I struggle with some aspects of office work. I can’t make a printer function without the help of several online forums, phone systems are a mystery to me, and my email only works at its own convenience. When I say I need easy office solutions, what I really mean is I need something that a trained monkey could easily work.

So with that in mind, let’s look at some easy ways to create online billing for your customers.

The first step to setting up an online billing system is to get an email address. Technically, it is not absolutely necessary for online billing since you could send a paper invoice and direct your customer to your online payment solution (not easy), but since the goal today is to make online billing easy for both you and your customers (and chances are you already have a professional email address), let’s go in this direction.

With your bright and shiny email address in tow, you’re going to need some form of invoice or bill to send out when someone has to pay you. E-invoices come in all shapes and sizes, so finding the right one for your business could be the trickiest part of this whole experience. The good part is you only need to do this once. Smashingmagazine.com has a great list of what a good invoice should include. Be sure that the e-invoice you choose can be customized with a Pay Now button. This will come in handy later when your customer opens the e-invoice and gets super excited to pay you.

With the e-invoice solution picked out, finding a payment gateway is next step. Your payment gateway will be the virtual cash register you use to authorize and accept payments securely. To make this process simpler, Merchant Account Providers can help set up your payment gateway with your merchant account. When choosing a provider, be sure to note monthly fees, transaction fees, and the ability to transact in your desired currencies. If your company needs a shopping cart, make sure your provider has the ability to integrate a shopping cart application into the payment gateway. Choose wisely – your merchant account provider can be your biggest champion or your biggest headache. In my experience, customer service is well worth a little added expense.

Now, on to the billing! If your customer shops and pays online, there’s no need to invoice after the fact, but if you bill your customers, you’ll need to send out invoices. The easiest way is to auto-populate your invoice fields. Applications such as Quickbooks are helpful in automatically imputing information from a spreadsheet into an email invoice. The drawbacks to these are the limited invoice templates and customization options. Once you send the invoice (complete with Pay Now link or button) you just have to wait for your payment!

Sheesh. That was actually a little hard. If you’re still looking for something simpler, call this number: 1-800-466-0992. Not only will PaySimple set up your merchant account and provide a seriously easy-to-use payment gateway that creates customized automatic invoicing, recurring billing and late payment reminders, but we also walk you through it every step of the way with friendly, helpful customer. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

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