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Getting Paid in the Digital World

By Andrew Storrier

2 min read

The Australian online shopping industry generates $16 billion in revenue each year, according to IBISWorld research. Customers are extremely comfortable paying for products and services online, but is your business set up to facilitate these transactions, and which platforms work best for you?

PayPal

As one of the most popular ways to pay and get paid online, PayPal is a trusted internet transaction company moving more than $228 billion in 26 currencies across more than 190 countries in 2014 alone.

To accept PayPal transactions, you just need to set up a business account. You can start with a standard account, which costs nothing upfront, but you’ll cop a variable fee for the amount of sales paid through the platform. Further, customers will be redirected to complete payments through the PayPal site. With an advanced account, you can embed PayPal into your e-commerce software, however there is a monthly fee attached for the privilege.

With 5.6 million active PayPal accounts in Australia, it’s hard to ignore the payment platform as a way to connect with consumers.

Bitcoin

Bitcoin is a strange beast, but cryptocurrency evangelists believe it’s the future of online transactions. Bitcoin’s sticking point is that it allows anonymous transactions between the buyer and seller without government interference. The currency is in a bit of a moral grey area, but there’s no reason why you can’t accept it as a form of payment – so long as you pay your taxes!

Small businesses can utilise one of the many merchant solutions to accept Bitcoin payments, but one of the cool things about Bitcoin is that customers can easily pay you through QR codes via their smartphone or tablet. Certain Bitcoin apps generate QR codes that include the price on the fly, and the user pays by scanning them with their phone. Simple stuff.

In short, Bitcoin is no different to any other form of payment, but the ongoing debate as to whether cryptocurrency is legal, or ethical, might scare off some merchants. However, customers who believe in Bitcoin are likely to love you for offering it as a payment option.

DIY E-payments

If you’d like to process payment in-house, you’re going to need an encrypted and secure server and a secure socket layer (SSL) certificate, which you can find online. Once you have those things, you need to register your site with a digital authentication service, which the Australia Post offers.

You’ll also need to purchase online shopping software – or build it yourself – that takes customers to your secure server to complete their transactions. Finally, you’ll need a system to process credit card payments, such as QuickBooks Payments, which validates your customers’ card information with a bank over your secure server.

Digital transactions simplify and speed up the payment process. Whichever online transaction road you decide take, your business stands to make money faster when you offer a greater number of options to your clients.

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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