Connect with us

MARKETING

How to Accept Payments Online [7 Top Payment Processing Providers]

Published

on

With only 16% of consumers carrying cash and the popularity of ecommerce, if you don’t have a payment processor for your business, you’re missing out.

In this post, we’ll talk about the software options available for accepting payments online — including some free options, and how payment processing can help streamline your business processes and increase sales.

But first, let’s cover the basics of how payment processing works.

What is payment processing?

A payment processor is a company that facilitates electronic payments (credit card, digital wallets, ACH) between a business and the bank. Essentially payment processors handle all of the backend logistics between merchants, banks, and credit card companies that enable businesses to accept payment.

How does payment processing work?

When you shop at a retailer and pay with a credit card, the payment processor works in the background to authenticate and complete the transaction, moving the money from your account to the business’ account.

Here’s what happens behind the scenes when a customer makes a card payment:

  1. A customer gives the merchant their credit or debit card to make a purchase. This is either done using a payment terminal in-person or through an online payment page.
  2. The card information goes through a payment gateway or portal which encrypts the customer’s personal data to ensure privacy and sends it to the payment processor.
  3. The payment processor then sends a request to the customer’s issuing bank to see if they have enough credit (or cash if using a debit card) to pay for the purchase.
  4. The card issuer either approves or denies the purchase.
  5. The payment processor sends this “approved” or “denied” info back to the retailer to complete the transaction with the customer.
  6. Once complete, the processor tells the customer’s bank to send funds to the retailer’s banking institution.

While this sounds like a lot of steps, it all happens in a matter of seconds and requires no work on your end or the customer’s.

Benefits of Payment Processing

Here’s a look at some of the advantages payment processing software will bring to your business.

1. Convenience

Convenience is one of the main factors that influence conversion rate. The more steps a customer has to take to make a payment, the more likely they are to abandon their purchase and go elsewhere.

2. Speed

Payment processors can transfer most payments between shoppers and sellers instantly. On the other hand, transfers to and from bank accounts can sometimes take 24 hours or more.

3. Trust

Many payment processors are brands that are globally recognized. If a customer already uses payment software, they’re more likely to trust your payment system.

4. Security

Payment processing companies add an extra layer of protection to online transactions. You can set limits, flags for activity on your account, and sometimes even a time frame to recall payments.

5. Record-Keeping

With payment processors, you’ll have access to your account online and can manage your contacts, recurring payments, and other account activity via desktop or mobile.

Costs to Consider When Using Payment Processors

While payment processors offer convenience and security among other perks, they also come at a cost. Each player in the payment chain — banks, credit card companies, and the payment processor takes their cut. Here are some of the transaction fees to look out for.

  • Interchange Fee: These are fees paid to the card issuer (Chase, TD Bank, Bank of America, etc.) The card issuer gets paid by getting a percentage of each sale.
  • Assessment Fee: These fees are paid to credit card associations (Visa, Mastercard, Amex).
  • Acquirer or processor Fee: These are fees paid to the processor (PayPal, Square, Stripe).
  • Merchant Fee: This is a fee paid to your merchant bank. The percentage charged will depend on the volume of transactions, the number of sales, and the industry.

The interchange, assessment, and merchant fees are bundled together and quoted as one percentage. The Processor fee is quoted separately. For example, your transaction fees could be 3% total with a $0.20 processor fee per transaction. This will be good to keep in mind when considering what pricing structure to go with, which we’ll explore in the next section.

Payment Processing Pricing Structure

Another factor to consider is pricing structure, which will vary from one processor to another. This structure typically falls within the categories below:

1. Interchange Plus

With Interchange Plus pricing, the retailer pays an additional fee plus the interchange amount. For example, you would be paying a 3% interchange rate plus a $0.25 per transaction.

  • Pros: This can be a more cost-effective option than other structures.
  • Cons: Because there are hundreds of interchange rates, the costs will vary significantly from one transaction to the next.

2. Flat-Rate

This is a fixed rate percent for all transactions paid in a certain manner regardless of the interchange rate. For example, you could pay 2% plus $0.20 for in-person purchases and 2.5% plus $0.25 for online purchases.

Pros: Your costs are predictable.

