One of the toughest parts about starting a web business is monetization. In order to survive, your business needs to make revenue. It can be even more stressful if you rely on customer purchases and ecommerce to fuel your growth. It means dealing with inventories, customer service, and payments.
Luckily, you can remove at least one headache if you implement a simple and functional payment solution. There are a range of companies and platforms that allow your customers to send you payments via credit cards, bank transfers, or echecks. The following is a list of five of the most popular payment platforms around, as well as the advantages each of them presents to your business:
1. PayPal: Purchased by eBay in 2002, PayPal is the best-known payment platform around. It allows individuals and businesses to make financial transactions, regardless of whether it’s a bank transfer or a credit card payment.
There are two big advantages to using PayPal: First, you’ll find that most of your users already have an account. Second, PayPal recently announced PayPal X, which allows companies to customize PayPal via APIs (application programming interfaces).
2. Amazon Payments: Launched by Amazon.com in 2006, Amazon Payment’s is a direct competitor to PayPal. While smaller than its rival, it has some very big selling points. First, users can check-out with their Amazon.com accounts – thus, they don’t have to type in any credit card information.
There is also a more advanced business solution known as Checkout by Amazon (CBA). It is better suited to handle transactions like shipping, taxes, and promotions.
3. Authorize.net: If you want a white-label service for accepting echecks and credit card payments, then Authorize.Net is your best bet. It’s the world’s largest payment gateway service, specifically built for integration into ecommerce websites. Your users won’t have to leave your site to pay you (here’s a diagram of how it works)
4. Yahoo Merchant Solutions: Yahoo also has a merchant solution for small businesses, also known as Yahoo Store. It accepts your standard credit card and debit payments, but it also integrates with PayPal to provide users more options. It’s less about the payment options and more about the full suite of processing, design, and tracking features Yahoo offers. Organizations ranging from the Oakland Raiders to Ben & Jerry’s use Yahoo Store.
5. Google Checkout: This is another payment processing system, powered by the search engine giant. It allows you to set up a Google Checkout store and piggyback on the reputation of Google for payment transactions. There is also an API so you can implement it off-site. Still, it is not as popular as the above solutions.
Image courtesy of iStockphoto, tforgo