Business owners are presented with many payment choices in a technology-oriented market. As customers slowly move away from cash, there are now many new forms of online payment methods to choose from.
Navigating through the world of online payment systems can be challenging, so we’ll guide you through the most commonly used online payment terms and methods.
This article will show that, while important, the most secure options aren’t the only thing you should focus on— the ease of use should be a determining factor as well.
With this in mind, let’s see what online payments are all about.
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Whether you’re experimenting with accepting payments in cryptocurrencies or sticking to more traditional payment methods, one thing’s for sure: you should always set up a way to accept credit and debit card payments.
Despite all the novel online payment options, paying with credit and debit cards remains the most popular choice. According to a global CIGI-Ipsos survey, 42% of those who shop for goods and services online prefer paying with credit cards.
Not all cards are accepted everywhere, though. MyBankTracker analyzed the data from different networks and found that most merchants accept cards issued by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.
Card network preferences vary depending on the state or country.
So, if you’re looking to implement credit and debit card payment to your website, make sure to research the most commonly used card networks in your area so you can get a system that supports these cards.
Also, bear in mind that transferring funds is not as straightforward for businesses as it is when an individual user transfers some money to their friend.
To be able to accept online payments, business owners have to set up a merchant account. Customers can’t deposit the funds directly into the owner’s business bank account, so a merchant account is used as the middleman.
When a customer purchases an item or a service from you, the money first goes to the merchant account until the payment is verified. Only after the verification will you be able to see the newly acquired funds and control them on your business account.
Opening a merchant account can require underwriting, and you may be required to have a business license. Unfortunately, for some enterprises, especially smaller or newer ones, the costs associated with these processes are not viable.
Don’t worry; there are still ways you can receive credit and debit card online payments.
One of the solutions is to create an aggregated merchant account. You may have heard about a similar system before: we’re talking about payment gateway services.
Integrating a payment gateway into your website is an excellent solution if you’re trying to automate the payment process. A payment gateway gives your customers an easy checkout and allows you to receive payments around the clock–what’s not to love?
As we’ve said earlier, it’s not always necessary to create an individual merchant account to receive online payments. You can bypass that process and use a payment gateway to accommodate your customers.
Let’s see how that works.
Rather than each business owner registering their own account, some services provide aggregate merchant accounts to their retailers. These are called payment gateway service providers.
You’ve probably heard of and used the most well-known example of gateway services; PayPal’s Payflow.
A payment gateway is a secure element that connects your customer and their issuing bank to you and your acquiring bank.
During the process, it encrypts sensitive card information, ensuring that the information is passed on securely.
When choosing a gateway for your business, one of the crucial factors to consider is the implementation process.
Even though Regpack was primarily designed as a registration tool, you can use the software to sell goods and services. Relying on the same software for several services ensures easy implementation into your website.
Here’s what that looks like in practice:
The GIF shows how you can select a plan, make a payment, and confirm it in a matter of seconds. There are no redirect pages to complicate the process; the only thing your customers see is your customized, user-friendly payment form.
By selecting a payment gateway as your means of online payment, you’re making things easier for your customers and your business.
Customers get an improved user experience, and their information stays secure.
Since there is no need for manual transfer confirmations, business owners can use this technology to receive payments from all over the world at all times.
If you want to appeal to modern customers, you have to include mobile wallets among your online payment options.
The trend of mobile payments is booming; the market was valued at USD 1449.56 billion in 2020, and it’s expected to grow in the coming years.
Smartphones and the internet have become an essential part of consumers’ lives. They rely on mobile technology in their day-to-day activities, so it’s no surprise that consumers, especially the younger generation, are ditching cash and cards for smartphones they already use.
The most common form of offering mobile payments are digital wallets, such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, or others.
More than half of the consumers who use digital wallets for their transactions report that the most prominent reason why they use a digital wallet is the convenience of paying. Convenience is followed by greater security, a feature important to 14% of the consumers.
For consumers, the convenience of mobile wallets lies in the fact that they don’t have to fumble with entering their card number, CVV code, and other information from a physical card during each purchase. Instead, the credit card information is entered automatically.
It’s not only the customers who find mobile wallets convenient. Most popular e-commerce platforms support mobile wallet payments, so business owners who use these platforms can activate the option with no coding involved.
However, if you’re building your website from scratch, you may want to hire a developer to integrate mobile payment options.
Since all forms of online payment include multiple security features, such as encryption and tokenization, you have to ensure that all those elements are implemented properly.
If your customers don’t feel their sensitive financial data is safe with your website, they won’t continue purchasing there. This is why you have to implement mobile wallet payment options securely.
Still, remember to elegantly hide these complex configurations behind a user-friendly interface so your customers can shop with ease.
