I recently visited a cafe that only took cash. Those with only cards would drive to an ATM, first, before returning for my eggs n’ beans with hash browns.
Is your business also cash-only, or does it only take certain cards? Not keeping up to speed with digital payments silently loses customers. In business today, the saying “time is money” has never been truer.
Your customer might not be so patient. Fortunately, there are so many online payment methods today that it’s easy to invoice online in whatever way is most convenient for both of you. (All while getting powerful shopper data). Let’s review the best online payment methods for SMBs.
Table of Contents:
Our 10 Favourite Online Payment Methods for Small Businesses 🇬🇧 💳 – Reviews 2022
We’ve reviewed the most popular options for small businesses taking e-payments from clients. We hope it helps you to assess what best serves your clients.
Looking for recommended online payment types?
Head to the Buying Guide section for an overview of the different online payment types available to small businesses. Learn about the different kinds of online payment. The ideal online payment solution for your small business gives you the following:
- Faster payments 💨 — choosing the right online payment method means faster processing times. Rather than needing to wait for a cheque to clear, your business can access your money in a few days. This helps to improve your business cash flow, which is critical for business success.
- Better options for clients – one of the top reasons for online payment methods is that your client has more ways to pay you for your product or service. You’re making life more convenient for them, which is a key form of improving your customer relationships. This encourages them to submit their payments more quickly.
- Improve security 🔒 — clients will be hesitant to pay in a way that doesn’t seem secure, such as a direct transfer to your bank account. But using a professional online payment gateway gives peace of mind that there are adequate layers of security to secure information and provide guarantees against any service or product defects or theft.
- Time-saving — online payment systems do a lot of heavy lifting for you. They also verify transactions, confirm to the client’s email, and securely overseas the transfer. You can track this all in one reporting system, seeing forecasts and trending sites that can be helpful for more successfully managing your payment environment.
|Service Provider||Rating||Sign up|
|1. Stripe||★★★★★||Visit here|
|2. DepositFix||★★★★★||Visit here|
|3. PayPal||★★★★★||Visit here|
|4. Square||★★★★★||Visit here|
|5. One Page Pay||★★★★★||Visit here|
|6.1 Google Pay||★★★★★||Visit here|
|6.2 Apple Pay||★★★★★||Visit here|
|7. Dwolla||★★★★★||Visit here|
|8. Intuit QuickBooks Payments||★★★★★||Visit here|
|9. Flint||★★★★★||Visit here|
|10. Authorize.net||★★★★★||Visit here|
1. Stripe – Best Online Payment Method for Simplicity
In all, this makes Stripe a great payment method for SMBs and larger firms too. Because it’s so comprehensive, you can synchronise it with in-person business point-of-sale (POS) systems, such as receipt printers.
As for fraud prevention, the Stripe Radar protection system is internationally accredited and trusted. And you could integrate it with your website shopping cart using Shopify and WooCommerce.
Not to mention a large number of payment methods for you to invoice your clients. Some of these methods you would have heard of and offers perhaps not.
For instance, it supports Visa, Maestro, American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Apple pay, Google pay, bank transfer, etc. But you also find more niche/global options ✔️:
- WeChat — China’s biggest internet company related to mobile products in social networking, games, finance, media, and more.
- SEPA — stands for Single Euro Payments Area, which is a payments program used by European Union members.
- PayNow — An important bank transfer service used by customers in Singapore. A QR code is used when checking out with this method, which customers do by scanning it on their PayNow app.
- ACH Direct Debit — specifically used for Striped users in the US, accepted as long as the customer has a US bank account that is registered with Automated Clearing House (ACH).
2. DepositFix – Advanced Online Payment Method
DepositFix stands out because it is so integrated with other key business resources, including HubSpot, PayPal and Stripe. This makes it very useful for taking payments through all forms as well as making billing workflows — users will automatically get receipts, emails, upselling, or requests for reviews after making a purchase.
Overall, it’s a great system for selling digital services or products. This makes DepositFix one of the most competitive online payment systems.
Indeed, a case study saw The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation improving its online payments from 10% to more than 50% after moving its phone payments to an online, streamlined version through DepositFix.
- ☑️ Multiple payment methods — Credit card, ACH, PayPal, offline, and Apple/Google Play.
