In order for your online business to survive and thrive, you need to be able to make money. And in today’s world, you need to be able to accept payments from people who purchase online your products or services. In this article, you’ll find out a few methods to easily process payments from your customers.
Past VS Present
Years ago, before the internet was a part of our daily lives, shops would send paper catalogues to their customers. Customers would select the items they wanted, and either fill out an order slip that had to be mailed in with a check or money order, or call the business and place an order over the phone, where they would provide their checking account or credit card information to the operator.
In some cases, customers would receive bills for their goods, which had to be paid before the item was shipped off. In some cases, COD, or Cash On Delivery was an option; therefore the customer would hand off their payment when the item was received.
As you can imagine, none of those processes are ideal in our hectic modern world, and mercifully, the rise of e-business has all but eliminated the catalogue. Instead, customers browse your site for the items they want, click to add them to the cart, and then check out to purchase them.
But how does the money get from the customer to the business? Here we’ll discuss 4 ways to easily process payments from your customers via your website. We’ll look at the pros and cons for each option so you can decide which is best for your online business.
The first option is to accept payments via Online Credit Cards or Debit Card Payments. This method is pretty straightforward, which makes it ideal for all sorts of businesses. When the customer reaches the check-out stage, they’ll simply enter their credit or debit card information directly into your site, which will authorize the charge.
The Good news
Nearly everyone has a card of some sort in this day and age. Our online devices can even store our credit card numbers and expiration dates, so customers can auto-fill these fields easily. Payments are usually accepted or declined immediately, and the funds will be transferred to your business account within just a few days.
Things to be aware of
There are almost always fees involved when accepting and processing credit card payments. When setting up an agreement with credit card processing software, be aware of all fees that will be charged to you, as the merchant. Some business owners incorporate these fees in their shipping and handling costs or the cost of the product itself, but that may or may not be legal in your area or per your contract. Always check first.
Additionally, you’ll want to be very sure that your payment processing software or program is secure. Credit card fraud is pretty common in online transactions, so choose a program that will flag suspicious purchases, keep track of chargebacks, and prevent hackers from stealing your customers’ information.
How to Implement it
You can easily accept credit/debit card payments by implementing an Online Payment Gateway. An online payment gateway allows customers to pay via a “Click Here” option on your website.
It is recommended to use a third-party service provider or software that will process the payment for you. That service may charge a fee based on transaction numbers, transaction amounts, or a monthly flat rate. Always double check the terms of service when using a third party resource.
The best online payment gateways you can implement and use in your website are Stripe and Paypal. They are very easy to setup, and if you need any help to set them up, you can find hundreds of professionals ready to help you. Just check below to have this quickly implemented in your website:
Customers love things that are easy. An online payment gateway allows them to make payments in large or small amounts 24 hours a day, without speaking to anyone.
Read also: How to accept payments on WordPress
eChecks are processed through ACH options, which in turn is part of the National Automated Clearing House Association. As a result, this payment option tends to be more secure than mailing a check, and allows for lower fees.
However, since your customer will be entering their private banking information, such as bank account and routing numbers, it’s a little more suitable for some businesses over others. For example, licensed and bonded businesses providing a regular service, such as landlords, day cares, and business-to-business services, may ask customers to set up a recurring eCheck payment.
You will need to be absolutely certain your payment processing system is secure. People are very hesitant to release their bank account information these days, and for good reason. If your customer is not comfortable entering their private banking details. You’ll want to have an alternative in mind if you are met with resistance from your customers.
The next method to accept online payments from your customers is through email invoicing. If your business provides an ongoing service, or a product with a substantial price tag, email invoicing with a click-to-pay feature can be very helpful for organizing your monthly expenses.
In this method, you simply send the customer a copy of their invoice prior to each billing period. Within the invoice is a link that leads them directly to a payment system, which directly feeds into your own bank account and accounting software.
You’ll be able to tell when and how each payment is made over a period of time, as well as get updates on which bills are overdue or coming close to the due date. This allows you to touch base with customers directly when payments are lingering.
A great software you can use for this case is Invoice Ninja. You start today, for free.
Is this method a good choice?
Email invoicing has started to take the place of paper billing, which is great news for our environment and business expenses. Mailing things costs money, whereas emailing is as close as we can get to free invoicing. You may need to pay for payment processing and invoicing software, but it might just be worth it to avoid all of the counting, collecting, and balancing involved with sending a bill and hoping for a check in the mail.
You can also process payments from your customers via Mobile Apps and Digital Wallets. From Apple Pay to Zelle, nearly all people who spend a significant time shopping online have a mobile payment app or online wallet. PayPay, Venmo, GPay, and the like are easy to use for online shoppers.
These sites handle the security issues, and users simply authorize the payment to go through. Furthermore, those who use app-based payment options have them constantly at their fingertips, whether on their laptop, device, or smartphone. Talk about immediate payment!
When a customer uses an app or digital wallet, the payment comes to your business via the third party. You never see the customer’s financial details, such as card number or bank account number. If there are any disputes, they are handled through the app or wallet.
However, be sure to check out the terms and conditions when setting up your business to accept payments through these apps. There may be fees involved, or certain requirements for returns and refunds.
Today’s savvy business owners are able to process payments from their customers via at least one of these methods, though having at least two options available for your customers is always a better idea.
When selecting the payment processing method that’s right for your business, always pay close attention to the turnaround time for payments to the seller and refunds to the buyer, as well as any fees or restrictions. You’ll also want to feel confident in their privacy and security methods; after all, it’s not good business to put others’ money at risk!
Be sure to consider your options carefully, and you’ll soon have your business set up to get money quickly and effectively.