Whether you’re running a retail or a service-based business, your customers will expect to be able to use a range of payment options. So, when you’re setting up your banking accounts, take some time to become familiar with all the payment solutions your bank has to offer.
For instance, most retail businesses will offer debit and credit card options, as well as the means to pay with cash. If your business is selling its products online, then online banking, credit cards and third-party payment options like PayPal should also be included.
Up until recently, invoicing and checks were how most service-based businesses were paid, but payment technology has moved with the times. For example, if you provide a gardening service, you’ll be able to make use of mobile credit card technology, or give your customers the option of transferring the payment to your account online. Most customers actually want to pay on the spot for a job well done.
It also means the customer has been given an option to pay the way they prefer. Anything you can do to improve your customer experience means they’re more likely to come back – and to tell their friends about you.
Improve your cash flow
Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business. Without it, you can’t function properly. Up-to-date payment technology means the money’s in your account immediately. More cash running through your business means you’re in a better position to make decisions.
Businesses that rely on invoicing and checks experience a slow-down on their cash flow cycles, because they’re waiting for payments to be processed. That’s time where there’s not as much money in their account, and time that could be spent growing the business instead of creating and chasing up invoices.
When you’re setting up your payment options keep the following in mind:
- Cash – as old fashioned as it may seem, it’s still immediate. And customers like the option of paying with cash, especially for small items. The downside is that keeping a lot of cash on your business premises is tempting for thieves.
- Debit cards – you’ll be familiar with these; like a credit card, they’re swiped through a machine and the money is transferred instantly from the customer’s account to yours. You will have to pay a fee to have the technology installed and, in most cases, account fees as well.
- Credit cards – these are a great way for your customers to pay, and for you to be paid, but credit cards are sometimes the target for fraud.
- Online payments – if you accept and make payments online, you’re making the whole process easier on your customers and suppliers. It also opens up the possibility of expanding your sales into an online store. It’s also an immediate transfer, but it does mean giving your account number to people.
- Mobile payments – this means customers can pay using their mobile phone. And since people are using their smartphones for almost everything these days, it’s hardly surprising they’ve become a wallet as well!
- Invoicing and checks – many service-based businesses still offer these options, and although it means you don’t see the money in your account straight away, your customers might prefer to take advantage of the delay.
Credibility and professionalism
If you can offer your customers not only multiple options to pay, but the latest technology to do so, you’re positioning yourself as someone who understands that business is not a 9-5 entity anymore. You’re showing the need to be flexible and up-to-date, which can only improve your credibility in the eyes of your customers and suppliers.