- ☑️ Automatic upsells — Get an automatic boost to revenue with single clicks.
- ☑️ Discount codes — Integrates with Stripe’s inbuilt customisable coupons, which you can limit according to product, date and units available.
- ☑️ Additional payment options — Flexible solutions that include payment plans, subscriptions, deposits, and one-time payments.
⭐ You can even change your sales taxes with a high amount of flexibility. The dynamic sales tax feature lets you automatically adjust based on where your buyer is located. And it covers GST, PSD, HST, US sales tax even according to specific ZIP Codes, and VAT (for Britain).
3. PayPal – A Highly Popular Online Payment Method
PayPal is one of the first companies to offer convenient digital payment solutions to the masses when it first debuted before the millennium.
It’s easy to forget today how transformative service was. In that time, you’ve probably since used the service as a family member, friend, or when shopping on small business websites.
Setting up and advantages
Although PayPal fees are not ideal compared to direct transfers, it does provide a trusted professional way to collect money quickly and easily from clients. They also offer invoicing to professionally organise things.
You can actually use a standard PayPal account to conduct business invoicing. All we can apply for a free PayPal business account, which will require you to have a registered company and provide information about it. A few of the benefits of a paper business account:
- Accept a range of payment types for lowered fees
- Carry out business under a group or company name
- Activate a payment gateway to boost checkout conversions
- Take payments from customers who do not have paper accounts
- Accept payments to clients in more than 200 countries
- Introduce subscription models for your services or content
- Let staff and employees log in to a single account
PayPal has strong integrations that are pretty much universal. It’s commonplace to see a PayPal option in the checkout process Across a wide range of establishments.
This widespread adoption gives you an advantage. Even if a customer prefers to accept payments from their card, they can connect their PayPal to make the transfer. PayPal is an internationally trusted PayPal method with strong conversion rates — customers are very familiar with the brand. They can efficiently get assistance in the case of troubleshooting or a problem with the transfer.
How about retail merchants with in-person establishments?
For a while now, the service has offered PayPal Here, which is a mobile payments system that lets you take debit and credit card payments directly from customers wherever you are. You can use one of their card readers as your point of sale system.
And of course, it’s linked with invoices, to track and record all transactions. One fantastic aspect of this is that there are no registration fees, cancellation fees, monthly fees, or even a monthly minimum period you only need to handle the 2.7% transaction cost. If that’s fine for your margin, that is a convenient way to take online and in-person transactions.
⭐ PayPal can add up in terms of transaction fees. Small businesses that are able to lock in direct transfers may find that they save money rather than adopting PayPal. Nonetheless, its international prestige and brand recognition give you a level of trust that may be worth the additional cost.
4. Square – Popular Online Payment Solution (That Does It All)
All of this happens from a single platform
(Even staff payroll)! So whether you are operating a brick-and-mortar retailer and need a POS machine (card reader), or if you want to offer you-gift cards, while using the analytics dashboard to track results.
You can even manage staff payroll, allowing you to plug in timecards to automatically track and payout employees. In addition, integrate shopping cart buttons onto your website, offer QR codes, payment links and more to help your clients directly interact with your services and products.
What to expect
Square is a popular choice for small and mid-sized businesses due to having no monthly fees on the standard plan with a simple, fixed-rate fee structure.
This makes it her predictable POS system without prohibitive front-end costs. The basket of complicated fees card companies arrange between themselves with banks and compliance standards are all handled by the Square platform.
The rate is similar to the PayPal business accounts at 2.6% last time we checked. This is a bit higher for purchases made through online stores and checkouts and free invoicing. And you have to pay extra for particular features. Invoicing comes at a higher fixed rate of 2.9%. Marketing features begin at a bit over a tenner per month. And payroll features at roughly 5 per month per contractor. But basic team management is free.
Of course, this is automatically provided. Square monitors your payment activity and alerts are triggered if there is anything suspicious. It uses an automated algorithm as well as human auditors. The company seems to be quite ahead in this aspect.
⭐ Square comes with a free online checking account.
5. One Page Pay – Great Online Payment Method for CRMs
Once you develop a large enough clientele, using a content relationship management system (CRM) helps you to officially organise your customers according to demographic, greater trends, and personal habits. For this purpose, One Page Pay integrates with multiple different CRMs including HubSpot. It also integrates with popular payment platforms such as PayPal, Strike, GoCardless and Take Payments.
