Does your ecommerce site suffer from abandoned cart syndrome? With a good online payment form and check-out process, your customers will never leave your site without completing their purchase. Once you’ve worked so hard to attract customers to your site, the last thing you want is for them to navigate away without buying anything. Read on to learn about creating online payment forms that will give your customers the fast, seamless checkout experience of their dreams.
What is an Online Payment Form?
An online payment form is a secure page on your website that allows customers to provide you with their credit card and other information needed for them to be able to make a purchase from your site. You collect the information via the form and also have a back-end system in place that deals with processing the payment and storing the information for recurring payments if relevant.
You can customize your online payment form in many different ways to suit the needs of your business and based on the type of information you want to gather about your customer. Keep in mind that the main purpose of the form is to collect payment, so you don’t want to ask for too much additional information that may discourage would-be buyers from completing their purchase. The two most important characteristics of an online payment form are simplicity and security. It needs to be very easy for a customer to know exactly what they have to do in order to buy something, and it must be made clear that there is security in place to protect against fraud or identity theft.
How to Create an Online Payment Form
You have two options when it comes to creating your online payment page: you can create it yourself (or hire an in-house developer) or you can outsource to a third-party payment provider. If you choose to do it yourself, you may have more control over what the page looks like and includes, but you would be giving up the ease and guaranteed security that comes with using a third-party service provider.
Whether you choose to create an online payment form in-house or outsource it to a third-party developer, the process you follow will vary.
If you go with a third-party solution, here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Research - there’s no shortage of payment solution providers, so you’ll want to do thorough research to find the one that will work best for you. Make sure you compare setup fees, monthly fees, and integrations.
- Merchant account - depending on the provider you choose, you may be required to open a merchant account in order to be able to accept payments online.
- Create the form - using the software you purchased, follow the steps to actually build and customize your online payment form. In some cases, you will be provided a finished product and in others you will be given the tools or a basic template that you can then customize in certain ways. At a bare minimum, you will want to upload your logo and choose the payment types that you are going to offer.
- Start selling - upload the form to your website or start including the link in emails to customers so that people will start using the online payment form when they purchase from your site.
If you choose to go the in-house route, following are the steps you will need to take:
- Hire an expert - make sure you have the right person on your team who is capable of coding and creating an online payment form with the right level of security and functionality.
- Get a hosting platform - you need a secure hosting platform to make sure that your customers’ financial information is secure and can’t be stolen as well as an SSL certificate for data encryption.
- Register - after you get an SSL certificate, you have to register your website with a digital authentication service which will certify that the site is correct and that sensitive information is being encrypted.
- Create payment form - your in-house developer will code the payment form and integrate it into your website.
- Get a processing solution - this may include setting up a merchant account and finding partners who will process the payments once the information comes through the online payment form.
- Test and go live - before you publish the form and make it live, test it using different combinations of products and payment types to make sure that the form functions properly in all situations. Once you are sure that all is working well, it’s time to make the form live and start making sales.
In-House vs. Third-Party Development of Online Payment Form
If you have an in-house development team, then it might make more sense for them to build the online payment form for you. But, if you are a small new company with fewer technological resources, there could be significant benefits to using a third-party. Following is a breakdown of the pros and cons of each option:
||High development costs
||Customization could be limited
|Will easily integrate with other in-house solutions
||Might not integrate with other third-party solutions
||Reliant on 3rd-party API
|Full control over payment flow
||High maintenance costs
||Easy to maintain
||Customers are redirected away from your site
|Customers never leave your site
||Security may not be 100%
||High security standards
Third Party Solutions
Following are the key advantages to using a third-party provider to create your online payment form:
- Simple - you won’t be required to do any software development on your own, as the third-party company will provide you a fully developed online payment form that you simply need to connect to your site.
- Secure - the third-party provider will be responsible for making sure that the online payment form meets all security requirements.
- Integration - most third-party solutions are easy to integrate into your website and can also be sent as links via email so that you can get paid easily.
- Cost efficient - you won’t have to lay out a large amount of money in development costs up front as most third-party providers charge reasonable monthly service fees.
Should you choose to go the in-house route and build your own online payment form, you’ll reap the following benefits:
- Control - you don’t need to follow any predetermined rules or templates, but rather can create the online payment form that is perfectly tailored to your business with whatever functionalities you want.
- Customization - most third-party providers offer a certain degree of customization, but doing it in-house means you can more easily create a form that perfectly matches the look and feel of the rest of your website and materials.
- Flexibility - you can make changes to the form whenever you want according to your own schedule and needs.
What Makes a Good Online Payment Form?
