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The Essential Guide to Prepping Your eCommerce Store to Accept Diverse Payment Methods

Opening an online store is an exciting venture, but deciding how to accept payments can be a headache. Between cryptos, digital wallets, and payment plans, there seem to be infinite options these days. It’s tempting to just stick with simple credit card payments through an old-school merchant processor. However, offering diverse payment methods is key to providing a stellar customer experience and boosting sales. Why?

Well, nearly 90% of customers admit to abandoning their carts due to a lack of preferred payment options. Ouch! 

No eCommerce owner wants to lose a sale simply because of payment friction. The good news is, prepping your store to accept a range of payment methods is easy when you know what to do. This essential guide will walk through the various options step-by-step, so you can customize the ideal payment experience for your online store and customers.

Accept Major Credit and Debit Cards

Let’s start with the basics – accepting major credit and debit cards. To do this, you’ll need to set up a merchant services account with a payment gateway. This allows you to securely process card transactions on your site.

At a minimum, ensure you can accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover cards. These four powerhouses account for the vast majority of card spending, so supporting them is essential.

In addition to physical credit cards, consider accepting digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay. Digital card issuing is exploding, as consumers seek the added convenience of fully managing their finances online. Furthermore, offering flexible digital payment builds trust and captures more mobile shoppers.

Look into Alternate Online Payment Services

Beyond traditional card processing, explore ways to accept payments through third-party online services. Many well-known providers integrate easily with eCommerce platforms. They allow customers to seamlessly pay with their existing accounts from these services.

For smaller businesses, third-party processors are appealing since they handle security and compliance. This saves you plenty of headaches! There are typically no monthly minimum fees either. The most popular services have millions of active users worldwide. However, newer players are emerging too, catering to niche demographics.

Remember to evaluate services based on their target audiences, ease of integration, fees, and online payment fraud detection. Find a provider that complements your brand and customer base. Accepting payments through just the right alternate services, in addition to cards, provides optimal flexibility and convenience.

Consider Payment Plans

Offering payment plans is another way to increase conversions, by letting customers split purchases into smaller installment payments. Services like Affirm and Klarna partner with retailers to provide flexible financing at checkout.

When a customer selects a payment plan, the provider handles managing the installment schedule and payments. Plans typically range from 3-12 months for no interest, or longer terms with interest. The retailer gets paid upfront, less a small transaction fee.

For pricier items or services, payment plans can make purchases more accessible for budget-conscious shoppers. In such instances, you could see significant sales lifts by offering biweekly and monthly installment options thanks to the added flexibility that you offer to budget-conscious consumers. Just make sure terms are clearly presented during checkout so customers can easily choose the option.

Accept Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are growing rapidly, with hundreds of millions users worldwide. Accepting crypto payments allows you to tap into this emerging market.

Many folks are still skeptical of cryptocurrency, and its volatility and complexity. However, a significant demographic of tech-savvy, forward-thinking consumers strongly believe in cryptos and prefer transacting with them. Offering crypto acceptance signals your business embraces new technologies and opens the door to this consumer demographic. 

First, choose a crypto payment processor to handle transactions. They convert crypto to cash and deposit funds into your bank. Costs can be as low  as 1% or less per transaction – comparable to credit card processing fees.

However, just keep in mind crypto’s volatility. The value fluctuates wildly day to day. Make sure your processor immediately exchanges crypto deposits for USD to avoid risk. While aspects of crypto may seem complex or risky, the right payment partner makes accepting it seamless. 

Offer Bank Transfers

Allowing direct bank transfers or ACH payments provides another flexible option for customers. These pull funds directly from a checking or savings account. You can accept bank transfers through a payment processor or merchant services provider. Costs range from 0.5% – 1% per transaction. Transfers take 1-3 business days to clear, slower than cards.

Bank payments work best for high-ticket items or recurring billing, when customers are willing to wait a few days. Make sure your website explains the ACH transfer process and timeline clearly to set expectations.

Adding bank transfers along with cards gives customers an extra payment method that pulls directly from their accounts. Just factor in the longer settlement times in your fulfillment and shipping processes.

Final Word

Adding just one or two new payment types can make the world of difference to your bottom line. Whether it’s digital wallets, bank transfers, or even crypto, you may draw in new customer segments. As long as you provide clear instructions and set expectations, more options will only increase sales.

At the end of the day, the best payment methods are the ones your customers actually want to use. Being flexible, rather than forcing a single option, will maximize conversions. 

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