Cons: Your costs may be higher than the interchange plus model if you have a high volume of sales.

3. Tiered

Tiered pricing combines aspects of flat-rate and interchange plus. In this model, interchange rates are categorized into buckets or tiers. The processor then assigns a cost to each tier. For example, on a $75 purchase, you could have fees ranging from $2 to $3 depending on which tier it has been classified as.

Pros: Rates are easier to understand since the hundreds of possible interchange fees are bundled into predetermined tiers, making costs more predictable.

Cons: Since the processor sets the tiers, the overall costs can be higher than the other options.

Now that we’ve explained the costs, let’s look at some of the best online payment processors on the market.

Top Online Payment Processing Providers

Once you’ve developed a strategy for accepting payments online, you’ll need to decide which payment processing provider to use. Here are seven of the most popular options:

1. PayPal

Payment Processing Provider: Paypal

Image Source

Price: 3.49% plus $0.49 per transaction.

PayPal is one of the most trusted and widely recognized payment processing companies. It’s free to join and they provide all the tools you’ll need to integrate PayPal payments into your website and set up a secure payment gateway for visitors. Additionally, comprehensive coverage makes the platform a good choice for international companies.

2. Stripe

Payment processing provider: stripe

Image Source

Price: 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction.

Stripe offers a wide range of options for online businesses such as customizable checkouts as well as subscription management and recurring payment features. Stripe supports all major credit cards, mobile paying apps, wallets, and more.

3. Square

Accept Payments Online for Free: square

Image Source

Price: 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction.

Square entered the payment processing space by introducing a dongle that sellers could insert into a mobile phone to accept credit card transactions.

They’ve since expanded their software to cover all the major payment processing options and have included some useful tools for online businesses as well as high-street stores.

You can even create a basic website for free and integrate all of their point-of-sale (POS) solutions at the same time. They also have paid options for a custom website.

4. Google Pay

How to Accept Payments Online for Free: google pay

Image Source

Price: Google Pay doesn’t charge any fees — merchants only pay transaction fees as usual with credit/ debit sales.

Google Pay has a payment tool for businesses, websites, and apps. Google Pay’s APIs work to create a delightful checkout and payment experience for your customers.

If you use Google Pay on your website, you’ll gain secure and easy access to hundreds of millions of cards saved to Google Accounts worldwide so customers can pay for your products safely and at the touch of a button.

5. Apple Pay

How to Accept Payments Online for Free: apple pay

Image Source

Price: Apple Pay doesn’t charge any fees — merchants only pay transaction fees as usual with credit/ debit sales.

Apple Pay can be used on websites, in stores, by app, and via Business Chat or iMessage. It allows Apple users to quickly and safely input contact, payment, and shipping information during checkout.

Rather than having your ecommerce customers look around for their credit cards, Apple Pay allows them to checkout at the click of a button within apps and websites. On a website, an Apple users will simply click “Apple Pay” as their payment option, confirm the payment with one tap (via their iPhone, Apple Watch, etc.), and they’re good to go.

6. Venmo For Business

Payment processing provider: venmo for business

Image Source

Price: 1.9% plus $0.10 of the payment.

Venmo For Business is a mobile payment software and app owned by PayPal. You can choose to allow users to pay via your mobile app or your website.

You can set up a business profile on Venmo so users can quickly find your profile on the app. And if you add Venmo to your website, it’ll appear as a payment option right next to where it’ll give customers the option to pay with PayPal.

Once a customer selects the Venmo option at checkout, they’ll be directed to their Venmo app to complete the transaction. The Venmo payment option can be added to any of the pages of your ecommerce site that would also show the option to pay with PayPal, including your product pages, shopping cart page, and checkout page.

7. Helcim

Helcim

Image Source

Price: 2.38% plus $0.25.

Helcim is an online payment solution for ecommerce businesses — you can choose to start an online store from scratch or add a payment solution to your current website.

The easy-to-use and secure online payment system integrates into your website, shopping cart, billing system, and/or app, thanks to Helcim’s API. In addition to in-app and via website, Helcim works over the phone, in person, and by invoice, and it integrates with your accounting tools to save you time when it comes to bookkeeping.

