Setting up online payments and getting paid.
Here, we'll provide some insight into the world of online payments, from finding the best-possible payments solution for your business to minimizing chargebacks and disputes. We also talk about the latest tool in online sales: offering a way for your customers to pay over time, while you get paid in full upfront.
1. Setting up payments processing.
Choosing the right payment processing for your business involves dozens of decisions and quite a bit of research. To begin, it’s necessary to understand the "three P’s" of payment processing: players, payments process, and pricing.
- Players. There are three main players when it comes to processing credit and debit card payments, whether online, via phone sales, or even in person. On one end is you, the business owner or merchant. On the other end is your customer. In between is a lot of technology that connects the two of you, such as the payment gateway and the payments processor.
- Process. As a business owner, it’s helpful to understand exactly how money moves from your customer to your business. There are two stages to payments processing: the authorization (approving the sale, which usually happens within seconds) and the settlement (getting the money in your account, which can take a few business days).
- Pricing. There are several fees associated with payments processing, charged by each of the players, including the issuing bank, the credit card association (Visa, MasterCard, etc.), the merchant bank, and the payments processor.
2. Minimizing chargebacks and disputes.
The majority of sale transactions happen smoothly. Once in a while, though, the customer may file a dispute, asking their credit card to reverse the transaction amount. There are things you can do to help prevent disputes and chargebacks from happening in the first place:
- Provide contact information. Buyers may not resort to a dispute or chargeback if they can talk to you about the issue first. Provide an email address or phone number.
- Be responsive. No one likes to wait, so do your best to respond quickly and professionally to all reasonable buyer inquiries.
- Provide a clear return policy. Make sure your return and refund policies are easy to find on your website.
In most cases, the easiest way to settle a dispute is to work with your customer to figure out what happened. Begin the conversation with an open mind, listen to what they have to say and stay focused on a solution.
3. Offering credit products.
The new online consumer credit products work a lot like the old-school financing options offered by big-box retailers. They extend a line of credit that customers pay off over time. At checkout, they select the credit option instead of their credit card.
The benefits of old-school consumer financing hold true for online businesses, as well: namely, enabling customers to buy something over time — for example, large ticket items or a holiday shopping spree. The new world of consumer credit comes with additional benefits:
- More sales and larger orders. Giving customers access to credit, including a financing offer at the point of checkout, not only gives customers more purchasing power, but also helps drive sales and increases purchase value.
- 100% upfront payment. Even though your customers have time to pay for their purchases, you receive your sales funds upfront, usually within a matter of minutes.
- Enticing offers. Beyond just an extension of credit, some lenders will help you sell even more by offering your customers enticing incentives. Examples include special financing offers on purchases above a certain dollar amount and monthly payment options over a period of time: 6, 12, or 18 months.