Many of us use PayPal to make personal purchases on line, and we all have a debit card. We have a credit card, maybe several, and we don’t usually pay with cash. Our bank wants to stop sending us hard copy statements, and if we write cheques, we don’t get them back any more, we get scans of them, front and back.
At the same time, we still send out paper invoices for our business (even if we send them by email), our accountant still needs paper files to keep the tax man happy and we get paid with paper checks that take up to a week to get to us in the mail.
Ever since we got a credit card for the business, though, we ask, “Can we put this on our card?” when we buy printing, photography, copywriting or indeed any other kind of supplier service. Oh and of course that’s where are the three martini lunches go (that’s a joke folks; it only happens on Mad Men.)
We’ve had a couple of receivables problems lately, and a card, even with the discount, would have been a boon.
What really got us thinking was the growth of on-line payment in ecommerce sites. So we wondered, as more of us think of paying on-line with a card as normal, how many people see getting a business invoice they have to pay with a check as outdated and silly? And how much more credibility would we have with the kinds of clients we want to attract if we offered a variety of payment options?
After all, we use our card to pay for SaaS, our web support and subscriptions. Our clients wouldn’t think of using cash at Staples, so why would they expect to write a check to us?
There are two issues: simply understanding how merchant accounts work, and once you are over that hurdle, getting approved. This is where your Chamber can do you a big favor and negotiate great rates and easier approval for members.
If we want to attract younger, more technologically hip clients, getting on-line billing systems and payment seems obvious. Sure we’ll have to get smarter about security, but if we want street creds, then trading in eighteenth century banking technology for twenty-first century ease of use seems pretty obvious.
Elizabeth Walker is a partner in Marketing Masters and a Duct Tape Marketing Coach located near Toronto Ontario. Find more information online.