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July 9, 2013

Not Accepting Online Payments? Your Customers Expect It

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Do you remember when those credit card processing machines at the grocery store were rare and felt revolutionary? This is how many people still feel about being able to pay for stuff online. Really, though, online payment processing has become almost ubiquitous within our culture.

Customers expect to be able to pay for things online through a virtual terminal. Not accepting online payments definitely sets your business apart, but not in any way that would be considered good.

Do you need more reasons to take online payments? Here are five.

1. It’s Faster
When you accept online payments, you get your money immediately. You don’t have to wait for the check to clear.

2. It’s Guaranteed
When someone pays with cash, there is a (small, but still there) chance that the cash will be counterfeit. If a customer writes a check, there is a possibility that the check will bounce. In both cases, you are out both your product and the payment for it.
Online payments, though, go through a credit card or guaranteed payment system. If the customer does not actually have the funds to pay for the product in their account, one of two things will happen:

  • The creditor will prevent the transaction from going through (on the customer’s end).
  • The creditor will allow the transaction to be processed and then will charge the customer a boatload of fees for overdrafting an account or going over a credit limit.

Either way, you won’t have to worry about accidentally sending out products or performing services for free.

3. It’s Easy
Paying online is easier for most of your customers because they can choose whichever payment method is easiest for them (bank account, PayPal, credit card, etc.).

4. It Helps People Trust You
Requiring people to provide you with checking account data so you can process a payment is going to raise a lot of red flags with your buyers. These days, nobody is keen on sharing financial information — even with people they already know and trust. With online payments, their information stays private, which makes them more likely to buy from you.

5. You Will Attract More Customers
How often have you decided not to patronize a business because that business would only accept cash payments and you didn’t feel like finding an ATM? The same principal applies here. The more methods of payment you accept, the more customers you will attract. When you accept online payments, you open the doors to selling all over the world.

Think about it: How often do you pay your bills online? How often do you shop at Amazon.com or other online vendors? When was the last time you met someone who didn’t take payments online — whether it was through a website or using a Square reader (or one of its competitors)?

To put it more simply: When was the last time you wrote a check?

There is a global market waiting for you to sell to it. Do you really want to lose that business?


Erin Steiner has written extensively about online payment, reputation management, and other small business topics like how to choose the ideal virtual terminal.

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