Last editedOct 20212 min read
Every business wants customers to make a purchase, but if you aren’t giving them the right ways to pay, customers might end up going elsewhere. No matter how great your product or service is, if you’re not making it easy for your customers to make a payment, then you’re placing a massive obstacle in their way. Nowadays it’s about far more than taking cash and cards. Consider digital wallets and payment gateways too. Here are the most important payment methods you should be offering. If you're looking for providers, check out our guide to the top online payment companies.
A virtual terminal is an essential payment method for any online business. It allows customers to pay with credit or debit cards. Virtual terminals provide secure card processing and allows you to do everything online, meaning you can take payment anywhere. Virtual terminals come with processing fees, usually a set SaaS monthly fee and a per-transaction fee.
Payment gateways operate similarly to virtual terminals, allowing customers to pay securely online using a card. Payment gateways include leading names like PayPal, AmazonPay, and SagePay. These services usually require your customer to make their payment in a separate window to your site (i.e., on the gateway’s site). This can help improve trust, as customers will trust PayPal more than a site they’ve never used before. Payment gateways can be costly, but as a ready-made payment method that already has customer trust, they’re a very easy way to get an e-commerce venture off the ground.
Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay
Mobile payment through these digital wallets is extremely popular, and something your business may want to consider offering. Not all of these options support the ability to pay online, but for those that do, it allows customers to pay in a single click. Depending on your customer base, this modern way to pay might be their preferred method.
Pay in installments
Payment by installment is becoming increasingly popular thanks to payment options like Klarna. This payment method can make purchases more accessible to customers. Even if they aren’t able to fully afford an item right now, they can still make the most of a flash sale or limited deal and pay later. In the case of Klarna, this payment solution integrates with many of the leading e-commerce platform brands, so it’s quick and easy to get started.
Cash and cheque
Depending on your customer demographic, offering a traditional method of payment may work in your favor. A money order or check may be preferred to online payments, especially for more mature customers. This is where customer segmentation analysis is extremely helpful, allowing you to understand what your customers might need to feel catered for. Bear in mind that the world at large has progressed far beyond checks in the post, so you might end up paying extra processing fees or – at the very least – losing more time to admin compared to simple online payments.
How many online payment methods do I need?
While offering your customers multiple ways to pay can make the customer experience as hassle-free as possible, it’s a careful balancing act between securing sales and dealing with processing costs. You need to be able to accept online payments, and for many small businesses, a payment gateway is the easiest and most reliable way for customers to pay online.
Online payments through digital wallets may also help boost brand trustworthiness if your customer base is particularly tech-savvy. If you’re truly in the dark about how many online payment methods you should offer, look at your competitors.
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.