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Payment Methods – What are the options and how to choose the best one

7 January 2019 Product Information

Offering your customers online and face to face payment methods could help boost your sales. According to UK Finance, the bank industry’s trade body, cash payments continued to decline in 2017, falling by 15% to 13.1 billion payments.

Meanwhile, 16.3 billion debit and credit cards were used and overtook cash as the UK’s favourite payment method in 2017.

Money, dosh, cash, spondulix, readies, dough, bread, boodle…there are dozens of names for paying the old fashioned way. There will probably always be the odd customer who pays with notes (or frustratingly, the entire contents of their piggy bank). Who knows if and when we’ll arrive at the predicted cashless economy?

One thing’s for sure, when it comes to payment methods, today’s digital natives aren’t attached to notes and coins. A recent survey showed that 40% of millennials (those born between the 1980s and 1990s) would happily give up cash if their credit or debit card could replace all forms of cash transactions.

If you want to do business with them, you’ll need to offer online and face to face payment methods. It is estimated that by 2020, millennials will make up more than 50% of the UK workforce.


Face to face payments?

Looking to the future, UK Finance forecast that debit and credit card volumes will increase from 16.3 billion in 2017, to 23.6 billion purchases by 2027.

So having a card reader makes sense for even the smallest business. It could help attract new customers, boost your profits and make your business appear up-to-date and professional.

Even small businesses can find themselves dealing with big queues. Card machines are tiny queue-busters. ‘Tap and go’ applies to the queue, not just the transaction.

A card machine can also speed up the time it takes to transfer funds from your customer’s account to your business account. That’s a great help when it comes to improving that all-important cash flow.


In terms of payment methods, everything we do is designed to support small businesses. And we really mean everything.

We can have you up and running with one of our card machines in just three days. Each small business card machine is configured to work straight from the box. There’s no complicated, or fiddly set-up. Just plug it in and you’re ready to accept card, contactless and mobile payments (like Apple Pay).

We understand that closing for business doesn’t mean your day is done. You still need to run end-of-day figures ready for processing. Our card machines can do this for you in moments, freeing your time and allowing you to leave work at work.

There are three types of card machine: Countertop, Portable and Mobile. Each is suitable for a particular kind of business.

  • Countertop machines are best for businesses with a fixed point of sale on a counter.
  • Portable card machines use wifi or Bluetooth and let you take payment to customers. They’re handy for cafes, restaurants and bars.
  • Mobile card machines connect to a mobile network so you can take payment while out and about. They’re great for market traders and those who travel to events.

All our card machines feature the latest software and a built-in receipt printer. They come ready to sync with your till or EPOS straight from the box. Each accepts contactless, Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay. And if your machine goes wayward (it happens, even to the best) we’ll have a replacement with you in 24 hours.


Online Payment Methods

The most popular online payment methods in the UK require an online payment gateway. What’s that? Basically, it’s an online version of a card machine – letting you take payments on the phone, by email or via your website.

An online payment gateway lets your business take card payments from a variety of sources: from your website, over the phone and even by email. Using one means you can offer your customers more ways to do business with you. Which  gives you more chances of making a sale.

Better still, a Payment Gateway means you can be ready to accept card payments in 24 hours. It’s the fastest way to start accepting card payments from customers.


One gateway. Three ways to pay

Let’s take a closer look at the payment methods a Payment Gateway opens for you.


  1. Website

When added to your website, our Payment Gateway acts like an online card machine. It creates a secure page that connects your customer’s bank account with your merchant account, while protecting the transaction in layers of encryption.

Our Payment Gateway is not only one of the most secure payment methods;  with a 100% record, it’s also the industry’s most reliable – yep, no downtime! What’s more, we provide ready-made code to ensure it simply plugs into any of over 40 leading ecommerce carts.

  1. Phone

Also known as a Virtual Terminal, phone-based payments are an essential back-up. What’s more, they’re also forecast to increase as not everyone is comfortable entering their bank details online. Meanwhile, others prefer the discretion of paying over the phone. And should your website encounter any problems, then phone payments still enable you to make a sale.

