Why Your Payments Stack Needs a Universal Toolbox


Svante Westerberg

Product Marketing

February 14, 2023

February 14, 2023

February 14, 2023

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a...flying toolbox?! For anyone who is already familiar with Pagos, you know we like birds and we care about helping businesses execute on intelligent, data-driven payments strategies. The reason we’re raising this question though is because we’re curious how folks visiting our website for the first time end up categorizing our business. 

What kind of player are we?

Where do we fit into the overall payments ecosystem? 

We’ve heard a few different examples of first impressions and figured we could open up a conversation about it here. 

Defining Lines

For starters, we are not directly involved in the processing flow: we don’t function as a payment service provider, processor, acquirer, orchestrator, facilitator, fraud, or chargeback service (and hence do not directly impact ‌performance). We are also not payments consultants, though we are a team full of serious and seasoned payments geeks. We care deeply about solving the complex and ever-changing problems found in payments (and your business) as well as helping increase payments knowledge across the ecosystem.

We set out to solve a key problem that we have heard about and seen from merchants for as long as any of us have worked in the industry: “Why is it so hard to get clear and actionable payments insights across my payment stack?” We quickly realized that the only way to solve this problem was by providing payments intelligence and tools that work across any payment stack (today and tomorrow) - a universal toolbox. So we're building a platform with services that works together across what we call the three As:

  • Awareness to help you gain actionable insights

  • Advice through monitoring, detection, and discovery

  • Action tools so you can execute with certainty

These three pillars create a flywheel that continually optimizes the performance of your whole payments stack: infrastructure as well as vendors.

One Wing to Rule Them All

You’ve got a problem, we have a bird for it. (Or we will.)

Think of a business as a building: though serving a common purpose, there are many potential floor plans and configurations, each requiring different combinations of structure, pipes, and teams responsible for their operation. The “pipes” may be provided by one or many vendors who then connect to larger systems of pipes (i.e. networks/schemes); each vendor provides proprietary tools that work for their specific pipes.

Our goal is to solve big payments problems for all businesses, which means our toolbox must work for any combination of floor plans, pipes, and teams both now and in the future. Having a universal toolbox—one independent from the building and the pipes (i.e. not limited-scope tools which may or may not be offered by each different vendor)—offers significant benefits for businesses. Here are some key examples in payments lingo so we don’t beak the metaphor:

  • Harmonized and Independent Data Visibility: Without a universal toolbox, you are often left with the manual task of comparing your data against data from one or more vendors (in different formats, often only available manually in separate dashboards). We provide you with all the granularity and slicing needed to better run your business, regardless of the configuration of your payment stack.

  • Monitoring: Something in your stack will inevitably change, be it an internal or an external one, and those changes can—and do—impact performance. Get alerted to any anomalies (e.g. dips/peaks in approval rates, declines, refunds, chargebacks, or even outages) before they negatively affect your customers and your business. This by default needs to be independent of what pipes are in your stack (you need to know as soon as something is off and why - not depend on others to tell you after the fact).

  • Fees/Cost: Anybody who’s ever set out to break down all the different fees that normally show up on the invoice from an acquiring bank/PSP understands how hard it is to monitor whether you are getting the correct fees and if/when they change unexpectedly. This pain is multiplied across all your payments vendors. Businesses often have to spend significant time and resources trying to reconcile different fee reporting formats. Our services help connect those dots for you.

  • Routing/Retry Strategies: Harmonized data points and metrics across your different providers—including your routing and retry options—is a must-have for any smart routing and/or retry strategy. We offer the independent intelligence you need for any combination of routing options, today and tomorrow. 

  • A/B Testing: Do you have a need to evaluate performance between different vendors (to determine where to send your volume, contract negotiation etc.)? Then being able to compare apples-to-apples is obviously critical. We give you a harmonized, independent view out-of-the box.

  • Network Tokens and Account Updater: If you work with multiple payment processors, you ideally want to avoid being tethered to any one of them as your tokenization service provider (TSP) and vault as this often leads to higher costs from having to tokenize the same underlying card value multiple times (across multiple vaults). The same is true for Account Updater services; you should know which card credentials will benefit from this service and avoid the cost of updating the same credentials multiple times. Toucan (tokenization) and Loon (Smart Account Updater) are our direct-from-network solutions addressing these areas for action; it's easier to drive and control performance across your whole stack with Pagos.

  • Building Your Business Case: Actual numbers are best to prove your business case for a change, new opportunity, or initiative within your payment stack. This is significantly more difficult to do when based on numbers coming from vendors that may be part of the initiative. The cross-platform/provider visibility our toolbox allows you to quickly identify and illustrate where there is room for optimization within your existing stack prior to  considering or making any changes to the pipes. 

So, going back to the original question: what kind of player is Pagos? Well, if your business is the building and your payments stack is the plumbing then Pagos is the toolbox that keeps your building, plumbing running as efficiently as possible by alerting you when something needs your attention, pointing out areas of improvement, and providing you with the best solutions for the job.

To learn more about Pagos, head over to or explore the Pagos Product Documentation. If you want to share examples of your own on this topic or if there’s something you'd like to see on our site that is currently missing, contact us:

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