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Guidance

What are the different ways to accept card payments?

What are the different ways to accept card payments?

Here’s a guide to help you choose the merchant services that will best suit your business.

In 2016, the Reserve Bank of Australia reported that more than half of all payments in Australia were made with credit and debit cards1. Generally there are three ways to accept card payments – in person, online and recurring payments.

In person

An EFTPOS terminal is the most common way to accept card payments in person. You can choose in-store or mobile options.

How does it work?

  1. Customers tap, swipe or insert their card to make a payment
  2. Your EFTPOS terminal receives an approval or decline for the transaction
  3. If approved, you may receive funds into your linked account as soon as the same day – the timeframe will vary according to your merchant provider.

Other considerations

Online

You can typically accept card payments made on your business’ website in two ways – either through a third-party website or directly on your online store. To get started, you’ll need to choose both a payment gateway and Internet Merchant Account. If you’re willing to spend a little extra, you could get both with an all-in-one option.

How does it work?

  1. Customers enter their card details in your online store’s checkout page
  2. The purchase is approved or declined
  3. If approved, your online store automatically completes the sale and you may receive the funds into your account as soon as the same day – again, the timeframe will vary according to your merchant provider.

Other considerations

  • Make sure you understand all the fees and charges involved with an online payment merchant system before signing up to one
  • If you haven’t yet set up a website for your business, you can still accept online payments with a virtual terminal or an online portal such as BPOINT.

Recurring bills and payments

If you need to be paid the same amount on an ongoing basis, you may want to consider setting up a direct debit.

How does it work?

  1. Your customer completes a form to give you permission to deduct funds from their account
  2. You submit the completed form to your direct debit facility provider
  3. You’ll automatically receive the funds to your linked business account at the end of each billing period.

Other considerations

  • This may be tricky for a new business to set up as you’ll typically need to demonstrate financial stability and adequate fraud controls
  • Make sure you understand all the fees so there are no nasty surprises when your bill arrives.

1The Reserve Bank, How Australians Pay: New Survey Evidence, 2017, https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/2017/mar/pdf/bu-0317-7-how-australians-pay-new-survey-evidence.pdf. This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice. You should consider seeking independent financial advice before making any decision based on this information.