Over the past year or so, the big topic among small business owners has been embracing the digital world. The days of being able to accept cash only are long gone. If you want to stay competitive, expand your brand and achieve your goals, you have to accept payments online.
However, how to go about it isn’t always clear. Where do you start? What should you be looking for? What merchant services do you really need? Business owners always have so many questions when it comes to payment gateways, merchant accounts and ecommerce platforms. The following guide will help you get started and get your business paid.
Get a Merchant Account
Step one: secure a merchant account for your business, if you haven’t already. Of course, this is easier said than done depending on your business type and industry. But it’s incredibly important. According to recent data, in 2019, approximately 1.06 billion credit cards were used throughout North America alone. Considering Americans own four credit cards each on average, it’s important to offer credit and debit card processing options.
Before you can accept credit cards online, you’ll need a merchant account. A merchant account is a type of business bank account that allows a company to accept and process electronic payment card transactions, like debt and credit cards. It is common for that money to be held within that account for a couple of days while the payment is verified, authorized and deemed secure.
Add a Payment Gateway
Essentially, a payment gateway connects your website to a checkout system. For example, linking your website to Visa. The payment gateway achieves this either by embedding a checkout to your website itself, or it redirects your customer to the payment gateway’s website to complete the purchase. Some examples of payment gateways include Stripe, PayPal and Square (there are hundreds of others available today). Which gateway you choose will depend on your business type and your business’ unique needs.
Integrate Mobile Wallet Payments
It’s predicted that by 2023 over 1.31 billion people worldwide will have utilized a mobile payment app over the course of six months. So, as you map out how to take payments online, you’ll definitely want to add integrating mobile wallet payments to your long-term strategy. Some of the more widely used mobile wallets in the U.S. include Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.
Along with these steps, you’ll want to do your research on payment processing providers. Before you secure a merchant account, make sure the provider understands your business type and has years of experience in working with merchants in your industry. This will increase your chances of having a successful experience accepting customer payments online.
Content crafter Alex Wilmont has been active in the payments industry for over 15 years. He lives simply, gives generously and loves his 2 dogs. His mission is to enhance and innovate the fintech industry for years to come.