Next, let’s cover the steps involved in receiving payments online.

1. Create a secure online payment gateway.

There are a couple of ways you can approach creating a secure online payment gateway. You can hire an outside developer or use your website development team to create a bespoke gateway. Or, you can use third-party software.

Setting up a secure gateway is essential. You’re also putting automated processes in place, which will save time on manual processing, especially as you scale your business and handle more transactions.

The more payment methods you make available within your payment portal, the wider the audience, and the easier it’ll be for your customers to send you money.

2. Facilitate credit and debit card payments.

Although it may change as mobile payments become more prevalent, using debit/ credit cards is still the most popular way people pay for products and services online.

You can easily facilitate accepting card payments through established payment providers such as PayPal or Stripe. These will accept the most-used credit cards worldwide — Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.

3. Set up recurring billing.

If you offer subscription plans or ongoing monthly services, the most efficient and reliable way to invoice and receive payments is via recurring billing.

Most of the major payment processing software also includes recurring billing features. For example, Growth Marketing Pro built an SEO tool that charges subscribers on a monthly basis and they used Stripe to set this up.

Sites like Paysimple also offer a suite of tools to set up custom, automated recurring billing if you already have a payment processing system in place.

Using automation is essential. It removes most human error and the stress of keeping track of invoicing and payments.

Your customers can commit to recurring payments with just a few clicks, and you won’t have to worry about manually managing your customer base.

4. Accept mobile payments.

These days, people are often more likely to have their phones on hand than debit cards — plus, mobile payment apps are more convenient than ever.

For instance, Apple Pay has quickly become one of the most popular mobile payment systems in the United States. With an estimated 43.9 million users, you’d miss out if you didn’t accept Apple Pay.

Google Pay, Venmo, and PayPal also have mobile apps with a decent market share.

5. Use email invoicing.

Email invoicing is a proactive way to request payments. You can share a payment form through email or add a link redirecting the recipient to a payment portal.

However, there are a couple of issues with this method: Email isn’t the most reliable form of communication, and customers can have trust issues making payments via email.

Expect a failure rate, but it’s a vital part of payment processing for a lot of businesses.

6. Accept electronic checks (eChecks).

To accept eChecks for payment, you need a form where the user can input their information, which you can see using payment processing software.

It’s basically a way to pay by check online. It’s a quicker and more reliable way than sending a paper check through the post, so offering this to your customers will make the process run smoother.

7. Accept cryptocurrency payments.

If you’re okay with handling cryptocurrencies, it’s a way you can extend your reach to a broader online audience.

Sites like Bitpay provide all the tools you need to accept crypto payments online, send invoices, request payments, and receive money on the go-through apps.

Because they’re a decentralized exchange, cryptocurrencies offer some unique benefits for businesses. You can accept payments from anywhere in the world without incurring currency exchange fees or bank handling fees. There’s also a reduced risk of fraud.

Start Accepting Payments Online for Free

No matter which payment processing software you choose, the most important part is making it easy for the customer to pay. And the more ways they can pay, the more likely your customers will follow through on a purchase.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in April 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

New Call-to-action

Source link

MARKETING

5 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve the Content Experience for Readers

Published

on

5 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve the Content Experience for Readers

Who doesn’t like to have a good experience consuming content?

I know I do. And isn’t that what we – as both a consumer of content and a marketer of content – all want?

What if you create such a good experience that your audience doesn’t even realize it’s an “experience?” Here’s a helpful mish-mash of easy-to-do things to make that possible.

1. Write with an inclusive heart

There’s nothing worse than being in a conversation with someone who constantly talks about themselves. Check your text to see how often you write the words – I, me, we, and us. Now, count how often the word “you” is used. If the first-person uses are disproportionate to the second-person uses, edit to delete many first-person references and add more “you” to the text.

You want to let your audience know they are included in the conversation. I like this tip shared in Take Binary Bias Out of Your Content Conversations by Content Marketing World speaker Ruth Carter: Go through your text and replace exclusionary terms such as he/him and she/her with they/them pronouns.