How it works
One Page Pay generates a dedicated payments page. Customers complete the form and purchase details are emailed to the customer or your CRM.
This system features security that is bank-grade. This gives you peace of mind that your customer's data is compliant with PCI and privacy standards. As for speed, you should be able to set up your first payment form in less than 5 minutes.
Simply select from one of the templates or customise it on the One Page Play platform. Their team can create something that is perfect for your specific business needs. Alongside this is the ability to make reports giving you insights and transactions.
- ☑️ Strong integrations — use with MailChimp Zoho and HubSpot.
- ☑️ Automatically connect payments — automatically connect payment solutions like PayPal to automate the full product delivery.
- ☑️ Timeline — view all of the transactions of consumers in a timeline history, to show all of the deals; letting any agent see full details for any transaction.
⭐ Remember, OPP integrates with CRMs like HubSpot. It can automatically do follow-ups with your customers. This includes things like actual deliveries of your product, surveys, etc.
6. Google/Apple Pay – Fantastic Online Payment Method for Mobile Apps
Because of the large number of devoted users who enjoy the convenience, it’s worth making sure that your chosen payment method includes Apple/Google Play.
Both are widely accepted systems, so you will find that they are almost ubiquitously available with payment gateways. For instance, all-encompassing gateways like Square allow their users to pay with both.
You can also link your PayPal to Google Play or Apple Pay. Create a PayPal checkout that integrates with these APIs.
Apple Pay vs. Google Pay
In fact, you will largely find that they offer virtually identical features. Both of these are mobile payment systems. We can be used to purchase a wide range of goods online, including apps. Apple Pay seems simpler however Google Pay Offers More Features.
In terms of privacy, Google stores your card information, whereas Apple has explicit terms and conditions that mean it will not track your transactions.
And both systems allow contactless payment using near-field communication (NFC) technology. They feature a slightly different NFC application. Apple integrates this with many layers of its hardware, such as Touch and Face ID. By comparison, Google uses a simple PIN.
There is where the magic happens. At no stage does the processing system reveal card details to the vendor. With Google Play, the only time that card details are entered is during the initial registration. From there on, a virtual card is submitted in place of your actual quote information.
This means the vendor never gets to see your card information. It’s protected by secure servers.
For Apple Pay, a system called tokenisation is used. Each time your card details are entered into the device, the issuing bank is directly contacted. Once confirmed, the device receives a specific token called the Device Account Number (DN). This is then stored securely on a chip on the device. And the DN is what the vendor sees when they are authorised by the bank.
⭐ Both of these mobile payment systems are offered for free. Check that your chosen payment gateway offers them to customers, particularly if you are expecting a lot of mobile payments.
7. Dwolla – Top Payments Solution for ACH (U.S. Clients)
Dwolla takes a unique approach to small-business payments, allowing businesses to take ACH payments.
This is a particularly useful extra payment window for niche businesses with U.S. clients. The first thing to know is that customers can electronically transfer funds directly from their bank account into that of your business’. In fact, you can return ACH payments to consumers for refunds or credit.
Why add ACH to your payment options?
If you have a lot of business in the U.S., then this is a useful option to add. This is particularly true if you only accept payments that happen through bank transfers. This makes a good small business payment system for investors, finance managers, sole traders, and reimbursement providers.
You can get started fours 0.5% for each transfer although plans begin at a bit over £200 monthly. It integrates with Slack, QuickBooks, Plaid ACH and Sift Science. Service promises next-day and same-day transfers on yearly contracts – although it’s between 3-4 business days on standard plans.
How it works
Other examples of ACH payments are PayPal and Venmo. These link directly to your bank account, letting you do direct transfers for things like utility bills.
Dwolla enables the same thing. Rather than clients paying you by cheque, debit or credit, they can electronically transfer cash from their bank account directly to yours. There are other capabilities:
- Verified accounts — make a distinction between verified and unverified merchants and customers. This process is instant. A micro-sum it’s charged to the Viscount I want to be verified. You can still send and receive cash without verification but you are limited to a bit over £4,000 weekly. And you cannot hold a wallet.
