The Complete Digital Payments Checklist for Entrepreneurs

December 26, 2015

10:00 pm

As an entrepreneur you have your work cut out for you. Not only do you have to look after sales, advertising, administration, finance, legal issues, logistics, quality control, and human resources, you also have to ensure that you remain profitable. No one said being an entrepreneur was going to be easy!

Because we understand the sheer mass of decisions and options that you face on a daily basis, we have devised a checklist to help you navigate a key area of your business: digital payments. If you get this right, it can be a major factor in ensuring efficiency, success and profitability.

In today’s world very few businesses, if any, can afford not to accept digital payments. Technological developments, both online and mobile, provide a range of highly innovative systems which allow people to shop remotely much more comfortably, quickly and securely than ever before. The variety of payment methods gives people more freedom to pay how they choose, and widens your customer base and product offer. Work through this list and check-off each major point as you go along:

Find Out Which Currencies and Payment Methods Your Target Audiences Will Want to Use

The possibilities include e-wallets and digital currencies, such as Apple Pay, Google Wallet, prepaid cards and digital cards. A brief overview of some of the options:

  • E-Wallets: customers make payments or purchase goods through websites and mobile apps. For example, the new PayPal digital wallet links all cards, (Visa and MasterCard) and also allows customers to transfer money directly from their bank accounts. Another example is Apple Pay, an NFC mobile payment and digital wallet service, that lets users make payments using authenticated Apple devices.
  • Google Wallet allows its users to store debit cards, credit cards, loyalty cards, and gift cards among others, as well as redeeming sales promotions.
  • Pre-Paid Cards: These are neither credit nor debit cards, but are all electronic and “filled” by the customer in advance, eliminating the need to even have a bank account. The user cannot overspend, only being able to use the amount that is on the card.
  • Digital Cards: Both Visa and MasterCard have introduced innovative systems to simplify the checkout experience using a secure, single sign-in through integration into merchants’ websites and mobile shopping apps. This makes life easier for users and more secure for merchants.

Choose a Payment Processor to Work With

Choosing a payment processor can be confusing and overwhelming. You need to consider a multitude of characteristics, such as:

  • Costs: All payment processors have different fee structures. Areas to consider include:
    • Monthly fees
    • Merchant account fees
    • Transaction fee
    • Setup costs
    • Processing volume discounts
    • Chargeback fees
    • Discount rate – a fee that is charged by the payment processor based on the transaction amount. It is usually a percentage of the transaction amount.
  • Features and Options: Make a list of required features and “nice-to-have” features when comparing providers. Some features to consider include:
    • Processing in various currencies
    • Accepted payment methods: Credit Cards; Debit Cards; Direct Debits; E-Wallets; Gift/Loyalty Cards, Prepaid Cards
    • Mobile payment processing
    • Integration process
    • Fully customized hosted payment page
    • Settlement frequency
  • Settlement handling: Select a provider that pays quickly, on-time, and in your currency of choice.

Ask Questions

You need to know exactly how effective a payment processing company is and if they will be the right fit for your business. To determine this, you should ask payment processing companies about the following services:

  • Security protocols; are they PCI certified?
  • Risk management and anti-fraud technology – how do they protect your business and customers?
  • Chargeback representation success – How effective are they at fighting chargebacks?
  • The reputation of the merchant account acquiring banks
  • Can they handle the potential growth of your business?
  • Customer support hours and availability
  • Hardware, software, and communications/network requirements
  • Integration with your accounting software
  • Do they offer payment processing solutions in case of downtime?

Documentation

To get your merchant account approved quickly you will need to provide a number of compliance documents. Among them are:

  • Bank statements
  • Incorporation documents
  • Business plan
  • Any payment processing history – merchants should supply at least 3 months’ processing history, if available
  • Passport or ID
  • Utility bill in the country of incorporation

Designing Your Payment Page

How your payment page appears and functions will impact how well your conversion funnel performs and, ultimately, how high your conversion rates are.

  • Keep the user experience pleasant and simple by making forms short and concise – this will prevent you from losing sales in the final stage of the conversion funnel.
  • Minimize the number of steps a user needs to complete in order to finalize the purchase – again, you want to make the payment stage as streamlined as possible to increase conversion rates.
  • Consider having a hosted payment page from the payment processor you choose to work with. This might be the easiest option, as it is convenient and secure. Plus, if the payment processor is PCI DSS Level 1 certified, then so is the hosted payment page, meaning your business and your customers are more protected against fraud.

As an entrepreneur, you have a million and one things running through your mind. Hopefully, this checklist will help you find your ideal payment processor, so you will have one less thing to worry about.

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Eran Feinstein is the founder of 3G Direct Pay Group, a global e-commerce and online payments solutions provider for the travel and related industries. With over 14 years of experience leading technology, sales, marketing and operation teams, Eran is an authority in the East African e-commerce and payments arena. He's also an avid marathon runner.

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