The benefits of online payment services

For small business owners, having good cash flow can sometimes be the most important thing on their minds. If the business is strapped for cash, owners can spend valuable time worrying about how they’re going to pay employees and creditors when they should be focused on growing their business.

Of course, one of the best ways to improve cash flow is to get paid faster. We all have limits on our time, so if a client can pay online when they receive your invoice, they don’t have to remember to pay later. The sooner your client’s money is in your bank account, the sooner that money is improving your cash flow.

In Australia, PayPal and Stripe invoices get paid up to 10 days faster, on average, than with standard invoicing. The trend is consistent across different business sizes and industries, and the difference is amazing.

The numbers are so strong that implementing online payment services is Xero Australia’s number one recommendation for improving cash flow.

Improve your customer experience

It’s not just cash flow that improves. Your clients benefit as well. For many, using an online payment service is far more convenient than remembering to transfer funds from the bank – which is one of the big reasons why these invoices tend to get paid faster.

Debtors can view and pay the invoice online with a touch of a button, and if you’re set up with Xero, the invoice payment is automatically applied in Xero ready for reconciliation the following day.

What about the fees?

While it’s true that using payment services often involve fees that standard invoicing doesn’t, we believe that this is nearly always offset by the benefits of immediately improved cash flow and a vastly better customer experience.

What’s more, many online payment services, including PayPal and Stripe, are entirely free to set up. There are no flat fees or recurring payments – you, or if you choose to pass it on to them, your clients, only incur fees for transactions that are successfully paid through the service. In other words, if your clients choose not to pay with these online options, it doesn’t cost them.

But which services are the best?

At Stone Accountants, we’ve experimented with quite a few online payments services. Below are some of the features of two services we’re loving at the moment.

Stripe enables you to accept payments on your website and can accept bank debits, Visa, MasterCard, and American Express credit and debit cards, charging 1.75% plus $0.30 per transaction (domestic cards). No setup, monthly or hidden fees. Pay only for what you use.

IntegraPay also accepts bank debits, Visa, MasterCard, and American Express credit and debit cards, and charges 1.98% plus $0.33 per transaction for Visa and MasterCards, 3.85% for AMEX, and $0.88 for bank debits. Also, IntegraPay makes recurring payments very easy – it securely stores your clients’ payment details after they enter them the first time, then recurring payments automatically debit the card when the bill is due.

Both Stripe and IntegraPay also integrate seamlessly with Xero. All you have to do is add the payment service to your invoice branding theme. Then when you send an invoice to your customer, they simply click on the ‘pay online’ button and are taken to a payment screen to enter their bank or credit card details. When your client pays, the software marks the bill as paid in Xero, and when the money comes through to the bank account, it matches the payment to the Xero bill, reducing the time you spend on manual data entry.

Of course, there are many other great services, including PayPal, eWay and SecurePay, but these are the two that we have found to be the most effective. There are also loads of other great apps and add-ons – some of the ones we love are here.

Give us a call anytime for more information on online payment services.