Your online payment processor. Do you have one set up yet?
You know, to accept money, allow someone to purchase your product, service, or course?
If you’re planning to launch, here’s something to add to your to-do list TODAY.
Figure out how to accept payment online.
Get your payment processor, merchant account, payment gateway – whatever the configuration set up asap. First–if possible.
I know it seems obvious, but if you’re in business, launching something, doing any sort of consulting…then I’m hoping and PRAYING you already have this setup.
Picture this – your launch is only a few days away.
You have what you think is the correct configuration of Paypal set up, Stripe, and a check out page.
Then at the last second (or what feels like one) – you look at your order form and something doesn't look right. You realize there’s no payment plan showing on the form. Hmm…what gives?
You scramble around – asking your email marketing provider and PayPal what to do. You get varied responses, but in the end, there is no solution – nothing is fixed.
So you have 2 choices – you either send them directly to Paypal for the payment plan option…or you create a janky set up that looks like your order form – so they get the experience of the order form and THEN send them to the order form.
The problem for me was this made the buying experience too complex and potentially confusing. There had to be 2 different funnels for people who chose full pay and for people who chose multiple payments. I wanted the experience to be the same and simple. Go to one form – see two options, fill out information, purchase.
By the way – the person in this story is actually me during a launch several years ago before Stripe, before Kajabi, before the easy system, I use now to launch Fearless Launching.
I could have sent them to the PayPal page from the sales page, but I wanted something more elegant that also added people to my system quickly and easily.
I did figure it out – and my “setup” worked eventually, but what it makes me realize is that I neglected following 2 of my GOLDEN RULES for launching:
1. Test your sales process and how you take money FIRST
2. Don’t start “fixing” big processes like this at the last minute.
I made both of these mistakes with this one pretty important part of the launch puzzle.
If you’re launching – you gotta make money. So – let’s talk about a few ways I know that make taking money easy.
But you have to set them up early. You can’t wait until the week or day before you open cart.
Payment Processors Compared
Paypal has been my payment processor of choice for many years. It’s easy to use, set up, and see what’s coming in and going out money-wise. And it’s totally fine for most everything you need. In the end – I went with another processor that’s tied more directly to my business bank account.
Here’s what The Online Seller Blog says about Paypal (make sure to read the pros and cons!):
PayPal is a third-party payer owned by eBay, but you don’t need an eBay account to use its services. If you already offer credit card processing on your website, but you’d also like to give your customers the ability to pay with PayPal, you can use the Express Checkout service. If you’re in the market for a full payment processing service, these options can also be found through PayPal:
- PayFlow is a gateway service that you can use with your own payment processor or merchant account.
- PayPal Payments Standard gives you the ability to accept credit cards on your website. That means your customer doesn’t have to have a PayPal account to buy from you. But you will need a PayPal account because the funds will be deposited there for you.
- PayPal Payments Pro functions in the same way, but instead of being taken to a PayPal page for payment, your customer will remain on your website while paying by credit card. It’s more like a gateway and merchant account setup, and it requires a monthly fee.
PayPal further offers Virtual Terminal and Online Invoicing services.
Fees: PayFlow requires a one-time setup fee and monthly service fees, plus a fee for every transaction over your allotted amount. Express Checkout and Website Payments Standard don’t have setup or monthly fees but will charge you per transaction: 2.9 percent, plus 30 cents for monthly sales under $3,000; 2.5 percent, plus 30 cents for sales between $3,000 and $10,000; and 2.2 percent, plus 30 cents for transactions that are more than $10,000. Website Payments Pro charges the same rate per transaction, plus a $30 monthly fee.
Pros: PayPal offers a shopping cart and a variety of options to fit nearly any business’ needs. Whichever service you choose, it’s easy to set up, and you can even reach customers across the globe. Plus—as with the other mentioned third-party wallets—millions of people trust PayPal enough to pay with their account rather than inputting a credit card number.
Cons: PayPal is not without problems, and a recurrent complaint stems from the way PayPal handles disputes and chargebacks. As a third-party payer, PayPal can set its own rules and freeze or cancel your account if it deems it as high-risk, which is a source of many grievances.[/box_colored]
My experience: Paypal works fine now but at the time I was receiving conflicting set up and integration instructions from both sides of the puzzle!
[I no longer use Authorize.net but it is still used for companies to process credit card payments. I use Stripe now!]
