Online Pay Services 101: How to Choose and Use

Most businesses maintain an online presence, generally with a website, a serious social media presence, or both. Yet, the pandemic created a scenario where businesses needed to conduct most of their business online. Some estimates suggest that it pushed up the transition to eCommerce by as much as five years.

For many small businesses, that means a mad scramble to adopt new technologies. One of the most important technologies, at least from a revenue standpoint, is online pay services. Are you’re looking into adding payment options to your site? 

You’re probably wondering about how to choose a payment provider and how to use the provider once you have them. If so, keep reading for our quick guide.

What Do Online Payment Service Providers Do?

Before you worry about how to choose a payment gateway, you should understand what one provides you. In essence, payment providers offer you a way to accept a variety of online payments. The most common payment types are credit cards, but some also let you accept other types of payments, such as:

  • Paypal
  • Google Pay
  • Apple Pay
  • Amazon Pay

Most payment gateways also let you take payments in major foreign currencies, like the Euro, Yen, or Pound.

How Do They Work?

Let’s say you want to set up an eCommerce option for your handmade dinglewidgets. You have two main options: third-party processing and integrated processing.

In third-party processing, when the customer finishes their online shopping and checks out, your site directs them to a secure page hosted by the payment provider. They enter their financial info there and then come back to your site.

In integrated processing, the customer enters their data on your site and you become responsible for protecting that data with PCI DSS compliance. For most small businesses, third-party processing poses fewer risks.

Choosing a Provider

There are a couple of key factors that you must consider when selecting an online payment service provider. You must consider the fees they charge. Most providers charge fees on a per-transaction basis, but they may also charge additional fees as well.

Can the provider work with your eCommerce solution? Some providers work well with most eCommerce systems and some only play nice with specific systems.

Some of the major providers include:

  • Paypal
  • Dwolla
  • Apple
  • Stripe
  • Amazon
  • Square

Curious to see an example of what one of these payment provider solutions looks like on a website? You can have a look here.

Online Pay Services and You

With so many people conducting so much more of their shopping online these days, not having online pay services will almost certainly cost you money. Getting your website enabled with an eCommerce system and a payment gateway opens up your business to local online shoppers, but it also extends your reach far beyond your immediate community.

This can prove particularly beneficial for businesses that can ship products or offer services that aren’t location-dependent.

Looking for more tips on the financial side of business or payment technology? Check out the articles in our Business and Technology sections.

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