Being able to readily accept payments is crucial to any business, because the quicker you're paid and the less time spent chasing payments, the healthier your cash flow (and lifestyle) can be.Depending on your type of business, you may already have a good idea of how you'd like to receive payments. But with new payment technology available every year, are you aware of all your possible options and what might work best for your business?
How sales happen
About your business
Ways to receive payments
|Over the counter||You might be a shop, clinic or public office where payments are made in person.||EFTPOS|
|Mobile||You might own a market store, or run a service where you visit customers on site, and thus need to accept payments on the go.|
|Phone or mail order||You make infrequent sales or take orders which aren't made in person||Virtual Terminal|
|Online||You sell products over the Internet or you'd like to direct customers to pay their bills online.||Online payments|
|Invoice issued||If you offer a service, you might issue customers with invoices which they can pay online at their convenience.||Plug-and-play|
|Processed payments||You could be a gym that wants to schedule future periodic payments. Or you might be a charity that only processes payments when you've had a fundraising drive. Then you will want to make batch payments and upload them all in one file.|
An EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point Of Sale) terminal accepts both credit cards and debit cards. There are two types of fixed countertop terminals - both accept cards with magnetic stripes and chips:
What about contactless payments?
Many recently issued credit and debit cards increasingly contain near-field communication (NFC) technology. This allows customers to simply hold their compatible card close to the terminal to effect payment (up to an agreed limit). No signature or PIN is required.
Receiving your daily takings
At the end of a trading day, you 'settle' the terminal to access that day's takings. Depending on your bank, you may have a fixed time every day when your accounts settle or (like Westpac), you could have more flexible (instant) settlement options. A monthly, as well as a transaction fee, usually applies.
For even more portability and convenience, there are mobile EFTPOS terminals that don't need to be connected to power or phone lines.
These units run off rechargeable battery packs and use mobile data (using your bank's preferred network provider). You take the sale straight to your customer for instant payment - at their table, home, market stall or wherever your business operates.
Fast payments via smartphone
With Genie we’ve put the tools you need to help run your business into one convenient and reliable solution. The Genie app and card reader help you take payments, track sales, manage invoices, track overdue payments and keep track of communication with your customers. If your business takes you out and about, it's hard to beat the convenience of being able to accept payments 'on the spot' via your mobile phone.
Electronic funds transfer or BPAY®
If your business issues invoices, a straightforward way to accept electronic payments is to include your bank account number and BSB on the invoice. Customers enter these details to transfer funds from their account to yours. It's inexpensive, but can be messy when it comes to account reconciliations.
BPAY® is another method for accepting electronic payments. No more chasing bouncing cheques as you receive cleared funds direct to your nominated account.
Fees similar to credit and debit cards apply, but it means you don't have to give your account number out to too many customers. Plus, payment reports can be imported into your accounting software for easier admin.
Customers are increasingly looking online to research and complete a whole range of purchases and payments. The challenge is to provide the most convenient payment methods that best fit the product or service offered and the technical resources available.
I have a website that…
Recommended online payment solution
|Sells products/services with a shopping cart||
Access to IT experts? Try a fully integrated eCommerce solution.
No IT support or access? Try a Plug and play option.
|Showcases products/services, but no shopping cart||Plug and play solutions are hosted externally allowing customers to pay invoices securely online.|
No website, but still want customers to be able to pay online?
Westpac Hosted PayWay allows customers to securely pay by credit card online via a Westpac hosted payment page.
PayWay Virtual Terminal lets your staff process payments online that have been received via order forms or invoices.
Plug-and-play Online Payments
For the smaller eCommerce business, an off-the-shelf option that takes care of payments in a secure environment could be the way to go. This plug-and-play solution is hosted externally to your site, and is ideal if you just want to give customers the convenience of paying bills online, including regular (i.e. periodic) payments.
Fully integrated eCommerce
If you are taking many online payments and have a gun developer working on your site, you will want to investigate using an API (application programming interface). There is Westpac's own PayWay API, or you can opt for an approved third party payment gateway (an intermediary between your shopping cart and the bank that securely processes encrypted payments). Either option will allow your website or software to seamlessly talk directly to the bank's credit card processing functions for real-time, straight-through payment authorisation.
With this approach, you need to be mindful of securely managing card information that will meet the Payment Cards Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). If you’re after a solution which already complies with these standards, you should consider a Plug and play solution.
If your customers don't physically present a card when you make the sale, you don't need to have a physical EFTPOS machine taking up desk space. You and your staff can process payments via a secure web page, much like a customer would if buying from a website. The funds will be set up to sweep to your nominated business transaction account.
Things you should know
General advice: This information is general only and does not constitute any recommendation or advice. It is current at the time of publication, and is subject to change. It has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on the information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to these matters. 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 document, including when considering the finance options for your business.