Last editedApr 20222 min read
If you run a small business, you need to carefully consider the online payment options you’ll offer to customers. This is an important aspect of managing your cash flow and ensuring you meet your customers’ preferences. No specific type of payment option is necessarily best – it all depends on the needs of your business – but it's essential you know how each payment option works.
In this post, we’ll review some of the best payment methods and outline some steps to help you choose which are right for your business.
Types of online payment options
Credit and debit card payments
Credit cards allow customers to pay for goods or services by borrowing from a credit card provider. Debit cards take the sale amount directly from a customer’s bank account. There are several ways to accept credit card payments, but an easy way to offer this as an option is to use an all-in-one online payment platform in Australia like Stripe.
Direct Debit payments
Direct Debits are a great way to collect one-off or recurring payments from customers, although they can’t be used for instantaneous payments. If you want a fast way to offer Direct Debit as an option, you can use an online payment platform in Australia. GoCardless, for instance, automates a great deal of these processes for you.
The quickest way to accept Direct Debit payments is via the GoCardless API or dashboard. Your customers simply need to enter their payment details once and authorise you to collect their payments via Direct Debit.
It takes just a couple of minutes to set up, and then you can schedule payments and ensure you get paid automatically. Not only is it a good way for you to keep track of your revenue, but it’s convenient for customers – they’ll get an email when payment is being taken. Plus, it’s safe, since all sensitive information is encrypted.
Online payment service providers
Full-service online payment providers, like PayPal, let customers pay for your goods and services through your website. They act as a middleman between banks, taking money from a cardholder’s account and delivering it to yours. These types of providers generally act as both a merchant account and payment gateway and they reduce the threat of PCI non-compliance since you never have to handle sensitive customer data.
Bitcoin and digital currencies
Digital currencies are similar to money (fiat) and can be used to buy and sell goods and services. However, it’s important to note that digital currency isn’t legal tender, and its value can change rapidly, which could leave you out of pocket if the market takes a dive.
What to consider when setting up online payment options
When you’re deciding which online payment options to offer, think about your customers. Choosing a payment method they prefer will make it more likely that they’ll pay you on time. Introducing the most popular payment options will negatively impact competitors too. if you can offer more flexible online payment options than they can, customers may switch their allegiance to you.
Also, make sure the solutions you opt for are secure and reliable. If you’re using, for example, EFTPOS, you’ll need to ensure you have a stable internet connection and phone network. Otherwise, you won’t be able to take payment. Take costs into consideration as well, since many online payment options require you to pay a fee or transaction costs.
When it comes to online payment options for small businesses, there’s no one size fits all solution. Before deciding, weigh up the pros and cons of each solution and factor in the importance of convenience, both for you and your customers.
We can help
GoCardless helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of admin your team needs to deal with when chasing invoices. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.