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12 Min. Read

8 Ways To Accept Payments Online

Accept Payments Online

Your business is up and running. You have clients ready to work with you. But how are you going to get paid? Online payment solutions can streamline your business and they are a fast and convenient way for your customers to pay for your services. If you are in the market for a new payment service provider or have questions about payment methods, FreshBooks has you covered. We have reviewed and summarised the best ways to accept payments online. Read on to learn more.

Table of Contents

One of the best things about technology today is the convenient and versatile solutions it provides. When it comes to accepting online payments, the technology does not disappoint.

Want To Get Paid 2x Faster?

1. Credit and Debit Cards

Credit and debit cards are a trusted and well-known method of payment. They are still the most popular way and easiest way to accept payments online. If you want to start simple and provide a payment option that is most likely to work for your clients, start by getting set up to accept credit and debit cards.

You can accept credit and debit card payments through an online payment processor like Stripe or PayPal merchant account. If you operate an e-commerce business hosted on Shopify or EKM, you can use the processor built into the platform.

2. eChecks and ACH

ACH (automated clearing house) and eChecks are a way to accept payments online for free. They have low to no costs associated with them because the cost falls on the payee.

eChecks are the same as a paper check, only digital. The money is transferred using the Pay—UK system in the UK and the ACH system internationally.

The ACH is the digital network that debits money from one bank account and deposits it into another bank account in large batches. This batch system saves you costly transaction fees, but it takes longer to get into your account because the batches are typically only settled daily.

3. Mobile Payments

Mobile payments are also known as mobile wallets. Unlike credit or debit cards, they are a newer way to pay, but they are becoming popular payment methods. The common mobile payment service providers are Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. The customer enters their credit and debit card information once to enable the wallet access to the account.

Mobile payments are a contactless form of payment. You can accept payment directly from their mobile device or smartwatch to your device by holding them close together while the payment apps open.

Popular e-commerce platforms like Woocommerce and Shopify accept mobile wallet payments, as well as Stripe online payment solutions.

4. Online Payment Gateway

An online payment gateway is a safe and convenient way for your clients and customers to pay. Many of them accept multiple forms of payment, including credit and debit cards, as well as digital and mobile wallets. Whenever you ‘check out’ of an online store, you are most likely using an online payment gateway also known as a payment service provider.

Commonly used online payment methods in the UK include PayPal and Stripe. They offer robust security features and consumer familiarity.

You can also build a secure gateway to your website using third-party software or hiring a website developer.

5. Digital Wallets

A digital wallet is different from a mobile wallet in that it is typically for online use, and mobile wallets are useful for in-person transactions because they are attached to a mobile device. If you are thinking of accepting payments online, you should definitely consider a payment service provider that accepts digital wallets.

Like mobile wallets, digital wallets are a newer way to pay. The common digital wallets are Apple Pay for iOS, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay for Androids. They are convenient payment methods for the consumer because they only need to enter their credit and debit card information once to enable the wallet access to the account.

6. Invoicing and Billing

Utilising invoicing software can streamline your payment process and make it more convenient for the client to pay.

So, how does it work? The software will send out an invoice with the payment options and prompts directly to the client. Invoicing software typically offers automated information that guides the user through the payment process quickly and securely. An invoice is also where you can provide your customer with the form needed for free payment options like eChecks and ACH.

7. Email Invoicing

Another way to invoice is to send it via email either as a PDF with embedded billing links or as a link to a portal to the client’s billing page in your system.

Sending via email has its drawbacks. Sometimes, an email can get lost in a junk folder or left unopened. Some people are hesitant to pay through links in an email for fear of downloading malware or being led to a fraudulent site.

Using a recognised invoicing software like FreshBooks to send out your billing and invoices can inspire consumer confidence and get you paid faster.

8. Recurring Billing

Recurring billing can make it easy to get paid on time. If you use invoicing software, it can automate the process for you. Simply program the recurring date and amount, and it will do the rest.

You can also set up direct withdrawals through ACH. Invoicing software can send out the bill on a date before the withdrawal as a reminder and then a paid invoice when it is processed. If you have your bank account connected, your software can reconcile the payment and mark any related tax down in your ledger, making tax time that much simpler.

How to Accept Payments Online with FreshBooks

It’s easy to accept online payments when you have the right tools. FreshBooks has robust payment features that can help you streamline your payment process.

1. Accept Credit Cards Online

Credit cards are still one of the fastest and most convenient ways of accepting online payments for small businesses.

With FreshBooks, you can get set up to accept payments through credit card in just one click! There are also automated features like recording payments, tracking expenses, and managing late payment reminders and fees.

Credit cards are also one of the most trusted payment methods for the consumer because purchases made through a credit card have more security features that protect against fraud.

Our industry-leading security protocols ensure your and your client’s data is always protected.

2. Recurring Payments and Auto-Bills

Keep up to date with recurring payments through automation. Freshbooks makes it easy to store card information and set up auto bills with their set-it-and-forget-it system. You can set up a billing schedule to securely charge your client an agreed-upon amount through auto bills. A payment schedule is also a great way to work with your clients to get them what they need in a way that benefits you both.

Automatic payments can help control your cash flow so you can pay your bills, upgrade your tools and leverage a better borrowing position.

3. Accept International Currencies

The digital age opened the world to international shopping. Consumers no longer need to travel to enjoy the services and products that were once only available to the local market.

Open your small business up to a wider market by accepting international currencies. FreshBooks integrates with Barclaycard and Stripe to handle global payments for you. With PayPal’s payment processor, you can accept payments in 25 currencies from 202 countries.

The same industry-leading security protocols available with credit card payments apply when accepting online payments through a payment processor to ensure there are no surprises for you or your customers.

