If you’re not ready to commit to credit card processing, or you just want to offer your customers some additional options, then alternative payments may be your answer. There are a number of payment types that qualify as alternative payments. From bank transfers and debit cards to home phone billing and ACH payments, the options you can offer your customers are endless.
Types of Alternative Payments
There are a wide variety of options you can choose from if you want to offer alternative payments to your customers. You should choose ones that are most convenient for your customers and compatible with your products and company set-up.
Here are just a few of your options:
- Stored valued and reloadable cards – More commonly known as gift cards, these can allow your customers to make purchases without having to directly transfer funds. They put cash on the card themselves, and then, those funds are used to make purchases. It’s a safe, secure, and hassle-free way to pay.
- ACH payments and bank transfers – These are direct, electronic transfers from one account to another. These allow customers to make a purchase and see the funds deducted right away from their account. Instead of waiting for checks or debit charges to clear, the new balance is reflected instantaneously.
- Bill payments – This is the old-fashioned, traditional payment system, in which a bill is generated and sent to the buyer. Then, they use any payment method they like to pay the bill by the specified due date.
- Check or money order – Although it may seem outdated, some still use the checkbook – especially older generations. Additionally, checks and money orders can simply be safer and more convenient when making big-ticket purchases. It’s always a good idea to offer this old standard just in case.
There are additional types of alternative payments, including home phone payments, mobile billing, and proprietary systems, but those mentioned above are the most widely used and accepted.
Why Use Alternative Payments?
Offering alternative payments can have a great many benefits for both your business and your customers. It can improve your reach, better satisfy your customers, and save you money in the long run.
These are some of the benefits you can enjoy:
- It’s better if you have an international audience. If you have customers outside the U.S., then you absolutely have to offer some sort of alternative payment system. According to Worldwide Internet Usage Statistics, outside of North America, the number of citizens who use the internet drops significantly. Only 58 percent of Europeans use it, 24 percent of those in Asia, and just 11 percent of African residents. If you only offer those customers the option to use a credit card online, they’re not going to be able to buy from you. Offering alternative payments helps ensure you can reach that international market.
- It can save you money. Credit card processing comes with processing fees, authorization costs, and many more expenses. Alternative payments can allow you to still accept purchases from customers, but in a more low-cost way.
- It can allow you to reach more customers. For one reason or another, not everyone has a credit card. Even those people who do have one may not be comfortable with using it online, simply because of security risks. If you want to reach these customers, offering alternative, secure payment systems is an absolute must.
- It increases customer satisfaction. The more payment options you can give your customers, the better. Offer web payment processing, over-the-phone processing, direct bank transfers, and more – customers love having the freedom to choose, so give them as many options as possible. Then, they can choose the one that’s most convenient for them or the one they’re most familiar with. In the end, they’ll be more satisfied with their purchase and will be more willing to come back a second time.
Need help deciding which alternative payments to offer? Contact Total Apps today. We can help.
Download our Alternative Payments Ebook to learn more!