Your website is a silent salesperson - that’s what everyone says. And it’s true. It’s open 24/7 - it’s the most dedicated salesperson in your business, so why not make it more efficient? Accepting online payments means customers can purchase services and goods quickly and without fuss. You can effectively make money while you sleep!
Online sales in the UK alone have risen from a mere £66.3 billion in 2019 to £78.9 billion in 2020. This is primarily due to the pandemic - but you can see that even before the pandemic, online sales are a strong indicator that your business should start accepting online payments. It’s what customers expect from your business.
Shopping online has never been easier with tools like Autofill from Google making online shopping experiences even smoother for customers. Just one click and the customer has payment information, billing address and delivery address all filled in.
But what if you don’t have an ecommerce store? If you’re a service provider - maybe you’re an accountant or business advisor - taking payments online is a great way to get paid quicker and offer customers a more convenient way of paying for your services.
Read more and compare online payment solutions below.
What is an online payment? What are the different types of online payments? Why take online payments for your business? How to take payments online? Do I need a merchant account to take online payments? Are online payments safe and secure? What card types are accepted online? How do I accept online payments on my website?
An online payment is pretty straightforward, instead of making payment through a bank transfer or in cash, you pay online through a secure payment process. Think back to whenever you’ve bought something online from a store, you’ve typed in your card details and payment is securely processed - it’s just like that! This fast, no-faff approach means you’ll receive payments quicker.
A payment gateway is a secure way for customers to fill in their credit and debit card information on your website. Your customer’s data is encrypted through SSL (a secure layer), and the process authorises card payments to ensure the funds are there.
With pay by link, you can send a unique payment link direct to your customer via email or SMS. This means they can pay you wherever they are - making your payment process quicker for both you and the customer.
A virtual terminal is the payment solution you need if you’re taking payments over the phone. Instead of the customer adding their own payment details in (like with a payment gateway), you input them over the phone into an online virtual terminal.
Why shouldn’t you? Should really be the question. But really, why wouldn’t you?
Many customers worry about how their money is transferred online - bank transfer scams on the rise (up 40% on last year) - with online payments it’s easy to reassure your customers that their money is safe. Trust is a significant factor in selling goods and services online; don’t let your payment process cast doubt.
You don’t need to wait for your customer to pay in-store, or pay an invoice via bank transfer - online payments mean healthier cash flow.
Customer behaviour changes - it changed from cash and cheques to bank cards and ecommerce. Times change and your business needs to recognise and embrace this change.
Imagine all those customers who can pay for products on a whim, or sign up for services instantly all because of online payments. You’re missing out on customers if you’re not allowing them to pay online.
There are multiple ways you can take payments online, but choosing the right method will mainly depend on how your business operates and how it will take payments.
For example, if you want to take payments through your website or online shop, you will need to use a payment gateway. If your business wants to take payments over the phone, you’ll need a virtual terminal or credit card machine that takes “cardholder not present” transactions. If your business sends invoices over email, you can use a simple “pay by link” link to take them to a secure page where they can make payment.
Yes, you will need to set up a merchant account before you can start taking payments. Without one, your business will not be able to accept card payments from customers, whether this is face to face, over the phone or online.
Yes. Online payment providers will use the latest advancements in security and technology to help protect your customers and your business. They are also compliant to the latest PCI DSS industry standards.
Your business will be able to take all major credit and debit cards online, including Visa, Mastercard and American Express (Amex).
To accept online payments through your website you will firstly need to set up a merchant account so that you can accept card payments. Secondly, you’ll need to set up a payment gateway. This is a front end service that links the shopping cart on your website and your merchant account.