New and innovative payment methods are popping up every day, but credit cards are still among the most popular ways to pay around the world. To be successful, any business that sells goods or services online has to be able to accept credit card payments – but how?
There are a few different ways to receive credit card payments online. Some of them are much simpler than others, and some involve extra fees that might not be obvious at first glance. That’s why you need to carefully consider all the options before you decide how to accept online payments.
Below we’ll explain several different options, including the fees involved with each and how convenient they are for you and your customers. Once you understand the pros and cons of each method, you can choose the best way for your business to accept credit card payments online – and get started right away.
Different Ways to Accept Online Credit Card Payments
You don’t need to buy any hardware to accept credit card payments online, but you do need to have a payment infrastructure in place. The simplest way to set this up is by using a payment service provider that combines all the elements you need, including a merchant account, a payment gateway, and payment processing.
Once you’ve chosen a payment service provider, you’ll probably have a few different options for how to accept credit card payments. Pay.com allows you to receive card payments through a customizable checkout page, direct payment links, and more.
Keep in mind that no matter which options you choose, you’ll always have to pay transaction fees to the card issuer. In other words, it’s not possible to accept credit card payments for free.
If you work with a payment service provider, these costs will be included in your general fees – you won’t pay the card issuer directly. Keep in mind that payment service providers also charge their own fees, so make sure you pick one with a transparent pricing structure that works for you.
Here are some of the most common ways to accept credit card payments online:
Hosted Checkout Page
One of the most straightforward ways to accept credit card payments is through a hosted checkout page. This is essentially a secure webpage where your customers can enter their credit card information. It’s hosted by your payment service provider, so you don’t have to worry about ensuring data security (as long as you’ve chosen a trustworthy provider with PCI DSS compliance).
Pay.com allows you to personalize your checkout page with your brand colors and logo. This is incredibly important not only for aesthetic reasons, but also because it makes the checkout experience more comfortable for customers. No one wants to enter their credit card details on a sketchy web page that doesn’t match the rest of the site.
With Pay.com you have two options for setting up a checkout page. If you don’t have coding experience, you can use a prebuilt hosted checkout page and customize it through your dashboard. If you do know how to code, you can also embed hosted payment fields into your existing website or app’s checkout page.
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This option is best for developers or people with coding experience. You can use your payment service provider’s application programming interface (API) to integrate it directly with your existing website. This way you’ll get all the benefits that it offers without having to change anything on your site.
If you think you might prefer this method, it’s important to note that not all payment service providers offer it. With Pay.com you get the best of both worlds; you can either integrate with its API and software development kit (SDK) or choose a no-code option.
Direct Payment Links
Even if you don’t have a website, you can still accept credit card payments online through direct payment links. This involves generating a unique link that you can send to a customer by email or text message. When they click on it, they’ll be directed to a custom checkout page where they can enter their payment details.
With Pay.com, you can easily create direct payment links – called Pay Links – from your dashboard. You can also send invoice links via Pay Checkout. These are both great alternatives to using a regular checkout page, especially if you’re a freelancer or service provider. Plus, they can help customers feel more confident when entering credit card details online.
Virtual Payment Terminal
If a customer can’t access your website or prefers to pay over the phone, you can use a virtual payment terminal to enter their credit card details for them. Just make sure that whatever channel you use to get their information is fully secure and private.
Pay.com offers the Pay Virtual Terminal for this purpose. Once you have the customer’s credit card information, you can enter it directly into your dashboard to make the payment for them. Although this isn’t the most efficient or common way to receive credit card payments online, it can be helpful in situations where a checkout page or link won’t work.
Other Ways to Accept Online Payments
There’s no doubt that accepting credit card payments is essential for any business, but it’s also important to accept a variety of other payment methods. This will help you reach a wider customer base and improve the checkout experience. It can also help you save on fees in some cases.
The best payment service providers allow you to add many different payment methods to your site. With Pay.com, the process of adding a new payment option is as simple as clicking a button on your Pay Dashboard. This makes it easy to experiment with different methods and adapt to changing customer needs.
Here are some of the best alternative methods of accepting online payments:
Digital Wallets & Mobile Payments
A digital wallet allows people to make payments via credit or debit card without having to actually use their card or enter their details every time. All they have to do is save their card information in the digital wallet’s app, and then they can easily make mobile payments from their phone and other devices.
