One of the factors that any online store has to take into account are, of course, the means of payment it makes available to its customers.
Alongside the products themselves, pricing and delivery methods, this is one of the essential aspects of any online store and that can lead customers to give up a purchase.
Means of Payment at Physical Stores
In physical stores, and specifically speaking the Portuguese market, the most used payment methods are the payment with Debit Card (commonly known as ATM) and, of course, cash payment (not to mention bank checks).
Although the availability of an automatic payment terminal (TPA) in a store entails costs, the popularization of this means of payment and its convenience make it “mandatory” in most stores (at least in those where average customer spending exceeds € 20).
Then we still have means of payment that use the smartphone as MBWay, Apple Pay, etc, but these will be discussed in a future article.
“Traditional” Means of Payment in Online Stores
Traditionally, when buying by phone or catalog, it was customary to accept non-delivery payments. Nowadays, and because the culture of our society has unfortunately changed, there is much less responsibility in distance orders, and it is customary for customers to order and, when they receive the order for payment against delivery, they do not accept it, which is what the supplier does incurring costs / loss of return with CTT. As such, the payment on delivery is discouraged.
Then we have pre-payment by bank transfer, an option still widely used by many online stores. This means of payment has the advantage that the supplier receives in full the value that the customer transferred, without having to pay commissions. That means you have a small savings.
However, there are several disadvantages to real-time means of payment (which we will talk about below), which make this small savings end up costing you a lot more.
The first disadvantage is that you need to ask customers to send you the proof of the transfer so that you can identify it. Without this proof, it can be almost impossible to identify a payment, especially if you have several orders with the same amount to pay, it will be very complicated (even with the evidence) to realize who actually paid. Now, this process has costs because you have to lose administrative work time by viewing bank statements, exchanging emails, analyzing proofs, etc. In addition to asking the customer to take the extra work of scanning and sending the proof (which can sometimes be almost impossible for the customer, as it may not be able to print, there may not be a receipt in the ATM box, it may not have scanner or camera, etc.), thus risking that for this customer is the last time you buy in your store.
Beware that sometimes to speed up the process, some suppliers are willing to follow up on an order soon after the customer sends a proof of scanned transfer, rather than waiting for the money to actually enter the account. Never do that! It’s easy to fake a digital document, and what’s not to mention are scams specializing in ordering online, convincing tenants that they have already paid for and received the products for free. If you accept payments by bank transfer, just follow up the order after the money actually enters your account!
The second disadvantage is that, if you follow the previous recommendation to wait for the cash to be effectively entered into the account, you must wait (sometimes up to 4 days) for the money to be transferred into the account and thus be sure payment has been made and the order can be tracked. This waiting period can be disastrous for a customer’s satisfaction, especially if there is an expectation of the product / service sought to be delivered immediately or in a few minutes / hours.
Online Real Time Payment Methods
In modern online stores today we find in Portugal the preference for 2 real-time payment means, that is, means in which, once the payment is made, you and your online store are informed that the payment has entered: payment by Multibanco Referrals; payment with Credit Cards.
In the case of Multibanco Referral payments, your store is programmed to issue an entity and reference that customers can then use to pay in any ATM or through homebanking. Although you have to pay a small commission for this service (for example, less than € 1 per payment, regardless of the amount), this cost is offset by the advantages of this system: you are informed immediately when payment is made and you can immediately follow up the order; although the money takes up to 4 days to enter your account, you already have the guarantee that the customer has paid, so there is no risk in following up; each reference is unique to each order, so you know unequivocally what order was paid, so you do not need to ask for proof, analyze extracts, etc., saving all this administrative work (and the consequent cost of that wasted time).
Please note that having a ATM in your physical store and generating ATM references in your online store are independent and different services, so you may have only one of them, or both.
To join, you can use the integration of SIBS itself, which is considerably expensive and complex and is only justified in large stores, complexity and billing, or can resort to a payment entity that allows it almost immediately to activate this medium payment in your store.
If you want our suggestion, we suggest the entity with which iFlexi itself has been working for several years without any problem and with whom it has a partnership: a IfThenPay </ u> .
In the case of payments with Credit Cards, you have the same advantages of the references Multibanco: information of the payment in real time; confidence that you can proceed soon with the order processing even without having received the money in your account; unequivocal guarantee of which order was paid. Here you also pay commissions for each payment received with this medium, and you can directly integrate the credit card payment system on your site (more complex, time-consuming and costly process), or you can use a payment intermediary to do this.
To that end, we suggest the most popular online payment service provider in the world: Paypal . In just a few minutes, activate the service and install it in your online store and you can receive payments by credit card and / or Paypal balance (for those who are Paypal final customers). Then simply ask Paypal regularly to transfer the accumulated balance to your bank account.
For Portuguese customers who do not have a credit card (which is still many, since the credit card here is not as popular as it is, for example, in the US), and that for some reason they can not pay with Multibanco always inform your customers that they can generate a MBNet virtual credit card using the smartphone application MBWay (or even pay you directly from MBWay) but this is already reason for a future article 🙂
Bitcoin (and other crypto-coins)
At the end of this list we have payments with crypto-coins (such as Bitcoin, for example) but, in our opinion, since these currencies are highly speculative, we do not advise their use as means of payment since the risk of receiving payments in crypto- coins may mean which, for example, one day sells a Plasma TV that costs € 1,000 for X Bitcoins, which on that day are worth € 1,000, and the next day when you try to sell those Bitcoins to effectively receive € 1,000 the currency may have devalued and what was worth € 1,000 is only worth € 50! If you can live with that risk in your business, then you can consider accepting payments in Bitcoins and other Crypto-Coins, knowing you share exactly the same advantages as ATM references and credit cards, and you also share the same disadvantage (you have to pay a commission, although smaller), but will have this increased risk involved.
In short, our advice is to have the most common means of payment that consumers are looking for in their physical store and online store, focusing on those that allow them to reduce their work to the fullest administrative control of payments, giving you maximum confidence and with a small cost, which will offset in efficiency and customer satisfaction.
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