When the world wide web became available to the public in the early ’90s, the growth of eCommerce and online shopping wasn’t far behind. With triple-digit growth seen annually since its emergence in the mid-1990s, online shopping now accounts for 13% of all U.S. retail sales. Clearly, accepting online payments is no longer an option for your business—it’s a must.
One of the major benefits of accepting payments online is the ability to get paid faster and in some scenarios, expand your revenue outside your local area of business. For professional service businesses such as legal consultations or therapeutic services online invoicing lets customers and clients the ability to pay for your products and services from anywhere at any time.
Whether you’re currently transitioning your company to a digital format or you are interested in finding a more convenient approach to get paid faster, here are 11 ways your business can accept payments online.
Accepting Online Payments using Credit and Debit Cards
As a business owner processing payments using a credit card or debit card is most common. The process uses an ACH transfer (Automated Clearing House transfer) or the transfer of money electronically from the customer’s bank account through the ACH network to the merchant’s bank account.
These transfers don’t require a payment gateway to be processed (although you do need a merchant account). ACH payment transaction fees are usually lower than credit card processing fees and are charged either per transaction or at a flat rate. For scenarios where the card isn’t present, you can use its details to perform contactless payments via online or digital payment gateways.
Mobile Payment Processing
As payment technology continues to advance financial institutions are increasingly providing customers with the ability to use mobile phones for banking transactions. This increases your customer’s ability to pay for just about anything from anywhere. Accepting mobile payments saves time by allowing you to collect compensation right from your phone or tablet.
With additional payment processing methods such as Apple and Google Pay on the rise, cloud-based payments have become a necessity. Most credit card processors use cloud-based technology, so your data, as well as your customer’s information, is secure. In other words, mobile payments are secure, fast, and convenient.
eChecks Through ACH Process
An eCheck is simply a form of online payment. Money is withdrawn from the payer’s checking account through an electronic funds transfer (EFT). Funds are electronically withdrawn from your customer’s account, sent via the ACH network to the payee’s banking institution, and then electronically deposited into the payee’s account.
eChecks are one of the most popular types of recurring payments. Funds are verified within 24 to 48 hours of the transaction being initiated. Should the payer have the funds available in their checking/bank account, the transaction is cleared within 3 to 5 business days and the funds are moved from the payer’s account to the payee’s account.
Click to Pay Email Invoicing
Email invoicing is the exchange of the invoice document between a business and a customer in an integrated electronic format. Traditional invoicing is manual and tedious, often prone to human error resulting in increased costs and payment processing lifecycles for your business.
Email invoicing or electronic invoicing is an easy and safe way for businesses to send out online payment requests. With a simple click, your customers can open the invoice via email, input their preferred payment information, and pay you instantly.
With email invoicing, you’re also able to schedule payment reminders and recurring payment options for long-term customers.
Also known as auto-pay, recurring billing means the customer has authorized the merchant to deduct payments for recurring goods and services each month from their bank account. Payments can also be made with a securely saved debit or credit card. Recurring billing and payments prevent late fees by processing payments on or before their due date.
Recurring billing is effective for a wide range of businesses. Not only does it decrease late or missed payments, but it also improves your cash flow and assists your business with long-term financial planning.
SMS Text Payment Requests
SMS payments (sometimes referred to as text to pay) allow businesses to request payments and for customers to pay for goods, services, or products via a text message sent from a mobile phone. With the SMS payment system, purchasers send a text message to pay for an item or service.
With a 95% open rate over email invoicing, sending customers SMS text payment requests minimize your turnaround time of getting paid and optimize the opportunity for your customers to pay using digital payment options directly from their smartphone.
Related Article: What is Text To Pay And How Can You Leverage It For Your Business
Contactless Payment Options
Industry data shows that global contactless card purchases are forecasted to hit over $10 trillion by 2027.
This payment method is clearly here to stay, so if you currently don’t accept contactless payments, now is the time to upgrade your system.
Offering contactless payment methods provides safe and efficient payment options for your customers. Outside of mobile payment solutions, there are various types of contactless payments, including touch-to-pay credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, Android Pay, Google Pay, Fitbit Pay that can be used via smartphone or smartwatch, as well as other contact-free devices.
A Virtual Terminal is a web-based payment application that assists your business with sending invoices, scheduling future & recurring payments, and it securely saves payment information for customers with recurring charges. Fit for businesses that primarily operate over the phone, require online invoicing, or have recurring monthly memberships, virtual terminals incorporate your entire payment experience into one easy-to-use platform.
