Payment Processing Options for Your Online Business

 Technology

There are plenty of options for processing your business’s credit card transactions. Choosing the right solution should be based on a number of situational considerations, including the type of card payments you accept, your main processing method, and the frequency and dollar amount of your card transactions. Those answers are all fairly straightforward if your company uses accounting software like Quickbooks. However, one consideration that deserves some thought is the efficiency in which you handle your payment processing and bookkeeping (after all, that’s probably why you are using a accounting/bookkeeping software system in the first place).

Payment Processing Options

For all of those reasons, using a payment processing service that is compatible with your accounting software can be a smart choice. Accepting credit cards can boost sales (both by expanding the payment options available to customers and because credit card transactions tend to produce higher average tickets), and accepting credit cards using a linked merchant services account can save time. Most of the major accounting software packages can be directly linked to a payment processing account so that all your sales are recorded in real time. Depending on if your store has a retail location in addition to your e-commerce, you can also link the whole system with your in-person payment processing.

Most accounting software enables payment processing in multiple ways. If you have a mobile business, there is an option for accepting cards via iPhone or Android phone or even a tablet. For more traditional websites linked to retail locations, you can use Point of Sale, which is ideal when paired with merchant services. Still another option, particularly for wholesale or business-to-business sellers, is linking the payment processing directly into one of the enterprise versions of most majo accounting software systems.

The time savings come from the high level of integration provided by the combination of the main accounting software packages and payment processing, especially if that combination includes Point-of-Sale (retail) processing. The accounting software will download your banking transactions while credit card transactions through Point-of-Sale will automatically reconcile with each day’s credit card batch. This automation makes keeping your merchant account, your bank account, and your books balanced much easier with a much smaller investment of time.

Mobile Processing

As mentioned before, most mobile card processing works on several platforms including common smartphones and tablets. The only major exception is the BlackBerry family. Your payment processing and accounting software should provide a list of compatible devices (with phones conveniently grouped by wireless carrier) so that you can ensure beforehand that the device you want to use will work. For instance, if you use Quickbooks, the list is available on Intuit’s mobile device site by clicking “see all” under the ‘Compatible Devices’ web page.

Mobile card processing (which doesn’t necessarily require you to use software) is usually available under two different plans. One charges a flat monthly fee with no per-transaction cost; the other (obviously intended for businesses with a small number of card transactions) is “pay-as-you-go” and charges no fixed fees.

However, the swipe (per-transaction) rates are often 1% higher under this plan, so you’ll need to compare plans based on your current transaction count and card sales volume to decide which plan makes the most financial sense for you.

Online Terminal Processing

There is another option called an “online terminal.” It functions through any web browser, and all you have to do is log into your account and enter the transaction information. It also usually provides an option to e-mail the receipt to your customer. You can set up recurring charges to a card if necessary, and more than one user can be in the system at one time, which is very important when you have multiple employees in the field. A full range of reporting with the ability to export to Excel as a .csv file is also usually included.

About the Author

Pete Real is the Marketing Manager for Direct Pay Systems, a software company that provides payment processing (including Quickbooks payment processing) solutions for companies of all types and sizes. He is a frequent author on point of sale systems and developments in the payment processing industry.

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