When you run a business where products are sold, and a payment needs to be processed online, business owners have a choice of which payment processor to use. Depending on the payment processor, there are usually good and bad points about each provider. However, taking credit or debit card payments online is still easier than it used to be when it required a special merchant agreement and financial guarantees before a single payment could be taken.
Here are the best payment options for businesses selling products online.
With over 200 million active customers, PayPal is a global payment processor that is unrivalled. There are individual PayPal sites for numerous countries but anyone with a credit or debit card can make a payment to a PayPal account. Alternatively, PayPal account holders can make a payment to any other PayPal account using their existing account.
The PayPal fees are stated at 2.9% with an extra 20c per transaction. However, unless your business only deals with customers in the same country, there will be currency conversion costs to consider too. These can easily be 3-7% depending on the currency pairing involved. There are both integrated checkouts that include PayPal functionality or in its most basic form, your business can set up product pricing and add a PayPal Checkout button for each product.
A word of caution about PayPal. Their security precautions are such that some accounts get frozen without warning. Funds can become trapped in their accounts and there are many horror stories online of businesses facing this issue. A 180-day hold on processed transactions is not uncommon.
Furthermore, for popular product releases where many customers are attempting to buy through a business website and paying with PayPal, the payment processor can get concerned about the sudden increased volume of sales and temporarily freeze payment processing for several days until they can review the situation. The net result of such action hurts business’s interests because it stops the sale in its tracks. Because of these issues, some businesses look elsewhere for payment processing when they have product launches and peak sales periods to avoid permanently losing sales.
Square is probably the closest equivalent to PayPal. In addition to online payments, they also offer in-store point-of-sale equipment and keyed-in card processing for retailers. Fast next-day deposits of payments taken, and some chargeback protection is thrown in for good measure. Their pricing structure varies quite a bit depending on which service your business requires and the hardware being used like a register or point-of-sale equipment. For high volume customers with over $250,000 in credit card processing annually, it’s possible to negotiate reduced fees.
Stripe is a huge financial payment processor that continues to gain ground. It embeds directly inside a website making it easier to provide payment services directly. The pricing structure for Stripe is the same basic 2.9%, plus 20c per transaction. The costs do change with companies selling more than $1MM in a single year.
The service tends to be thought of as friendlier to website owners that do most of their transactions online and has venture capital backing.
2Checkout is a popular replacement for PayPal for product launches and higher volume trading for seasonal businesses. They operate more traditionally with merchant processing. Following a strict approval process, there’s the option to include a 2Checkout shopping cart or another payment processing option that slots into your website’s backend.
Initial sales are handled on your business website, but the customer is passed to 2Checkout to complete the payment and then returned back to your site. They also charge 2.9% with 20c added per transaction.
Offering Multiple Payment Options
For the creators of the Robin Hood Bingo, their website (robinhoodbingo.com) takes payments from people wanting to try their luck. Payments from gamers wanting to play are sent either through PayPal or Entropay. Using PayPal as a payment processor for online games is quite common because so many people have an account with them already.
Entropay is a convenient way to send funds to a business while paying lower fees. The use of this alternative payment option allows account holders to fund it through their checking account. This places the transferred balance on either a virtual or physical card. From there, account holders can make payments to businesses at a lower transaction cost than most traditional online payment processors. Their system provides added flexibility because it deals in US Dollars, British Pounds, and Euros. They also don’t charge family or friends when moving money between them, making the service useful for business and personal use.
For any business looking to add payment processing, it’s important to consider the types of payment methods, the transaction value and their frequency. Whether it’ll be necessary to process the payment without leaving the website or being redirected to the payment processor to do so is a key criterion too. Also, offering multiple payment options is not as much trouble as it used to be and is worth consideration to give customers greater flexibility.