What to Know About Website Payments - Benefits, Considerations, & Common Methods
What to Know About Website Payments - Benefits, Considerations, & Common Methods
- Why website payments are beneficial
- Considerations for accepting payments
- How to accept credit card payments on your website
- 4 steps to set up credit card payments on your website
With recent socio-political events and advents in technology, the ability to purchase products online has never been easier or more sought after by consumers. The convenience of being able to order products and have them delivered to your door quickly and efficiently trumps the more labor-intensive process of walking to a store, purchasing the items you need, and then having to lug them back to your place of residence.
Simply put, a website payment is a payment made online, typically through what’s referred to as a “payment gateway”. A payment gateway allows a business to accept a wide variety of payment options–credit and debit cards, payment apps, e-checks, etc. And in today's convenience-oriented consumer market, a business is better off accepting payments via their website as one of their payment options. However, accepting website payments successfully isn’t as easy as it might seem. It takes intentional steps to set up a smooth, easy-to-use website payment platform and it can come with specific challenges that can look daunting from afar.
We hope this guide will help those businesses new to website payments–or those businesses still struggling with how to do so–answer some of the common questions involved. What exactly is a website payment? And how does it work? Are there different types of website payments? And if so, how are they different, and which one will work best for you?
If you’re asking yourself, “how can I accept payments on my website?” and not getting the answers you need in response–this guide is for you.
To start, let’s discuss the benefits of providing website payments as an option for customers.
Why website payments are beneficial
Website payments are an increasingly popular way for consumers to quickly, and easily, purchase products. In the 3rd quarter of 2021 alone, 13% of all purchases were made through ecommerce websites. More and more, consumers want to make their purchases online and if a business isn’t able to take payments on their website, they’re missing out on an increasingly large percentage of their customer base. By providing the option to accept payments on the website, businesses are giving the customers what they want and the success of their business should reflect that.
To help better understand the importance of website payments, here’s a list of the benefits–to both customers and businesses–they provide.
Fast, easy payment
Website payments, unlike checks or paying in person, allow a customer to pay immediately. There’s no need to buy an envelope and a stamp before writing out and sending a check, or schlepping your way to the store to purchase something in person. It’s convenient and fast, providing customers with an option that capitalizes on their immediate need for a product. When you accept payment on your website, it allows customers to buy quickly with little time lost for them to rethink their purchase.
On the business side of the equation, website payments remove the arduous bureaucratic tasks that come with traditional billing. The removal of the administrative needs commonly associated with sending out bills and tracking their payment removes an unnecessary layer of workload. 74% of businesses say that accepting payments via website allows their business to operate more efficiently.
Website payments get you paid faster
One of the big challenges in running a business is keeping enough cash on hand to make the necessary payments and purchases to keep the business running smoothly. By accepting payments online businesses reduce the amount of time it takes to actually collect payments. With website payments, there’s no more waiting on checks or having to manually deposit cash at a bank. Instead, customers make a payment and the payment is processed almost immediately, shortening the time for them and for the business.
Convenience, convenience, convenience
A business that accepts payments on their website creates a more convenient means of payment for themselves and for their customers. Website payments allow consumers to purchase products using their smartphones. And with 81% of consumers owning smartphones, it’s almost a must that businesses take payments through their website. 70% of consumers prefer using their smartphone to bills and buy products, with another 48% making purchases through a business website. The modern-day customer wants convenience over anything else, and by adding website payments as an option, a business can tap into this need.
It costs less
Website payments are simpler ways of accepting payment and simplicity bodes well for how much it costs. With a website payment, you aren’t dealing or paying for any of the supplies necessary to send checks or invoices. There are certainly costs associated with website payments but they pale in comparison to the needs associated with more traditional methods.
Along these lines, accepting website payments decreases the mundane tasks needed to get a business paid and in turn, removes the need for employees to perform this task. This clearly saves time but more so it saves the money a business would’ve needed to spend on wages for these employees.
A customer experience upgrade
With so many customers making the majority of their payments via online options, providing the option is necessary when building out a seamless, enjoyable experience for online shopping. Customers expect to be able to pay via a website or their smartphone and when the option isn’t available it makes the payment process more difficult. Accepting payments via a website shows customers that a business is looking out for their needs and this behavior helps to build trust and brand loyalty.
A wide variety of payment options
Accepting website payments opens the doors to a variety of different payment options. Aside from the widely acknowledged payment methods like debit and credit cards, more and more companies are now building out their digital payment methods, all of which can be accepted online. More payment options allow customers greater ease in making payments.
