Offering online event payment processing…is it worth it? Will it bring you more sales or is it just an extra and unnecessary expense for your business?
This article makes the case for why online event payment processing is not only going to get you more clients and faster payments but are also going to lower your administration costs. There is no getting around the fact that online payments cost you money, but long term you WILL make more when you enable them!
What can online event payment and registration do for my organization?
Before we go into the reasons online payments are great, there is nothing like a real life example to sway you. One of our clients, Noam Masorti Youth, offer extremely popular camps and classes in the UK. They require participants to put down a deposit in order to reserve their space for upcoming sessions. In the past, each camp or class session usually filled up within 2-3 weeks but it took Noam Masorti Youth 2-3 months to actually collect all of the deposits, which naturally affected their cash flow. Even more, every year they always ended up with open spots on their programs because some deposits mysteriously “never arrived”. When Noam Masorti Youth began offering online payments they were able to close their programs at the same rate of 2-3 weeks but they also received ALL of their deposits in that same time frame! This made a huge difference for them and the way they can ultimately do business!
Online registration payments are the fastest growing method of payment, even suppressing cash as the preferred method for consumers and there’s a reason. While paper checks and cold hard cash were the currency of the 20th century, the 21st century is all about the credit card. Credit cards and online transfers are safer, faster and always available. While that’s all well and good, actually transforming YOUR small or medium sized business from cash and checks to online payment processing can be scary and overwhelming. (Here’s a great piece on everything you need to know about payment processing for small businesses). First of all, there is a cost associated with accepting payments online. And second, there are more things to worry about which could take precious time away from your other tasks, or so you think.
What options for event payment processing should you offer?
Credit Cards / Debit Cards
Credit and debit cards are the most common forms of online payment options, and you MUST offer this option.
Debit cards tend to cost slightly less than credit card processing fees, so offering both is a great option to achieve a lower blended rate of your overall processing costs.
And unlike electronic checks, which are detailed below, payments are approved instantly – so you won’t run into funding issues or bounced checks.
The one challenge that comes with offering credit card payments online is fraud and security, but a good online registration software should provide a merchant gateway that is secure and protects your transactions.
eCheck or electronic check is also called ACH payments. Your users would enter their checking number and routing number in order to complete a payment, and the amount paid would transfer from their bank account to your merchant account.
The great thing about this option is is provides an online payment option for users who don’t have a credit card or prefer to pay with their bank account.
This processing option is also the most inexpensive of all online payment options, so it’s affordable for you and your users. In general, the cost of processing an eCheck is a third of credit card processing rates.
So, why do you NEED to collect event payments online?
1. Collecting Event Payments Online Gets Your Money to you Faster
No more waiting for checks to clear or even arrive in the mail! Purchases made online are transferred quickly so you have more cash at your disposal. Your cash flow will improve, which will allow you to pay for business expenses more quickly, saving you time and money. More important, you will know right away which clients you should be holding a spot for in your program. How many times have you heard “the check is in the mail” and it never arrives? With online payments this will never happen. That spot which before would have been wasted revenue, can now be given away to another paying client.
2. Offering Event Payments Online is Better For Your Clients
Let’s face it, people will always choose the easier option. Typing in credit card information (that they might even know by heart) or entering an e-check into an online system is way faster and easier than writing a check, stamping and sealing an envelope and putting it in the mail. Make it easier for your clients to pay you! Offering online payments will net you more clients paid in full for your services in a faster amount of time than traditional methods.
3. An Online Event Payment and Registration Process Can Streamline Your Accounting
Online registration payments allow you to account for your clients money automatically. When someone posts a payment online it is automatically tagged and connected with that client in your database. No more guessing what check goes with which client. Online payments also make it easier to communicate to your clients their balance due as well as allow you to see how much money you are taking in daily, monthly, weekly and beyond. Your bookkeeper will love you for doing it (after they admit they were wrong in trying to convince you NOT to move to online payments)!
4. Processing Event Payments Online Prevents Fraud, Mailing, and Accounting Errors
Offering a safe and secure payment process via your online registration process for your clients prevents fraud and other unfortunate errors when sending money through the mail. Moving money back and forth between clients, for instance in the case of a refund, takes a few clicks instead of tons of paperwork and the work of several of your staff.
5. Collecting Event Payments Online Means You Receive Payments 24/7
The best reason to switch to an online payment process via an online registration software is your business is essentially open 24/7. You will receive and process revenue at all times instead of only when you’re in the office. Your clients can pay quickly and easily at their convenience and everything, data and multiple payments, are safely stored online. Having registration and payments all in one place ensures on time and early payments, safe and secure processing and the ultimate data management and accounting tool!
While the cost to process payments online is more than traditional payment processing, the time and money you save in the long run far outweighs the cost to offer this service. So what are you waiting for?!