3 min read
Today’s online-savvy shoppers expect a multitude of payment options at checkout. You can increase sales figures and set your business apart from the competition by offering flexible payment methods. Reduce friction at checkout, improve the customer experience, and enjoy increased conversions with flexible payments; here’s how.
What is flexible payment?
There are a few connotations of flexible payments. This term often refers to the practice of offering customers several payment methods at checkout. Yet it also refers to any method allowing customers to break the cost of a larger purchase into smaller instalments. Flexible payment methods, as the name suggests, are all about choice. Customers can tailor the payment experience to suit their preferences, whether it’s paying later for a purchase or making a series of smaller payments.
Why should you offer flexible payments?
Flexible payments offer benefits not only to customers, but also to businesses.
Streamline the payments process with greater efficiency. You can remove barriers to making a purchase by offering automated online payment methods. Rather than using traditional methods of payment like cash or manual invoicing, flexible payments let you take payment electronically. Digital payment methods are processed rapidly to accelerate your cash flow.
2. Better customer experience
Giving your customers more choice at the checkout stage improves their overall shopping experience. This in turn is more likely to increase conversions by reducing cart abandonment. When customers see their flexible payment method of choice, they will feel more confident making a purchase.
3. Increased sales
Flexible payment options also increase sales by encouraging customers to buy more. There’s no need to wait for payday to make a purchase if they can defer payment or pay in instalments. This means that customers might feel confident putting more items in their basket or making larger purchases, all of which increases your sales.
Three flexible payment options
Businesses now have more options than ever before when it comes to flexible payments. Here are three top methods to consider integrating into your checkout page.
BECS Direct Debit uses Australia’s BECS clearing system to take payment directly from customer bank accounts. To get started, you must obtain authorisation from your customer using a Direct Debit Request. After this time, the automated system pulls payment on the date it's due, meaning customers don’t have to worry about paying on time. Payments are made from one bank account to another, bypassing card networks.
This payment method offers plenty of flexibility because customers can spread the cost of a purchase out over time. You can offer flexible payment dates to your customers to best suit their repayment needs. It’s safe, secure, and low in cost.
Australia’s new PayTo system gives customers even greater control over both scheduled and one-off payments. Like Direct Debit, these are transferred from one bank account to another, but the process is improved with real-time payment transfers for greater efficiency. There’s less chance of failed payment due to insufficient balances, providing a smooth, flexible payment experience for customers. Like Direct Debit, large purchase values can be spread out over time with all payments managed from a central place.
PayTo uses Australia’s New Payments Platform, allowing customers to link their own bank accounts to apps and subscription services. With instant verification and account-to-account payments, it’s super flexible for both merchant and customer.
The third option when it comes to flexible payment methods is Buy Now, Pay Later or BNPL. BNPL services include providers like ZipPay, CommBank Step Pay, and Afterpay. These all use the same premise of offering your customer a short-term financing agreement. The customer spreads the cost of the purchase into a series of instalments. Many use a basic four-instalment series, but there is some flexibility to these arrangements.
The customer usually doesn’t need to pay any interest or fees as they would with a credit card, and the bar to approval is set much lower. This makes BNPL payments widely accessible, though it’s always important to read the fine print.
If you want to offer flexible payment methods to your customers, GoCardless is a great choice. We offer a BECS Direct Debit solution allowing you to pull payments directly from customer bank accounts. We also offer a new PayTo solution for instant, one-off payments and connection with BNPL services. Approval is only required once for full flexibility. This gives customers plenty of choice at checkout, increasing conversions and improving sales at the same time.
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.