There are many ways to receive payments online, but there is no such thing as a free ride. While there are payment solutions that offer the ability to receive payments online for free, what they are most likely neglecting to tell you is that you will still have to pay transaction fees charged by the card issuers as well as any applicable currency fees.
How to Start Accepting Online Payments?
Once you’ve decided to open an ecommerce store, you have to make sure you have the right infrastructure in place to be able to accept payments online from your customers. You’ll need to get set up with a payment gateway as well as a payment processor and a merchant account.
The payment gateway is the go-between that captures and sends credit card information to the payment processor and then responds with either an approval or rejection. The payment processor transmits the credit card information from the customer to the credit card network to ensure that the funds are available and to protect against fraud. Finally, the merchant account is a special bank account designed specifically to collect the payments transferred as a result of credit card purchases.
Types of Payment Methods You Can Use Online
Depending on your specific business, you will want to offer your customers the ability to pay using the payment method of their choice. Some people like to use credit cards while others are loving the newer mobile payment options like Apple Pay and the like. Still others may prefer to do direct transfers from their bank accounts. There are new payment methods coming available all the time, and offering a variety of payment method options is convenient for your customers.
Following is a rundown of the most common ways to receive payments online:
Credit Card Payments
Obviously, any online store should accept traditional credit cards. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Diners are the most common and it’s your choice whether you will accept them all or only some. The deciding factor usually comes down to the fees that each credit card issuer charges. It’s worth researching and finding competitive rates to ensure that your business will earn a profit even after paying any necessary fees.
ACH (Automated Clearing House) Transfers
Many ecommerce providers accept ACH transfers as payment, in part because when it comes to affordability, ACH payments are one of the best ways to receive payments online. The fees tend to be much lower than the transaction fees for credit or debit cards. If you are wondering how to receive ACH payments, the customer must enter their bank information including account and routing number, and then the money is transferred out of their account and into your business account. This does not, however, happen instantaneously as the transaction has to settle before you can access the funds.
Mobile payment options are becoming more and more popular. Solutions like PayPal, Apple Pay and other similar companies allow customers to store their payment information and then be able to complete purchases in just one click. The convenience of mobile payments for consumers is unmatched, and it’s important for online sellers to include mobile payments among the ways they receive payments online. The costs to merchants are usually similar to credit card transaction fees.
While this may be less relevant for most ecommerce providers, in some cases you may need to bill customers directly. If you send them an automated email invoice, you can include a payment link for them to either pay via ACH transfer or credit card.
Which is the Most Affordable Payment Method?
While it is virtually impossible to receive payments online completely for free, you do not need to pay huge amounts of fees. You just need to be savvy and aware of the fees that are required as compared to the ones that might be negotiable or vary by provider. At the end of the day, it’s impossible to say which is the most affordable payment method as it really depends on each individual business. What is affordable for one business may be way out of reach for another. You have to look at your own finances and projected income and make the best possible business decision.
What are the Costs of Online Payments and Methods?
The costs involved when you receive payments online will vary depending on the types of payment methods you offer and the different solutions and infrastructure you purchase and use.
Some payment providers charge a set-up fee as well as a monthly fee in addition to a percentage and flat fee per transaction. Others may charge only the transaction fees. In general, providers without monthly fees are likely to charge around 3% in transaction fees. The amounts may differ as well for credit/debit card payments as compared to invoices or ACH transfers.
All credit card issuers charge processing fees of their own, so even if your payment processor offers you the ability to receive payments online free, they just mean they are not charging a fee in addition to what the credit card companies charge. You will always need to pay those processing fees.
Why Should You Use a Payment Processing Services such as Pay.com?
A payment processing service like Pay.com will remove much of the headache and hassle involved in setting up to receive each payment method individually. For example, if you are thinking about how to receive PayPal payments and also credit card payments, you could contact PayPal and contact the credit card companies and figure out how to work with them separately. This would not be so bad if PayPal and credit cards were the only types of payment methods you were accepting, but as soon as you add more into the mix (which you should), it is much easier to work with a service like Pay.com that can facilitate all of the different payment methods you might want to offer.
Following are other important considerations and reasons to sign up with a payment processing service like Pay.com:
It is Secure
Pay.com (and others like it) provides a secure environment in which a merchant can receive payments online. Top security protocols are used to ensure that transactions are protected against fraud, addressing safety concerns of both consumers and merchants alike.
Your customers want to feel secure when they purchase from you. If they see that you are using a payment processor that they’ve heard of or that has some sort of global certification, they will trust your site and will be happy to purchase from you.
Receive Funds Instantly
Funds received can be transferred to you much more quickly than if you have to wait for bank account transactions to settle.
Can Optimize your Revenue
Pay.com can work with you to help optimize your revenue and make sure you are doing all that you can to offer your customers the best possible shopping experience. The more convenient and streamlined the process is on your site, the higher your conversion rate will be.
