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Choosing the right membership payment system for your business

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Last editedMar 20232 min read

Whether you run a volunteer group, gym, dance troupe, art club, or church organisation, you’ll need a good system in place to collect membership fees. Your members need a convenient way to pay their dues, while organisations need a secure way to track these payments as they come in. A good membership payment system solves both problems at once. Yet with more payment methods than ever, how can you choose the best solution? Here’s what to look for when comparing your options.

Why should you use an online membership payment system?

From small clubs to major charities, running a membership-based organisation comes with a great deal of responsibility. Collecting and tracking fees is essential to your organisation’s success, as it ensures a steady cash flow. This becomes tricky if you collect payments using a combination of different in-person methods such as cash and cheques, each of which needs to be recorded and reconciled.

Without an online system in place, you’ll spend hours of time chasing late payments, finding out where missing fees have gone, and asking for new card details when old ones have expired. Automating the process with an online system helps cut down significantly on the paperwork to save your organisation time. Benefits include:

  • Increased retention rates due to a smoother, more convenient payment system with less risk of expired card details causing involuntary churn.

  • Improved member loyalty with a gym membership payment system that eliminates awkward conversations about late fees.

  • Improved cash flow with a steady stream of recurring payments from your members. Use methods like direct debit to receive payments on the day they’re due, without the risk of human error causing costly delays.

What types of membership payments systems are there in Australia?

The benefits of automating your club or gym membership payment system are clear, but what are your options when it comes to payment collection?

  • Payment processors like PayPal and Stripe are easy to integrate directly on your website. These handle payment collection on your behalf, ensuring you’re PCI compliant for member security.

  • Merchant solutions like SagePay and offer a suite of advanced features with full payment protection, though they do require some initial effort to get set up on your website in comparison to all-in-one payment processors like PayPal.

  • Banking solutions like GoCardless offer a convenient way to automate payment collection using Australia’s BECS direct debit system as well as real-time open banking payments. Take member fees on the day they’re due without any input needed from your customers apart from preauthorisation.

Features to look for in a membership payment system

Many organisations will use a combination of the systems mentioned above. For example, you could use Stripe for card payments and GoCardless for bank payments, giving your members the most choice. As you compare your options, be sure to consider the following criteria.

  • Security is essential for any payment collection service. Make sure your solution is PCI compliant if you’re handling card details. It’s also a good idea to get an SSL certificate for your website to boost trust.

  • Integrations are important as well. Does the payment processor integrate into your ecommerce website? Does it work with your accounting software and existing membership management software?

  • Affordability is another factor to consider. Some payment systems charge monthly subscription fees, while others will only charge you for each individual transaction. Are there added fees for setup? Are you able to cancel without penalty?

How to choose the best membership payment system

Running a membership-based organisation of any size requires a great deal of time and effort, so you want a payment system that makes life easier. It should not only help you accept payments securely online, but also help you keep track of your member data. Keep all the factors mentioned above in mind as you compare your options.

GoCardless is a great choice for collecting membership fees and other recurring payments. We not only integrate with numerous membership management tools, but also with accounting and invoicing software to keep finances in one place. Automate fee collection using our global bank pay network to collect payments from customers around the world as your organisation grows.

We can help

GoCardless is a global payments solution that helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of financial admin your team needs to deal with. Find out how GoCardless can help you with one-off or recurring payments.

Over 85,000 businesses use GoCardless to get paid on time. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

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