Taking Payments Online and Offline, Making Money Made Simple.
I’m frequently asked by clients and social media followers for my opinion on the best way to process payments on-line. Obviously there are multiple answers to this question no matter how its worded. In this blog I’m going to focus on payments and processes that are less than €10,000. There ways to handle amounts this size and larger that reduce transaction costs and provide the benefits of on-line automation but I’ll save those for another entry.
Now, we’re going to focus on the smaller end of things and I’m hoping this blog will especially be of assistance to anybody looking for the right first steps to take when moving some of their financial processing on-line.
Stripe, Paypal and SumUp are the three pieces of software I recommend starting with, each has their own pro’s and con’s but if you sign up to all three you should be able to leverage their strengths together and discount their particular weaknesses.
You’ve probably heard of Paypal. A hugely popular platform that serves its customer base well by offering extra protection for fraudulent transactions as well as enhanced buyer safeties. Signing up to Paypal is free and once your application is completed you can start sending and receiving money using your email address.
As mentioned previously Paypal treats its customer service as a top priority so in the case of a dispute they are more likely to side with an individual customer over a business. Minor risks like this though are worth it for the most part as due to its massive user base Paypal can be a very effective sales channel. Software platforms such as WorldPress and hundreds of others connect to it seamlessly making integration for your business almost essential in terms of usability.
One formal drawback to Paypal is that you can only transfer funds to another Paypal user. It does have a facility for processing credit card payments but that’s another topic in itself.
The only major risk with Paypal is that the service can sometimes freeze your account almost arbitrarily if its algorithm detects activity that sets off an alarm. This will lead to Paypal demanding details from you about your business to explain your cash flow. This is rare but it can happen which is why I’d recommend that if you do use Paypal for your business, make regular withdrawals. It’s free to move funds from your Paypal account to your bank and moving your money regularly reduces the risk of important funds being frozen unexpectedly.
If you manage the risks accordingly you should be able to use Paypal effectively to help your business trade on line.
Fees : 2.6% per transaction
Stripe is a great service that was created to simplify the process of taking credit card payments online and in person. Signing up to the service is free and due to its popularity with software developers it connects with numerous software packages qutie easily.
Upon setting up your account you’ll be presented with a beautifully designed dashboard that’s optimised to allow anybody to get up to speed quickly with the platform. Stripe’s software also supports multiple users allowing you to delegate access to your partners or employees.
With Stripe plugged in to your website you can immediately begin to process on-line credit card purchases but as previously mentioned you can also use it to process payments in person or over the phone. Just enter a customers card information into the payments section of the plug-in or app and their payment will be carried out just like it would through your site. This allows you to completely bypass the hassle of dealing with the banks to get a credit card terminal though SumUp offers and even better solution for this problem.
Personally I think one of Stripe’s best strengths is its ability to handle subscriptions. If your business takes regularly recurring memberships or fees for a product or service you can set up customers with weekly, monthly or yearly payments and it even has the option for a free trial period. I love this feature as anyone who has dealt with recurring fees can tell you that admin is the biggest overhead, Stripe cuts this down to zero.
As with all of the services highlighted Stripe also comes with its cons, the most obvious one being its the most expensive of the three highlighted here. You can pass on the transaction fees to your customers if you wish but its still definitely a con. Something else that we’ve encountered issues with is offering refunds. Stripe acts as an intermediary between businesses, banks and credit card companies. They do this by transferring funds between the banks/credit companies and your business once every seven days. This means that unless you have to process a refund on the day of the transfer between Stripe and your business you’ll have to process your refunds externally or leave your customer with an up to seven day delay. In comparison, Paypal can facilitate refunds 24/7 so long as the funds are in your account.
Fees: 2.9% per transaction
SumUp is a service for processing credit card transactions through your phone. It has a sign up fee of €79 though they have half price offers every few months.
With SumUp you are supplied with a small terminal device that allows you to take credit card payments with your smartphone as you would with any other traditional terminal but bypasses any hassle you may encounter by dealing similarly with a bank. This is perfect for taking payments for admission to a class or for a chauffeur driver taking credit card transactions on the road. The simplicity of the service is what I love, SumUp does one thing : it processes credit cards through your phone and it does it really well. Added in with its competitive fees and it proves itself to be a worthwhile platform alongside Stripe and Paypal
With these three pieces of software you have a perfect starting point for sending and receiving money on line. There are other areas of finance such as invoicing that I’ll cover in a future blog but for simply starting to trade over the internet there are no three better platforms as far as I’m concerned.
If you would like to work with us on your next project get in touch my email is firstname.lastname@example.org