How do businesses get paid?
If you are planning to sell your products or services by accepting payments in person via credit card or debit card, or through your website or mobile app, you’ll need a way to receive and process payments. Payment processors will help you do just that!
Companies like Square, Stripe, Paypal, Venmo, or Shopify offer payment processing services for online transactions and in-person payments through their mobile apps and plug-and-play hardware, like scanners and credit card swipers. Almost all of these platforms offer free trials and affordable rates for smaller businesses.
Chose only one or two payments systems to simplify your processes and to keep track your customers.
How do payment processing services work?
Most processing companies make money by taking a small fee as a percentage of every transaction you process using their system. There are also flat-pricing models, which will just charge you the same fee for every transaction no matter how big or small that transaction amount is.
A common method is to charge 3% of a payment amount plus $0.25 for every payment. If you are buying a physical card processor like one from Square that lets you swipe credit cards in person, then you may be charged a one-time fee for that machine.
Each company also offers some kind of business management tools like analytics on how your business is doing over time and organized invoices for your records. Most companies also offer discounted pricing for very small businesses and non-profits, so make sure to ask a pricing representative!
In summary, we recommend that you follow these steps
Determine your business needs
How large do you expect your customer basis to be?
Determine how you will collect payments
Research a couple different companies that offer payment processing services and compare
Transaction fees vs. flat pricing
If you happen to be a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, be sure to look for or ask for a nonprofit discount! Some payment processors may have special rates for nonprofits.
Checkout some popular payment processors
Checkout some of our favorite platforms and make sure to use their nifty tools, like invoices and record keeping.