- Digital wallet – if you do verify your account, then you can set up a business wallet, which holds your funds and can be the recipient address for any payments. These can be stored in the wallet and transferred directly from the wallet to a business bank account, or used to make a payment.
- Recurring scheduled billings — set up a recurring payment from a customer’s bank account to your Dwolla account for a specific date. For instance, the first of the month. Scheduled payments can be recurring.
- Integrations for security and more – for instance, Slack integrations let you notify your team members of any key account changes, such as negative balances or verifications. Plaid stores data and organises in compliance with PCI standards. While Sift Science handles fraud auditing the power of machine learning. And more.
⭐ Dwolla handles the verification of customer bank accounts as well as the processing of sensitive data. All information is encrypted across its network, protecting both you and the customer from having data stolen. While those annual contracts get a dedicated support team including direct contact with account managers and developers.
8. Intuit QuickBooks Payments – Top Subscriptions-Based Payments Method
If you already use QuickBooks, then Intuit payments offers a simple payment processing method to integrate into that accounting structure.
QuickBooks Payments lets you stay on top of invoices, accounting, and payments for your small business. This is particularly convenient if you want to keep all of your accounting transactions in a single portal.
Payment methods accepted are American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa, bank transfers and Apple Pay. there is no monthly fee but you will need to have an active QuickBooks Online account to add this feature.
You’re paying about £12 per month as a self-employed user. But it’s half price for the first three months. This doubles up for the next level and continues roughly in this pattern. Fees match up with Square
- 2.9% per online payment transaction plus an additional charge
- Credit cards, however, are significantly higher at 3.4%
- But Chip/swipe transactions only 2.4%.
For those who are processing more than £10,000 monthly, there is an £18 monthly fee for the desktop version, however, the percentage fee drops to 1.5%.
There is an online and desktop version. The online version is the least expensive and comes with three years of support. Whereas, the online version can be accessed over the cloud anywhere with an Internet connection.
The cloud version makes you more conveniently switch between staff members and devices, for instance taking payments from your mobile phone and having invoices on a computer. The most advanced plan gives you up to 25 users, but you are limited to only three users on the Essential plan.
You need to upgrade to the advanced level if you want deeper insights and analytics, batching invoices and expenses, tracking timesheets, and measuring profitability.
9. Flint – Great Payments Method With Stripe
Flint offers a unique solution for SMBs, by letting you take mobile payments without needing a card reader.
How is this possible? The mobile app lets you scan a customer’s credit card number. There are a few additional steps required and then the transaction is successful.
We can also accept cheques and cash. Send an invoice using the app to track the payment or to offer coupons via email.
Uses Stripe on the backend
We had Stripe as our number one entry. However, the system works on the backend. You can still use a payment gateway and Flint offers a very simple and immediate integration solution.
However, there has been one significant controversy in the background. Flint abruptly remove the ability for the merchants to work with the app, leaving thousands of users abandoned without a paddle. The company did not manage the situation very well.
So you’ve placed this in the ninth position as a result. Some of the customers may also be reluctant to have their card information scanned. One of the attractive aspects of this organisation is the low barrier of registration and that they offer only email support.
⭐ Flint only offers email support there is no phone support. And there have been complaints about communication with merchants after the changes of the past. So keep this in mind when considering this provider.
10. Authorize.net – Top Small Business Payment Method for Active Web Stores
Authorise.net payment Gateway is one of the most flexible e-com tools. It has a well-rounded feature set, including ACH/eCheck processing and recurring billing.
Uses a flat rate pricing as long as the total transactions fall under around £350,000 yearly. It supports multiple currencies and has both robust auditing and top-rate customer support.
This payment gateway is owned by Visa. It’s, in fact, one of the oldest payment gateways in the industry but it’s so well-known in the sector that the majority of popular payment gateways through our merchants include an emulator for Authorise.net to maintain compatibility with it.
Although Authorise.net isn’t technically a merchant account provider, it does provide an all-inclusive gateway and merchant account add-on, which is delivered through a third-party collaboration with numerous processes.
Products and services
- Payment gateway: each account offers payment gateway access.
- Merchant accounts: although the service by default connects with your pre-existing merchant account, you can also choose to use one of its partners to create a merchant account. It’s a flat rate charge, which tends to be the most budget-friendly for lower to medium-volume businesses. Through its partnership directory, you get access to over 20 merchant account service providers.