The kind folks over at Lawyerist.com wrote an article about accepting credit cards – the bit about Authorize.net pretty much sums up why I used them to process payments. Here’s what they said:
In addition to being up-front about its fees, Authorize.Net seems to be relatively popular among online merchants. Since that is the nature of the credit card processing I need to do, it seemed like it might be a good fit. It is also supported by Freshbooks, which makes billing smoother for me since I can generate invoices and accept credit cards through a single, integrated portal.
I also liked that Authorize.Net didn’t make me call to find out more; I just filled out the application online and got a call from a very nice sales representative who helped me understand the process and pricing. They also took care of arranging the merchant account, so I didn’t have to figure out how to do that and connect the account to the gateway myself.
Here is the cost breakdown for the services I signed up for:
- Setup fee: $99
- Monthly fee: $29.95 ($20 gateway; $9.95 merchant account)
- Per-transaction fees: $0.35 + 2.19%
- Recurring billing: $10/month
In other words, $99 to set up my account, then $39.95 per month, plus the per-transaction fees every time I run a card.
My experience: As I’ve mentioned before – I did have one prior botched attempt to set up an account and use it properly but – the second time around was easy peasy. My other main requirement was that it integrates easily with Infusionsoft As I mentioned earlier – I wanted an order form with both payment options – one place for customers to choose how they wanted to pay and an easy way for them to be added to my system.
As I mentioned above, I used Authorize.net and to accept and receive payments from customers. My main gripe was the multiple monthly fees plus % of all sales that I paid out!
Stripe allows to you start accepting credit, debit, and other payment methods for your online business really quickly–no application required. Their fee structure is much more reasonable AND you get your deposited fast.
Here is the cost breakdown for Stripe:
- Setup fee: $0
- Monthly fee: $0
- Per-transaction fees: 2.9%+30¢ per successful card charge
- Additional fees for international transactions.
Take Money Checklist
- Do you want a shopping cart or are you okay sending people to another site to make their payment?
- What specific systems do you use for managing customers, sending emails, and connecting with customers on a regular basis?
- Do you offer payment plans?
- Do you want to take payment from people in person?
- Do you offer a monthly payment subscription?
- Try to think of all the types of services, prices, and packages you’d like to offer.
Here’s a quick guide of what you can likely use depending on what you’re selling:
Ebooks + Downloadable products – great to use e-junkie.com (with PayPal), gumroad.com
Coaching + Consulting services – almost anything you want – Paypal is the easiest entry to accepting money, Stripe works well, and Authorize.net works well, but has more fees. Look for something to integrate with your mailing list and your invoicing system – like Freshbooks.com.
Infoproducts – Same as above! The playing field is again wide open. It all depends on how you want your sales process to look and feel. Choose a solution that works now AND that can be scaled as your business grows. I chose Authorize.net for this reason. I know that the reporting allows my bookkeeper to download transactions easily and make sure that what processed in Infusionsoft shows up as a paid charge in my bank account!
Membership sites – I’ve been watching membership programs like Platformuniversity.com and Fizzle.co make some interesting choices for accepting payments. Stripe and Paid Memberships Pro – seems to be a great little set up–because of the subscription/monthly payment set up. I don’t have that type of business model. My suggestion – look at sites you love and see what they’re using. Look for someone who is using some of your tools and see how they set things up.
* I know there’s a lot of opinions about what to use and why especially as new payment processors like Stripe, Square and Gumroad pop up. I chose Authorize.net specifically because it integrates with 2 systems I’m already using – Infusionsoft and Wishlist member. As of this writing – that’s what I use. Like everything else I create and do in my business, it’s up for discussion and I’m always open to a system that works better!
Bottom Line Decision
Your final decision isn’t what’s really important – it’s that you make it early in the launch preparation process. Make it your first marching orders – get the payment and sales process set up asap. You’ll thank me on the day you open cart!
And one final note – you can always cancel it or change it if you discover it’s not working for you. Get the easiest solution set up for YOU and then move on!
Need more help setting up your business e-commerce solution…here are a few resources that have many many articles about the topic:
Once you've got your payment solution in place, get back to the planning and mapping out your launch. Check out the free resources in my Launch Essentials Toolkit. Keep it, use it, enjoy it!
I love this post – very helpful! If only I’d had this article before I did that research! Thank you Anne! Also, another consideration is to use Zapier to integrate the payment with your communication tool (like A-weber or MailChimp). Now when folks purchase from me, they are automatically subscribed to my list. YAY
Hi Anne, Thank you for always sharing great information.
