Accept Payments Online: eChecks, ACH, Credit Cards, and More
Ready to accept payments online? We certainly hope so! These are the best online payment options for businesses, large and small.
Consumers made more online payments in 2020 than ever before, and mobile payments in particular are on the rise. According to PWC, the number of consumers making mobile purchases more than doubled from 2010 to 2017, rising from 7% of consumers to 17%. In 2020, as many as 45% of consumers used their smartphone for mobile shopping.
When it comes to accepting payments online, it’s important to offer customers a variety of payment options. According to the 2016 Annual Billing Household Survey, customers use an average of 3.6 different payment methods each month for their bills. Today, consumers have even more payment options available with the advancements in digital wallets and mobile payment applications.
Offering multiple billing and online payment options increases satisfaction by improving customer experience. In addition to creating convenient ways to accept payments, having more options can reduce the time it takes your business to get paid. Many merchants find they save time when accepting payments securely over their phone, website, mobile app, or through a recurring payment schedule that directly debits their customer’s bank account or charges their card on file.
The Top Ways Businesses Are Accepting Payments Online
Technology continues to evolve and the opportunities for your business are great. We’ve put together a list of all the different ways you can accept payments online in 2021. These online payment options are easy, convenient, and seamless for customers to use.
1. Accept Credit Cards and Debit Cards Online
Enabling your customers to pay with their credit card on your website is the most basic way you can accept online payments. To offer this feature to your customers, you’ll want to decide whether to have your own dedicated merchant account or use an intermediary holding account.
Choosing one method over the other can mean very different business processes and funding times, so it’s important to research and determine the best option for your business.
Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover are among the most widely accepted credit cards. Visa is the largest. According to 2019 stats, there were 336 million Visa cards in the U.S., with an additional 771 million in circulation outside the states. Visa’s credit payments volume was almost $2 trillion.
In comparison, there were 231 million MasterCard and 53 million American Express cards in circulation in the U.S. at the end of 2018.
2. Accept eChecks through ACH Processing
The next most popular way to accept payments is through a direct debit of a bank account with an eCheck, or electronic check, through ACH payment options. This allows your customer to input the information from their paper check (routing and account number, name, amount, and authorization) into an online payment form or software interface. This method processes the payment electronically—without the physical presence of a paper check. You can learn more about eChecks here.
ACH processing is governed by the National Automated Clearing House Association and has different transaction fees (often lower) than credit cards. It can also be more secure and predictable than waiting for a check to come in the mail, making it one of the better online payment options for small businesses.
3. Look Into Mobile Payments, Which Continue to Grow
Dipping a chip card, swiping a credit card, or keying in a credit card number on a mobile device is becoming the norm for many customers and businesses. Their payment is confirmed and an emailed receipt can be sent immediately. Add to that the ability to sell and buy services and products online, access cash flow reporting, manage customer accounts, and send invoices from anywhere you have a signal, and you start to see the benefits of using a mobile payment app for your business.
According to Pew Research Center, 81% of people in the United States owned a smartphone in 2019, a staggering increase from 35% when the survey was first done in 2011. In 2020, 40% of respondents in a Fiserv survey said they used mobile billing in the previous 30 days.
With smartphones in the hands of your customers, the opportunity to increase revenue through mobile payments is huge and can’t be ignored.
Many consumers find that mobile bill pay makes shopping easier, more convenient, and saves them time. If some customers have security concerns about storing information on their phones, companies that offer a secure payment acceptance method can provide even more value and peace-of-mind to their customers.
4. Provide an Online Payment Gateway
By adding a simple online payment form, customers can pay your business directly on your website. Returning customers can even create accounts to save their payment information for fast and easy repeat payments.
You can outsource this feature to companies that specialize in online payment services, including hosting the payment form, providing the secure payment processing, and handling secure customer account storage. Depending on your provider, you can even customize the form to match your branding.
If you’re a service-based company, offering customers an online payment form enables them to pay you easily and allows you to accept payments online by credit card, debit card, or eCheck. Another great bonus is that online payment forms give you an online destination for services you market through email or social posts.
5. Add Click-to-Pay Email Invoicing
For service-based businesses especially, you can also send your customers an invoice by email and get paid at the speed of a few clicks.
Email invoicing gives your customer the ability to pay their bills online and receive a receipt in seconds. You can share an online payment form with your customer through email. With a fully integrated experience—from email, to web payment form, to your customer database—you can streamline your reporting and manage your data securely. So, when your customer clicks and makes an online payment, the invoice is marked as paid in your system automatically.
For a majority of customers, their concern for the environment has played an important role in their decision to pay and view bills online. To get more of your hesitant customers to transfer from paper invoices to email invoicing, consider sending both for a few months so that they can see the value of simple and green e-invoicing and then ask them to make the switch.
Email invoicing is one of those online payment options that can save both you and your customers time and money.
6. Schedule Recurring Billing
A very popular method for customers to pay for many monthly services–like gyms and child care services–is to use a recurring billing system. This option is not only more convenient for your customers, but it almost guarantees you will be paid on time.
Staying organized is a top concern for customers when it comes to paying bills each month. According to a Fiserv report, 35% of customers are worried about keeping track of due dates and 29% are worried about the possibility of being late. By sending email reminders, or providing them payment options to be billed on a recurring basis, you can make your customers’ lives easier while increasing their satisfaction and ensuring a more reliable revenue stream for your business.
7. Incorporate EMV/Chip Card Solutions
EMV or chip card solutions are an important consideration for today’s businesses. Cards with chips, versus just magnetic stripes, make it more difficult to create counterfeit cards or run fraudulent transactions.
If you’re accepting payments online, make sure your payment solution has incorporated EMV into their platform. You can learn more about these more recent changes to credit cards in our previous posts: Preparing Your Business for EMV and How Will the EMV Change Impact my Business?
8. Build an Online Store
Similar to a payment gateway with online forms, a full online store allows you to accept payments and generate new orders online 24/7. For today’s eCommerce and subscription-based businesses, an online store that accepts payments isn’t only convenient–it’s vital.
The best options offer a variety of features alongside each other, like:
- One-time purchases
- Recurring subscriptions
- Monthly memberships
- One-time or recurring donations
Unless you have coding skills, you’ll likely outsource this to a company that specializes in online stores, including handling your customer payments securely and collecting order management and tracking data.
9. Integrate Payments Into Your Custom Mobile App
If you’ve developed a native mobile application for your customers, it’s because you wanted to create a seamless end-to-end experience for them. If your app bumps them to another website or forces them to login through a desktop to make payments, though, this adds friction to their user experience.
It also makes it more difficult for your business to actually get paid.
Make it easy by enabling secure credit card or ACH payments directly within your mobile app. Look for a solution that ensures PCI compliance at every step of the transaction so you can keep your customer’s information safe.
What’s The Best Way To Accept Payments Online?
The list of options for how to accept payments online for your business are constantly growing and continually evolving. The key to determining the right in-person and online payment options for your business is learning all you can about the pros and cons of each method as well as the cost of having (or not having) a particular method.
It’s time to meet your customers right where they are. Put simply, your goal should be to make paying bills as easy as possible for your customers so getting paid becomes faster and more reliable than ever before.
Are you ready to expand your online payment options? To accept payments anytime, anywhere choose PaySimple. You’ll enjoy access to many of these online payment options, like credit card payments, ACH, recurring billing, and email invoicing, under one simple platform. We offer small business payment options all for one low monthly price, with no contracts and no cancellation fees.
Visit PaySimple.com to learn more or start your free trial today!