When you first get started freelancing, it’s all about producing a great product for your client. Your focus should be here. But all too often, freelancers make getting paid the least of their worries. It shouldn’t be. As a freelancer you need to get paid appropriately…and on time!
Thankfully, accepting credit card payments online is an effortless and effective way to get paid. By taking advantage of this payment method, you can simplify your invoice and payment system, allowing clients to pay with ease while greatly minimizing the risk of non-payment.
In this article, we will cover exactly what steps you should take to securely receive digital credit card payments as a freelancer.
Advantages of accepting credit card payments online
Accepting credit card payments online offers numerous advantages. Most importantly, it’s the quickest and most convenient way for customers to pay you. Credit cards are processed immediately so that your money is received rapidly compared to check payment options. Not only does this save time, but it also ensures a more secure transaction.
Secondly, when you accept credit card payments online, your cash flow will be improved since payment is received more quickly. Therefore, it allows for better financial management. Lastly, offering this payment option can create a more professional and trustworthy impression of your business in customers’ eyes.
How Do You Accept Credit Card Payments Online?
Okay, let’s break it down. Here are the exact steps you should take to be able to accept credit cards online.
Step 1: Choosing a payment gateway
When you need to accept credit card payments online, selecting the right payment gateway is necessary. A payment gateway processes digital transactions on behalf of businesses, and there are several reputable services from which to choose; PayPal, Stripe, and my favorite, Square. Ensure that your decision factors in elements like fees, usability ease, plus security measures for optimal success with your selected payment gateway provider!
Step 2: Setting up a merchant account (or not)
Want to accept credit cards online? You may need a merchant account. Essentially, it’s like having a business checking account designed specifically for businesses that let customers pay with plastic. To get one, you can open up an account through your financial institution or via any payment gateway provider – such as Square, which doesn’t require anything beyond its platform!
Step 3: Verifying your identity
To establish a merchant account, you must verify your identity with personal and business information such as your name, address, and tax ID. Setting up an account may also require supplemental paperwork, including proof of identification like a driver’s license or utility bill for authentication.
Step 4: Integrating the payment gateway with your website
After establishing your merchant account, the next step is integrating the payment gateway with your website. This process typically requires you to include a form or button on your site that links back to the payment gateway. The good news is that most gateways provide easy-to-follow instructions for this integration process!
Step 5: Creating an invoice and accepting payments
After connecting your payment gateway to your website, you can quickly generate invoices and provide clients with a secure payment method. With versatile solutions such as QuickBooks, Freshbooks, or Square, you will be able to create customized invoices that contain links that direct customers directly to the payment gateway, where they can enter their credit card information without any hassles.
Related: Best Freelance Invoice Software
Security Considerations for Accepting Credit Cards
When you start accepting credit card payments online, you must prioritize security. After all, safeguarding your customers’ information should be one of the utmost concerns for any business owner. To guarantee safety and compliance with industry standards, ensure that your payment gateway and website are PCI-compliant and have an SSL certificate; such measures will encrypt data sent between the client’s browser and your page. Don’t underestimate the importance of robust protection protocols!
Fees and Charges for Accepting Credit Cards
When receiving credit card payments online, you will undoubtedly be subjected to fees. Transaction fees are assessed with each payment made, while monthly expenses go towards utilizing the transaction gateway. Additionally, chargeback costs come into play should a consumer dispute a payment that ultimately gets reversed.
Familiarity with these outlays is essential when designing your pricing plan to ensure profit margins remain at an optimal level. Popular payment processor fees for online invoicing:
PayPal – 3.49% + .49 cents
Square – 2.9% + .30 cents
Stripe – 2.9% + .30 cents + 0.4% for invoicing
Dealing with chargebacks
Dealing with chargebacks can be annoying and expensive, especially when payments are reversed due to a customer’s dispute. Although you won’t deal with it much as a freelancer, to minimize the possibility of this happening, you should make sure that your website is detailed in its descriptions of services and policies so as to reduce any confusion or misunderstanding from customers.
Additionally, it is important for businesses to handle client inquiries or complaints quickly and efficiently by striving to resolve any issues before they result in a costly chargeback being issued against them.
Tax implications of Credit Card Payments
Whether you accept payments online or not, there are always tax implications to consider. Depending on your location, it is possible that you must charge sales tax for the services that you provide. To ensure compliance with local laws and regulations, it’s important to consult a tax professional in order to determine what levies need to be applied during transactions.
Embracing online credit card payments is vital to thriving as a freelance business. To start taking credit cards from customers, follow these steps to set up an internet payment portal and integrate it with your website. As you do so, remember the importance of security measures, fees involved, and tax requirements for such transactions.
What is a payment gateway?
If you own an online business, a payment gateway is your go-to service for quick and secure credit card payments.
Which payment gateway should I choose?
When selecting a payment gateway, make sure to take into account all of your needs and desires. Factors such as security, fees, and convenience should be taken into consideration when making the final decision. By doing this research beforehand, you can ensure that the payment gateway is perfect for you! We recommend Square because of their full suite of services for freelancers.
How do I set up a merchant account?
If you want to accept payments online, your two options are setting up a merchant account through your bank or via a payment gateway provider.
How can I minimize the risk of chargebacks?
Significantly reduce the likelihood of chargebacks by ensuring that your website’s services and policies are described in clear, comprehensive detail. In addition, hasten to address any client queries or grievances so you can quickly reconcile matters before they develop into a costly chargeback situation.
Are there tax implications to accepting credit card payments online?
Absolutely, taking credit card payments online can have substantial tax implications. It is essential to consult with a qualified tax professional to ascertain your fiscal responsibilities in order to guarantee that you are compliant with regional taxation regulations.