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As businesses begin to scale and expand their presence online, it’s becoming commonplace to accept payments via online payment form. Unfortunately, only 28% of small businesses accepted credit and debit card payments online in 2017. At this point, business owners no longer have time to process orders and payments for products manually and would lose out on significant revenue by only accepting cash. Online forms allow businesses to accept credit and debit card payments without the use of an online shopping cart. Unless you are an eCommerce business, you will likely want to set up an online system to accept digital payments.
What is an Online Payment Form?
An online payment form enables customers to pay for products and services online by credit card, debit card, or eCheck. The form also allows your business to collect necessary information from customers at the time of purchase and store the information for future purchases.
If your business offers subscription plans or ongoing monthly services, online payment forms can set up recurring billing. This is also helpful if you collect repeat invoices of any kind. Customers can pay through forms anywhere, on any device, and receive automated follow-ups once their purchase is complete.
Offering customers more ways to pay makes it easy and more likely for them to complete the purchase, which is essential for increasing conversions and sales.
How to Set Up an Online Payment Form
You can set up an online payment form in-house or by outsourcing the work. With that, there are a few things to know and do before you start this process.
1. You’ll need a secure website payment system. A payment gateway is a system your payment processor will set up to enable your website to receive your credit, debit, and eCheck payments. First and foremost, this should be an encrypted connection and meet industry data security standards.
2. Set up a payment form branded with your logo and colors. Use the same colors, fonts, and design on your checkout page in the online form as you use on the rest of your website. This will keep your assets consistent, increase brand recognition for your business, and drive sales.
3. Connect your processor or gateway to a payment form. Customers will be able to access the payment form by clicking a “Buy Now” button embedded in your website. The button sends customers to the form to collect their financial information. Sync the payment form with your payment gateway to get started.
If you choose to create an online payment form in house you will have more control over your final result. This is an opportunity for you to be creative and also find the solution that works best for you and your customers.
To accept payments with an online payment form you will need both an online form as well as a secure payment gateway. The subsequent steps are as follows:
- Hire an outside developer or use your website development team to create a unique gateway connecting your website to the payment processor of your choice. Be sure you use experts to ensure the coding, connections, and security are done correctly.
- Obtain an SSL Certificate (Secure Socket Layer) to get the data encryption technology you will need for your site. Then, you will need to register the site you plan to set up the online payment form on with a digital authentication service.
- Set up a custom online payment form. While the form is not a full shopping cart that most eCommerce sites have, you will still want fields to capture customer data, financial payment information, what product they want, and the quantity.
- Build in a payment button. Include a “click to pay” link that takes customers to your secure server to input their financial payment information.
- Open a merchant account. Merchant accounts provide you the ability to process payments. Your provider will set up a business account to process your payments through the payment gateway.
- Integrate the merchant account processing platform with your payment form. Once your merchant account is acquired, you’ll need to get the API keys to connect your secure form into their back-end processing.
There are many reasons merchants choose to outsource their payment form. For starters, it’s more convenient, especially if you’re not technologically inclined. Third-party software also gives you more creative options to choose from.
Creating an online payment form with the assistant of an outsourced solution is easy. Follow these steps to seamlessly create your form:
- Research your options. There are many software programs and services that specialize in online payment forms. Do your research to find the best match for your needs.
- Set up your business merchant account. Once your business has been approved for a merchant account, the provider will recommend a payment processing package designed for your business. Don’t be put off if traditional processors decline to provide a merchant account to you. Some payment-processing providers specialize in providing payment solutions for high risk businesses.
- Build the online payment form. Determine the products, services, and payment types you’d like to offer, then incorporate your logo and activate the form.
- Connect your payment processor to your payment form. Most software programs and developers will help you do this. After this step you can begin to strategize where you’re like to link your payment form.
Payment Form Best Practices
In order to be successful with your online payment form, it’s important to keep up with best practices. Here are some tips to help you maximize your potential when it comes to accepting payments through online forms.
1. Keep the design simple
If your payment forms present too many obstacles, people will want to abandon your form, which results in lost trust and fewer sales. Don’t include unnecessary fields and leave plenty of open space. The questions and directions should be straightforward and easy to understand.
The design of your payment form should also match your brand. Not only will this tie in aesthetically to your business, but it will also help customers identify your form as a legitimate extension of your company.
2. Do your homework and choose the right payment provider
There are many merchant service providers, so you’ll want to do your homework to find the right one for your business. Things that might vary between payment processing providers are:
- Receiving funds. Will funds be directly deposited to your bank account, or do you need to initiate a withdrawal request from the provider?
- Fees. Will the processing provider charge a separate fee for setting up your account or roll it into their monthly service fee? You don’t want to be paying hidden charges, so ask for itemized quotes so fees are transparent. If you choose a per-transaction pricing model, make sure you know what you’ll be paying to process each type of transaction.
- Integrations. Make sure you discuss your online payment form and find out whether they can link it to their payment gateway. Check that the processor upholds industry data standards and has an encrypted connection. Shoppers will abandon their carts if they have security concerns. Ensure security encryption is enabled on your forms to help protect your and your customers’ data.
3. Allow people to make payments without signing up for an account
Requiring people to sign up for an account before making their purchase adds more fields to the payment form and prolongs the payment process. Let first-time buyers test their experience with your business by checking out as a guest before committing long term.
4. Don’t redirect purchasers
Some payment providers will require you to install a link that redirects site visitors ready to pay from your site to their site. In doing so, you lose the seamless branding of your business. Keep control of your brand by keeping people on your site to the end.
Explore Your Online Payment Form Options
Now that you’re familiar with what a payment form is and your options for creating one, explore your possibilities! Establishing an online payment form is a great way to provide seamless payments to your customers. Doing so will drive sales, provide your customers with more options, and help bring your business up to speed with current technology. These factors are essential for the success of today’s businesses in an increasingly cashless world.