Built into your integrated payment platform a virtual terminal allows your business to accept a variety of online payment types including debit, credit, and ACH bank payments all from your dashboard.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) Payments
Peer-to-peer (P2P) payments refer to the transfer of funds between individuals or entities without the involvement of traditional financial intermediaries such as banks. These transactions are typically facilitated through digital platforms or mobile applications (like Zelle and Venmo) which connect users directly to initiate the transfer.
P2P payments offer a convenient and efficient way to send and receive money, eliminating the need for physical cash or checks. They are often used for various purposes, such as splitting bills, repaying friends or family, or making purchases from individuals or small businesses.
eCommerce Shopping Cart
eCommerce refers to internet-based stores selling goods and or services to customers. This online shopping network allows people to do business without the constraint of distance and time.
Simply put, once a customer has added items or services to their online shopping cart, they can go directly to the checkout page. There, they can pay with a credit or debit card, processing their payment digitally. This process allows your customers to complete their entire purchase without ever having to leave the business’s website.
Payment Gateway Plug-Ins
A payment gateway plug-in authorizes credit cards or direct payment processing for e-businesses, online retailers, or traditional brick-and-mortar stores with an online presence. Adding a payment gateway plug-in to your business website allows you to seamlessly process payments directly from your web store.
Adding a payment gateway plug-in is an ideal solution for businesses interested in selling goods and services online via an eCommerce store. Doing so makes purchasing quick and easy for customers and expands your client reach, expanding your business’s ability to generate revenue exceeding your local area.
How Can Stax Help Your Business With Accepting Payments Online?
Online payment solutions are crucial to modern business. Without them, you are unable to accept payment methods that are becoming an industry standard.
While card-not-present rates tend to be higher, with Stax you save more on the costs. Not only will your business have access to the wholesale card-not-present rates, but you’ll also gain access to the Stax Platform. This helps your business easily streamline payments, increasing flexibility in how you receive payments between in-store and online.
Whether it’s invoicing, recurring billing, pay by phone, contactless payments, or being able to receive payments through your website, Stax offers multiple online payment options that can help your business succeed.
How to Accept Payments Online: 3 Simple Steps
Every business operating in this current day and age—whether brick-and-mortar or eCommerce—must do so in an efficient and effective manner. A core component of this new era is the speed and convenience of payments. Further, it is crucial for small business owners to be able to accept payments online.
Not only is it a requirement for being up to date with the latest payment processing technology, but it is also a matter of meeting customers’ demands and fulfilling their expectations.
That is why the total transaction value of digital payments in 2023 is projected to reach a whopping $9.46 trillion. With more and more integrated payment platform solutions coming to the forefront, this figure is likely to grow at an exponential pace.
If you have just started your business or want to set up virtual terminals for credit card processing for an older entity, the process may seem a bit daunting. But even if it sounds stressful, it isn’t impossible to understand.
If you use the right kind of merchant services, you can begin to collect payments online in no time. Here’s how you can collect online payments and run your online store.
Step 1: Find an Integrated Payment Solution
To start taking payments online without any hassles, your best bet is to turn towards an integrated payment platform as your payment service provider. This will give you the ability to process and automatically sync major credit cards (e.g. Mastercard, Visa, Discover, American Express), debit cards, automatic clearing house bank transfers of ACH payments, and e-check transactions.
Thankfully, specialized entities provide these integrated payment platform solutions and make the process simple.
Built with scalability in mind, these virtual terminals for payment card processing can help you with accepting credit card payments online in no time using an easy-to-use payment gateway. But they do not stop there. Depending on the kind of payment technology you select, you can also accept an array of other digital payments.
These include but are not limited to digital wallets (like PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.), recurring billing, email invoicing, text2Pay, and bank account payments.
If you select an integrated payment method, you can also set up your point of sale (POS) terminal at your brick-and-mortar store with it. This way, you can see all your revenues and incoming credit card transactions in one place.
With Stax, you can offer a variety of payment options to your customers including credit and debit card payments, mobile payments, ACH transfers, eChecks, and contactless payments. You can even create customizable, professional invoices for your customers or send them a checkout link via text or email to get paid faster.
Step 2: Making Payment Provider Comparisons
You may have seen it firsthand.
It’s common (and widely expected) for your customers to shop around for details at other payment service providers before going with what you have to offer.
Similarly, you need to make proper comparisons between integrated payment platform services before selecting one for your online business.
Here, you will need to keep some key factors in mind. These aspects include but are not limited to:
- Functionality. Check what kind of features and integrations the solution offers. Does it help you keep your customers’ information safe by ensuring PCI compliance? Does it allow you to integrate your most commonly used business apps with its APIs?
- Ease of use. Evaluate how easy it is going to be for your employees to learn and use the solution.
- Variability. Check if the payment service provider is only offering virtual terminals for payment card processing or if you can accept multiple payment methods.
