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How to Start Accepting Alternative Payments Online

Offering alternative payments to your online customers is a must in the current business environment. More and more people are shopping online, which means your business needs an e-commerce platform to reach them.

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The use of mobile devices to shop is also on the rise, which means more customers are busier and more distracted. That, in turn, means customers are more likely to simply say “I’ll do it later” or abandon their carts. In fact, the drop-off rate for mobile shoppers is around 70 percent. That is a lot of lost sales!

Dropping the Drop-Off Rate

Given the drop-off rates, it is fairly clear you need to take action to make online shopping easier. One of the most effective things a merchant can do is offer its customers an easier checkout system. The ease and convenience of shopping makes consumers more likely to finish their transactions, especially if it just takes the click of a button.

Another thing you can do is offer more choice to your customers. Usually, that means giving them more freedom in choosing how they pay. Some customers will be satisfied using a money transfer service; others will want to use their credit cards—and they could have any number of different cards. Still other customers will want to pay with their debit cards. You might also offer options for payment in different currency. One great option is to offer a “pay later” choice, which allows the customer to complete their orders and then defer payment until later.

Where Do You Start?

There are a lot of choices you can offer your customers. If you only offer them one payment solution right now, you can quickly and easily expand those choices to offer them more options. One of the things you need to determine is which options are best for you to offer.

Some merchants do not want to accept credit and debit card payments because they believe the fees are too high, or they are not sure they can keep the transactions secure. Others are reluctant to use money transfer services—much for the same reasons. Still other merchants are not sure offering a “pay later” option is right for them, or even how they could go about doing it.

What you need to know, however, is what your customers want. Take a quick online survey or look at your customer demographics. Get some information on how people are accessing your e-commerce system. That will give insight into the options you need to offer.

Searching for a Provider

Once you have determined the alternative payments you want to offer, your next step is searching for a provider. This can be the most difficult stage of the process: There are a lot of providers, and all of them will claim to offer you the best deal.

There are a number of questions you need to ask to any potential provider, such as what security it can offer you and what its fee structure is like. You will also want to look at the provider’s offerings—not every provider will offer all of the alternative payments you want to accept. Think about what you want and what you need, and look for a provider that lines up.

Implementing Alternative Payments

Now for the easy part! Once you have selected your provider, you will apply for a merchant account. Depending on your business, this can be a little tricky; some providers do not like dealing with businesses they consider highrisk, so it may take you a few tries to find a good provider that will accept your account—although you might strike gold on your first try.

Once you have been approved for an account, your provider will help guide you through set-up and implementation. Now you are ready to start accepting alternative payments online!


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Ben Smith

Ben brings 20 years of experience to his role as IT Director for BNA Smart Payment Systems. Among his many directorial duties, he is responsible for the selection, acquisition, development, installation, maintenance, and support of IT infrastructure. Ben also establishes and leads a cross-functional architectural committee, acts as a technical expert and a critical technical resource across multiple disciplines, and consults on all system implementation, modification and integration activities. He graduated with Honours from Durham Collage in Computer Programming, and takes yearly training courses for security and development technologies to remain up-to-date. Outside of work, he loves playing hockey and skating with his family, and also enjoys gardening and cooking.

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