As e-commerce continues to grow and the need for online businesses increase, more and more small businesses must accept online payments. As a small business owner, it’s critical to meet customers in the ways in which they expect it. Since most consumers already expect to pay online, accepting payments with credit cards, debit cards, or direct bank transfers online is a no-brainer for your business.
What Do I Need to Start Accepting Online Payments?
Before you set up your website to start accepting online customer payments, let’s start with the basics. Let’s discuss payment processors, payment gateways, and merchant accounts.
A merchant account is a type of business bank account that allows businesses to receive money for transactions instantly, instead of waiting for the customer to pay their credit card bill. In the process of a transaction, the merchant account bank is responsible for verifying card holder data, like their identity and the payment’s validity, through a request to the customer’s bank.
Applying for a merchant account is the first step in being able to accept payments online.
A payment gateway is a secured software or platform that sends encrypted customer data to the payment processor. The gateway’s sole purpose is to approve or deny credit cards and other digital payments.
Beyond Pay, our all-in-one gateway, lowers the costs, increases flexibility, and drives sales with seamless integrations and top-tier EMV-enabled security. Whether you run a business in retail, restaurants, lodging or car rentals, we can simplify your payment processing.
A payment processor is involved in the entire transaction process—from the moment the customer initiates a payment on your good or service to the end when the payment lands in your bank account.
To sum it up, payment processors handle all the credit card processing logistics on the back end to keep everything running smoothly between merchants, banks, and credit card companies.
Need a payment processor? Processing payments is hassle free with Beyond –– we hold ourselves to a higher standard than our competition and stand on our promises.
How Payment Processors Handle Your Merchant Account
There are two major processor options:
- Merchant account providers: These providers give your business a specific merchant account with a merchant ID, or MID. Typically, this option is more customizable and provides more account stability, although the approval process is lengthy.
- Payment service providers: Also known as aggregators, these providers combine multiple businesses under a single, shared MID which shortens the approval process. Payment service providers usually offer a host of solutions with a full suite of tools, including website building, reporting, and team management. Although the approval process with aggregators is almost instant, the risks of customer service issues like sudden account freezes, chargebacks, and payment terminations are higher due to multiple accounts sharing one MID.
4 Ways to Accept Online Payments
Since there are so many options to accept online payments, it’s important to keep in mind things like the nature of your business or how your customers interact with you to choose the best fit. Here are our top four picks:
1. Accept credit cards
Accepting major credit and debit cards like Mastercard, Visa, Discover, or American Express is the most popular way to accept online payments. Online service providers like Beyond Pay offer easy integrations into your website building platform.
E-commerce platforms like WooCommerce or Beyond Storefront can provide more options for accepting credit card payments when building an online store to make it easier for your customers to buy your goods.
2. Accept ACH transfers
To accept payments directly from a checking or savings account through a bank transfer (without the hassle of mailing a check), you’ll need automated clearing house (ACH) or electronic checks (eCheck) payments. To accept ACH payments or eChecks, the customer will need to have your bank’s routing number and account number for a direct deposit. On their end, they will also need to use a payment service provider to complete the transaction.
Since sensitive account information is being shared with the customer, this isn’t the safest way to accept payments. Processing through a payment processor, like Beyond, to accept ACH transfers is more convenient and safer for everyone involved.
3. Accept Mobile Payments
Mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay have become increasingly popular as a safe and secure way to accept payments via mobile devices. These options also allow for contactless payments since customer data is entered automatically without them having to struggle with getting all the numbers from the physical card.
Most e-commerce platforms support this option built in and this method can be activated by simply enabling a button –– no coding required.
4. Accepting Invoices and Recurring Billing
If you’re a service provider without an online store or a contractor who provides a regular service to your customers on a regular basis, invoicing and scheduling payments through recurring billing is an easy way to accept online payments.
Another option is sending Payment Links. Beyond Payment Links allows you to send a link via text, email, or QR code with a call to action to pay. It’s a simple, easy way for service providers to accept payments online.
No matter how you decide to start accepting payments online, making it easy for your customers to pay should be a top priority. The more ways you provide for your customer to pay, the more likely they are to complete a purchase.