As a small business owner, it can be difficult to figure out what payment options your customers prefer. This is especially relevant with all the latest technological advancements and virtual payment options at your disposal. This is why it is important to do your homework and to partner with a company that works with small business owners daily and understands their needs in this ever-changing world.
Popular Payment Options
Before we dive into payment options to explore, we need to consider which payment methods are most common for consumers.
The five most popular forms of payment today are:
- Cash. Although it still is the most widely used method of paying for items, it’s declining on a yearly basis, while on the other hand, credit card usage increases year over year.
- Credit Cards. This is the second most popular form of payment in the world. These days, customers expect businesses to accept at least one type of credit card. It is important to ensure you have the ability to accept credit card payments with a physical or virtual terminal, or chances are, your business will lose out on sales.
- Online payments. This method offers businesses a faster, cheaper, and more reliable mode of conducting business. From Venmo to Zelle and everything in between, consumers are using this type of payment method more and more.
- Checks: While not the most popular form of payment, checks are still used across the world. If you do decide to accept checks at your establishment, it’s important to note that small business owners have no way of verifying if funds are available in the account at the time of transaction.
Consider Virtual Payment Options
Virtual or online credit card processing has become a staple in today’s world. With so many eCommerce stores springing up as consumer demand continues to shift toward online purchases, it’s no surprise that virtual credit card processing has grown in popularity. eCommerce retail purchases are expected to rise even more over the next few years.
So what is the solution to this trend toward virtual shopping? A virtual credit card terminal.
Benefits and Features of Online/Virtual Terminals
You may be thinking, “What exactly is a virtual terminal?” And while this term may be new to you, it’s quite simple. A virtual credit card processing terminal is software that enables business owners to receive orders online, through a web-based application, and via telephone.
That’s right, your business can be fully online or brick-and-mortar and this application can work for you.
Some of the benefits of virtual terminals are:
- One time payments. Not only can you accept payments over the phone, but mail-in orders and eChecks as well. All payment types can be taken on a one-time or recurring basis.
- Automated recurring billing. No more manual billing. Simply enter the frequency and amount you would like to collect from a customer, and the system will automate this process for you. Save time and focus on the areas of your business that matter.
- Backup and recovery options. Having a safety net is never a bad thing! If you do have a brick and mortar store where you have physical terminals available, wouldn’t it be nice to have a backup option in case one of your card readers experiences a malfunction? Having a solution that is online and available 24/7 is a great way to ensure your business continues to run, no matter what may come your way.
- Fraud protection. With an online terminal, you can enter customer card information or payment details directly into the web-based application. This method is PCI compliant as the virtual terminals use data encryption to keep information secure.
- Automatically Updated Accounting. Do you have a customer who is being billed automatically by the system, but decides to change cards? Rather than having to track down and manually deal with any failed transactions, a virtual credit card terminal can update this information automatically.
- Invoicing. Allow your customers the control to place in their sensitive information themselves with branded invoices that save you time.
The only things you need to start accepting payments online and over the telephone are access to the internet, a web browser and a payment gateway ID. This will be issued to you by your merchant services provider when the time comes. Long gone are the days of having to wait on a technician to come to your store, set up hardware, and take up your valuable time.
Additional Options that Make Collecting Virtual Payments Seamless
Are you in love with your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software? Virtual terminals integrate with many of the top names out there to ensure your business doesn’t miss a beat.
In addition, accounting software can also integrate with your terminal and allow you to feed two birds with one scone. Payments can be tricky so investing in this software will give you the peace of mind that all of your finances are in order.
The ability to accept payments for your online eCommerce store via WordPress, Shopify and Drupal, is also a huge benefit. Your online customers can use a secure form upon checkout to ensure a seamless and secure transaction.
Simplify the Process for Customers
From accepting cash to taking orders over the phone via avirtual credit card terminal, ensure you do everything you can to make your customers’ shopping experience easy, convenient and safe. As a small business owner, you know your customers best, and can provide them with the tools they need to buy in-person or online. We hope you’ll explore your options to find the right fit for you.