- Virtual terminals: a Virtual Point of Sale (VPOS) access emulates as a virtual terminal so that you can manually enter transactions onto your device. It’s a free feature — the software is included as part of the payment gateway. But you need to buy a card reader that is compatible if you want to also physically process card transactions. Keep in mind that the POS is only available to Surface tablets and Windows computers.
- Checkout code: integrate the payment gateway into your web store by generating simple HTML code snippets featuring “Donate” and “Buy Now” buttons. Or you can go for a more advanced feature where you integrate with your third-party shopping cart.
- Customer Information Manager (CIM): this looks like a contact relationship management system. This is one of the most useful capabilities, letting you securely manage contact data like dipping addresses, billing addresses, and payment methods, and securely storing sensitive payment card information.
⭐ Authorize.net has customisable Advance for Detection Suite (AFDS) features that are designed to help you proactively find and thwart online perpetrators. The goal is to reduce your liability for chargebacks from any inventory losses from fraud.
Best Online Payment Methods for Small Businesses – Buying Guide
Now that we’ve covered some of the most popular online payment methods for small businesses in the UK market, let’s do some homework on how to choose.
Ways to Set up Online Payments
Let’s cover some of the most popular options for businesses that want to accept online payments from clients. This section is useful for getting an overview of what’s available to you. This will help you to decide from the above review what can best serve your clients could so here are some of the following routes to consider:
Taking cards online
Cards are the most popular way of accepting payments online. For this, you only need an online payment gateway such as Stripe. (Which is why we recommended Stripe as our top option). Any website builder will offer e-com templates, a simple form that customers can use to fill out their credit card or debit card details.
Your customer’s payment is outsourced to this online payment provider, who then is responsible to:
- Web host payment forms
- Securely process payments
- Safely store payment information for recurring clients, making sure to first gain the correct permissions.
Direct transfer, eChecks
eCheck our digital version of paper cheques. Because the latter is very uncommon these days, most people go about directly wiring money from their personal bank account using this system to wire money to the service or product provider. For this, the online form asks the customer to supply some variation of the following information:
- 🔒 Account number
- 🔒 Routing number
- 🔒 Payment amount
- 🔒 Other authorisations
If the information entered a successfully validated, money is directly transferred from the customer's bank account to yours. There will be a delay for processing according to the providers. But the fees for this kind of payment are usually lower than for credit card payments.
Accepting mobile payments
The ability to accept mobile payments can be a perfect solution for taking quick payments, in person. For instance, a construction company could need to accept payments outside of an office setting while working on a work site.
In order to do this, a business will need to invest in a card machine, such as Square that can directly connect your phone or via Bluetooth, operating through a mobile app that security processes debit and credit payments wherever you are.
Email click-to-pay invoices
“Click-to-pay” invoices work over the cloud as an accounting solution. List your clients easily and quickly make payments simply by clicking a link in the email. There, they can view and pay the invoice. This is particularly powerful for freelancers who want a way to make the payment process faster and more predictable for their clients.
In sum, it lets you work directly with the client while professionally invoicing.
Standing orders or automatic billings
You can convert your invoices into a way of creating a recurring bill payment by debit or credit card. This lets you schedule weekly or monthly ongoing invoices so that the money is automatically transferred in a predictable way. This takes off a workload from the client, so they don’t have to send and receive money manually each time.
What to Look for in SMB Payment Systems
So why did the cafe that I mentioned in the intro only accept cash? With such a large variety of options on the market with a variety of key features and processing costs, it can be difficult to choose the perfect platform for your small business.
With so many options, people just tend to do what they have always done in the past. Rather than updating their mental models. So understandable — if you have a good community already you might not even suspect that you are losing new customers! But it happens if you aren’t catering to them.
Cash is such a popular way for companies to accept payments because it is so reliable. This isn’t so for online businesses, where you do not usually see your customers face-to-face. So you need a reliable payment gateway that has an excellent track record.
This protects your customer’s payment information and reduces lags in processing for the various types of payment. Whether your customer is national, local or international, you should have peace of mind 24/7 knowing that all transactions will be handled professionally.
2. Technical support
Your payment gateway solution should give you top-notch customer support and already have a good track record for customer xp reviews.
