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Payment Tools That Click

Accepting credit card payments digitally means more time with customers and less time tinkering with technology

The advent of a mostly cashless society has made accepting payments easier. Or has it? On the one hand, there’s learning to navigate new technology and deciding who will pay the transaction fees, and on the other benefits like the ability to draft invoices and accept payments out in the field. When weighing these pros and cons, it’s important to evaluate your options and find what’s best for you and your business.

In February, Brad Williams of Flower Mound Pool Care & Maintenance in Flower Mound, Texas, switched up his company’s invoicing system. For 10 years he’d been using QuickBooks, which meant entering customers’ credit-card information and then auto-processing invoices on the first business day of the month. “We wanted an all-in-one system,” he says, “that integrated our operations with our accounting.” With Salesforce and the Accounting Seed add-on, any additional services are lumped into the monthly invoices. “We send them a credit-card authorization agreement that allows us to hold their card on file,” Williams says, “and we bill once a month until they say ‘stop.’ We can’t even see the full information. It’s very secure.”

Factoring the percentage of each transaction fee into the pricing has worked thus far. “It’s just a cost of doing business,” he says. “We price our products and services with that in mind.”

Rolling out any new procedure — especially with invoicing and collecting payments — requires a learning curve. But it’s worth it, says Williams: “Not only is it convenient for the customers to adapt to your business, but it’s also convenient for you and your staff because you’re not chasing money. You can turn a good customer into a bad customer because there’s tension around payment issues and late fees.”

Some services for processing transactions will even allow you to send the customer an estimate or quote. Justin Mathias, owner of Gracie’s Pools in Jacksonville, Florida, loves this perk with Square. Since launching his business three years ago, he’s used the Square app for monthly recurring billing or periodic repairs simply by accessing it from his smartphone. He likes that Square acts as a digital bookkeeper, too. “I look at which customers have paid, and which customers haven’t, and it sends me alerts on my phone,” Mathias says. About 70% of his customers keep a credit card on file. For customers who like to pay by check, Square records payment as well. Using Square also helps ease awkwardness when a customer claims they never got the bill. “If the (Square) app tells me they’ve opened it,” Mathias says. “then I know they’ve seen it.”

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Digital Payment Tools

PayPal for business

  • Link to sign up: Paypal.com/us/business
  • Cost/fees: 3.49% + 49 cents per transaction (PayPal digital payments), 1.9% + 10 cents per transaction (PayPal QR code payments above $10), 2.59% + 49 cents per transaction (online credit/debit card payments) or 2.29% + nine cents per transaction (in-person credit/debit card payments)
  • Apps/hardware needed: PayPal app
  • In-the-field capabilities: Yes
  • Recurring charge capabilities: Yes
  • Unique feature: As the world’s largest payment system, benefits include ATM services through its debit card.

Venmo for business

  • Link to sign up: Venmo.com/business/start/
  • Cost/fees: 1.9% + 10 cents transaction fee
  • Apps/hardware needed: Venmo app
  • In-the-field capabilities: Yes
  • Recurring charge capabilities: No
  • Unique feature: Your business profile (with a profile pic and background image) features a unique QR code plus the ability to add images to a photo gallery that drop into customers’ feeds.

Square

  • Link to sign up: Squareup.com/us/en
  • Cost/fees: 2.6% + 10 cents transaction fee
  • Apps/hardware needed: Square terminal, Square reader, Square register and Square stand can be purchased to use with the Square app, while a magstripe reader is free with an account.
  • In-the-field capabilities: Yes
  • Recurring charge capabilities: Yes
  • Unique feature: Square also produces hardware (terminal, register and stand) to make syncing with your account easy.

Quickbooks

  • Link to sign up: Quickbooks.intuit.com
  • Cost/fees: $12.50-$90 monthly
  • Apps/hardware needed: Quickbooks app
  • In-the-field capabilities: Yes
  • Recurring charge capabilities: Yes
  • Unique feature: Despite it not being free, four plans allow for high levels of customization.

zelle

  • Link to sign up: Zellepay.com
  • Cost/fees: None
  • Apps/hardware needed: Zelle is within the mobile banking app of its partners.
  • In-the-field capabilities: Yes
  • Recurring charge capabilities: Yes
  • Unique feature: Very user-friendly, although both the sender and the recipient must be Zelle users.

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