In today’s digital world, consumers and clients expect to make purchases and payments online. If you’re not offering these options, you’re leaving money on the table. And contrary to what you may have heard, it’s easy to incorporate online payments into your business website.
Before you dive in, it’s important to weigh your options and consider whether online payments will benefit your business.
Which Businesses Can Benefit from Online Payments?
Virtually every business can benefit from offering online payments. Whether you’re a retailer or a service-based business, your customers want the convenience of being able to pay online.
If you run a local retail store, you can sell your items through your website and accept payments online. If you’re a contractor, you can implement an online payment system for vendors and clients. Even law firms accept invoice payments online through services like LawPay.
Yes, there are fees when accepting online payments, but in many cases, the additional sales that come with incorporating an online payment system outweigh the costs.
What Options Do Businesses Have for Online Payments?
Businesses have quite a few options when it comes to online payments. Regardless of which one you choose, you will likely need to work with your web developer to incorporate payments into your website.
Some options are simplified, while others are more robust and flexible.
The Easiest Option: All-in-One Solutions
All-in-one solutions are convenient and easy to integrate. They include services like 2Checkout and PayPal, which make setup quicker and easier.
These services allow you to accept all major credit cards and typically come with favorable transaction rates. Typically, you don’t have to worry about paying setup or monthly fees.
The only drawback is that many of these service providers redirect customers off of your website in order to complete the transaction. Depending on your demographic, this may turn customers or clients away. PayPal and other similar services can often be combined with another service to provide customers with more options.
The Robust Option: Merchant Account and Payment Gateway
The traditional way to accept online payments is through a combination of a merchant account and payment gateway. Providers that fit into this category include Authorize.Net (US), eWay (Australia and UK) and SecureNet (US).
Merchant accounts are specialized bank accounts that allow you to accept credit card payments. The online payment gateway allows you to connect your store, your merchant account and an online payment processing system. Essentially, it is a digital version of the card swipe machines you see in brick-and-mortar stores.
There are fees associated with the payment gateway and merchant account. You’ll also need to apply for both types of accounts, which means that you’ll need to provide some financial information.
In addition to the traditional and all-in-one solutions, there are simplified services, like Stripe, that offer seamless transactions and competitive rates. Ultimately, it comes down to your budget and the volume of online sales. If you already have a merchant account, it may make more sense for you to go the traditional route. Otherwise, all-in-one and simplified solutions may be easier to integrate and offer lower fees.