Considerations for accepting payments
Aligning payments to your business model
When making the decision to start accepting website payments, a business needs to take a look at its specific business model and the payment needs that derive from it. Finding a website payment portal that suits the needs of your business and the needs of your customers is crucial.
A business will want to use a website payment portal that allows a lot of flexibility in terms of payment types and payment speeds so their customers will have plenty of options for how they pay. Providing options allows customers to pay the way in which they most prefer and this allows a sense of ease, convenience, and speed. All things any customer is seeking when purchasing something online.
Difficulty of integration
If a business is beginning to accept payments they’ll want to know how easy it is to initially integrate the method of payment and how easy it is to integrate new payment options as they’re introduced. A difficult integration process is going to make it more challenging to reap the benefits of website payments now and in the future.
In 2021, 282 billion dollars of payments were made via mobile devices. Meaning: a lot of people are making website payments via their cellular phones. When a business is looking into accepting website payments, they need to find a website payment portal that is immediately able to accept mobile payments or be severely lacking in the ability to offer a popular payment method.
Keeping payments secure
Website payments come with some concerns about security. When offering website payments as an option, a business needs to ensure that security–for themselves and for their customers–is at the forefront of their thoughts. Security capabilities like identification of accounts and identities are as important as anything when looking at website payments. Businesses also need to take into account fraud prevention and detection.
Scalability for growth
The number of transactions a business needs to be processed will change as that business grows. When digging into the world of website payments, attention should be paid to a payment portal’s ability to process large amounts of payments. If a business is unable to process large volumes of payments, it’ll be unable to keep up with its growth.
Prior to setting up website payments, cost should be taken into account. Different payment platforms have different pay structures–flat-fee, per transaction, or a hybrid of the two–and these different structures will work better and more cost-efficiently depending on a business’s specific model.
When offering website payments as a payment option questions–for a business and for a business’s customers–will arise. And when these questions do arise, it pays to select a website payment provider that offers a robust customer service experience. Before selecting a payment provider businesses should look at what their needs are in terms of customer support and find the payment provider that best suits those needs.
How to accept credit card payments on website
There are many ways for businesses to accept credit card payments on a website. Here are a few of the most popular website payment methods as well as the pros and cons of each.
1) How to accept credit card payments on website
To start accepting website payments, you’ll need to start by selecting a payment processor–Stripe, Square, Paypal, etc.–based on the specific qualities of the payment processor and your business’s specific needs. Once you’ve chosen a payment processor, you’ll either need to use the payment platform’s specific plug-in (if you’ve already created an e-commerce website) or build out an e-commerce webpage or online store using something like Square Online or Shopify. Most businesses will also need a merchant account so you can accept payments from your customers in a variety of ways.
Pros: Credit cards are nearly ubiquitous with payment, so most customers are used to paying with a credit card, online or otherwise. This ubiquity means that credit card payments on websites are extremely secure with tons of options for integrating them into your website.
Cons: Credit card companies have been, in the past, susceptible to data theft. And though most credit card companies have worked hard to make these less and less likely, it’s still a reality to contend with.
2) Accept quickbook payments on website
If you aren’t already using Quickbooks, you’ll need to purchase the product and sign up for and set up an account. Once your financial information has been synced with Quickbooks you can then integrate it with most of the popular e-commerce platforms. The best integration can be found with either Shopify or BigCommerce. Quickbooks offers payment processing, organization, sales tax, and receipt creation. Quickbooks offers a monthly subscription ($20 a month) or a “pay as you go” structure where each transaction costs a specific amount.
Pros: Seeing as Quickbooks is the most popular business accounting software, Quickbooks is a super convenient payment method that offers an all-in-one solution to your payment processing needs. People know, and trust, Quickbooks, which is a lot to say for payment processing.
Cons: Quickbook’s parent company, Intuit, is always updating Quickbooks to address issues or try to improve on the current software. This can slow down processing times, lock you of out your account, and make it difficult for people to pay you. Also, on occasion updates to Quickbooks cause changes in the cost of subscription.
3) Accept crypto and bitcoin payments on your website
To accept crypto and bitcoin payments on your website you’re going to need to first set up a crypto wallet or a crypto gateway. If you’re planning to keep your cryptocurrency in crypto format, then you’ll need a crypto wallet. If you want to accept cryptocurrency but then convert it into traditional means of currency, then a crypto payment gateway will work. After selecting a format, you’ll need to integrate the payment method into your website using either an open source API (a customizable functionality that requires more technical savvy) or a plugin/app like Coinbase Commerce or Bitpay.
