Using Online Payment Systems to Reduce Costs
The Internet has transformed the way consumers and business interact. Hand-in-hand with this relationship are the payment systems that have made the Internet a fast and efficient place to buy goods and services. Today, any business that has an online presence must offer its customers as many online payment systems as possible.
Ensuring your trolley and checkout system are supported with a range of payment options has been highlighted by research that has indicated that customers when faced with a complex checkout procedure, or a website that doesn’t support their preferred method of payment will simply click to another business.
What is clear is that moving as many of your customer payments to electronic online systems can have a massive cost saving. Most businesses have now abandoned the cheque as a means of payment. Using systems like BACS and direct debit can also be highly cost effective for businesses.
Electronic PaymentsThe credit card is now over 40 years old. As a payment mechanism they are unsurpassed. The infrastructure that has built up around the credit card is an ideal system for all online businesses. Credit card companies in association with the banks offer merchant accounts that are fully integrated, but can have high costs attached to them.
Noticing that many of the E-commerce businesses were micro enterprises, new companies have entered the market to offer low cost credit card clearing. Leaders in this market include World Pay, Netbanx and the recent Protx. Protx in particular is attractive for online businesses as fees are very low that means your enterprises costs can be reduced and then tracked very closely indeed.
Well established in the market place are the BACS and direct debit payment systems. If your business sells subscription based products, direct debit is the perfect solution. You can reduce overheads as the payments from your customers can be called electronically at an agreed time interval. BACS on the other hand is useful when paying suppliers for instance. It is secure and fast plus offers an easily traceable money trail if things go wrong.
Faster Payments SystemAs the latest electronic payment system to be developed, the Faster Payments System enables businesses to process their payments much faster and thus save money. Launched in May of last year, 13 banks are now using the system to clear electronic payments. The new system operates alongside BACS and the other electronic payment systems your business may use. It is also useful if your business takes telephone orders as these can also be cleared quickly. You can check if your bank is using the Faster Payments System on the APACS website where you can enter your bank’s sort code to find out if they are users of the system.
Online PaymentsThe Internet has also spawned a number of specialised payment platforms that are designed specifically for E-commerce businesses. The best known is PayPal. PayPal gained popularity as a payment mechanism that eBay users adopted in their millions. Now owned by eBay, PayPal is completely integrated into their systems. However, any business can use PayPal as a cost effective means of taking payment from their customers. Set-up is fast and easy. Costs can be closely tracked. And as deposits and withdrawals are done completely online, the overall costs to any business using the system is highly competitive when compared to other payment platforms.
PayPal isn’t the only online payment platform to choose from. BT’s Click&Buy has now been in existence for some years and has built up a steady user base. Also available is Google’s Checkout. This system like PayPal can link a credit card to the payment platform. Any business that uses the Google Checkout system benefits as this payment option is shown on Google’s search results pages. This reduces your overheads and customer services costs. In most cases a customer could find your site, order an item and pay for it without your intervention.