Most businesses are well familiar with the shopping frenzy that accompanies the Lunar New Year period. By now, most businesses already have their marketing campaigns and promotions in place, ready for the festivities. But one area many newer businesses neglect is to ensure ease and flexibility of payment. Experiencing complication or difficulty when it comes to e-commerce payment can be a huge deterrent for a potential customer. One simple way to solve the issue is by offering customers more flexibility in payment options when they shop online.
The First Step: Setting Up a Merchant Bank Account
To begin, an internet merchant bank account is needed, as it allows your business to accept payments from debit and credit cards.
In Singapore, most local banks offer merchant services, but it is best to compare the features and rates between them to select the most competitive option. Available options include Merchant Solutions (a joint initiative between Standard Chartered and First Data), and DBS, which also offers its own direct debit payment gateway for DBS customers only.
After signing up for a merchant bank account, your business will require a payment gateway, which acts like a point-of-sales (POS) terminal in a store. This enables a secure transfer of funds from your customer’s card to your bank.
Here are some of the most popular choices for Singaporean SMEs as well as their features and potential downsides:
Considered to be the world’s most popular payment %PayPal is widely used by savvy consumers and should be one of the first options you consider integrating into an e-commerce website.
- Setting up an account is free, easy and immediate.
- Accepts all major currencies.
- Compatible with most e-commerce platforms.
- Does not lock companies into a fixed contract.
- Eliminates the need for a merchant bank account.
- There are complaints of PayPal accounts being frozen unexpectedly when fraud protection is triggered (sometimes for unknown reasons) and rectifying the situation is a hassle.
Costs: A standard account for businesses is free. Transactions under S$5000 incur a fee of 3.9 percent plus S$0.50.
A one-stop electronic payment gateway that serves most countries in Asia, AsiaPay is an excellent option to consider if your business is targeting a regional market.
- Accepts payments from a large range of country-specific options in Asia, such as China UnionPay, Bangkok Bank and PesoPay.
- Accepts all major credit cards as well as PayPal.
- Mobile payments, e-vouchers and batch processing are available.
- Setting up the gateway will take two to three weeks, so be sure to plan ahead.
Costs: A one-time setup fee applies. There are no remittance charges, however.
Most Singaporean consumers are familiar with eNETS, as it is the most widely used e-payment option in Singapore. eNETS is the only online payment gateway offering direct debit in Singapore, as well as the option of major credit cards.
- Accepts all major credit cards online.
- Fraud protection and high-level security during transactions.
- Supports internet banking.
- Flexible payment features such as virtual terminal, recurring and installment payment plans, authorization and capture, and hosted payment page.
- Account setup takes approximately three weeks.
- Administration processes are still relatively manual and slow; signing up for an account requires emailing the company, while making requests such as a refund or increase of transaction limits requires filling out a form and faxing it to the company. The changes then take three to seven business days to occur.
Costs: Transaction fees are 3.5 to 4.0 percent. An account setup fee goes for S$250, with a yearly subscription fee of S$200. Additional fees may apply.
GTPay is a Singapore-based e-commerce payment solution that primarily serves the Singaporean and Chinese markets. It offers end-to-end merchant solutions and aims to take the complexity out of e-payment procedures.
- One of the cheapest payment gateways available for Singapore-based businesses.
- Payment transfers to local banks are possible without the need for a merchant bank account.
- Accepts payments in USD, SGD or RMB
- Supports recurring payments and funds can be withdrawn through bank and telegraphic transfers as well as checks.
- Eliminates the need for a merchant bank account.
- Less well known than competitors, it’s hard to tell what difficulties GTPay poses for merchants, so be sure to read the fine print.
Costs: Transaction fees range from 0.5 to 7.29 percent. Account setup is free for both customers and merchants, and there are no monthly subscription fees.
One-stop payment service provider Wirecard AG is headquartered in Germany, but accepts payments from most Asian gateways and operates in Singapore as well as in Indonesia.
- Accepts payments through POS terminals, online and mobile platforms.
- Accepts all major credit cards as well as UnionPay.
- Funds can be directly transferred to Singapore banks.
- Setting up an account is quick, easy and free.
- Its official website offers little elaboration on how well their service would run on an e-commerce website.
Costs: No setup costs or subscription fees. Transaction fees apply, but are not published on the website.
While the payment gateways listed above make it easy to track your online sales, it’s equally important to be able to capture your total operating expenditure at a glance. An accounting software such as QuickBooks Online will be able to help you track all your payments and outgoing expenses easily, with all transaction records synced across your devices and backed up automatically.
Visit our blog to learn more about how QuickBooks Online can help your business stay tiptop in the accounting department.