Choosing the Right Payment Option to Fit Your Business Needs
You're in business to get paid, but the wide selection of ways to go about it can be overwhelming. Here's a look at the payment method landscape and the pros and cons that come with the territory.
Still king, but the monarchy may be on shaky ground now more than ever. Pros? It's an instantly available legal tender currency you can pocket or use immediately. Cons? Things get dicey when there's too much around—a temptation for thieves and may be easily lost, misplaced, or rendered useless when it encounters disasters like fire, floods, or chewing puppies.
According to Small Business Trends, 97% of small businesses rely on paper checks for business-to-business transactions.
However, according to the blog post, Are Paper Checks Still Relevant, on InvestorsBank.com, a dwindling number of consumers ages 55 and over make up for most of today's paper check transactions.
While accepting checks as payment is an established, low-risk practice, it adds a time-consuming step at the point of sale, easily doubling or tripling the time it takes to consummate a credit or debit card transaction.
One way around the hassle of paper checks, according to PaySimple, is eChecks, an attractive option for small businesses that require costly or more frequent payments, like home contractors or childcare providers.
The client inputs information from a paper check (routing and account number) into an online payment form that processes electronically, without the physical presence of a paper check. Unlike credit or debit cards that expire, eCheck information doesn't, another perk.
Pros? Nearly everyone uses them, making this payment method an attractive option. However, you'll pay for the privilege of accepting them, which is usually a small percentage of the purchase amount.
According to Nerdwallet, credit card processing fees typically cost a business 1.5% to 3.5% of each transaction's total. So, a $200 transaction could cost you anywhere from $3.00 to $7.00 in credit card processing fees. And that can add up.
However, there are ways within the credit card system to minimize the costs of transactions. In this piece by Forbes Advisor, you'll find The Cheapest Way To Accept Credit Card Payments, which looks at some money-saving alternatives.
Debit cards are accepted like credit cards, with the difference of being tied to the customer's checking account. This payment method offers the benefit of convenience but carries a cost depending on how you process them.
According to Merchant Maverick, transactions processed with the customer's Personal Identification Number or PIN, are considered online transactions. These carry a debit network fee but not the interchange fees charged by credit card issuers like MasterCard and Visa. Debit transactions processed without a PIN, known as signature transactions, come with an interchange fee but not the debit network fee.
So, how do you know which processing method to choose? As a loose guideline, PIN transactions make more sense with larger ticket purchases, and signature transactions benefit merchants who typically generate higher numbers of smaller purchases.
Mobile Payment Methods
Mobile payment methods for small businesses are so abundant that an online search of the term yields countless options. Despite the changing landscape, some options continue to rise to the forefront.
One of the most popular methods of accepting credit and debit cards, Square allows merchants to turn any smart device or tablet into a point of sale. In addition, you can track inventory and handle other administrative tasks with Square.
Offering similar functions as Square and other mobile payment choices, Veem boasts a simple and affordable way to make and receive mobile payments.
Consistently rated as one of the best mobile payment methods for online businesses, Paypal offers wide-ranging acceptance on millions of websites and costs that fit most small business budgets.
Apple, Samsung, Google Pay
No discussion of mobile payment methods would be complete without smartphone payment options that allow consumers to pay with a tap of their device.
While Apple Pay made a splash when it was introduced in 2014, according to PYMNTS.com, only six percent of iPhone users took advantage of the service in 2021. Still, Apple Pay outpaces Samsung and Google, according to business.com. And the use of these forms of mobile payment methods is expected to continue to trend up.
As a small business owner, your number one goal is getting paid. Now, with so many options available for doing so, making that choice initially may be challenging. However, it's a nice problem to have.