When it comes to selling goods online, one of the first decisions merchants have to make is how to accept online payments. The best way to determine the online payment options you want to offer on your eCommerce website is to put yourself in your consumers’ shoes. Ask yourself the following questions: which way do my customers prefer to pay? Do they shop on desktop, mobile or tablet devices? Do they use credit cards, invoices or recurring payment plans? Once you’ve uncovered more information about your consumer base, you will be better equipped to make a decision about online payments.
With that in mind, below is a list of some of the most popular online payment options available today.
Online Payment Options
1. Use a Payment Gateway and Shopping Cart Combo on your eCommerce Website
One of the most common ways to accept online payments for merchants is by leveraging a payment gateway. A payment gateway is software that facilitates an online transaction between the merchant, acquiring bank and issuing bank. The shopping cart, like an actual shopping cart you might use in a grocery store, allows the consumer to collect all of the items he or she is interested in purchasing prior to checkout. Note that in order to proceed this way, you’ll need to setup a dedicated merchant account.
2. Use an Alternative Payment, like PayPal or Affirm
Alternative payments, like the ones listed above, are very popular with younger consumers. They are more likely to make purchases online, so it’s not a bad idea to offer multiple payment options and make an alternative payment brand one of them. A lot of consumers prefer alternative payments because they don’t feel like they’re handing their valuable credit card information over to yet another entity, giving them more control of their information.
3. Use a Hosted Payment Solution
A hosted payment page actually takes your customer away from your website temporarily to a highly secure page to complete the payment transaction. The benefits of this option are security, reduced merchant liability (the third party “host” is responsible for any fraud that occurs), and no need to store valuable consumer data in-house. The downside is, of course, the friction that occurs when the consumer is taken off-site for the payment. Some providers include Chase and Merchant e-Solutions.
4. Email Invoices
More relevant in the B2B (business-to-business) space, but sometimes used for direct-to-consumer sales, is email invoicing. This option allows the merchant to send an invoice via email that includes payment terms, due dates, taxes, and potentially even set up a recurring payment schedule.
Ultimately, it’s best to offer a mix of online payments for your website visitors. Everyone’s preferences are unique, and online shoppers can be very finicky about how they choose to make an online payment.
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