So with Authorize.net- is there also a need to purchase a certificate to ensure the site is secure?
Collier Thompson says
I have JUST arrived at this stage of trying to snap everything together and am trying to make the best possible choices.
After taking your Fearless Launching course, every decision I make is based upon my desire to have my first “burnt pancake” (Fearless Launching lingo) as palatable and well designed as possible.
Yet….if I learned one thing from Fearless Launching….it is that everyone’s first pancake (launch) is a test….and it can only improve by putting our products & services out there and using member or customer feedback as priceless direction.
Anne directs clients to use a CBB (could be better) list. All I can say is that the Entrepreneurs I have purchased from or watched, have made amazing LEAPS in 6 months post launch. At the 1 year mark, each one is barely recognizable as they have come into their own, grown their network…..and gone from “fear” to “flying”!
Thank you Anne for your invaluable wisdom as always…..xoxoxo
Ana Goncalves says
Thank you for a very informative and insightful post. This is what I am doing at this moment, before I launch and go live in the world. I am taking care of the way money is received and I have just applied for a virtual terminal in Europe and I am currently working on my policies as they need to check/read all this on the website before proceeding with it.
I did have the paypal buy now on my website before with multiple options of paying in full and installments. Now I am wondering whether taking payments over the phone will be more suitable and have the virtual terminal which I have been told that is good for taking credit/debit cards immediately and doing the transaction that way instead of directing someone to the payment page especially if I am on the phone.
I have been trying to figure out which is the best way and I guess that is why I am taking time to work on this first because then it’ll be all in place and I’ll be ready to go.
From your experience, which one did you feel was better for you? Sending someone to a transaction buy now page or taking payment details over the phone? I am currently also working out how paypal receives payments aside from the virtual terminal and buy now buttons and whether invoicing or setting up payment through the account works.
I have my programs in place and all I need now is the foundation to get the ball rolling and receive clients. 🙂
Anne Samoilov says
Even now I continue to learn – and when I learn – I share! Thanks for sharing where you are in the process! You’ll have to make sure to follow along when we start the course again in September!!! If you need us – we’re here!
Anne Samoilov says
You know – that’s a good question. I don’t know the answer. I use infusionsoft as my shopping cart – and my order forms are SSL secured… you should check out whatever shopping cart you choose. Here’s one that integrates with aweber and mailchimp > http://www.tipsandtricks-hq.com/wordpress-estore-plugin-complete-solution-to-sell-digital-products-from-your-wordpress-blog-securely-1059 and then also: http://www.jvfconsulting.com/blog/150/Is_An_SSL_Cert_Needed_For_PayPal_Transactions.html for some answers on this. It depends. That’s all I can say – email me with more details on your set up!
Anne Samoilov says
I think this all depends on what type of business you run. I don’t do a lot of consulting – so when people want to buy Fearless Launching or other product, I direct them to the page. It’s easier for them to go there on their own time.
I do think just give them the link to pay is the best, most simple solution. I’ll reach out to a few coaches who enroll people into their coaching packages and see what they say!
If you have programs – you should just send people to those pages. And – if anything, you could walk them through filling out the order form!
Natalie Sisson says
Awesome summary Anne and if merchant accounts weren’t such a bitch to set up – especially as a Non US citizen I’d definitely look into them. I think that’s why I like Gumroad.com for accepting credit card payments for digital products online
I’m a fan of Stripe because I like the control and user-friendliness.
That being said, I still occasionally use e-junkie integrated with PayPal for certain things, including membership programs. I find that the brand recognition helps to assure my members, which outweighs every other concern.
Heidi Thompson says
I have an ebook that I sell through Selz and I love dealing with them. It’s super simple to set up and they are very responsive if you need help.
I love how you cut to the chase and get to the core of what’s important. So clear, that’s what I need. I have a software system in place at my brick & mortar business and I wonder if I shouldn’t direct clients through that tried and true payment system (that I’m already paying for). I hadn’t thought of that until I read your post. I want to keep it all as simple as possible, I’m starting to realize that utilizing all of the things I set up in my primary business could be a real time saver. So nice to have you virtually looking out for me. Mwa.
Anne Samoilov says
I love Zapier – so many integrations there!
Anne Samoilov says
Kristen, are you use Mindbody online for your studio?