Payment Methods For Your Small Business
In the last decade we have seen a shift in the way consumers prefer to pay for goods. The standard and most common payment methods were cash, checks, and credit/gift cards, but now there are brand new payment methods that have been introduced, like Apple Pay, Venmo, Paypal, Square, and even in some cases, Bitcoin. These new payment methods have made it more convenient for customers to purchase goods, but what does that mean for those on the opposite side of the register?
Most of us have had the experience of going to a place expecting to pay with card, then being hit with the fact that they only accept cash. Maybe you were lucky and had enough cash or maybe you found yourself falling short, unable to purchase the product. Not accepting a payment form is one of those things that will drive customers away from your business. When you offer a diverse amount of payment options, you have a greater chance of customers following through with the purchases. These purchases can also be made from all over, instead of just being restricted to one standard currency. In doing so, you are able to sell worldwide and expand your customer base. Businesses today understand they must be current with the customer’s preferences and do what is best to drive sales. Before settling on payment methods, look at the disadvantages and advantages of each.
Cash- Obviously businesses love cash because they get paid immediately, void of fees etc. So, continue to accept cash (obviously)but be aware that consumer who carry cash on the regular, (especially enough for impulse purchases) is not as common as it once was.
Credit and debit cards- If you don’t accept credit cards, it’s time you do- at this point not accepting cards is hurting you more than any fee might. Set up a merchant account and start researching the best possible ways to accept cards, such as through credit card processing companies, or alternative but highly effective ways, like Shopify, Square, or Paypal.
Online payments (Paypal, Apple pay, Dwolla, and Venmo) -Those are only a few of the many online payments available. Approximately 10% of purchases are completed online through ecommerce. This percentage may not seem large to some, but it’s the amount of growth in a short amount of time that makes it important to incorporate online payments. They work the same as regular payments and are encrypted to prevent cyber attacks from occuring.
Paypal has become the leader in the online payment industry. It’s made online shopping easier for some. Paypal saves all credit card information, so when making a purchase it’s a simple step, just agree to the purchase and the payment is secured.
Square is a convenient way for business owners to charge credit cards. It's a magstripe that can make transactions anywhere. As a small business owner it's a great way to be able to sell your products and service wherever and whenever.
Apple pay is a convenient way for Apple users to pay for products. It's so simple that with the touch of a fingerprint a purchase can be made. Transaction through Apple pay can be made faster and more secure.
Dwolla is another great payment method for receiving and making purchases through email. The great thing about Dwolla is that there are no transaction fees required, the only downside is that it is only compatible with U.S currency.
Venmo is popular with millennials as it provides an easy way for them to send money to their friends. It’s a mobile app that allows transactions to be made and the money can either add up to a balance or go directly into your bank account.
Google wallet is safe, easy, and secure. It allows you to store information from credit cards, debit cards, gift cards, and even loyalty cards.
Blockchain Technology/Cryptocurrency-If you have ever heard of bitcoin or litecoin, then you’re probably are familiar with cryptocurrency. Allowing payments to be made in blockchain technology will likely be the next “thing.” However, it’s early- most consumers don’t fully understand this new technology or may not have even invested in it, so keep your finger on the pulse of this emerging way to pay.
Checks- Some businesses still accept checks- The downside to accepting a written check is that they’re risky. An individual may have insufficient funds, and this cause a headache for you when working with the bank, or trying to get in touch with the customer to reconcile payment.