Businesses that are trying to reduce operating costs can find a solution in ACH payments. ACH payments are as practical as other online payment options and come with much lower transaction fees.
Short for Automated Clearing House, ACH is a U.S. financial network run by Nacha, used for transferring funds between banks.
Even though the ACH network has existed since the 1970s, it’s still going strong in the online payment market. In 7.70 billion payments, almost $4 trillion were transferred via ACH in 2020. And we’re talking about internet payments only.
The previous graph shows that the number of online ACH payments has been increasing over time, so it’s fair to assume that it will remain as popular in the future.
What makes ACH payments so practical for business owners are low transaction fees. Just like with credit cards, there are no set prices for ACH transfers. Fees depend on the provider, but they are generally much lower than with credit cards, rarely exceeding $1 for business transactions.
Plaid, a financial services company, has compared the cost of fees between Stripe ACH transfers and Stripe credit card fees. Here’s what they found.
For a $500 transaction, the ACH fee was $10,8 cheaper than a credit card fee.
This works with smaller transactions as well, where for a $10 payment, the ACH fee amounts to $0.08, compared to the credit card fee at $0.59.
Regardless of the price of the goods you’re selling on your website, ACH payments are more cost-effective than other methods.
However, before implementing an ACH solution, make sure to examine your cash-flow needs. Timing matters to some businesses more than it does to others, so it’s worth saying that ACH transactions can take one to three business days to complete.
If you decide on using ACH processing, plan your business activities with a potential delay in mind.
There’s another fully automated method for businesses to accept online payments: email invoicing. Generating and sending invoices by email provides a clear overview of purchases to both customers and business owners.
Some customers may be wary of mobile wallets because they dislike entering their financial and personal details into apps they don’t control. The same goes for entering such data on websites they’re not familiar with.
Since it’s unlikely that your customers are exclusively Gen Zers or maybe baby boomers, you have to cater to different online payment preferences.
By setting up an email invoicing system, you can allow customers to pay however they wish.
There’s no need to send each invoice manually. Integrating your customer database and a payment form in an email invoice system can eliminate human error and save tons of time.
To make the payment process clear, your email invoice should contain:
- The invoice number
- The due date
- The due amount
- An overview of the products sold
The following picture shows what an email invoice can look like.
You could go the extra mile and provide a link to a web payment form, so those customers who want to complete the payment faster can do so.
An additional benefit of a click-to-pay email invoicing system is coordination with your data.
When a customer clicks and completes an online payment, the system automatically marks the invoice as paid. That gives you an overview of the completed purchases without waiting for a transaction confirmation from the bank.
Good service is the foundation of any successful business, and a simple payment process is an important part of that. To retain your customers, you have to make the payment process straightforward enough that they can complete their transactions with no fuss and carry on with their day.
Did you know that nearly 60% of customers are less likely to make a purchase when they have a bad impression of the seller’s website? On top of having a well-designed website, it’s essential to keep the payment section looking clean.
When a customer sees a complicated payment process, they see a lack of organization, which then reflects on your business as a whole.
Even more seriously, they can become concerned about the security of their financial information and decide against the purchase. So, whichever online payment options you choose, you have to keep them polished.
Despite the sheer variety of ways to accept payments online, accommodating different customer preferences doesn’t have to be complicated.
Regpack can help you create an amazing online storefront, together with solutions for collecting payments.
An integrated online payment processing solution helps you manage all payment data in one place and eliminates the need to log each payment manually.
Regpack and its reporting tools make tracking payments easy. That way, you can get an insight into your sales and manage your business accordingly.
Running a niche business doesn’t have to worry you, either. You can create custom payment plans or tailor email invoices to your needs.
Regpack is not a cookie-cutter solution; you can use our software with flexibility.
If you’re starting a business venture and need help setting up a merchant account, Regpack can pair you with your preferred payment processor.
On the other hand, if you’re an experienced business owner with a well-developed online infrastructure, we can embed online payment solutions seamlessly into your existing website.
At the end of the day, the checkout process can make or break the user experience. Providing your customers with simple payment solutions enables them to quickly and securely complete transactions, purchase after purchase.
The world is moving towards online payment solutions, leaving cash behind. To get in on with online payment, you have to select the right choices depending on your customers and needs. Here’s a quick recap of what you have to pay attention to.
Credit and debit cards are the most frequently used payment choice, so all businesses should support this payment method. Be careful to get support for the card networks commonly used in your area.
Mobile wallets are gaining popularity, so it’s a good idea to enable those as well. Finally, some more traditional transaction options such as ACH and email invoices are still used—don’t write them off just yet.
Finally, you can accept online payments via a payment gateway, just make sure to find a provider that suits your needs.
All in all, there are multiple ways to accept payments online, so choose a suitable option that both you and your customers can use with ease.