Whether you build your online payment form in-house or you get it created by a third-party provider, not all forms are created equal - a good online payment form can help grow your business while a poorly-designed or hard to use form can actually harm your business.
Following are tips to help ensure that your online payment form is a tool that will help your business:
- Make it readable - this should go without saying, but make sure that you have no spelling errors on your form! Use a font size, style and color that are clear and easy to read. Consider what it will look like on a mobile device too.
- Ensure a smooth flow - you want your customers to look at the form and think “ok, this makes sense and this is simple to fill out.” This means the layout of the page itself must have a smooth and natural flow from one field to the next. Even where the field labels are placed can have an impact - fields with the labels on top tend to have the fastest completion time, for example.
- Clear buttons - a large colorful “submit” or “continue” button lets your customers know what they need to do when they get to the bottom of the page. “Continue” is needed if for some reason the form has multiple steps that must be completed and “submit” would indicate that they’ve completed the form.
- Use auto-complete - if you will have repeat customers, encourage them to create an account the first time they use the online payment form and then store their information. Next time they log in, their information will already appear and all they will have to do is click “submit” to make their next payment.
- Prove security - prominently display the logo or security seal of the company providing data security protection on your site. This will give customers the confidence to shop with you knowing that their personal financial data is not at risk.
- Offer help - use the “tooltips” feature to anticipate and answer questions that customers might have when filling out the online payment form. With this feature, there is usually a question mark on the screen that a customer can either hover over or click in order to get more information.
- Avoid redirect - some third-party providers will require you to host your payment form on their site, which would mean that customers will be directed away from your website at the point at which they enter their payment information. This is not ideal - it’s much better to keep the entire process on your site so that they may be encouraged to continue browsing and seeing what else you have to offer even after their purchase has been completed.
- Present choices - not everyone has a visa card! Make sure you offer plenty of variety when it comes to the online payment methods so that each customer can use the method of their choice.
- Provide detailed error messages - everyone makes mistakes at some point when filling out a form and there is nothing more frustrating than getting an error message without being told what the specific error is. Best practice is to display the error message directly underneath the field in which the error was found - for example it could say “please use numbers only” in a phone number field or “email address invalid” if the .com is missing.
- Say thank you - it’s just polite to say thank you after someone submits a purchase - you can create a page with an appreciative message for customers to see right after they submit their payment information. This page can also include order details and contact information should they have any questions about their order.
How to Set up an ACH Direct Payment Online Form
Some customers may not want to pay with a credit card or other common payment method, but instead would prefer a direct one-time withdrawal from their bank account. This is what’s known as an ACH payment. In an ACH payment, cash is directly debited and then credited from one account to another, so you need access to the customer’s bank routing and account numbers. You get this information through an ACH payment form.
This form is similar to an online payment form, but instead of credit card information, the customer must supply bank account information and indicate their explicit permission to let you remove the funds from their account. Different places may have different rules regarding the information to be included on an ACH direct payment online form so it’s important to check with your local authorities, but the required information is likely to include: name, account number, routing number, payment amount, frequency, start date, and email address.
Online Payment Forms at Pay.com
Pay.com makes it super easy for you to create a customized online payment form - it can be up and running quickly and is fully customizable to match the look and feel of the rest of your site. When you use Pay.com, you get a full payment infrastructure solution backed by a support team that is always available to help you with any questions you may have. It’s pretty much the best of both worlds - the ease of a third party provider but with the customization and personal service of an in-house developed product!
How to Create an Online Registration Form with Payment Using Google Docs?
You cannot collect payment via Google Docs or using a Google Form. You can, however, create a Google Form asking for various information from the customer and then you can redirect them to a secure online payment form or call them in order to get their information over the phone.
When Online Shopping, What is the Safest Form of Payment?
While credit cards are the most commonly used payment type by online shoppers - and they are by and large very secure - the safest form of payment are actually mobile payments like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. The extra levels of security and tokenization used with these payment methods make them safer than any other method, even if they are not yet as popular.
When Selling Stuff Online, What Form of Payment is Best?
From the merchant perspective, the more forms of payment method you accept the better because you are opening yourself up to a wider array of customers. As long as you have security functions in place, you should be fairly well protected whether your customers choose to pay via credit card, debit card, mobile payments or any other option you provide.
Can I Offer More Than One Form of Payment Online?
You can and you should offer more than one payment method! Let your customers choose which method they want to use - the more choices you offer, the happier your customers will be and the more likely they will be to make repeat purchases. When you use a solution like Pay.com, for example, it’s easy to add new payment methods as you need them.
Meet the author
Emily is a content writer with a special interest in fintech and business. She loves sharing her knowledge to help small businesses take their first steps towards success.