Go through your text and replace exclusionary terms such as he/him and she/her with they/them pronouns, says @rbcarter via @Brandlovellc @CMIContent. #WritingTips Click To Tweet

2. Make your content shine brighter with an AI assist

Content published online should look different than the research papers and essays you wrote in school. While you should adhere to grammar rules and follow a style guide as best as possible, you also should prioritize readability. That requires scannable and easily digestible text – headings, bulleted text, short sentences, brief paragraphs, etc.

Use a text-polishing aid such as Hemingway Editor (free and paid versions) to cut the dead weight from your writing. Here’s how its color-coded review system works and the improvements to make:

  • Yellow – lengthy, complex sentences, and common errors
    • Fix: Shorten or split sentences.
  • Red – dense and complicated text
    • Fix: Remove hurdles and keep your readers on a simpler path.
  • Pink – lengthy words that could be shortened
    • Fix: Scroll the mouse over the problematic word to identify potential substitutes.
  • Blue – adverbs and weakening phrases
    • Fix: Delete them or find a better way to convey the thought.
  • Green – passive voice
    • Fix: Rewrite for active voice.

Grammarly’s paid version works well, too. The premium version includes an AI-powered writing assistant, readability reports, a plagiarism checker, citation suggestions, and more than 400 additional grammar checks.

In the image below, Grammarly suggests a way to rephrase the sentence from:

“It is not good enough any longer to simply produce content “like a media company would”.

To:

“It is no longer good enough to produce content “as a media company would”.

Much cleaner, right?

3. Ask questions

See what I did with the intro (and here)? I posed questions to try to engage with you. When someone asks a question – even in writing – the person hearing (or reading) it is likely to pause for a split second to consider their answer. The reader’s role changes from a passive participant to an active one. Using this technique also can encourage your readers to interact with the author, maybe in the form of an answer in the comments.

4. Include links

Many content marketers include internal and external links in their text for their SEO value. But you also should add links to help your readers. Consider including links to help a reader who wants to learn more about the topic. You can do this in a couple of ways:

  • You can link the descriptive text in the article to content relevant to those words (as I did in this bullet point)
  • You can list the headlines of related articles as a standalone feature (see the gray box labeled Handpicked Related Content at the end of this article).

Add links to guide readers to more information on a topic – not just for SEO purposes says @Brandlovellc via @CMIContent. #WritingTips Click To Tweet

You also can include on-page links or bookmarks in the beginning (a table of contents, of sorts) in longer pieces to help the reader more quickly access the content they seek to help you learn more about a topic. This helps the reader and keeps visitors on your website longer.

5. Don’t forget the ‘invisible’ text

Alt text is often an afterthought – if you think about it all. Yet, it’s essential to have a great content experience for people who use text-to-speech readers. Though it doesn’t take too much time, I find that customizing the image description content instead of relying on the default technology works better for audience understanding.

First, ask if a listener would miss something if they didn’t have the image explained. If they wouldn’t, the image is decorative and probably doesn’t need alt text. You publish it for aesthetic reasons, such as to break up a text-heavy page. Or it may repeat information already appearing in the text (like I did in the Hemingway and Grammarly examples above).

If the listener would miss out if the image weren’t explained well, it is informative and requires alt text. General guidelines indicate up to 125 characters (including spaces) work best for alt text. That’s a short sentence or two to convey the image’s message. Don’t forget to include punctuation.

General guidelines indicate up to 125 characters (including spaces) work best for alt text, says @Brandlovellc via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

For both decorative and informative images, include the photo credits, permissions, and copyright information, in the caption section.

For example, if I were writing an article about Best Dogs for Families, I would include an image of a mini Bernedoodle as an example because they make great family pets. Let’s use this image of my adorable puppy, Henri, and I’ll show you both a good and bad example of alt text.

An almost useless alt-text version: “An image showing a dog.”

Author’s tri-colored (brown, white, black, grey wavy hair), merle mini Bernedoodle, Henri, lying on green grass.

It wastes valuable characters with the phrase “an image showing.”

Use the available characters for a more descriptive alt text: “Author’s tri-colored (brown, white, black, grey wavy hair), merle mini Bernedoodle, Henri, lying on green grass.”

It’s more descriptive, and I only used 112 characters, including spaces.