4. Direct Debit

Use Direct Debit to streamline your payment process. With a Direct Debit Mandate (DDM), you won’t have to request authorisation for each payment. You can enter their payment information once and forget it.

The FreshBooks invoice makes it easy for clients to pay. It’s a secure and convenient payment option for a client who prefers automated payments or needs a payment schedule.

Direct Debit funds are deposited directly into your account from your client’s account, as the name suggests. FreshBooks’ automated system marks it as paid, eliminating manual entry for you and accidental payment reminders for your clients.

5. Checkout Links

Using a checkout link is as easy as one, two, three. Make a link, share it, and get paid. They’re another secure way for your small business to accept payments, and it’s easy for your customers to use. Create the link in your FreshBooks account for a fixed-price product or service. Copy and paste it into an email or DM, post it on your website or share it through social media.

Checkout links are a great way to collect from multiple customers for a single product or service like a consultation, yoga class, or pre-made gift box. Payments are automatically recorded in your FreshBooks account.

6. PayPal

PayPal is one of the leading payment processors worldwide. It is easy and convenient to use for UK and international payments. PayPal features protection protocols for your small business to prevent fraud and advanced data encryption for you and your customers.

FreshBooks payment solution software features full integration with your PayPal merchant account making it fast and convenient for you and your client to use. They offer competitive pricing of 2.9% and £0.30 per transaction with no hidden fees and no termination fees. With PayPal, you can accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Venmo, and PayPal Credit. Plus, you can accept currencies from 202 countries.

7. Barclaycard

Barclaycard offers transparent pricing with transaction fees as low as 1% and £0.10 per transaction with no hidden fees. They accept Visa and Mastercard. Transactions completed by 6 p.m. ensure next-day settlement.

FreshBooks payments feature integration with Barclaycard via SmartPay Fuse. It is another fast and convenient payment gateway for you and your client.

Use FreshBooks online payment settings to connect your existing merchant account. If you don’t have a Barclaycard merchant account, you can set one up from your FreshBooks account. You need to enter information like whether it’s a personal or business account. The approval process typically takes 2-5 business days.

8. Stripe

Stripe is another popular payment processor. It is easy and convenient to use for UK and international customers. They accept payments in more than 135 currencies, which is an added convenience to global clients.

Stripe features protection protocols for your small business to prevent fraud and data encryption for you and your customers.

They offer transparent pricing at 1.5% and 20p for standard UK cards, discounts for high-volume merchants, and no setup, monthly or hidden fees. With your Stripe merchant account, you can accept all major credit cards and Apple Pay.

9. Advanced Payments Option

Among the many ways of accepting payments online that FreshBooks offers is the advanced payments option. It allows you to accept credit card payments in person, over the phone, and online.

The advanced payment option is particularly useful for people with online and in-person businesses. It’s like a virtual terminal: You can create a client profile and save credit card information manually.

The advanced payment option is one of the many ways FreshBooks can streamline your workflow. You can set up a recurring billing profile and create subscription-based billing. It’s also another way to manage relationships with clients for low-effort interaction.

Accounting Software That Pays Off

FreshBooks has summarised some frequently asked questions about receiving payments online for quick reference. Have a look!

What online payment options does FreshBooks offer?

With FreshBooks Payments, you can connect your Stripe, PayPal, or Barclaycard account. You can accept major credit cards like MasterCard, Visa, and Amex. Only Stripe accepts Apple Pay, and only PayPal will accept PayPal Credit and Venmo. You can also enable ACH or BACS direct debit payments to set up recurring monthly withdrawals.

How secure are online payments?

Online payments can be as secure as in-person transactions. With all digital transactions, there is a higher risk of fraud. Use a trusted and verified processor that encrypts the information at both ends. By encrypting the financial and transaction details, it is more difficult for the customer, vendor and any third party to steal it.

How Do Online Payments Work?

Online payments use the same process as in-person cashless payments. A processor encrypts the information and confirms the payee has the funds to pay. The approved transaction is deposited into your account within 1-2 business days. Of course, the processor gets their piece of the payment. If you use FreshBooks Payments, all transaction fees get tracked in your account as Expenses.

How do small businesses receive payments?

Payments move through a processor to a gateway or portal for encryption and approval, then through the processor and into your account.

Which payment gateway is best in the UK?

The best payment gateway for your UK-based business depends on your transaction volume, website platform, and software integration capabilities. FreshBooks integrates with the two most popular: Stripe and Paypal.

How do I accept contactless payments?

Clients can use the wallet on their mobile device to make contactless payments, also known as NFC (near-contactless) payments to you through your FreshBooks app.

What is the most secure way to receive payment online?

The most secure way to accept online payments is with a trusted network that protects your client’s and your financial information.

How much does it cost to take payments online?

Typically, costs for taking online payments include a percentage of the payment value, usually between 1% and 3.25%, and a flat transaction fee, between 15p and 45p, depending on the processor.

Kickstart Your Online Payment Acceptance Now

Setting up your business to accept online payments can increase your sales and your presence in the market. Small businesses can accept online payments on their website, mobile phone, social media and even through in-person transactions.

FreshBooks software offers robust and versatile features that can help you and your small business with online payments, invoicing, workflow automation, and more. Try FreshBooks free by signing up today to see how easy getting paid can be!

Levon Kokhlikyan headshot
Levon Kokhlikyan, ACCA

About the author

Levon Kokhlikyan is a Finance Manager and accountant with 18 years of experience in managerial accounting and consolidations. He has a proven track record of success in cost accounting, analyzing financial data, and implementing effective processes. He holds an ACCA accreditation and a bachelor’s degree in social science from Yerevan State University.