It’s this simple: End-users want an easy experience!
1. Do not make it a hassle to pay. This nasty recession has forced people to ask their friends and families to help with bills. This means, NO huge security ordeals unless absolutely necessary and/or required – you should collect the basic payment info, and maybe verification information about the account such as the Zip Code or Number for the account itself. Anyone should be able to pay on the account.
2. Hire a few humans. What this means, is that if you offer an Internet payment option, clients will expect near-instant gratification, and Internet users will expect human intervention if something goes wrong.
3. Think very hard before assigning a “business class” to ANY part of what you offer to your customers! Business class users will have VERY high expectations. Plan accordingly, and present several different options for payment if need be. Failure to consider the needs of business users can result in expensive litigation over small things like $20 missing from an account. Money is a serious matter. Business interrupted is even MORE serious of a matter.
4. Be prepared to offer detailed documentation about your accounts – things like Bankruptcy and Small Claims Court require actual proof of payment, account ownership, and debt responsibility. Banks are losing millions to their failure to produce valid evidence.
5. Research the available options! Credit card processors, desperate for revenue streams from sneaky fees, will try to slide “gotchas” into the terms of agreements and this is easily be avoided by a simple Internet search for the company name along with the word “complaint” or “complaints” and the fine-combing of the contract.
6. Cash is not always king – hustlers have conned businesses out of services and will resell services that are “stolen” with fake bills. If any employee handles cash, train them not to give change other than what is due back for payment. Safe is better than sorry.
7. Security is essential– if you allow a “direct deposit” payment, ask your bank what passive security measures are available. Typically, these accounts are “deposit-only” accounts and money is withdrawn ONLY over the counter. Ask if customers can be given just a name and alternate ID information piece in order to make a direct payment a super-easy and very secure transaction without a hassle. If the bank does not offer this, keep asking – customer demands are often met if enough customers press for a change.
8. If you can, be flexible. The fastest way to anger customers is to charge a hefty “fine” for late payments, and this is especially true IF the product or service in question is a computer-related one. If it’s something like a rental unit or other tangible product that is rented or leased, then be sure to offer a grace period or consider allowing for life’s little hang-ups to be forgiven. Accept as many different payment options as you can reasonably afford.
Legal questions belong to a lawyer; I am not a lawyer. I disclaim that business owners are responsible for their actions. All business decisions should be approved by a lawyer or some other expert in order to ensure compliance with rules, regulations, laws, policies, etc.
These tips are not the be-all-end-all. Research all options!