There are many ways to receive payments online, and some are more cost-effective than others. But while some payment solutions claim to be completely free, there’s almost always a catch. In many cases, you’ll still have to deal with transaction fees, currency fees, or other hidden costs.
To find the best method of receiving online payments, you need to understand all the different options and costs involved. It might not be possible to accept online payments for free, but you can still find a low-cost solution that meets your company’s needs. Read on to find out how!
Why Accepting Online Payments Is Never Really Free
Accepting online payments for free might sound great, but it’s not realistic. The truth is that it’s pretty much impossible to receive online payments without paying some kind of fee, whether to the credit card company, the processing network, or your payment service provider. You should be very careful about trusting any company that claims otherwise.
Luckily, it’s possible to keep these fees low. The most important thing is to fully understand the costs of each online payment method so that you can choose which ones make the most sense for your business. It’s also helpful to pick a payment service provider that allows you to track all your costs, while keeping its own fee structure simple and transparent.
Understanding Different Online Payment Methods and Their Fees
Before you start accepting online payments, you need to know which payment methods your customers might want to use. There are many different options, and the list is constantly growing. Each one involves its own costs and fees.
Here are the most common payment methods you should consider accepting, plus some information about the costs associated with each of them.
Credit and Debit Cards
When a customer pays with a card, the card issuer charges the merchant a fee. This fee varies according to the card company and other factors, so you have to do your research before deciding which kinds of cards to accept.
One important distinction is between debit and credit cards. Debit cards come with much lower fees because there’s less risk involved in the payment. If the customer has sufficient funds in their account, they’re instantly transferred to the merchant; otherwise the transaction is declined.
With credit cards, however, there’s a risk that the customer won’t have enough money in their account when the credit card bill is due later. This is why credit cards come with higher fees – to account for the greater risk.
ACH (Automated Clearing House) transfers are one of the most affordable ways to receive payments online. The fees involved are usually much lower than those charged by credit or debit card companies. This makes ACH transfers very popular in the world of ecommerce. Although they’re most common in the US, many other countries also support them.
In order to pay through this method, the customer has to enter their bank information (account and routing numbers). The money is then transferred from their account into your business account. However, it doesn’t arrive instantly; the funds have to settle before you can access them.
Another payment method worth mentioning is an eCheck, which is processed through the ACH network. To cash one, the merchant has to get authorization from the customer and then submit the eCheck to a payment processor.
Mobile & Digital Wallets
In today’s digital world, mobile payments are becoming increasingly popular. Digital wallets like PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and more allow customers to store their payment information and make purchases with just one click or tap. The top digital wallets have mobile apps that let the customer pay directly from their phone, making them even more convenient.
As digital wallets and mobile payments gain traction, it’s essential for online sellers to support these payment methods. Services like Apple Pay and Google Pay don’t charge any extra fees on top of credit card processing fees, so the cost is the same as accepting card payments directly.
PayPal does charge an additional fee for each transaction, so it’s more expensive for merchants – but it’s also a more established payment method.
What to Look For in a Payment Service Provider
There are plenty of payment service providers out there, but not all of them are designed to help you keep costs low. First of all, keep in mind that payment service providers come with their own fees. It’s important to choose a provider that has a transparent rate structure so you know exactly where your money is going.
Different payment service providers charge different kinds of fees. Some charge a setup fee to get started. Most charge a fee for each transaction, which could be either a percentage or a flat rate. Others charge a monthly fee that you’ll have to pay no matter what as long as you’re using the service.
To make things even more complicated, a provider might charge different fees for payments made by card, bank transfer, or other methods. Keep in mind that you’ll still have to pay any fees associated with the payment method itself, but you can pay them directly through your payment service provider.
Pay.com simplifies all of this by charging a flat rate for every transaction. You don’t need to worry about hidden costs or monthly fees – you’ll pay exactly the same rate for each online payment you accept. This makes it much easier to plan ahead, project your profits, and choose the payment methods that make the most sense for your business.
Various Payment Methods
The more payment methods your payment service provider offers, the more control you’ll have over the fees you pay. You don’t want to be limited to just a few of the most expensive payment methods – especially if you’re trying to reduce costs.
A good payment service provider also helps you avoid the headache of setting up multiple payment methods individually, paying all their fees separately, and maintaining your payment infrastructure. It puts everything in one place, so you can easily track and manage all your online payments.
