Payment Handling Options Which Your Clients Are Using
Even though business structures are largely the same as they ever were, there is scope for huge creativity within those. An increasing number of clients operate their businesses in ways which draw on the technology so briskly evolving. And wow, doesn’t it give us a lot to keep an eye on?!
Payment handling methods have been swept up in the overhaul. Cashless payment systems have become so common that few of us are carrying actual money, and probably look a little bewildered on our search for the cash machine when we do need it. The tech meant we didn’t need the physical cash, and now we're dependent on the tech. When shopping online it’s almost always cashless, even when ordering a takeaway.
Point of Sale (POS) payment handling, or ‘the till’ has become pretty sophisticated as a result of this cycle. Larger retailers tend to have bespoke systems which integrate with stock management and banking processes. For smaller businesses, especially those who are selling a service as much as a physical product (like a car mechanic, for example), tech-based options abound which allow them to accept cashless payments, without the need for complex POS setups.
For those whose job it is to keep an eye on the bookkeeping, or to advise start-ups getting started up, having knowledge of the most common ones can be a big help. Friendly technology is sort of our thing here at Pandle, especially if it helps accountants and reduces user errors, so we’ve provided a rundown of what they are. Because we’re jolly nice like that!
Stripe is a big juggernaut of payment handling. If selling online, the software is plugged into a website and processes payments from the customer’s card to the seller’s bank account. It can be set up to automatically mark transactions as completed ready for the stock to be shipped, or users can check manually on their Stripe Dashboard. It’s also got a good reputation for protecting users from fraudulent card payments.
Stripe Terminal is a POS card reader for contactless and PIN-entry payments, if the online store also has a physical presence, or sometimes sells at trade shows or similar. The Stripe Dashboard can also be used to report on sales figures, including by country of sale, which is useful for sorting out VAT.
PayPal is another giant. It’s basically a big digital wallet. Users create a PayPal account and connect it to their bank account. Customers can pay using their PayPal balance, directly from their bank account, or using a card.
It’s a useful interface for buying online who are wary of handing over card or account details to the retailer. Because the transaction is authorised by signing into PayPal with an email address and password, it also means customers don’t have to jog downstairs for their card details during an online shop. This feature also allows users to send each other payments using just their email addresses or phone numbers, rather than complete bank account details, so is popular with suppliers and freelancers.
For in-person cashless transactions, PayPal here is a card terminal which takes money from the customer card straight to the seller’s PayPal account. Sellers can set this up to automatically transfer to their business account, or keep it in their PayPal wallet.
Square started off with a card reader which plugged into the seller’s mobile phone via the headphone jack (or lightning connector for some iPhone users). Since then the service has expanded to include more traditional POS systems using iPads as the processing unit, person-to-person money transfers via the app or website, and a gift card feature.
Its ability to turn any mobile device into a payment processing unit makes it incredibly useful where there’s no readily available electrical source or internet connection. Handy for people selling very expensive beer in the middle of a muddy field at a festival, for example!
Google Pay and Apple Pay
As customers, we’re more likely to forget our wallets than we are to forget our mobile phones. In light of the mobile revolution, some vendors now like to offer Google Pay and/or Apple Pay as a method to their customers.
They both operate on fairly similar principles; the customer connects a payment method to their Google or Apple Pay account, then they use their phone to complete the transaction. This might mean tapping their phone against the contactless card terminal, or opening up the app and authorising the payment which is being requested from the till. No longer just for hipsters in Starbucks, smaller retailers are picking up on it too, recognising that someone people like to go shopping carrying as little as possible.
We’re working hard at Pandle to make bookkeeping as simple and error-free as possible for our users. To help reduce time spent on data entry, and time spent correcting weird and wonderful mistakes, our bookkeeping software has payment provider integrations, including PayPal and Stripe. Along with our algorithms and the ability to create bank rules, the vast majority of transactions can be automated for quick error-free bookkeeping. Users can easily import their transactions and get everything neatly categorised. Win!