Want to learn more? Alexa Heinrich, an award-winning social media strategist, has a helpful article on writing effective image descriptions called The Art of Alt Text. @A11yAwareness on Twitter is also a great resource for accessibility tips.

Improve your content and better the experience

Do any of these suggestions feel too hard to execute? I hope not. They don’t need a bigger budget to execute. They don’t need a lengthy approval process to implement. And they don’t demand much more time in production.

They just need you to remember to execute them the next time you write (and the time after that, and the time after that, and the … well, you get the idea.)

If you have an easy-to-implement tip to improve the content experience, please leave it in the comments. I may include it in a future update.

All tools mentioned in the article are identified by the author. If you have a tool to suggest, please feel free to add it in the comments.

If you have an idea for an original article you’d like to share with the CMI audience, you could get it published on the site. First, read our blogging guidelines and write or adjust your draft accordingly. Then submit the post for consideration following the process outlined in the guidelines.

In appreciation for guest contributors’ work, we’re offering free registration to one paid event or free enrollment in Content Marketing University to anyone who gets two new posts accepted and published on the CMI site in 2023.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



Source link

Continue Reading

MARKETING

The Ultimate Guide to Product Marketing in 2023

Published

on

The Ultimate Guide to Product Marketing in 2023

Product marketing is essential, even if you only sell one or two products at your organization.

(more…)

Continue Reading

MARKETING

3 email marketing shifts to make in 2023

Published

on

3 email marketing shifts to make in 2023

Whew! We made it to 2023! As we closed in on the end of the year in December, the finish line seemed awfully far away. Many marketers told me they were busier than ever. 

I myself was fielding calls for strategy help, working on business deals and managing the chaos all the way to the eve of Christmas Eve, something that rarely happens in my 20-plus-year career. 

Look back and celebrate, then move on

The first business for 2023 will be to step back, clear your head and take stock of all the great things you accomplished in 2022 despite the odds (i.e., coming out of COVID, going into a rebound and COVID round 2, moving into supply-chain shortages and other hiccups, facing down a potential recession) and how they affected the work you did to succeed.

And now it’s 2023. I hope you got your budget request approved and you’re ready to move ahead with a clean slate and new KPIs to hit. You’re probably wondering, “What can I do now to grow my program?

3 directional changes to grow your email program

Naturally, every marketer’s goals will be unique. We have different audiences, challenges, resources and goals. But I’m focusing on three major directional changes with my clients this year. Which of these could help you succeed this year?

1. Stop sending so many emails

Yeah, I know. That sounds strange coming from somebody who believes wholeheartedly in email and its power to build your business. But even I have my limits!

Email during this last holiday shopping season was insane. In my 20+ years in the email industry, I cannot remember a time, even during the lockdown days of COVID-19, when my inbox was so full. 

I’m not the only one who noticed. Your customers also perceived that their inboxes were getting blasted to the North Pole. And they complained about it, as the Washington Post reported (“Retailers fire off more emails than ever trying to get you to shop“).

I didn’t run any numbers to measure volume, isolate cadences or track frequency curves. But every time I turned around, I saw emails pouring into my inbox. 

My advice for everyone on frequency: If you throttled up during the holiday, now it’s time to throttle back.

This should be a regularly scheduled move. But it’s important to make sure your executives understand that higher email frequency, volume and cadence aren’t the new email norm. 

If you commit to this heavier schedule, you’ll drive yourself crazy and push your audience away, to other brands or social media.

If you did increase cadence, what did it do for you? You might have hit your numbers, but consider the long-term costs: 

  • More unsubscribes.
  • More spam complaints.
  • Deliverability problems.
  • Lower revenue per email. 

Take what you learned from your holiday cadence as an opportunity to discover whether it’s a workable strategy or only as a “break glass in case of emergency” move.

My advice? Slow down. Return to your regular volume, frequency and cadence. Think of your customers and their reactions to being inundated with emails over 60 days.

2. Stop spamming

In that Washington Post article I mentioned earlier, I was encouraged that it cited one of my email gripes — visiting websites and then getting emails without granting permission first. 

I could have given the Post a salty quote about my experiences with SafeOpt and predatory email experiences (“Business stress is no excuse to spam“) for visitors to its clients’ websites. 

