How to Accept Payments From Your Customers
We all know how challenging it is to take a great idea and turn it into a real business. You need funding, a business plan, a website, a business model the list goes on and on.
If you are going to accept credit cards, the first thing you’ll need to decide is whether you will swipe them or enter in the card information manually. That means you either need a physical terminal or a virtual terminal:
Physical Terminal (POS)
One of the most common forms of accepting payments is through a physical Point of Sale (POS) system. You’ve done this a million times as a consumer, swiping your credit card through a card reader and authenticating the transaction with your signature. And recently, you’ve probably used one of the new mobile swipers that turn a smartphone or tablet into a POS system that’s also part of this category.
In today’s world, plenty of businesses don’t transact face-to-face with their customers and/or don’t have the luxury of swiping a physical credit card. These businesses usually service providers and online sellers typically end up using a virtual terminal. A virtual terminal provides the ability to accept credit cards online, through the mail, and over the phone. It also enables you to process these transactions as “card-not-present”, which costs you far less than the “non-qualified” rate described above.
If your business will charge your customers on a set time interval, tracking down customers each time to get their payment information (or relying on them to pay promptly on the due date) can be a huge hassle. It can also make your cash flow more unpredictable and inconsistent than it needs to be.
Paper invoices are a thing of the past. Why print, mail, and store paper documents when you don’t have to? Electronic invoicing gets both you and your customers away from paper clutter while reducing costs and eliminating errors. Not only can you email professional-looking invoices to your customers, but a virtual terminal can also allow them to click the invoice and pay you online with their credit card. No paper checks, no “It got lost in the mail…”, and no forgetting to keep track of who paid!
Securely Storing Customer Data
You’ve surely seen it in the news lately storing credit card information securely is a big deal. Many business owners unknowingly put themselves and their customers at risk by writing down or electronically storing their customers’ credit card information for future use. Virtual terminals handle and store customer credit card data so you don’t have to.
Credit cards are everywhere nowadays and pretty much everyone is comfortable using them. As a small business owner, you probably want to make payments as convenient as possible for your customers, so it’s a good idea to take credit cards. But the truth is that offering that convenience to your customers will cost you a lot of money in transaction fees. A great alternative is ACH (also called eCheck, electronic check, or direct debit).
“Each payment processing solution can offer different rates as well as stipulations around the types of payment forms they accept, so make sure to take inventory of the payment options you will want to offer to your customers when you are making a decision. In addition, how the payment solution integrates with your other business tools can be important to streamlining all of your business processes”commented the president of Grupo Denim Salomón Juan Marcos Villarreal.