  1. Pay-by-link

This is the ultimate in discreet payment methods. It lets you create and send payment links in seconds with our online portal. You can track the progress of your transaction, and follow up late-paying customers with a click of a button.


Over the phone payment methods

Take phone payments with a virtual terminal. Customers simply call with their credit or debit card details to pay you. It couldn’t be easier. We’ll set you up with a super secure virtual terminal so you can enter their payment information on your computer, tablet or mobile, wherever you are.

Don’t like cancellation fees or long-term commitments? You got it. Simply choose the package that’s right for you. No strings. No catches.


Mobile payment methods

Payments made by smartphone are growing. In 2017, people made 561 million payments with smartphones, and this will increase to 877 million payments a year over the next decade.

Mobile payments are a form of contactless but with a major advantage: customers aren’t restricted by contactless’ £30 transaction limit.

Smartphone payments usually involve extra customer validation (usually a passcode or fingerprint ID). This makes mobile payments the ideal payment method for anyone creating bespoke pieces like jewellers, artists and artisans.

Mobile card machines are perfect for taking payments on the move – ideal for taxis, couriers, delivery services, trade fairs or even exhibitions.

Mobile card machines have a SIM card pre-installed just like a mobile phone, so you can take the device out and about – this requires a phone signal. Some terminals work using an app on a smartphone, this kind of package will include a Bluetooth connected Chip and Pin keypad.

Most mobile card machines are lightweight yet robust, so when you’re on the move, you don’t have to worry about bumps and scrapes. Our mobile card machines come with the fastest printers on the market, helping you serve customers quicker than ever. Plus, just like portable card machines, you get long-life battery so you can serve all day.


Types of cards you can accept

These are the types of card you can accept through Paymentsense: VISA, Mastercard, Maestro, American Express, Apple Pay, Android Pay and all Contactless payments.


Other types of payment methods.

Briefly, here are some other, more traditional, options open to you:


Direct debit payments. To become a direct debit user usually requires having an established business. A plus point in their favour, is that they’re fast and funds are usually clear by 9am the next business day.


Cheque. Paying by cheque is becoming less frequent compared to the ease of electronic methods. And of course, the big downside is that they take about three business days to clear.


Money order payments. Unlike cheques, money orders are prepaid. They can’t bounce due to insufficient funds since they are prepaid, but they can bounce due to other problem, such as suspected fraud.


Gift cards and vouchers. They can both increase sales around special occasions such as Christmas and birthdays. They can also help promote your brand while helping to bring in new customers.


How to choose the best payment method for your business

There are pros and cons to every payment method, from internet payment methods to cash.  No one type of payment is best. It simply depends on what suits your customers and the needs of your business.

Here’s a list of the things to consider when considering payment methods:

  1. Customer preference. Choosing a payment method your customers prefer could lead to more sales and faster payments.
  2. Risk. Cash has a higher risk of loss or theft and even counterfeiting. If cash gets stolen, it’s gone, but if a credit card gets stolen, you’re covered for the loss.
  3. Privacy. Credit cards automatically record transactions. Some customers might prefer to pay cash for certain goods and services, such as medication.
  4. Service fees. EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point Of Sale) and credit card providers often charge service fees.
  5. Transaction costs.  Banks may charge a cost for each transaction.
  6. Reliability.  EFTPOS uses electricity and needs access to a phone network. So, if they go down, you can’t process payments.


Find out about our full range of payment methods at Paymentsense and get set up now. These are the outstanding benefits we offer you::

  • We’re one of the fastest-growing payment processing companies in Europe, currently handling over £10 billion in annual transactions for over 70,000 businesses in Britain and Ireland.
  • And we’re independent. We’ve gone from start-up to over 70,000 customers in less than a decade, so we know exactly what it’s like to start out on your own.
  • We understand the importance of savings for small business, so we combine the buying power of our 70,000+ customers to negotiate better fees for them.
  • And we also understand the need to feel supported: our UK-based technical support staff are on call 24/7 – so if anything should go wrong with your card machine, we’ll have it fixed in a flash.

Why wait? Take card payments in just 3 days.