Successful email marketers believe in the sanctity of permission. That permission-based practice is what you want to be involved in. Buying a list means you don’t hire a company to sell you one, whether it’s a data broker or a tech provider like SafeOpt. 

Spamming people doesn’t work in the long term. Sure, I’ve heard stories from people who say they use purchased lists or companies like SafeOpt and it makes them money. But that’s a singular view of the impact. 

Email is the only marketing channel where you can do it wrong but still make money. But does that make it right? 

The problem with the “it made us money” argument is that there’s nowhere to go after that. Are you measuring how many customers you lost because you spammed them or the hits your sender reputation took? 

You might hit a short-term goal but lose the long-term battle. When you become known as an unreliable sender, you risk losing access to your customers’ inboxes.

Aside from the permission violation, emailing visitors after they leave your site is a wasted effort for three reasons:

  • A visit is not the same as intent. You don’t know why they landed on your site. Maybe they typed your URL as a mistake or discovered immediately that your brand wasn’t what they wanted. Chasing them with emails won’t bring them back.
  • You aren’t measuring interest. Did they visit multiple pages or check out your “About” or FAQ pages? As with intent, just landing on a page doesn’t signal interest.
  • They didn’t give you their email address. If they had interest or intent, they would want to connect with your brand. No email address, no permission.

Good email practice holds that email performs best when it’s permission-based. Most ESPs and ISPs operate on that principle, as do many email laws and regulations.

But even in the U.S., where opt-out email is still legal, that doesn’t mean you should send an email without permission just because somebody landed on your website.

3. Do one new thing

Many email marketers will start the year with a list of 15 things they want to do over the next two months. I try to temper those exuberant visions by focusing on achievable goals with this question: 

“What one thing could you do this year that could make a great difference in your email program’s success?”

When I started a job as head of strategy for Acxiom, I wanted to come up with a long list of goals to impress my new boss. I showed it to my mentor, the great David Baker and he said, “Can you guarantee that you can do all of these things and not just do them but hit them out of the park?”

Hmmmm…

“That’s why you don’t put down that many goals,” he said. “Go in with just one. When that one is done, come up with the next one. Then do another. If you propose five projects, your boss will assume you will do five projects. If you don’t, it just means you didn’t get it done.”

That was some of the best advice I’ve ever received and I pass it on to you. 

Come up with one goal, project or change that will drive your program forward. Take it to your boss and say, “Here’s what I’m going to do this year.”

To find that one project, look at your martech and then review MarTech’s six most popular articles from 2022 for expert advice.

You’ll find plenty of ideas and tips to help you nail down your one big idea to drive growth and bring success. But be realistic. You don’t know what events could affect your operations. 

Drive your email program forward in 2023

The new year has barely begun, but I had a little trouble getting motivated to take on what’s shaping up to be a beast of a year. You, too?

I enjoyed my time off over the holidays. Got in some golf with my dad and his buddies, ate great food and took time to step back and appreciate the phenomenal people I work with and our amazing industry. 

What gets me going at last? Reaching out to my team, friends and you. Much of my motivation comes from fellow marketers — what you need, what you worry about and what I can do to help you succeed. 

If you’re on the struggle bus with me, borrow some motivation from your coworkers and teammates, so we can gather together 12 months from now and toast each other for making it through another year. 

It’s time to strap on your marketer helmet and hit the starter. Here’s to another great year together. Let’s get the job done!


Get MarTech! Daily. Free. In your inbox.



Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


About the author

Ryan Phelan

As the co-founder of RPEOrigin.com, Ryan Phelan’s two decades of global marketing leadership has resulted in innovative strategies for high-growth SaaS and Fortune 250 companies. His experience and history in digital marketing have shaped his perspective on creating innovative orchestrations of data, technology and customer activation for Adestra, Acxiom, Responsys, Sears & Kmart, BlueHornet and infoUSA. Working with peers to advance digital marketing and mentoring young marketers and entrepreneurs are two of Ryan’s passions. Ryan is the Chairman Emeritus of the Email Experience Council Advisory Board and a member of numerous business community groups. He is also an in-demand keynote speaker and thought leader on digital marketing.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

en_USEnglish