Written by Solo PR Pro Contributor, Michelle Kane, CEO, VoiceMatters, LLC
Solo PR Pros are always on the lookout for efficiencies in our work. Especially when it comes to getting paid. So, this information would be timely on its own, but while we’re in the COVID-19 pandemic this is a must-read.
Many clients still pay by writing a check and sending it through the mail. The pandemic has caused many solos to seek out for contact-free, convenient ways to receive payments. There are a number of traditional banking options that do not rely on paper checks and snail mail. You can begin taking payments online via bank transfer or credit card by setting up an ACHN, a merchant account, or using a payment gateway. Many of them interface with your online accounting tools, making invoicing and receiving payment a breeze.
Two things to consider when pursuing these methods of receiving payments:
- Will you need an entire point of sale set-up, complete with payment terminal? Not likely. In most cases you’ll direct your client to an online portal or provide a payment link.
- Service fees. These transaction fees vary with method and size of payment, so you will want to factor this in with the convenience and efficiency of your choice.
Automated Clearing House (ACH) Network
This is a U.S.-based bank transfer system allowing for direct deposit, payments, and credits. The Canadian version is the Automated Clearing Settlement System (ACSS). The transactions usually take place the same day, with some taking no more than three days. Contact your bank to begin set-up.
Credit Card Merchant Services
This allows you to accept credit cards in person and online. Working with a credit card merchant service provider – which could be your own bank – you’d have someone to guide you through the point-of-sale as well as the online options. It may be more than you need as a solo, but it could be worth a call to your bank.
Payment gateways also allow you to accept credit cards online or offline. Receiving online payments is as simple as a link in an electronic invoice or a button on your website that leads to the gateway. In-person? You’ll receive a credit card swiper that works with your tablet or cell phone. Popular vendors include:
Mobile Payment Services
These digital wallets allow you to make, receive, and share payments via mobile app. Going this route, you can issue your invoice via PDF or other electronic means and advise your mobile payment service username or address. These are some of the more popular mobile payment services:
Fintech is changing the way we get paid and seek funding by offering alternatives to legacy banking services. Fintech payment companies allow cross-border payments that are almost instant and have affordable processing fees. Many of the fintech payment companies also appear in other categories. Vendors include:
- Stripe. Offers invoice and payment solutions, with pay-as-you-go pricing.
- Remitly. Lets you send or transfer money internationally.
- Aeropay. Processing fees are less than 2% of total purchase; cash-back options for clients. Works for brick and mortar and online businesses.
- Plastiq. This company lets you pay almost any bill with a credit card, even when credit cards are not accepted. Clients can use it to pay you and the money will go to your bank account
- Checkbook. This company is like a digital check and allows you to send and receive digital payments minus the paper check
This pandemic is teaching us so many things. One of them is how to be nimble, efficient, and convenient in our business practices.
There are numerous options to get paid without giving up a large chunk of your fee. Do you have a favorite method of receiving payments? Maybe one we missed? We’d love to know. Share it in the comments or on social media using #solopr.
Photo credit: prykhodov