Payment Options for Small Business: Your Go-To Guide
Not a tech expert? You don't need to be. Use this guide to payment options for small business to find the best fit for your finances.
Merchant AccountsFor established businesses or ones banks consider low-risk, it's possible to open a "merchant account." Your best bet? Use a bank that already knows you and has some of your assets in hand. An online merchant gateway lets you log in, enter credit or debit card details and instantly take payment. In addition, you'll typically pay fees of just one to two percent per transaction. This is lower than most mobile solutions. Another benefit? You can purchase point of sale devices customers are used to paying with.
This web and mobile service conducts millions of transactions every day. It has a track record of security and reliability. For payment options for small business, you have three choices:
- PayPal Payments Standard: No cost per month. This lets you take credit cards, Visa Debit and PayPal payments on your website. Users can also send you money via the PayPal app. You need enough tech know-how to put a PayPal button on your website. This redirects customers to PayPal's official payment portal. Note that you do pay per transaction: 2.9 percent plus 30 cents for every domestic purchase.
- PayPal Payments Pro: $35/month. This lets you integrate PayPal payment directly into your site and customize checkout. Fees per transaction are virtually the same, with a small disclaimer that you could pay "2.9 percent or less," subject to change.
- PayPal Here: Want a physical card reader? PayPal Here lets you purchase either a traditional PIN pad or a small mobile device. Fees are $79 for the traditional card reader and $14 for the mobile card reader. Expect to pay 2.7 percent per card swipe, 3.5 percent plus 10 cents for keyed-in cards, 2.9 percent plus 10 cents to invoice and an extra 1.5 percent for cross-border transactions.
Want less physical technology? Try Venmo. This social payment app lets users split the cost of bills or purchases, make online payments or transfer money to their bank accounts. It also has a social media-style "news feed" that lets users to see where their friends are spending money. So what? When Joe S. pays "Cool Comfort Air Conditioning" for his recent install or service, he can comment on your professionalism, quality and price. This gets shared with all his friends.
Venmo's business payment model is still in development, and not all users are comfortable with the app. But it's become popular with millennials, so it's worth looking into.
Square is one of the most popular mobile card readers. It works with both iOS and Android devices. Sign up for a business account, and the company will send you a free card reader. Plug it into your device and you're ready to accept Visa, Mastercard, Discovery and American Express. You pay 2.65 percent per swipe, or 3.4 percent plus 15 cents if you manually enter the transaction. The card reader works offline as well, meaning you can still use the app if you're working in rural areas or places with spotty connections. Square lets you send customized receipts via text or email. It also encrypts all card information when swiped, then deletes the data after processing the payment.
Choose the Right Fit
So what's your best bet?
It depends on your business model. Running an established business with a storefront and regular customers? A merchant account offers safety and stability. Got a decent webpage and inconsistent service demands? Consider PayPal for its reliability and ease of use. Looking to push boundaries and get more social media traction? Venmo might be the answer. And if you need the ability to take credit cards anywhere, anytime, opt for Square.
You've got options. Pick the one that matches your business needs and shortens the time between invoice and income.