Should you operate a remote or brick-and-mortar business? Maybe you want both.
Do you want to maintain all your inventory in the store or perhaps a more limited selection?
Does your business offer a subscription and monthly billing?
If this last is the case, how do you plan on offering your customers a streamlined billing experience? The simple answer … you have multiple options.
Depending on your business, you can determine what sort of customer billing best suits what you want to offer.
Maybe you are offering your customers a monthly delivery of chocolate. In that scenario, you have the option of offering them an online payment option, a pay by check option, or you could theoretically use a paper billing system.
On the other hand, if you are presenting a digital subscription or have a majority of customers paying with credit cards, you will be better off with digital billing software.
While the type of business you have may dictate what sort of billing software you choose to use, many will leave you open options as to what best suits your needs.
You provide goods or a service, but how do your customers pay?
If you operate an online business of any sort, there is a good chance that you will run into some sort of billing. Whether you are looking at small-level invoices for separate parts of your business or larger vendor-style invoices, you’ll need to be able to handle both the billing and payments in a smooth, easy-to-use system.
There are two main types of payments you can present to your customers. You have an immediate payment for goods and a billed payment that gives your clients a limited time to settle the account.
Your business will dictate what form of payment you accept.
Whether you accept credit cards or not, the form of your billing will be determined by your invoicing system and payment platforms.
As we progress in our technology, so does our ability to send invoices and receive payment.
One of the advances we are looking at is the ability to take a credit card processing gateway and allow it to double as a platform for online billing for small businesses.
The Easy Pay Direct gateway comes equipped with a built-in billing platform. This allows you to process billing without employing a third-party billing company.
By using the email invoicing platform, you can choose whether to send a recurring invoice or modify it to suit the individual job. It also gives you payment options.
Each customer is different and by offering a variety of payment methods, you are subtly making them feel important.
In addition to the general credit card or check payments, the gateway also presents a third option, a quick-click link that takes the customer directly to the payment page and streamlines the process for both you and the customer.
While Easy Pay Direct’s billing platform is the simplest solution to billing, it is not the only one.
It is a good idea to make sure that whatever billing software you choose for your business, integrates with the host platform. This reduces the hassle you’ll face making sure all your systems are working together.
Integration is the ability to take multiple aspects of credit card processing and streamline them through a single gateway.
How does this help you, the business owner?
It means fewer fingers in the pie. Through integration, Easy Pay Direct not only removes third-party vendors from your financial pipeline but also makes the process easier from start to finish by eliminating unnecessary pieces from your business operations.
A single gateway also helps eliminate potential fraud by reducing the access points thieves would use to obtain valuable information.
Easy Pay Direct is built on the NMI framework. This means that your billing software needs to integrate with that framework in a way that ensures proper function.
When billing is integrated it generally functions on a purely digital level. This allows funds to transfer more rapidly and your ledger to stay up to date with less input from you.
When you don’t have to worry about day-to-day bookkeeping and can rely on your billing software, you can devote more of your time to the important parts of your business, namely your product and your customers.
Understanding this integration allows you flexibility in your choice of payment processor.
Easy Pay Direct also allows you to link multiple merchant accounts through one gateway. If you fall into the high risk merchant account, you will most likely maintain a couple of accounts. You’ll do this to spread transactions and avoid frozen accounts.
Multiple accounts can be challenging, but with a proper gateway, you can link those multiple accounts through a single portal and ensure simplification of your billing process.
The most important item in integration is flexibility in your billing. You need to have the confidence that no matter what you face, your software and processor can flow with your needs.
Easy Pay Direct can do this. They have developed their software to properly interact with the thousands of different digital shopping card providers available to small businesses.
This simply means we have the ability to work with almost any online system you can throw at us. Plus, whether you use us as a processor or not, we can work with your company to make sure your credit card transactions run smoothly.
While few of your clients will wonder about the difference between a credit card and a proprietary card, they can hold vastly different meanings for you as a business owner.
A proprietary card is the category assigned to debit cards, loyalty cards, or gift cards.
We could go into great detail as to the difference, but let’s simplify and say the credit card is based on money a customer doesn’t have but is willing to pay at the end of the month.
