Understanding online payments to improve business

July 15, 2015
Doing business and accepting online payments can help grow your customer base and sales, get paid for services, stay in touch with valued clients, and ensure security for both your business and your customers.
The online payments space can be tricky to navigate, especially for auto shops dealing with the demands of daily business operations. Doing business and accepting online payments can help grow your customer base and sales, get paid for services, stay in touch with valued clients, and ensure security for both your business and your customers. By understanding and leveraging online payments, shop owners can unlock the hidden potential in their auto businesses. Getting started can seem challenging at first, but by picking the online payments partner that’s right for your business, you’ll be in the right gear to get moving.

Pick a One-Stop Shop 
Credit card processing alone may not be enough to drive conversion of all of your potential customers, as some remain reluctant to directly give card info online. Offering several trustworthy payment options like digital wallets (those that don’t require exchange of financial data), in addition to credit cards, helps you attract more customers, reduce cart abandonment, and ultimately increase sales. Give customers a choice in how they pay, but with as much operational ease as possible.

Get Cash Fast 
In the early days of online payments, “holds” on proceeds from online sales were more common. Today, select payment processors are minimizing holds and reserves.  Some even offer next-day settlement for smaller businesses. Be sure to understand your options for fast and complete settlement with any processor, and look for a payment processor that commits to delivering the quickest possible access to your money.

Make it easy on yourself - Easy setup and ongoing, payments-specific customer support is key 
Initiating payment processing can require technical knowledge. Tackling a heavy-lifting payments integration can be costly and take your focus away from driving sales and running your business.  Find a payment processor that offers plug-and-play service with your existing business platform providers (e.g., e-commerce platforms or in-house/third-party development partners), with ongoing, specialized payments support that will be valuable as you grow and make changes to your business.

Protect your business and customers from fraud 
Despite continuing improvements in anti-hacker technology, fraudsters can still beat the system with stolen financial information. Other customer fraud still exists, too. You may receive a payment, ship an item, and then get a complaint from the customer claiming that the package never arrived and requesting a refund (when, in fact, they did receive the package).

Customer data theft from retailers, such as credit card information and personal identity information, is big business for cybercriminals and other fraudsters. As you evaluate payment-processing vendors, look for those with proven reputations for security, including those that offer digital-wallet payment products that do not share customer financial information at the moment of transaction.

While fraud likely can’t ever be eliminated completely, incidence and cost of fraud can be minimized. Work with a payments processor that offers both world-class fraud-management tools and resolution services.

Understand actual processing costs, not just lowest “show rates” 
Finding a low rate seems simple — until you notice all the asterisks next to the rates. Those asterisks lead to fine print that reveals dramatically higher processing fees on many of the most common types of transactions, including different types of credit or debit cards. These rate surprises can turn a profitable transaction into an unprofitable one.

To most easily understand and predict your expected cost, look for flat or blended rates, charging you one rate for any type of transaction, instead of bucketing transactions into various categories.  In either transaction-pricing model, understand other fees that processors may charge – such as cancellation, withdrawal, and batch-processing fees.

Finding a partner for your auto shop 
There are all kinds of payment processing solutions out there and it’s important to find the best solution for your shop. Make sure the solution you pick is secure, reliable and easy to use. You want your solution to be easy to set up and flexible with accessible, live technical support, so you can get up and running faster. You’ll also want to be sure you can accept all different types of payments (online, over the phone, in-store, invoicing templates, etc.). Most of all, auto shop owners need to partner with a payments provider that promises to collaborate with them. A truly great payments partner will help businesses access other powerful services to enable growth.

Payments partnerships can be complex, but they don't have to be. For instance, shop owners shouldn't have to deal with three or four different partners in order to accept payments. There are much simpler one-stop-solutions, like PayPal, that can take care of processing credit cards and other payments options across online, offline, and mobile. By understanding and leveraging online payments, you can put your business in the driver’s seat for future growth.