As we approach the end of the decade, cash payments are becoming a thing of the past. More and more businesses are ditching cash and choosing online and mobile payments, as online payment becomes customers’ preferred payment method. 

Today, nearly 1 out of 5 consumers make purchases with their mobile phones, and that is only expected to rise. As a small business owner, you need to keep up with the online and mobile payments trend. These digital forms of payment are not only convenient for your customers but will also greatly help you collect payments on time, which, in turn, will improve your cash flow.

“Today, nearly one fifth of consumers make purchases with their mobile phones… you need to keep up with the online and mobile payments trend.”

When it comes to accepting payments online, you want to offer a variety of options. After all, some customers uses more than 3 different payment methods for their monthly bills. And, as technology keeps evolving, so will online payments.

Where Consumers Plan to Shop This Holiday (2018 results)
Source: NRF 2018 Holiday Spending Survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics 

Here are the easiest and most popular methods for collecting payments digitally and saying goodbye to cash and checks!

How to accept credit card payment on your site

Every small business today should accept online and mobile credit card payments in a safe and secure way no matter if they are an e-commerce store or physical business that provides a service. It makes your life and your customers’ lives so much easier. Here’s how to get started. 

The most obvious and intuitive way to accept online payments is to accept credit cards and on your business’ website. In order to accept credit card payments on your site, you need the following:

I) Choose a website or e-commerce platform

A website or e-commerce platform for customers to go to when making purchases. If you use an online marketplace platform like Etsy or eBay, it will offer you to connect your Etsy or eBay shop to an online payment processor like Paypal.

II) Setup a secured gateway

A secure payment gateway that encrypts credit card payments so customers can feel secure using your site to make purchases.

III) Add a merchant account

A merchant account to process online payments

There are a variety of online payment processing tools that come with both a secure payment gateway and help you set up a merchant account to process online payments.

Most popular payment gateway and merchant account tools include:

It’s important to keep in mind that each of these solutions makes its money by charging you, the merchant, fees. The fees will not be felt by your customer, which is very important. But it’s a good idea to research each payment processing solution to find out their fees and their payout schedule—find out how quickly you’ll receive the money.

How to choose a Merchant Service Provider

The first step is to choose a merchant service provider to set up your merchant account. Merchant service providers are companies that give you the ability to process credit and debit card payments for your business’s goods and services. There are a lot of different merchant service providers to choose from, so it’s important to make sure that the one you choose offers these:

How to choose a merchant service infographic
  • Fraud protection
  • Different ways to process payments- online, mobile and point of sale (POS)
  • Low fees for each transactionIt’s important to choose a merchant service provider that meets your business’ specific needs.

Once you’ve chosen the merchant service provider that you like best, you then need to open a merchant account with them in order to start accepting payments through their service. Once you are all set up with your merchant account, you need to sign up for an online payment gateway like Stripe or PayPal.

These services process your clients’ and customers’ payments for you with the credit card issuers (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and more). In return, they charge you, the business owner, a fee for each transaction. But, don’t worry, they do not charge your customer! 

What is the best online payment service?

There are many online payments services out there, each offers different benefits and plans, the main ones are
– PayPal.
– vCita
– Stripe
– Amazon Payments
– WePay
– Dwolla
– Braintree
– WePay
– 2Checkout

The Benefits of Accepting Online and Mobile Payments

There are a variety of data-driven reasons why every business benefits from accepting credit card payments online. For starters, it’s more convenient, secure, and measurable than using cash. Here’s a closer look at why you should begin accepting credit card payments online:

Why accepting payments online?

1. Your customers prefer it

Online payments are growing in popularity, and it’s easy to see why. Paying online is faster and more flexible. It supports multiple currencies and allows your customers to have more options for payment. The average American consumer has 2.6 credit cards. It’s important that your business can accept payments from each of them.

2. It improves your cash flow 

The beauty of online payments is that the processing is extremely fast, which is great for your business’ cashflow. Unlike checks, which can take up to 10 business days to clear, credit card payments are processed instantly. The money clears from the customer’s account and gets deposited to yours within an average of one to two business days. 

3. It protects against theft or fraud

Unlike cash, credit card payments can be reimbursed if you experience any sort of theft in your merchant account. Granted, there are more security risks with accepting credit cards. But you can recover losses from fraudulent charges through your merchant service provider (again, make sure you choose one with fraud protection).

4. Online payments are easier to measure

Most credit card payment processors will offer really helpful analytics reports based on your transactions. These insights help you measure the types of payment clients use the most, how long it takes clients to pay and the average amount they spend with your business. And when tax time rolls around, credit card reports are a huge help when you file!

The Takeaway

The benefits of accepting digital payments are worth it for every type of business. The amount of work and research you need to start accepting online payments is minimal. Simply choose a merchant service provider, set up your account, and get going. Your clients and customers will thank you, and so will your tax advisor. But, best of all, you’ll thank yourself once you see how your sales and cash flow improve.