How to take payments online

Published: 03/11/2020

The way British consumers spend their money has been changing slowly but surely for quite some years now, and in the past decade or so online shopping has grown from non-existent into a multi-billion pound industry.

Thanks to COVID-19, this move to online has been propelled to new heights, with the pandemic forecast to generate a whopping extra £4.5 billion in online sales in 2020 alone.

And it’s not just consumers who’d typically be online anyway spending more, but research suggests those who were previously online-averse (typically older generations) are now four times more likely to make the shift thanks to COVID and their fear around transmission.

The takeaway? UK consumers are making the move from bricks to clicks and businesses aiming to remain competitive and ride the wave of the pandemic need to keep up. Still not convinced? We don’t give up that easily.

3 reasons to take online payments

1. 63% of shopping begins online

Whether the final sale is made online or instore, nearly two-thirds of consumers head to the web first to check out their options, average price points, and compare the market.

That means if you don’t have a strong online presence and offer multiple paths to purchase, you’ll be losing out to a competitor who does - at least some of the time. 

2. Nearly 50% of shopping is done on mobile

Yep, nearly half of all consumers use their smartphone to make purchases rather than heading to the high street - and no small business can afford to ignore nearly half of their potential audience’s preferences.

3. You could miss out on 48% of your potential sales

With nearly half of consumers admitting they plan to avoid busy shopping destinations for the foreseeable future and 17.2 million shoppers predicted to permanently change their purchasing habits, you could potentially cut your consumer base in half if you don’t let them buy from you online.

All aboard the online train? Okay, now let’s look at your options for accepting payments online.

How to accept online payments

Thankfully it’s not just consumer preferences that have evolved, but the online payments arena too. Accepting digital payments is now easier and safer than ever before, and you’ve got options too; so you can suit your payment system to your business’ needs.

Payment gateway

Payment gateways are the natural choice for businesses who want to sell via their website.

A payment gateway hooks up with your shopping cart - so consumers can seamlessly add what they want to their basket and head to the checkout, aka your payment gateway, without ever needing to leave your website.

Fun fact: experts believe consumers can get anxious if they’re re-directed to pay as it suggests they’re giving their money to another business to the one they’re buying from. 

A takepayments payment gateway will have your business open to make sales 24/7, plus:

  • They’re compatible with over 50 UK shopping carts
  • You can customise your gateway to your brand to offer a smooth customer journey
  • You’ll have access to real-time reports making account management a doddle, plus
  • You’ll be able to create re-occurring transactions and set up scheduled ones, and
  • They’re packed full of the latest security features including 3D secure technology and an SSL certificate

Not a tech whizz? Not a problem. Set-up is straightforward but we have developer support on hand should you ever need it.

Pay by link

It’s not just businesses with a website who need or want to accept online payments but the likes of tradespeople and those in the service sector too, and that’s where pay by link comes into play.

Pay by link is a way to accept online payments using emails, and it couldn’t be simpler to use:

  • Using any internet-enabled device log in to our Secure Merchant Management system and either:
  1. Create and send your customer an electronic invoice
  2. Send them a customisable email with a pay now button, or
  3. Copy and paste a pay link into an email.

We told you it was simple! Not only that but with pay by link you’ll be able to keep track of payments, have access to real-time reporting, accept international payments plus all the major debit and credit cards, and be safe in the knowledge your business and your customers are safe and secure thanks to the inbuilt 3DS technology.

Virtual terminal

Want to allow your customers to pay over the phone? Thanks to COVID and consumer fears over hitting the shops there’s never been a better time to accept phone payments with a virtual terminal.

Essentially, a virtual terminal is a secure webpage you log into while your customer is on the line and pop in their card details - once again, you don’t need a bells and whistles website to accept online payments if that’s not suited to your business.

You can log in on any internet-enabled device (e.g. laptop, smartphone, tablet), and once more you’ll have access to:

  • Real-time reporting
  • Developer support if you ever need it
  • The latest security features - our virtual terminals are PCI DSS compliant and use AVS and CVV security.

Beepaid

Next up is our brand-spanking-new beepaid app, and while we don’t wish to toot our own horn we think it’s a game-changer, and here’s why:

  • It allows for online, digital payments both remotely and face-to-face (you don’t have to kiss that customer interaction goodbye just yet).
  • You’ll have access to all your payments information (past and present) quite literally in the palm of your hand - it’s all done using your smartphone, and
  • You can extract your transaction data from the app and upload it straight to an accounting platform or send it to your accountant.

Pretty nifty, right? Here’s how it works:

  1. Open the app and enter your customer’s details,
  2. Request the payment - they’ll receive a text or email directing them to a secure page requesting their card details,
  3. You get paid.

Order and beepaid

If you work in the hospitality sector, e.g. restaurant, pub, or takeaway, you’ve no doubt noticed a huge increase in demand for food delivery and/or collection options - enter Order and beepaid.

Using Order and beepaid, your customers can order and pay using their smartphone from the comfort and safety of their own home, and all you need to do is add your unique QR code to your website or menu. It works like this:

  1. Link the Order and beepaid app to your kitchen and offer a collection or delivery option
  2. Customers scan your custom QR code
  3. They’re taken to your menu where they browse, place their order, and pay securely all in one place.

Before you take the plunge

Before we go, and in the interest of completeness, we wanted to highlight a couple of things you’ll need to have in place before you can accept online payments.

1. A merchant account

Any business wanting to accept card payments - including online, needs a merchant account.

A merchant account is different from a regular business account and acts as a holding pen between your business bank account and your customer’s bank account.

Don’t worry, we can help get you set up with a merchant account free of charge as part of our service.

2. PCI compliance

Again, PCI compliance is essential for any business accepting card payments - online or face-to-face.

PCI compliance involves adhering to a set of standards and exists to help prevent fraud and protect both you and your customers from potential data breaches and foul-play.

Our dedicated PCI compliance team will guide you through the whole process.

Ready to get the ball rolling on online payments? Reach out to one of our friendly experts today, and remember at takepayments:

  • We don’t charge sign-up or exit fees
  • We tailor all our packages to individual business needs
  • We’ve got local experts up and down the country, and
  • Our contracts are only 12 months long.
Bryony Pearce

Bryony Pearce

Copywriter

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