Pros: Crypto is a burgeoning (though volatile) payment method and offering acceptance of it on a website opens a new avenue for customers. Online transactions for crypto are fast and easy and can benefit a business’s transaction rates and significantly lower cart abandonment numbers. Cryptocurrency transaction rates are decidedly lower than even ACH transfers and the payment method allows for easy global payments.
Cons: Crypto is still a relatively new currency and it comes with all the ups and downs associated with newness. There’s limited regulation on cryptocurrency, meaning it’s susceptible to cybersecurity breaches and the market for crypto can be extremely volatile and unpredictable.
Square website payments
Square, one of the more popular payment processing methods, can be easily integrated onto an existing website with their Square Online feature. To do so you’ll need to set up a Square Dashboard and then from this dashboard choose to either set up a “single ordering page” (for existing websites) or a multi-page store (for those businesses who need the full e-commerce shopping experience created for them). From there, you’ll enter the specifics of your business and Square will help do the rest.
Pros: Square offers an easy, low-lift integration that requires little tech or design savvy. Square offers a robust free version of their software as well as a pay-for subscription that’s both competitive and extremely transparent in terms of what you’re paying for. Even better, many of Square’s features can be added (and removed) ala carte.
Cons: Square doesn’t integrate with some of the bigger online marketplaces, so if you want to sell through them, you’ll have to create and manage your own account or use another e-commerce service like Shopify.
Paypal website payments
Paypal, another ultra-popular website payment processing service, can be set up quickly on your website, though how you do so is dependent on what service you use to host your website. Some website providers–WordPress, etc.–allow Paypal plugins, while others use branded Paypal buttons or entirely custom setups to allow you to connect Paypal as a means of payment on your website.
Pros: Paypal has been around for a while and is widely considered to be an extremely secure means of sending and accepting payments. It’s also extremely easy to set up and use, without sacrificing any sort of functionality in being so, and can be integrated with almost anything. Best of all: it’s free–for you and your customers–and can be used by nearly anyone regardless of if they have a Paypal account or what payment method they want to use.
Cons: The cost of Paypal comes in high transaction fees. Also, there’s protection for those selling goods and to make a payment through Paypal, customers often have to leave a site entirely (which can lead to cart abandonment). And, because of the size of Paypal, it’s rife with a variety of scams.
Stripe website payments
Stripe, another very popular website payment processing platform, works similarly to Paypal and Square–through a payment gateway on a business’s website. To use Stripe, you’ll set up an account, provide all of your details and link your business account, before following the specific steps of your e-commerce website provider in terms of how to integrate it.
Pros: Stripe is very easy to set up and offers a flat-rate payment structure, so you’ll know exactly how much you’re paying regardless of transaction numbers. It’s an enormous company at this point, so it supports a ton of different payment methods. It’s also extremely easy to customize, so you can build out a payment gateway that’s reflective of your business needs and your brand. Also, the company is renowned for their helpful, 24/7 customer support.
Cons: Stripe only uses open source API which can be difficult to understand for those without technical prowess. And if you’re trying to use Stripe for payment processing outside of your website it has limited functionality.
4 Steps to Set Up Payments on Website
Step 1: Find out what payment gateways work with your web host
Depending on what web host your use–Wix, Squarespace, etc.–you’ll have limited options in terms of what payment gateways you can integrate. Look into your specific web host’s control panel to see what can be integrated and if it costs anything extra to do so.
Step 2: Select a payment gateway
Simply as that: based on which payment gateways your host supports, do the research to select which payment gateway–Stripe, Paypal, Quickbooks, Square, etc.–works best for your needs. Make sure you do a deep dive into how much each of these payment gateways costs and if the pay structures they offer line up with your current business model.
Step 3: Integrate the payment method
Every web host has a different means of integrating each individual payment gateway. Visit your admin page or control page to find out the, hopefully easy, step-by-step processing to start accepting payments on the website.
Step 4: Set up your merchant account
After you’ve integrated your payment gateway and can now accept website payments, you’ll need a secure merchant account so those payments have somewhere to go. Again, do the research into fees and pay structure (and if those line up with your current finances and plans for growth) before selecting which merchant account is best for your business.
There are many, many benefits of accepting website payments. We hope this quick guide gives you a better understanding of these benefits and how to best go about integrating website payments as a fast, convenient payment option.