Virtual assistants, how many times have you heard, “check’s in the mail!” In the not so distant past, the only payment method available for services rendered was to mail or email an invoice and then … wait. Sometimes a check would be mailed right away and other times it would take up to 30 days or longer.
Yay for PayPal .. boo for fees.
Thank goodness there are more options today than ever before on receiving timely payment. Gone are the days of snail mailing an invoice and checking the mail every day to see if you got paid because the light bill was due yesterday! With today’s technological advances, you can easily get paid as soon as you complete work.
So here is my rundown on available payment options for (1) your own virtual assistance business and (2) options you can suggest to your small business clients.
-1- Merchant Accounts
According to the Small Business Administration (SBA) if you are in business and have a reliable sales history, you can get a merchant account from your bank. If you are a start-up, an independent sales organization (ISO) may be the ticket. They act as the middleman between you and the merchant processor to relieve some of the bank’s risk. Merchant accounts accept debit and credit cards and funds are deposited into your bank account with 2-3 days.
This is the “traditional” system to accept credit cards.
Drawback – Traditional merchant accounts can be costly. There are application fees, monthly fees, plus discount & transaction fees to name just a few.
They are the world’s largest online payment option with more than 100 million active Paypal accounts in the U.S. With a convenient invoicing system, you can send money, request payment, and transfer funds to your bank account quickly and easily. A Paypal widget can also be placed on a website to receive payment for offered products and services.
Online payment drawback: When purchasing goods or services online, it is not uncommon for Paypal to leave the merchant’s website to complete the transaction. This may confuse the consumer prompting them to abandon the purchase. There is an additional fee to upgrade the service.
-3- Google Wallet
It’s still an option, but be aware it’s changing in the next month or so. With the “new” Google wallet, virtual assistants and small business owners can attach money to a Gmail … just like attaching a document. From the scuttle I’ve been hearing, there won’t be any fees. It hasn’t rolled out yet, but start looking for it in the next month or two.
-4- Mobile payment systems
Here is where you can process payments on the go! You sign up for an account and receive a card swipe e-reader to stick into the audio jack of your mobile phone or tablet. A great way for businesses that attend fairs, run concession stands, etc. to accept payment other than cash or checks. Here are the fees you can expect from the three top mobile processing devises and links to learn more:
Imagine that .. from the PayPal folks!
- Swipe rate: 2.7%
- Keyed rate: 3.50% + $0.15/transaction
From the folks who bring you TurboTax & QuickBooks!
- Swipe rate : 2.7%
- Keyed rate: 3.7%
If you’ve been to Starbucks, you’ve probably seen these folks!
- Swipe rate: 2.75%
- Keyed rate: 3.5% + $0.15/transaction
Important Drawback: Because the reader is placed in a phone’s audio jack, credit card information is transmitted as an audio file and opens the realm of possible hacking. Turn down the volume to help avert this potential.
With plenty of payment options today, virtual assistants and small business owners have plenty of avenues to receive and send money. Invoicing is quick and easy so your business runs smooth and efficiently.
About Out of the Office Virtual Assistance:
At Out of the Office, we are committed to providing earth-friendly administration and offer ideas and ways to increase your productivity, decrease your workload, and work more efficiently. We nurture a successful business relationship, while continuing to grow as your business partner. We are focused on streamlining your administration, social media planning and execution, and offering creative solutions for your business success.
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