Digital wallets are becoming more popular every day, making it increasingly important to offer them as payment options. Some common examples include PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. While Apple Pay and Google Pay don’t charge extra fees to merchants, PayPal does add its own transaction fees.
It’s important to note that when someone pays with this method, they’re still using their credit or debit card – or at least the bank account connected to it. A digital wallet takes away the need for people to carry around a physical wallet full of plastic cards, but it doesn’t necessarily replace the cards completely.
That said, some digital wallets also allow users to hold funds in their account, which they can then use to make purchases. In this case, they’re paying with their account balance rather than charging payments directly to their card. If someone sends you $50 on PayPal, for example, you can spend that $50 on something else without having to use your card.
An ACH transfer involves moving funds from one bank account to another via the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network. This method isn’t nearly as common as credit cards, but it does have some advantages. The main perk is that it involves lower fees for merchants than accepting credit card payments.
However, there are some drawbacks as well. ACH transfers don’t clear immediately, so it can take a few days for the money to show up in your account. They also require the customer to enter their bank information, which most people aren’t used to doing and might not feel completely comfortable with.
eChecks are another payment method related to ACH. These digital versions of paper checks are processed through the ACH network. They’re not the quickest or most convenient way to accept payments, but they can be useful for large recurring payments like rent or membership fees.
Accepting Credit Cards vs. Debit Cards
When it comes to accepting card payments, it’s important to make the distinction between credit cards and debit cards. In many ways these payment methods work the same, but there are some important differences.
The main things that matter for merchants are the fees involved with each. Debit cards generally incur lower transaction fees than credit cards. This is primarily because there’s less risk involved with debit card payments.
If a customer pays with a debit card, the funds are immediately transferred from their account. If they don’t have sufficient funds, the transaction is declined. But if they pay with a credit card, it’s not guaranteed that they’ll have enough money to complete the purchase when the credit card bill is due – hence the higher risk.
In general, it’s a good idea to accept both debit and credit cards from all the major companies. You should accept as many different kinds of cards as possible to make sure every customer can pay with their preferred method. Pay.com lets you receive payments through Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover.
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Why You Should Use a Payment Service Provider
Using a payment service provider is the simplest and safest way to accept credit card payments online. It allows you to accept multiple types of cards, as well as other payment methods that your customers might want to use. Pay.com also gives you multiple ways to accept credit card payments, like direct payment links and a virtual terminal.
Another advantage of using a payment service provider is that it keeps all your data in one place. This is especially important when it comes to receiving credit card payments, because you’ll need to keep track of all the transaction fees involved. If you use Pay.com, you’ll pay these fees directly through the platform and can easily monitor them on your dashboard.
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What to Look For in a Payment Service Provider
There are plenty of different payment service providers out there, and the options can seem overwhelming. Here are the most important things to pay attention to when deciding which provider to go with:
- Setup process – You don’t want to have to spend hours getting your online payment system set up. The best providers make the approval and onboarding process quick and easy, so you can start collecting payments sooner.
- Multiple payment methods – Pay close attention to the payment methods each provider supports. Even if you’re primarily interested in accepting credit cards, you may want to add other options now or in the future.
- Transaction fees – Make sure the provider is clear about its fees and won’t hit you with any unexpected charges. The simplest option is to choose a provider with a flat rate per transaction, so you always know what to expect.
- Security – When it comes to online payments, security is paramount. Look for strong security credentials and authentication methods to make sure you and your customers’ data will always stay safe and private.
Pay.com is an all-in-one payment service provider that offers super easy setup, a wide variety of payment methods, and transparent flat-rate pricing. We have Level 1 PCI DSS compliance, support 3DS2 authentication, and tokenize credit card details so that sensitive customer data is never stored on our servers.
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The Bottom Line: The Best Way to Accept Online Payments
Whether you want to accept credit cards or any other payment method online, the easiest solution is to use a payment service provider. Pay.com lets you easily receive payments from all the major credit cards, as well as debit cards, ACH transfers, digital wallets, and more.
Pay.com is simple to set up and use, with an intuitive dashboard that lets you track all your payments and credit card processing fees in one place. It’s also super secure, so your customers’ credit card details will always be protected. And thanks to its transparent pricing, you’ll never have to worry about hidden fees.