and about online payment processing in general?

A lot of people believe that credit card processors are a dishonest bunch who take advantage of hardworking business owners. Unfortunately, this stereotype can be quite accurate. At 360 Payments, we’ve set out to eliminate everything that’s wrong with credit card processing. For example:

  • All of our clients pay month-to-month – we have to earn their business every single month
  • Our statements are clear and easy to read – no junk fees or line items you don’t understand
  • We never lease terminals to our customers. This is important, as leases often cost $1,000+ over the term of the lease, even though terminals cost a fraction of that.

I’d even go so far as to say that equipment leasing is a predatory practice in the payment processing industry that does not have the customers’ best interest in mind.

How do you quantify the value of the services you offer? Is there a good way to estimate the ROI of switching to 360 Payments?

There are three main ways to estimate the ROI of working with our company:

  1. We’re often able to save our customers money in terms of processing fees.
  2. Because we offer several payment solutions (not just credit cards – we also offer consumer-friendly financing), our clients often see an increase in average transaction value.
  3. We provide better service to both our clients and their customers.

To the first point, we’re often able to reduce the amount of money our clients spend on credit card processing.

To the second point, one of our payment solutions is called “360 CFP.” Using 360 CFP, our clients can offer their customers the ability to stretch a purchase expense out over several months. This makes it easier for customers to afford a major purchase and can have a big impact on average order value.

Another benefit of offering financing: higher customer satisfaction ratings. Consumers appreciate it when retailers offer more options than just “cash or charge.”

To the final point, our practices are fair, our statements are easy to understand, we’re an enterprise-grade payment processor, and most importantly we answer the phone! When our clients have a question or a problem, we don’t make them “chat online” or “email support” (unless they want to of course) – we have a phone number…and we have experienced and helpful staff answer it! If our clients are having problems with a transaction, a payment being held, a question about a line on a statement, help with a terminal (whatever) – call. We’re available.

What are the 3 most important things people need to know about your company?

  1. We know the automotive industry, and we work with just about every company in the industry. Odds are if you’re a speed shop, a parts retailer, a detailer – whatever – we already work with some or all of the tools you’re using.
  2. We’re more than just a payment processor. Processing credit card payments is just the beginning – most of our clients find that our business and consumer financing options are game-changing.
  3. We’ll give you an honest assessment of your current payment processor. There’s no harm in getting a second opinion on your current payment processor, and if we can’t offer you a better deal (or a better experience), we’ll tell you.
Learn more by visiting 360Payments.com

What do you attribute to 360 Payments’ success?

We have small business roots, and we’ve never forgotten them. While we now have over 7,000 customers across the US and Canada, we haven’t lost sight of the early days of 360, pounding the pavement in the San Francisco Bay Area. We know it takes hard work, sacrifice, and a good team around you to build a successful business. We’re very proud of what we’ve created over the past 11 years, and in large part our success is due to an unwavering emphasis on customer service, a consultative, no-BS sales approach, and a commitment to be a true partner to our customers, not just another vendor.

Where do you see the market for your product/service moving over the next 5 years?

Integrated payment technology is going to continue to advance – there’s no doubt about that. Online retailers in particular need to offer financing solutions to their customers, and most of the companies that offer financing don’t have the foggiest idea about the unique needs of the auto industry.

Anything else you’d like to share with Spork’s readers?

Credit card processing gets a bad rap, and I understand why, believe me. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re sick of worrying about your payments, fighting with your processor (or worse, being ignored when you need help), and spending way more than you know you should, please shop around. There are good providers out there, ones who are invested in your future and are willing to go the distance with you.

Summing Up

360 Payments is a payment processor for the auto industry, with thousands of clients in the business. At Spork, we encourage anyone looking for payment processing to contact 360 Payments, as they offer several online payment integrations.

But generally speaking, the most important things to look for in parts ecommerce payment processing are:

  1. Easy integration with your ecommerce platform. Most of the specialized payment processing companies we’ve encountered over the years have their own payment gateways, with mixed results. We recommend going with a provider that is well known OR that uses a well-known gateway. 360 Payments, for example, uses Authorize.net as their gateway, which is top tier.
  2. No contracts. Long-term contracts are always a red flag for us at Spork. We find that most of the service providers who need a 6 or 12-month commitment provide poor quality service. In fact, this is the reason that we (Spork Marketing) don’t require our clients to sign up long-term – everyone is month-to-month. (We’ve talked about that before on the SporkMarketing.com blog. Check it out here.)
  3. Payment method-based fees. While we like both PayPal and Stripe for payment processing, they both offer flat rate fees that cost retailers money. 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction is what PayPal and Stripe charge, but these flat rate fees don’t acknowledge that certain types of cards have substantially lower processing fees. Ideally, the fees you pay would be based on the payment method used (e.g., Visa Debit vs. American Express) rather than a flat rate that’s easy to understand (but that costs you money).
  4. Helpful support. Again, while we like both PayPal and Stripe for ecommerce payment processing, many of our clients have complained about poor service from both. Several times our clients have been frustrated by either speaking to someone at an overseas phone center who is not helpful and/or emailing support and waiting hours or even days for a reply on an urgent issue.
  5. No equipment requirements. While there are certainly reasons to have a credit card terminal, many of our clients don’t use them often enough to justify buying them. If you can work with a processor that doesn’t make you buy gear you’re not going to use very often, that’s obviously good.

As you can see, 360 Payments is 5-out-of-5 on our list. Be sure to check them out.

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