Perform Analysis on Payment Insights
Pay.com’s personalized dashboard lets you keep track and visualize your progress. You can monitor sales, abandoned carts, and tons more details and metrics that will help you grow your business.
Which Payment Providers Can You Use?
Pay.com integrates with hundreds of different payment methods and providers. Some of the most common ones include:
Customers save their credit card information in their Google Pay account and then don’t have to enter the information again in order to make purchases. Offering Google Pay as a payment method will give you access to the millions of people who use it. There are no additional fees charged by Google Pay itself.
Apple Pay is similar to Google Pay but aimed at Apple users as opposed to Android users. It also enables users to store their payment info and then use Apple Pay as a payment method at checkout on sites that have that option. Like Google Pay, Apple Pay is a free service.
PayPal is one of the most commonly used payment methods so it’s another good one to offer. They do charge 3.49% of each transaction plus another 49 cents, but the number of people who use PayPal will likely make it worthwhile for most merchants to offer to receive payments via PayPal.
Klarna is a “buy now pay later” service in which a customer is in effect taking out a loan from Klarna in order to make a purchase on another site. Klarna charges a set-up fee, a monthly fee and transaction fees depending on the specific contract.
How to Receive Payments Online for Free
Following are steps you can take in order to set up your payment infrastructure and being to receive payments online:
- Set up a secure online payment gateway
- Accept credit and debit card payments
- Set up recurring billing
- Accept mobile payments
- Add options to accept cryptocurrency payments.
- Email invoicing
- Accept electronic checks as payments (eChecks)
Create a Secure Online Payment Gateway
You need to make sure that your customers will feel (and will actually be) secure when entering their financial information on your site so that you can receive payments. The payment gateway that you choose should also enable you to add and remove payment methods at any time as you see fit as your business grows and changes.
Accept Credit and Debit Card Payments
Decide how you will accept credit card payments. This can be direct from the credit card companies or using other providers like PayPal or Apple Pay.
Set Up Recurring Billing
If you offer any type of subscription service, make sure your site is set up to allow for recurring payments so that you (and your customers) don’t have to manually enter payment information each time the subscription or monthly payment comes due.
Accept Mobile Payments
In addition to the standard credit cards and debit cards, make sure you also allow customers to pay using their favorite mobile app, whether that is Google Pay, Venmo or any other.
Accept Cryptocurrency Payments
While still not exactly mainstream, cryptocurrencies just may continue to grow. By allowing people to pay using cryptocurrencies you can broaden your potential audience and gain some new customers. There are upsides to crypto such as avoiding currency-exchange fees and some bank fees, and there are a lot of fraud protections in place.
Set Up Email Invoicing
Should you need to proactively request payments from customers, you can set up an automated email invoicing system that will automatically send invoices that include a link to the payment portal that you want them to use.
Accept Electronic Check Payments (eChecks)
For those who still like to pay by check, you can add an option whereby a customer can input their banking information and pay via an electronic check. This is more efficient than mailing a check, but probably less efficient than using a credit card or mobile payment option.
Can You Cut Costs on Processing Fees?
As we have said, there is no free ride and no such thing as receiving payments online completely for free. However, you can make every effort to reduce the amount of fees you will have to pay. Some suggestions include:
- Cash discounts - this may not work very well for most online retailers, but if you have a brick and mortar store as well you can offer a discount for people paying in cash in order to save yourself the credit card processing fees (of course you’ll want to make sure the discount you offer is less than those fees would otherwise cost you!)
- Minimum purchase requirements - you can set a minimum required purchase amount in order for someone to use a credit card or other online payment method. This will help to ensure that your income covers your fees and will encourage people to spend more.
- Negotiate - if you don’t ask, the answer is always no. It’s worth a try to see if you can negotiate the rates with your payment processors or providers. Especially if you have a longstanding history with a provider, they may be willing to come to an agreement with you.
- Don’t pay for extra services - check your contract and bill and see exactly what you are paying for. Do not pay for services that you are not using or are not worth it to you.
What’s the Best Payment Solution for Your Business?
The best payment solution for your business is the one that offers the ways to receive payments online that work for your business. There is no one-size-fits-all because each business is different. You need to find the solution that: enables you to offer your customers the options to pay with the methods that they like to use; does not cost you more than you are earning; and offers you the customer support that you need and want.
What Online Payment Solutions Does Pay.com Offer?
At Pay.com, we pride ourselves on being the simplest solution. We are in the business of helping you grow your business and we work with our clients to ensure that they have the best payment solution that works for their specific situation.
The huge variety of payment methods that we offer means you can choose as many or as few options that you want to provide your customers. We handle all of the back-end and logistical issues so that you just have to focus on making sales and getting paid. Want to hear more? Contact us!