Last Updated on March 1, 2023
So you're looking to step out of the dark ages or just trying to find the right tool that can do everything you need, no more and no less.
We all know why taking payments from your computer is better- skip the commute to the office, charge a customer credit card without a card reader and fancy POS, or streamline your payments to take some of the manual labor out of the equation.
Whether you're skimming the latest payments trends or looking for the perfect tool to take online payments, here is a brief guide with five excellent tools.
Contestant #1 Virtual Payment Processing
The tool: The Virtual Terminal
What it does
- Take remote online payments
- Accept accept credit cards on phone
- Process debit and credit cards
- Process ACH / EFT transactions
- Save card information for next time
- Pull up a customers profile and payment information
- Split transactions up into multiple payment installments or methods
- Stores card information securely in a card vault
- Send invoices
- Request payments
- Easy to use remotely, so you don't need to have your customer's card information in-person or head into the office
- All you need is access to your merchant account from a computer, tablet, or phone.
- Using a payment processor reduces fraud and helps you process secure transactions plus, most will manage PCI compliance for you.
- A credit card vault means quicker checkouts and possibly lower rates like the new April 2022 interchange rate for tokenized transactions.
Who is the Virtual Terminal best for?
The Helcim Virtual Terminal is ideal for businesses looking for a way to streamline all their payments remotely or be able to process them with just their computer should look into virtual payments. The virtual terminal makes sense for just about anyone who qualifies for a merchant processing account and is looking into ways to diversify the way they accept payments. This includes:
- One time transactions
- Frequent customers
- Storing customer information
- Splitting payments into installments and keeping track of customer payments
- Processing payments over the phone or away from the office
- Taking payments without added equipment
Contestant #2 Preauthorized payments
The tool: ACH and EFT bank transfers
What it does
Pull up or manually enter customer banking information, schedule recurring payments, and process them through the ACH network for lower rates than the credit card brands. You'll need to grab your customer's bank account information and get it set up, and then you're off to the races.
Benefits of EFT and ACH payments
- Lower processing fees than credit card transactions
- Decent two to five-day processing times
- No more chasing down expired payment information
- No more lost invoices or money requests- schedule it and forget it.
Who can use bank transfers
ACH and EFT payments are ideal for savings-savvy business owners who are looking for a way to save time and money instead of chasing after payments and paying outrageous fees.
- Industries like trades or services that make installment payments
- Businesses who take regular payments from regular customers like gyms, landlords, property managers, and subscription services
- Companies looking to streamline their payroll
- Larger B2B transactions (lower transaction costs)
Contestant #3 ECommerce Solutions
The tool: The Online Checkout
How to accept payments with the Online Checkout
The terms e-commerce and online are often used interchangeably. We saw the stakes of having an online store skyrocket during the pandemic, making the survival of many businesses depend on their ability to throw together a decent website and checkout process instrumental. What may not be as clear is which option is best.
With all the benefits of online stores, it's no wonder they are expected to account for a significant proportion of all retail sales by 2023 (approximately 22%), according to eMarketer.
Benefits of using the Online Checkout as an eCommerce solution
Although there are many benefits associated with brick and mortar stores, there are several advantages that eCommerce businesses have over their offline counterparts.
- They are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- No need to lease physical store premises
- No staff costs are incurred as customers complete their own transactions.
- Shipping costs can also be kept to a minimum as goods can be delivered directly to customers without having to be sent to stores first
Who is the Online Checkout best for?
Businesses can sell their products or services online. Online doesn't make sense for everyone, but it can be a huge advantage. Helcim lets you integrate your payments with your e-commerce site, or use our online store to host it, so you don't have to bother with coding, PCI compliance, and more.
Contestant #4 Payment Requests
The tool: Invoicing Tools
Invoicing with SMS and Email requests and reminders
How to accept payments with invoicing and payment requests
There are a lot of ways to collect payments nowadays. You can use traditional methods like mailing invoices or accepting checks and cash. Or you can go the modern route and request payments via SMS or email. Either way, it's important to have a system in place that works for you and your customers.
Benefits of sending payment requests
One of the benefits of requesting payment via SMS or email is that it's easy to set up reminders. This way, you can make sure that your payment is received in a timely manner. You can also customize your payment request so that it includes all the necessary information, such as the invoice number or payment amount. Plus, if you're using a payment processor like Helcim, you can easily accept credit card payments through the virtual terminal, ACH / EFT payments, and customizable invoice options with a "pay now" button.
Which businesses can benefit from payment requests
If you're looking for an easier way to collect payments, or are just sick of tracking down lost invoices, consider using SMS or email payment requests.
This is ideal for businesses who use invoicing to gather payment after the job or service is complete. Therapists, chiropractors, contractors, and more often have clients they have billed before for deposits, installments, or the "usual" It's easy to lose track of who's paid for this month when you have so many clients and projects on the go which tools like invoicing and automated such great tools.
Overall, requesting payment via SMS or email is a convenient and efficient way to collect payments. It's also a great way to keep track of your finances and make sure that you're being paid on time.
Contestant #5 Automated billing and subscriptions
The tool: Recurring billing tool
What is recurring billing?
While not necessarily online, it can be used like online payments in that automated billing allows businesses to streamline their billing process and process payments without being in-store. With automated billing, businesses can set up recurring payments for their customers. This means that customers will be charged automatically on a regular basis without the need for manual intervention.
What are the benefits of recurring billing?
Automated billing can save businesses time and money by eliminating the need to send invoices manually, process payments manually, and chase up late payments. Automated billing can also help businesses to better manage their cash flow and keep track of their spending.
Useful for businesses of all sizes, recurring billing tools can be used for a variety of purposes, including:
- Deposit or pay recurring income or bills, such as rent or utilities
- Set up subscription-based services
- Process one-time payments, such as for product purchases or event tickets
- Saving businesses time and money
In addition, automated billing can help to improve customer satisfaction by providing a more streamlined and efficient billing experience. Many customers appreciate the convenience of automated billing and are willing to do business with companies that offer this service.
Businesses that use automated billing enjoy several advantages over those that don't. Perhaps most importantly, automated billing can help to ensure that bills are paid on time. This is because automated billing systems can send reminders to customers when a payment is due, and they can also process payments automatically. As a result, businesses that use automated billing are less likely to experience late payments.
Which businesses can benefit from recurring billing?
Automated billing is particularly well-suited for businesses that have a large number of customers and/ or a high volume of transactions. Businesses in these categories can benefit greatly from the efficiency and accuracy of recurring billing so they can cut down on manual entry.
Need help determining the best options for accepting online payments?
So there you have it, five ways to take payments online. But did you know all of these can be facilitated through just one tool, the Helcim Virtual Terminal? If you're not currently taking advantage of all that Helcim has to offer, we encourage you to sign up for a free account and start streamlining your payments With our user-friendly platform and wide range of payment tools, your business will be able to take payments quickly and easily, without any headaches or surprises (no extra or monthly fees!) Ready to get started?