A proprietary card is based on a balance tied to the account. Whether that balance is a set amount on a gift card or the balance in someone’s checking account it falls into the same category.
Proprietary payments are transacted differently.
When the transaction is run through the processing company they look at a credit card to see available credit. Propriety, the credit card processor looks at available funds.
Just like different credit cards carry different transaction rates, proprietary payments can be locked in at set rates.
You can negotiate rates and shop around to find the processor who will provide you with the best rates coupled with the best services.
Often your credit card processing company will lock you in at a set rate for all proprietary payments. This isn’t the end of the world and it isn’t out of the ordinary, just make sure you understand your transaction percentages and make sure you are doing what is best for you.
Understanding the flexibility provided by Easy Pay Direct can be the difference in maintaining a profit on proprietary cards.
Easy Pay Direct is a gateway that connects you to your merchant account. This means you can choose your processing company.
Keep this in mind when you shop around and determine which company to work with.
By choosing a billing software that is independent of the processing company, but integrates with the host platform, you can be more selective as to which rates your contract states.
Porting Recurring Transactions
This leads us to the final part of today’s post.
What happens when you need to move your business to a new processor?
Can you take your business with you or do you need to reestablish billing routines?
What can you do to make sure this process doesn’t turn into a confusing mess that costs you time and money?
Time to Move
There comes a time in the life of every business when change is inevitable. That could be a result of expansion, a change in product, or maybe something as simple as your credit card processing contract running out.
One of the big questions, when this hits, is what to do with your established billing.
If you’ve chosen to consolidate everything through one provider, this can be as easy as renegotiating your contract. However, if you have been working with different companies for billing, gateway, and processing, this can be a touch more complicated.
What Porting Means to You
If you’ve been in business long enough to have had a processing contract expire, you have been around long enough to have your billing streamlined.
Whether this is auto-billing, auto-debits, or revolving credit with customers, you have taken steps to ensure the billing process runs as smoothly as possible.
When you make a shift on the business end, you want to leave your clients as unaffected as possible. If they don’t even register that you’ve made the change things have gone according to plan.
This is probably because you chose billing software that allowed you to take your established mailings with you, also known as porting the info.
Another way to accomplish this is to combine all or parts of the processing through a single entity.
Strategies for Success
Anticipate the move. If you expect at some point you will transition all or portions of your business you can better prepare for the move.
You will have the options of contract renegotiations and working with new companies. Know that you will want to take your billing process with you without a business upheaval.
Plan to need to port your information. Choose a software that works with you to that end or transitions to a new gateway and processor easily.
At the end of the day, the simplest solution to running billing software is a catch-all company like Easy Pay Direct that can bundle everything together.
There are many benefits to running everything through a single gateway that allows you to streamline your billing and payment receiving. As a small business, you want to ensure all your steps lead toward financial success.
You want to provide your customers a service so seamless, they don’t even notice that it is working. Easy options lead to happy customers.
The first part of this is understanding the needs of your customers. Provide the type of billing appropriate for the business. Having the right software can help with prompt payments.
Auto-billing and recurring payments can allow you to offer a streamlined business model to your clients.
Also, full integration of your systems can reduce the lag and drag in payment processing that slows business down for you and your customers.
Choose billing software that fully integrates with your gateway platform. Whether you work with Easy Pay Direct or a similar gateway provider, the ability of your software to mesh with the provided payment gateway can reduce headaches and annoyance for you and your customers.
Understand how proprietary payments are treated differently by processing companies. You need to know that they aren’t the same thing as credit cards.
Proprietary cards will have a different rate.
Lastly, know that business should never be static. A static business is a dying business. Just like a shark, you need to keep moving forward.
Progress will mean different things to each specific business. You’ll figure out what that means as you get into your business. It will also lay the groundwork for your growth.
Remember, in that growth you want to leave your clients as unaffected as possible.
This means planning. Make sure your billing information is portable. You want to transition so smoothly that your customers don’t even notice the change.
At the end of the day, contact us at Easy Pay Direct and see what we can do for you.