Electronic Payments

The term “Electronic Payments” is an extremely diverse word which is frequently used in today’s fast paced financial setting. To many it has varying interpretations particularly those who perhaps don’t work in the payment sector. In essence an electronic payment is a form of transaction that materialises between a buyer and a seller online.

An electronic payment can be made up of a whole host of digital aspects and these extend to electronic cheques, credit card transactions. Methods of electronic payments include credit cards debit cards and E-Wallets.

Whether you run a traditional retail shop or sell online via your website an electronic payment can boost your business and help streamline the day to day running of your business. You will find extensive solutions at your company’s disposal all of which can be tailored to meet the needs of your business.

The process sounds straightforward enough, until you consider the many types of electronic payments and the concerns they raise. Getting started with this simple overview on how electronic payments have evolved, and how they might look in the future may give you a clearer focus on what your business may need going forward.

The earliest electronic payments

Some payment apparatuses have been about for significantly longer than others. The earlier versions of your standard debit and credit cards can be traced back before the mid-20th century. Inspirations for electronic payments were stirred by a need for decisive alternatives to paper based products; principally for business to business transactions, electronic payments were the most constructive option.

Only 30 years ago in the late 1980’s many payment platforms were only used for “business to business” banking. Fast forward to 2018 and that has changed significantly as a result of the world’s access to the likes of credit and debit cards, online accessibility to banking, stored or online accounts.

The payment industry has changed rapidly in the last decade and deploying and delivering the best electronic payments is a fundamental basic to the needs of businesses up and down the UK. We aim to deliver and provide UK businesses big and small with all their electronic payment solutions to help you evolve in a diverse way regardless of your financial constraints and budgets.

Many of the electronic payments we deliver, provide businesses with flexibility and can be customised based on their needs. By introducing an electronic payment system, you will invariably eliminate or minimise trips to the building society/bank. The introduction of new technologies such as smart phones have revolutionised the way we Brits process payments. The spectacular rise and popularity of contactless enabled technology, as well as the introduction of Smartphone based apps have enabled innovation.

Narrowly defined electronic payment refers to e-commerce—a payment for buying and selling goods or services offered through the Internet, or broadly to any type of electronic funds transfer.*source Wikipedia.

What are the differing types of electronic payments consumers and businesses use?

Debit Card

A debit card is a card that is linked to your bank account. You can use it anywhere that a debit card is accepted. It allows you to pay for goods and access your account through different merchants. With a standard debit card the customer can only pay for goods or services when the money is already in their bank account (some may have an over draft facility which many frequently use).

Credit card

A credit card allows you to borrow money from a bank to make purchases, whether you’re planning a weekend away or paying for a meal, you generally have a “grace period” in which you need to pay the money you borrow to avoid paying any interest (which in most instances is typically 30 days). If you fail to do this, you’ll have to pay some form of interest which is a percentage in addition to the money you already owe the bank.

E-Wallet

An e-Wallet is frequently referred to by many as a digital wallet and is a secure location that contains one or more currency pouches. Once a customer has sufficient funds they are able to pay for funds, goods or services but first they are likely to have to register to the seller’s site.  Shoppers can fund an e-Wallet in several different ways. Once funded, shoppers can use an e-Wallet online to buy or pay for goods or services. Choosing an e-Wallet facility eliminates the need for customers to enter account information when purchasing goods or services.

Bank transfer payments

The transfer of money from one bank account to another can be done in several ways, this can include BACS, Chaps or direct debits. Bank transfers happen every minute of every day all over the world and can sometimes be referred to under different names.

Mobile Payment

With the rise of smart phones since 2014 and the introduction of the Google Play store back in 2012, one of the most innovative and popular ways to pay for items and services is through our mobile phones. Choosing to pay via a mobile payment eliminates the need for a customer to pay by debit or credit cards. In recent years we have seen the introduction of Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay and that has altered consumers’ shopping habits and more and more are now opting to ditch the cards and rely on their smart phones to pay for goods using NFC technology.

Technology is now part and parcel of our everyday life and the electronic payments industry is saturated with companies offering a whole host of payment solutions to fit the needs of businesses big and small. It is easy to sit and digest particular payment processing methods, but if you are new to the payment industry it is important to learn the core basics to the advantages and disadvantages of electronic payments which may impact your decision making in time.

The positives to an electronic payment system are plentiful. Here are just a few of the key benefits. Introducing an electronic payment system significantly reduces the risk of loss and theft to the business owner. They are extremely user friendly. The advances in technology and the improvement in electronic payment systems means they are now friendlier than ever and regardless of how your business trades or operates you can be sure that they have the capabilities to reach even the widest of audiences and most are accessible 24 hours a day. This on top of the added convenience they bring. In some cases multiple transactions or transfers can be performed at any time and in most cases all you need is access to the internet.

Choosing the right electronic system for your business

Now you have a better understanding on how electronic payments work you may be considering investing in an electronic payment system. An electronic payment system will allow your business to accept payments for goods and services using debit and credit cards. Having touched upon mobile payments and web payments (e-commerce earlier), we will look at the other two primary systems available in driving electronic payments. We have the traditional credit card terminal (which can sometimes be referred to as a PDQ or Chip & PIN machine) and the other one being an integrated system.

We always stress to any business to consider the ongoing costs and the implications this may bring. Many businesses don’t trade from one set location these days and as a result there is no such thing as a “best solution” as every company is different, and for a company to promote this is slightly misleading. As we look at the different solutions available, please bear in mind that not every solution will be suitable to every business owner.

Credit card machines come with a whole host of operating aspects. There are four main types of card terminal and these include countertop, portable, mobile and Wi-Fi. All card terminals are now contactless enabled. Most credit card machines generally process payments in a matter of seconds and accept all major debit and credit cards (all card machines will accept AMEX as well but this is dependent on the customer having the relevant merchant account in place). The advances in technology means business owners are no longer restricted into keeping their payment machines at their office location, and can now take their trusted terminal with them and process payments almost everywhere they go. The main manufactures for card machines in the UK are Ingenico, Verifone and Spire. All card machines should be PCI compliant, and deliver security to both business owner and customer.

Integrated POS systems have transformed the electronic system, and are now readily accessible for businesses big and small. In days gone by they were only regarded for bigger businesses but as technology has become readily available and significantly cheaper, it has opened this solution up to a wider audience.  The POS systems now offer a very personal service to business owners, and have significantly more advanced solutions to improve the customer’s experience. This can include loyalty programs and other reward schemes. By choosing an integrated system, the business will receive the same payment processing as the PDQ machine card, plus superior capabilities which can provide live time reporting using cloud based technology amongst other features. One of the features many business owners particularly like is the insight it delivers and the ability it can bring to make better informed decisions. By building up a clear and accurate view of your business performance with detailed breakdowns, you as a business owner can set about improving it.

If you’d like free impartial advice on electronic payments and the benefit they could bring your business please get in touch to see how we can support you. We offer free impartial advice and specialise in helping SME and start up businesses. Simply get in touch, and we’ll provide you with clear guidance relating to all aspects of electronic payments and POS systems. We specialise in a whole host of payment solutions and our creative innovation has seen us gain recognition. We offer all our customers free technical support and consultations wherever necessary.

We actively invite customers to contact us anytime over any concerns they may have.  Our technical engineers and customer agents are here to answer your questions. We look forward to working with you for all electronic payment needs.