Although some of the data online on reviews is not totally trustworthy, you can generally get a sense if you look for a variety of sources including social pages like Reddit and personable YouTube reviews. Look for live chat features, full support and an active website.
Here is where the real homework comes in. You need to get your head around the different fees tied to each payment gateway service before registering.
Particularly if your business is on a tight margin of profitability, the fees for processing will make a difference — this is one reason why cash can be so popular — there are none at all when taking cash! Fees will be a fixed transactional or percentage-based figure. Keep in mind that some payment systems also charge you for terminating transactions and an entry fee for credit card processing, so look for these hidden fees.
Overall, there are costs for each and find the gateway provider that best suits your budget based on your day-to-day operations.
Time and convenience are two top factors that impact when a customer is making an online purchasing decision. The payment system should be as fluid and simple to use as cash. You want something that is an asset to your website that can be added to your shopping cart as a checkout option — it shouldn’t be lots of technical jigging needed to set up and activate. Most importantly, customers should find it as simple as possible.
Payment Types ✔️
Just as important — if not even more so — is having a good range of payment types that are supported. Be sure to include one that includes your most popular forms of payment such as debit cards, ACH, credit cards, and so on.
You want as smooth an integration between in-person visits, virtual terminals, mobile payments and online transactions. Remember, customers use their mobile phones to compare you against the competition and to pay!
How integrated your payment gateways is also very important — should be something you can easily add to your shopping cart, website, or other software. Seek payment service providers who are integrated with the most popular e-commerce platforms, account software and CRMs. If you have a physical store, you should also be able to connect seamlessly to your receipt printer or POS.
Security, of course, is of the most vital importance when it comes to choosing your optimal payment method for small businesses. Look for payment gateways with rigorous security features. All of this protects the PII data of your customer. You are responsible for keeping your customer’s data secure. So having security with antifraud protections is a nonnegotiable when making a choice:
- Sophisticated fraud protection capabilities
- PCI compliant
- Encryption (ideally 128-bit)
6. Proven adaptability
The most valuable payment gateways for small businesses are those that can grow with the company. As your business finds ways to adapt to its environment, you may find yourself scaling down or up — adding in-person POS systems or migrating online to reduce brick-and-mortar rent costs.
You want a platform that can take on increasing volume without getting sluggish with transactions. If your business may scale rapidly, look for a payment gateway with enterprise solutions.
A favourite way to audit how robust a payment gateway method is to check out a good variety of user reviews. Be careful of relying on any single blog: check against YouTube, social pages and forums to get an unbiased sense of what can be expected.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – if you are overwhelmed by conflicting reports, you can seek out people in real life you are using your payment system and ask their opinion, or pay for expert tips.
Best Online Payment Methods 📙 - FAQs
What Online Payment Method Should I Choose For My Small Business?
Cars are the most convenient way to do checkouts smoothly. It also lets customers carry out bigger transactions. So small businesses can benefit from something like Stripe that accepts multiple types of cards.
Is Venmo Good for Small Businesses?
Venmo can be used as both a P2P payment system as well as a regular payment method for small businesses. For instance, if you already accept PayPal, you can add Venmo at no extra cost. One of the top benefits of Venmo is its fast processing and secure transaction.
What Are the Top Payment Options for Small Businesses?
Assuming that you don’t need to do online payments, the most convenient form is cash. After this, it’s debit and credit cards. Both these types will involve fees that merchants charge in order to process transactions. It’s for this reason that some smaller stores offer a minimum amount that needs to be spent in order to pay by card — the store doesn’t want to eat high fees!
What Online Payment Option Is Best?
Each option will have its own strengths and weaknesses. So you need to consider your situation when making your decision. One of the biggest payment platforms today is PayPal. But many people use Amazon and Google Pay to quickly make mobile transactions.
Others will prefer to use their card, or something like American Express or Stripe be better for those customers. And if you want something that can process physical cars as well as handling online payments, then POS systems like Square give you both.
Online payments can help you to reach a wide audience, with the added ability to get data insights on they can better understand what your customers really want from your business. Online payments should offer security against fraud.
Today, most online payment solutions offer special invoicing, so that clients are automatically emailed after making a purchase. This helps to collate all of the data in one CRM entry, which can make things much easier for accounting than having stacks of receipts in your business office.