Pay.com offers a wide variety of payment methods, and allows you to add or remove them from your site with just one click. This streamlines the whole process and gives you as much control as possible over the costs associated with accepting online payments.
The best payment service providers make it simple to get started, so you don’t need to spend extra time or money setting everything up. The last thing you want to have to do is pay a developer to help you, which can be extremely expensive. As long as you choose a user-friendly provider, you won’t need to hire anyone – you can do it all yourself.
Pay.com has a simple signup and onboarding process, plus setup options for all levels of expertise. You don’t need advanced tech knowledge to get started. And once you’re up and running, you’ll quickly get the hang of our intuitive platform and easy-to-use dashboard.
It’s essential for a payment service provider to be highly secure and trustworthy. Pay.com uses tokenization to protect all your data and your customers’ payment details. It has Level 1 PCI DSS compliance and supports 3DS2 authentication, which adds multiple layers of security.
Your customers will know they can trust you to handle their payments safely. Plus, you won’t have to worry about losing money to fraudulent transactions. You’ll also avoid the hassle of meeting compliance requirements, which can be costly and complicated if you try to do it yourself.
The Best Way to Accept Online Payments
The best way to accept online payments is by using an all-in-one payment service provider. This lets you keep all your payment data in one place, and makes it quick and easy to choose which payment methods you want to accept. Pay.com also lets you adjust those payment methods whenever you need, in case your budget changes or your priorities shift.
On top of that, using a payment service provider can help you optimize your revenue and improve your customer experience. The more convenient and streamlined the payment process is on your site, the higher your conversion rate will be. With Pay.com, you can even customize your checkout page to match your branding.
Payment service providers are also extremely helpful when it comes to analysis. Pay.com’s personalized Pay Dashboard lets you keep track of all transactions and visualize business performance over time. You can monitor sales, abandoned carts, and many other metrics that will help you identify your strengths and find opportunities for improvement.
All of these features might sound expensive, but Pay.com is actually very affordable. You’ll pay a flat rate for every transaction, with no setup fees or additional monthly charges. When you consider the control it gives you over online payments and the insights you’ll gain, it’s well worth the price.
How to Reduce Payment Processing Fees
As we’ve already said, there’s no way to receive online payments completely for free. But there are some things you can do to minimize the fees you’ll have to pay.
Here are some ideas for reducing costs:
- Set a minimum purchase requirement: You can establish a minimum amount for online purchases made through certain payment methods. This will ensure that the fees involved aren’t cutting into your profits too much.
- Add a surcharge: One way to avoid paying card processing fees is to add a surcharge to credit or debit card transactions. This essentially means that the customer pays the fee instead of the merchant. It isn’t legal in every country and state, so make sure to check local regulations.
- Negotiate rates: Sometimes it’s possible to negotiate with payment processors or merchant accounts to get lower rates.
- Don’t pay for extra services: If you subscribe to a payment service provider, make sure you know exactly what you’re paying for. You might be able to reduce spending on unnecessary services or features that aren’t relevant for your business.
Other Ways Your Business Can Save Money
When it comes to running a business, there are some costs you simply can’t avoid – like the fees involved with accepting online payments. But there are lots of other factors that you can control, and plenty of ways for small businesses to save money. Some are more effective than others, but they’re all worth a shot.
First and foremost, it’s always a good idea to keep a close eye on your finances – not only so you know where your money is going, but also so you can identify opportunities for cost savings. For example, you might be able to cut out unnecessary subscriptions or monthly services, and replace expensive tools with more affordable or free alternatives.
Other strategies for reducing costs include negotiating better terms with vendors and setting up mutually beneficial relationships with other small businesses. You might also want to consider making your business entirely virtual to save costs on rent, utilities, hardware, and printing.
If you’re trying to lower costs, the most important thing is to have full visibility into your expenses – including fees for online payments. Pay.com takes care of this for you by making it easy to track and understand every cost associated with receiving payments online.
The Bottom Line: The Best Way to Accept Online Payments
Even though it’s not possible to accept online payments for free, you can minimize costs by choosing the best payment methods and tools for your business. Pay.com allows you to accept several different forms of payment and track the fees involved with each. We charge a simple flat rate per transaction, so you always know exactly what you’re paying for.