- Cost. Compare processing fees and costs between other payment service providers to make sure you are paying competitive prices. While there’s no way to accept online payments for free (because of the non-negotiable interchange fees set by card networks), look for a merchant account provider that doesn’t charge a host of additional fees or markups. Typically, they would pass on the costs of interchange and their markup in the form of monthly fees or transaction fees. As such, providers like Stax which offer membership-based pricing with no hidden fees or markups, are the most cost-effective for growing businesses.
- Customer support. Evaluate the level of customer support offered by each provider to ensure that you receive prompt assistance when needed. Look for providers that offer 24/7 customer support through multiple channels such as phone, email, or live chat. Read reviews and testimonials from existing customers to get an idea of their satisfaction with the provider’s support services.
Step 3: Setting Up Your Payment Solution
Now that you have made your decision about which online payment service provider to go with, it’s time to set it all up.
Some integrated payment platform providers make the onboarding process as smooth as possible. Make sure that you choose a solution that not only provides you with an easy setup but also goes on to offer long-term ease of use.
As a general rule, always keep in touch with the payment service provider while setting up payment gateways or virtual terminals for payment card processing. This allows you to ask questions and get relevant answers during and after the setup phase to avoid any potential issues.
The Bottom Line
At Stax, we make it quick and easy for businesses to accept credit cards in-person, online, and on the go. Through our best-in-class, integrated solutions, Stax gives your business the ability to accept payments anytime, anywhere across Apple or Android applications.
Our smart all-in-one platform is perfect for businesses that need online payment services or take payments over the phone. With simple invoicing, recurring charges, and online bill pay, you’ll get paid faster with Stax.
If you are currently in the process of finding an online payment processing software, reach out to Stax today. Our Payment Consultants will be glad to answer any questions you may have and help you find a solution that’s a perfect fit for you.
FAQs about Accepting Online Payments
Q: What are some ways businesses can accept payments online?
Businesses can accept online payments through various methods such as credit and debit cards, mobile payment processing, eChecks, email invoicing, recurring billing, SMS text payment requests, contactless payment options, virtual terminals, peer-to-peer (P2P) payments, eCommerce shopping carts, and payment gateway plug-ins.
Q: Why are online payments important for businesses?
Online payments are crucial for modern businesses as they facilitate transactions without the constraints of time and distance. They also provide faster payment processing, thereby improving cash flow. In an increasingly digital world, not accepting online payment methods may limit a business’s customer base and revenue prospects.
Q: Can businesses accept payments via mobile devices?
Yes, with the advancing technology, businesses can now accept payments via mobile devices. This method is convenient, fast, and secure, allowing customers to pay from anywhere, anytime.
Q: What are eChecks and how do they work?
eChecks are a form of online payment where money is withdrawn electronically from the payer’s checking account and deposited into the payee’s account via an electronic funds transfer (EFT). eChecks are popular for processing recurring payments and typically clear within 3 to 5 business days.
Q: What is Email invoicing?
Email invoicing is the digital exchange of invoice documents between a business and a customer. It enables businesses to send out payment requests to their customers online. Customers can then open the invoice via email, enter their desired payment information, and make instant payments.
Q: How does SMS Text Payment Requests work?
SMS payments allow businesses to request payments via a text message sent from a mobile phone. With a high open rate, SMS payment requests offer a quick turnaround time for receiving payments and allow customers to use digital payment options directly from their smartphones.
Q: What are contactless payment options?
Contactless payment methods allow customers to make payments without physically touching payment hardware. These methods include touch-to-pay credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, Android Pay, Google Pay, and Fitbit Pay. They can be used via a smartphone, smartwatch, or other contact-free devices.
Q: How can Peer-to-peer (P2P) Payments benefit businesses?
Peer-to-peer (P2P) payments allow the transfer of funds between individuals or entities without the need for traditional financial intermediaries. They offer a convenient and efficient way to send and receive funds, eliminating the need for physical cash or checks.
Q: What is an eCommerce shopping cart in the context of online payments?
An eCommerce shopping cart is a software application that allows customers to select and store items for purchase while browsing an online store. Upon checkout, customers can pay for these items using their desired online payment method.
Q: What is a Payment Gateway Plug-In?
A payment gateway plug-in authorizes credit cards or direct payment processing for e-businesses and online retailers. This plug-in allows businesses to seamlessly process payments directly from their e-commerce store.
Q: How can businesses set up an online payment solution?
Businesses need to select an integrated payment platform that can process major credit cards, debit cards, ACH payments, and e-check transactions. Comparison of different providers, considering functionality, ease of use, payment methods supported, cost, and customer support is crucial in making an informed decision. After selecting the provider, businesses can set up the solution with the help of customer support from the provider.
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