Today’s Biz Ladies post is from Jennifer Dunn, owner of Social Street Media and freelance business and finance writer for sites like WePay. In this post, Jennifer shares her tips for making online payments easy, safe and effective. Thanks, Jennifer, for such a helpful post! — Stephanie
Read the full post after the jump . . .
When setting up your store, you have to consider how you’re going to accept payments. After creating and testing a product, branding your store and building a website, accepting payments may seem like the simple part, but it’s not! There’s a lot to look out for when picking the best payment option for your online business. It could affect your entire relationship with your customers. Here are some criteria to consider when you’re looking to accept payments on your site (or change payment providers):
Ease of Use
This is without a doubt one of the two top questions to consider when choosing a payment option for your website. If your system is incredibly complicated, customers simply won’t buy from you. If they do once, they won’t be back. Make sure it’s simple to figure out — not just for Bill Gates, but also for your grandma! (In fact, we recommend sitting your grandma down in front of your website and making sure she can navigate it. Go on, try it! You may find that your “simple” site isn’t so simple after all.)
Along with ease of use, it’s important for customers to see a security badge on your site or during the checkout process. There’s no getting around it — if your payment option doesn’t feel secure to your customers, they absolutely won’t buy from you. There are so many scams on the Internet; if a user gets even a whiff of one through your business, you’re done.
When times get tough and you can’t figure out anything on your own, will your payments company be dependable and available when you have a question? If you can never seem to get them on the phone and emails bounce, it may be time to reconsider your options.
Whatever company you use to accept payments will take a percentage of your sales. Some also charge monthly fees, application fees, termination fees and breathing fees. (Sadly, only that last one is made up.) What you want here is clarity: How much money will come out with each transaction? Will there be hidden surprises? The last thing you want is to suddenly find that you’ve been bleeding money through hidden charges and loopholes.
Hint: Watch out for “qualified” credit card fees. This is a sign that you’ll be charged higher fees for “non-qualified” cards.
Is there a chance that your customers’ accounts (or yours) could be frozen, locking them out for an extended period of time? It’s been known to happen and could cause huge issues down the road. Look for signs that this could be a problem. PayPal, for example, is notorious for this.
Getting paid online should be easy. So the next time you’re evaluating a payments processor, go through this list to make sure you’ve made the right choice.