The Online Entrepreneur’s Guide to Payment Processors

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Starting an ecommerce business can be incredibly rewarding if you can manage to create a valuable offering that your customers will be glad to pay for. The good news is that you’re entering the game at just the right time, as B2B transactions are predicted to be worth $1.3 trillion in the U.S. alone by 2020.

It’s time for you to get a share of that pie, and you can with the right business idea and the tools to manage it, including the ideal payment processor.

What is a Payment Processor?

Payment processors are online portals that allow customers to pay you anywhere they happen to be.

The platforms are designed to be secure and easy to use as they wirelessly process transactions and send money to you on your customer’s behalf. Your choice of payment processor will depend on your type of business and personal preferences.

What to Look for in a Payment Processor

When deciding on the best payment processor for your needs, think of your customers and how they prefer to pay. Would they like to use a digital wallet or ACH transfer? Do they use credit cards? What fees are you willing to pay per transaction? You will also want to consider how easy it is for customers to pay. Most customers won’t jump through a bunch of hoops to complete a transaction. In the era of Amazon’s 1-Click purchases, your payment system needs to be seamless and fast.

Many payment processors today offer ease-of-use and have all the options you could ever want. But you’ll also want to be mindful of security. Most modern payment processors employ powerful encryption to keep transactions safe. But what about your customers’ data and the ability for you to get your money quickly and effortlessly once your transactions have been completed? You should ensure that your payment processor of choice is cyber-secure and ultra-fast as far as getting your funds is concerned.

Other considerations include scale. Do you process a few payments per month or hundreds? If you require heavy-duty payment processing, you may want to look for a processor that offers enterprise services, typically for a monthly fee. This will provide you with the ability to process many payments at once while keeping your operation secure.

You might also be interested in specific services, such as credit financing, reward programs, coupon codes, and other concepts you may introduce to your customers down the line.

The good news is that there are plenty of payment processors out there with just those characteristics and more, and some of them are listed below. What follows is a list of the most popular payment portals in use today. Each of them is designed to make commerce easy, fast, and virtual for your valued customers.

Stripe

Stripe allows you to accept all major credit cards and debit cards using any desktop or mobile device. You can customize your own checkout, or use Stripe’s pre-built Checkout form. The system then saves your customers’ credit card details so that returning buyers can pay with a single click.

Stripe charges a fee of 2.9% + $0.30 and allows you to take payments over the phone. The system is ideal for consulting, coaching, and other online businesses that bill customers or clients on a recurring basis.

The system also offers a powerful API that can be integrated with invoicing and other ecommerce platforms like WooCommerce and SalesForce.

PayPal

PayPal is a universal payment processor that is used by nearly 200 million active users worldwide. There are no contracts or hidden fees, and the system is incredibly easy to use from any internet-based device.

Like Stripe, PayPal also charges 2.9% + $0.30 for each transaction. The API allows you to easily integrate the system with shopping carts, accounting applications and shipping software.

The great thing about PayPal is that you can add Buy Now or Subscribe buttons to your website without the use of an online shopping cart. There’s even an invoicing option that allows you to bill clients and accept payments all from a single dashboard. The company offers excellent phone support via email or phone, and there’s even an option to offer your customers credit-based financing.

Dwolla

Dwolla is a platform that is ideal for initiating Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments, but you can also instantly verify bank accounts to improve payment security.

Dwolla charges no monthly fees and 0.5% per transaction with a minimum of $.05 and a maximum of $5.00. If you need to scale your business larger, the system offers enterprise services that start at $2,000 per month.

Square

Square allows you to accept credit cards anywhere you happen to be using a variety of hardware options. You can accept chip cards and NFC payments with a “Square Reader” that slips into any mobile device, which is ideal for transactions conducted in person. Square also offers Square Stand for the iPad that allows for a countertop point of sale.

Most recently, the company has developed the Square Reader, which is the first fully-integrated point of sale that lets you start selling immediately.

Online payments are also possible, however. Square charges 2.5% + $.10 per transaction, whether you tap, dip, or swipe customers’ cards. Deposits are available as fast as the following business day. There are no hidden fees, and you’ll be able to accept all major credit and debit cards for your customers’ convenience.

Amazon Payments

Amazon’s payment processor allows your customers to use their Amazon account and user information to pay you directly. With portals for merchants and non-profits, Amazon Payments comes with ecommerce extensions for popular platforms, plugins, and simple API solutions that can be integrated on a wide variety of platforms.

With the knowledge of the Amazon payment system, customers will already be familiar with how to pay you. Like many other processors on this list, Amazon charges 2.9% per transaction + $0.30 for domestic payments and $20 for disputed chargebacks.

National Merchants

National Merchants allows you to accept online payments and checks by web. In operation since 2004, NMA offers risk-protection, chargeback control, QuickBooks integration, and recurring billing.

Conclusion

There are many other payment processors out there, including Authorize.net, which has been helping ecommerce business owners earn a living since 1996! You are encouraged to carefully select your processor based on what type of payments, the volume of payments, the fees you’re willing to pay, along with all the security features you most desire.

Selecting the right payment processor, whether it’s Stripe, Dwolla, PayPal, or Square, can improve your conversion rates and customer service, thereby boosting the bond of loyalty between you and your growing clientele.  

Getting paid is the cream on the top of any entrepreneur’s coffee. But that payment is supported by your hard work and your hard work is supported by the right tools. ProjectManager.com is an online project management software that allows you to plan, monitor and report on your progress all in real-time. That brings in your project on time, under budget and with quality. Try it today and see for yourself by taking this 30-day trial

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