Payment methods your small business can offer

From coast to coast and around the world, small business owners are always on the lookout for ways to thrive and expand their businesses with the right tools — and that starts with payment processing.

Small business payment methods to grow your sales operation

Whether you're selling online, offline, or a combination of the two, some of the best payment solutions for small businesses can help you accomplish a central part of doing business: getting paid.

The result? Selling your perfected salsa with ease no matter where you are — online, in your local storefront, and even at the annual jalapeno festival.

In this guide, we’ll cover the payment solutions businesses owners can benefit from, including PayPal payment tools.

Payment methods for small businesses

When it comes to small business payment options, the key is to keep the payment process as quick and hassle-free as possible for both your customers and your team.

Not only that, simplifying the payment process can help enhance the overall experience for everyone involved — from increased customer satisfaction to streamlined operations.

Not sure where to start? Read on for different payment methods for small businesses that may align with your unique needs.

  1. Card payments

    According to a 2022 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, credit cards accounted for 31% of all payments, marking the highest level since the study began in 2016.1

    With a growing preference for credit cards over cash and other payment methods, small business owners stand to benefit from offering card payment options for shoppers.

    As one of the best payment methods for small businesses, here are some of the advantages of card payments:

    • Increased sales potential: By accepting card payments, you open your business to a broader customer base, including those who prefer the convenience and security of card transactions.
    • Streamlined checkout process: Card payments offer a fast and efficient checkout experience for customers, reducing waiting times and improving overall customer satisfaction.
    • Security and reduced risk: Card payments come with built-in security features that help protect both the customer and your business from potential fraud.
    • Digital recordkeeping: Card transactions generate digital records, making it seamless to track and manage payments.

    Here are some cons you may consider:

    • High fees: Card payment processing fees can be significant, particularly for small businesses with tight profit margins.
    • Chargebacks and disputes: Customers can dispute card transactions and initiate chargebacks, which can result in the loss of funds for businesses.
    • Equipment and maintenance costs: Accepting card payments requires investing in payment terminals or online payment gateways, along with associated costs for equipment purchase, installation, and maintenance.
  2. Cash payments

    Unlike card payments, cash payments allow for immediate receipt of funds — which can help manage cash flow and meet urgent financial needs. Plus, there are little to no fees associated with accepting cash from customers.

    However, running a cash-only business does come with its challenges. One of the main concerns is the risk of theft, both from external sources and internal employees. Cash transactions can also be more difficult to track compared to digital transactions.

  3. Online payments

    One of the best ways to accept payments for small businesses is via online payment processing. Online payment gateways provide a seamless and secure way for any type of operation – from retail to food service – to accept payments on their websites or e-commerce platforms.

    By integrating an online payment gateway, you can offer customers the convenience of making purchases directly on your website, eliminating the need for manual processing or offline payment methods. These gateways also support various payment options, such as credit cards, debit cards, and digital wallets.

  4. Check payments

    Check payments involve customers writing a physical check for the desired amount and businesses depositing the check into their bank account.

    Accepting checks can provide a paper trail for recordkeeping and attract customers who prefer this method. However, it can be time-consuming to process and deposit checks, and there is a risk of accepting bad checks or encountering insufficient funds.

    To start accepting check payments, businesses should establish a relationship with a bank or financial institution that offers check processing services. This involves setting up a business bank account and following the bank's guidelines for check acceptance and verification procedures.

  5. Digital wallets

    Digital wallets are electronic payment methods that allow users to securely store their payment information on their mobile devices or online platforms. Customers can make purchases by scanning a QR code or using NFC technology.

    Digital wallets offer convenience, streamlined transactions, and enhanced security, but businesses will likely need a compatible POS system or payment gateway to process these payments.

PayPal payment solutions for small businesses

Think of PayPal as your small business partner — we can help you do business almost anywhere.

Take orders for your salsa online with our credit card processing system, sell excess mixers on an online marketplace, accept payments for sales at the local fair with a mobile point of sale or QR code, and email invoices to clients for catering — all with PayPal.

As your end-to-end commerce partner for platforms and marketplaces, PayPal delivers a complete payments platform with the global scale and flexibility your business needs to help you stay competitive. As one of the best payment solutions for small businesses, we’re here to help you reach more customers and make it easy for you to get paid, however you do business.

Sell online easily

PayPal online checkout is a one-and-done payment solution that lets your business accept a range of payment types. Whether you choose something simple or need a completely custom integration, PayPal can intelligently present the most relevant payment types to your customers, making it easy for them to pay using PayPal, credit or debit card, and other payment methods.

If you're looking for something simple that you can implement yourself, try creating a payment button. Setup takes just minutes and includes basic customizations like changing the button’s alignment, shape, and colors. By copying prebuilt code and pasting it next to the products or services you want to sell on your website, you can start accepting payments right away — no developer help required.

When you want to fully integrate a more robust checkout process into your website, PayPal Checkout has an integration with the features you’re looking for. You can choose everything from the colors to the layout and language, designing a checkout process that is completely customized for your business.

As a payment gateway for small businesses, you can also process credit card payments over the phone, by fax, or by mail with Virtual Terminal. Virtual Terminal allows you to enter a customer's credit card information directly into your PayPal account, so you can be flexible and accept payments in the way that's most convenient for your customer.

Sell on-the-go or in-store

Meeting customers where they are is essential to keeping your business relevant for the times — and it means adapting to changing consumer behavior and buying preferences.

As one of the best credit card readers for small businesses, PayPal Zettle lets you accept credit and debit magstripe cards, chip cards, and contactless payments like Apple Pay. In addition to accepting payments, Zettle can help you streamline your operations with features to manage inventory, generate sales and performance reports, and more.

With PayPal QR codes, there's no need for you or your customers to handle cash or cards. This option allows customers to pay by simply opening the PayPal app and scanning your unique code, and then you receive payment quickly. Your PayPal QR code is free to create, reusable, and never expires. (Limits Apply. See all merchant fees here.)

Manage cash flow and business expenses

With PayPal Invoicing, you can generate professional-looking invoices in minutes. The online invoices make it as easy for your customers to pay as it is for you to create and track.

Just as important, you can effortlessly keep tabs on your invoices, monitor their status, and track payments in real time, allowing you to stay organized and ensure that payments are received promptly.

With the right business tools, you can simplify your processes, save time, and focus on what truly matters: growing your business.

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