TMCnet Feature
June 22, 2020

How Leading Businesses Make Online Payment Processing Easy and Secure

Streamlining the Online Payment Process for Max Security and Efficiency

Perhaps there’s a discussion within the walls of your company regarding whether you should begin accepting online payments for your products and services. As the resident “tech person” in the business, you find yourself in the middle of this discussion.

Your bosses, coworkers, or business partners want to know your opinion on the pros and cons of accepting online payments. What would the ROI be? Is it worth it? These questions come from a place of genuine curiosity and concern, but it’s a lot to handle.

Let this article provide you with some ideas and ammunition that will, hopefully, arm you with a few insights to make good recommendations and decisions moving forward.

The Risks and Challenges of Processing Payments Online

Let’s begin by discussing some of the risks and challenges that come with processing payments online. To ignore them would be to do you a disservice in your search for objectivity. Take a look:

  • Chargebacks. All online payments are considered “card not present” transactions. This simply means the card wasn’t physically present at the time of purchase - like it is when a customer swipes their card at a store. And in order to protect consumers against fraud, credit card merchants allow for payment reversals when something isn’t right. For businesses, this can prove costly, particularly when chargebacks aren’t justified. Trying to fight them takes time and money. Too many chargebacks and you actually risk having your account disqualified.
  • Card data security. Managing credit cards is serious business. Every merchant or business that accepts debit or credit cards must have Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI (News - Alert) DSS) in place. These standards require adherence to a dozen criteria across six different areas of security: building and maintaining secure networks and systems; protecting cardholder data; maintaining a vulnerability management program; implementing access control measures; monitoring and testing networks; and maintaining information security policies.
  • Tech integration. Finally, you can’t forget about the practical aspect of integrating the necessary hardware and software into your existing tech stack and ecosystem. As you know, this can create challenges with things like speed, efficiency, and security.

From a cybersecurity standpoint, the game is constantly changing. New threats are emerging on an evolving basis and it’s important to stay current and up to date on what’s happening at all times.

The Benefits of Processing Payments Online

Okay, now that we’ve cleared the air on some of the strings that come with online payments, let’s zero in on the benefits. Here’s why so many companies choose to process payments over the internet:

  • Instant payment. No more waiting for checks to arrive or funds to clear. Online payment processing gives you immediate, real-time access to payments. This enhances cash flow and reduces friction in the overall purchase process.
  • No borders. When you accept payments online, the world suddenly becomes your oyster. You aren’t restricted to local or regional customers; you can service customers worldwide.
  • Increased trust. Customers seem to lend more credibility to businesses that transact online. (It also eliminates the hesitancy most customers have with giving out credit card information or checking account numbers via the phone.)
  • Recurring payments. In cases where customers pay for the same products or services on a monthly/annual basis, online payment portals allow businesses to set up recurring payments. This saves time and improves retention. (This is something Green Residential - a property management service in Katy, Texas - does to avoid late payments.)

This is only the tip of the iceberg. There are plenty of other perks to processing payments online, including increased convenience, the ability to facilitate low-balance purchases via credit cards, and the opportunity to influence impulse purchases. Think about your business and the nuances that come with it. With this in mind, what other benefits can you add to the list?

4 Tips for Safe and Efficient Online Payment Process

As you can see, there are plenty of pros and cons to processing online payments. Thus, the key to success is to be smart about how you structure and manage your online payment process.

Here are some tips to make your process as safe and efficient as possible:

  1. Find an All-in-One Provider

It’s helpful if you can partner with a company that offers a wide variety of services. By using an all-in-one payment provider, you eliminate much of the friction and time-consuming aspects of processing payments online. You’ll also find it to be far more cost-effective.

  1. Offer a “Guest Checkout” Option

Don’t require customers to register on your website in order to complete a purchase (unless absolutely necessary). This really suppresses transactions and dissuades people from following through. Convenience is the name of the game, and people don’t like giving up more information than they have to!

  1. Reduce Checkout Friction

Have you ever shopped for something online, added a product to your cart, started to fill out all of the purchase information, and then accidentally messed up your zip code? You hit the submit button and you’re given an error. Then when you go back to correct the information, you find that all of the fields have been cleared. You have to start over!

Little issues like this will dramatically impact your conversion rates and lead to high shopping cart abandonment rates. Test for these issues and streamline the process so they don’t become inhibiting factors.

  1. Accept a Variety of Payments

The more options you can offer your customers, the better. Research shows that 56 percent of customers expect a wide variety of payment options. If you only give them one or two, they’re far less likely to follow through with a purchase.

In addition to credit cards, consider accepting options like Bitcoin, PayPal (News - Alert), and Venmo. Even if customers rarely use these methods, the fact that you offer them makes people more likely to convert.

Adding it All Up

Accepting online payments is sort of a no-brainer in today’s digital marketplace. That being said, you have to make wise decisions that protect your company’s best interests and limit liability.

The next time someone comes to you and asks for your two cents on how to proceed, simply walk them through a detailed set of pros, cons, and tactics for safe and efficient implementation. Executed appropriately, an approach like this should yield profound results.

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