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The Top 5 Online Payment Methods for SMEs

The old “cash is king” adage might have been true in the pre-COVID years but the vast majority of payments today are made online. We are quickly becoming a cashless society in the wake of the pandemic and it’s easy to see why.

Online payment once required the use of a desktop or laptop computer but thanks to the rise of the smartphone, purchases can now be made at any place and any time. So, if your small business isn’t equipped to accept online payments then you might as well be trading in the stone age.

Setting up online payment processing for a small business has never been easier but what might not be so straightforward is choosing which one is best for your business. There are dozens of options, some tailored for very specific situations.

Here, we’ll be cutting through the chaff and getting right to the good stuff – the five best online payment solutions for small businesses available today.

1.  Stripe

While it might only be 12 years old, Stripe has already become one of the world’s largest online payment providers. This is thanks in no small part to its pay-as-you-go pricing strategy and accessibility. For sole traders and very small businesses, Stripe is perhaps the easiest option when it comes to design and integration possibilities. It’s also very affordable.

2. PayPal

While Stripe may have superseded it in terms of market share when it comes to small business online payment processing, PayPal is still one of the most visible and flexible payment platforms. The real USP of PayPal is that it accepts so many payments methods and offers a lower transaction fee than other providers. It’s also a name with gravitas and boasts a user interface that almost everyone will have become familiar with over the past decade.

3. Apple Pay

It seems only apt that the originators of the smartphone would have their own online payment solution and if you own an iPhone, chances are you’ve attempted using Apple Pay at least once. Accepting Apple Pay means that anyone who has set up their iPhone to use it will be able to pay by simply producing their phone as if it were a contactless debit or credit card. The drawback is that it only works on iPhones and iPads, so if you accept Apple Pay, you should probably also accept Google Pay, which works on all Android phones.

4. Opayo

While it is one of the more expensive online payment processing solutions on the market at around £27 per month for the basic plan, Opayo is one of the more fully-featured options with 24/7 support and additional services such as payroll and accounting. For this reason, it’s an ideal option for businesses that want a complete package that will help them scale fast. It doesn’t mess around with payments either, as it releases your payments in just two days, where other providers can take up to a week.

5. GoCardless

Whereas the other online payment methods on this list are based around one-time payments, GoCardless specialises in regular, automated payment collection. This not only cuts down on the amount of admin work that comes with invoicing clients but means that chasing up invoices effectively becomes a thing of the past. Whether it’s for a subscription, invoices or paying by instalment, GoCardless sets up effortless and cashless payments and does all the hard work for you.

We can help

If you’re interested in finding out more about online payment methods for your small business, or any other aspect of your business finances, then get in touch with our financial experts at GoCardless. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.

Over 70,000 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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