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BPAY for business: Why digital payments are the method of the moment – and the future

4-minute read

If we learned anything from the past twelve months, it was that digital payments were the method of the moment. There are several options on the market, but there's one that you should consider having in your payment repertoire: BPAY. Read on to learn more about the benefits of going digital and why you should add BPAY to your list of payment methods.

Existing Westpac business customers can apply to have BPAY added as a payment method for customers. For eligible sole traders who use Westpac Biz Invoice, BPAY can be integrated with their Biz Invoice facility. 

Key take-outs
  • According to RFi Group research conducted in September 2020, 51% of people are reducing their use of cash and 28% expressed a desire to use online banking more regularly, indicating that digital payment methods are on the rise
  • With over 60,000 business customers and 1.6 million transactions per day, BPAY for business and sole traders is the most widely used electronic payment service in Australia
  • Eligible sole traders using Westpac Biz Invoice can apply for a BPAY Biller account to be integrated with their Biz Invoice facility to create a seamless transaction experience.

Doing business digitally

There’s no question that COVID-19 has done a number on Australian businesses. The ongoing restrictions pose a continuous liquidity risk to many and, according to recent research by RFi Group in September, 47% of businesses experienced a decrease in turnover. However, it’s the oldest (53% of those operating since 2010) and the smallest (65% of sole traders and 69% of small-to-medium enterprises with an annual turnover of less than $200k) that seem to have taken the biggest hit.
 

So, if your economic growth has been stifled, it might be time to find different ways to keep cash flowing – especially if you’re a ‘one-man band’. Offering your customers more options to pay can reduce purchase barriers and, as a result, increase sales.
 

People have become increasingly mindful of reducing touchpoints to minimise transmission risks. As a result, cash transactions have become more of a last resort, while digital payment options are surging in popularity. According to 2020 research by RFi and a survey on the impact of COVID-19 on payments by Kantar, 51% of consumers admitted to using cash much less and 28% were utilising online banking more regularly.

Believe it or not, cash also happens to be one of the more costly payment methods for your business. Just think of the hours of administration and labour that go into doing things like end-of-day reconciliations, manually updating your books and depositing money at your bank. Hence, going cashless can actually help save some hard-earned cash. Could there be a better time to embrace new digital properties when doing business?

Common cashless payment methods offered by banks

When it comes to taking digital payments, there are a number of options on the market, all of which you can mix and match to your business’s needs whether you’re a bricks-and-mortar business or an online store. Offering several options can increase your chances of closing a sale, as the customer can choose whichever payment method is most convenient. Common cashless payment methods include:

 

  • Credit/debit card payments: Arguably the most well-known digital payment option, whether your customers are shopping online or in-store. The main difference between the two: while credit cards incur a debt with your customer’s financial institution which they will have to settle, debit cards draw directly from a person’s bank balance.
  • EFTPOS: If you want to accept card payments in person, you’ll need a point-of-sale (POS) system. EFTPOS is the most common solution in Australia, allowing people to pay in-store with a debit or credit card.  
  • BPAY: With more than 60,000 business customers, BPAY is the most widely used electronic bill payment system in Australia. And now with the collaboration between BPAY and Westpac’s Biz Invoice, eligible sole traders can offer a secure, contact-free payment method to their customers with no need to handle cash. They can also accept payments from bank accounts, including credit card accounts without the need to do so in person or via a terminal, so there won’t be any merchant bank fees either.

How does BPAY for sole trader’s work?

Before applying for BPAY, you will need to be mindful of your bank’s eligibility criteria depending on your business category1. All you need is an eligible business account and to register as a new BPAY Biller with your bank. This enables you to accept payments from your customers straight to online banking by allocating a unique Customer Reference Number (CRN) to each of your clients. The purpose of a CRN is to protect your customers’ identity as there is no need to share their personal information or bank account details while also enabling simpler reconciliation of payments for the business.  

 

This makes BPAY:

1. Fast and easy: Your payments are usually cleared within one business day. And with more than 1.6 million BPAY transactions taking place every day, it’s Australia’s preferred way to pay bills.

2. Flexible: You’re able to make and receive payments 24/7 from any bank account. Plus, you can schedule payments for a later date.

3. Cashless and safe: BPAY enables entirely contact-free payments, reducing touchpoints and the need for face-to-face interactions when making purchases. Moreover, it eliminates the need for handling and processing cash in your business and all associated labour and cost.

4. Secure: Given BPAY creates a unique CRN for each customer, there’s no need to store your customers’ bank or credit card details, which makes it a safer experience for them, and hassle-free for you. You also won’t need to set up a payment gateway or merchant facility.

5. Easily reconcilable: BPAY lets you quickly and easily reconcile your received payments, allowing you to sort and identify them by CRN.

6. A seamless way to integrate your invoices: At Westpac, eligible sole traders can integrate BPAY with Biz Invoice, allowing them to create, send, receive and follow up their invoices and payments in real-time. This means late payments – which are a major concern for 29% of businesses, according to RFi – are a thing of the past. As a sole trader, you can access these benefits with a Business One Low account or a Business One High account.

 

 

The future of payments is digital. Whether you work for yourself or run a small team, adapting to new ways of receiving payments is likely to be vital for the future development of your business. BPAY offers the speed and reliability your business needs and convenience for you and your customers, too.


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Things you should know

Published by Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL and Australian credit licence 233714 and BPAY Pty Ltd (ABN 69 079 137 518) (Phone [(02) 9646 9222]). The BPAY Scheme is managed by BPAY Pty Limited. When you use BPAY payment products, the BPAY Scheme is paid fees relating to processing costs and BPAY Scheme membership. Any financial product advice provided by Westpac Banking Corporation and BPAY Pty Limited in relation to any financial product mentioned within the article is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. 

 

1. To be eligible to set up BPAY with Biz Invoice you must be registered for Online Banking and be a Sole Trader who is the sole owner of the Westpac Business One Low Plan or Business One High Plan account to which Biz Invoice is linked. Each BPAY transaction will incur a transaction fee. Read the disclosure documents for your selected product or service, including the  Biz Invoice BPAY Sub-Biller Agreement Terms and Conditions (PDF 104KB) and  Direct Debit Request including the Direct Debit Request Service Agreement (PDF 36KB), before deciding. Terms, conditions, fees, charges and eligibility apply. Full details are available on application and subject to approval.

This information does not take into account your personal circumstances and is general. It is an overview only and should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon. Consider obtaining personalised advice from a professional financial adviser and your accountant before making any financial decisions in relation to the matters discussed in this article, including when considering tax and finance options for your business.