The last thing I want to do is get in the way of someone rushing toward me offering to give me money.
In the past week, I've heard:
“We don't take American Express.”
“We can only take local checks.”
“We aren't able to accept $100 bills.”
“You'll have to drop that by the office: we can't accept payments over the phone.”
“We got your check, but it wasn't made out properly; we'll need a new one.”
These businesses are doing their best to not get paid. Crazy.
Let's look at Walmart since it managed to accept nearly $450 billion in payments last year (it must be doing something right).
Walmart accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover, plus it has its own Walmart Discover card and Walmart credit card. The company accepts checks and cash, and it accepts PayPal and has a Bill Me Later program. You can even place an order over the Web and drop your cash off at one of the stores if you don't have a credit card. The company won't accept produce or livestock in trade for its merchandise, but short of that, I think Walmart will do just about anything you need in order to get paid.
What about you?
Are you set up to accept credit cards? Even American Express and Discover?
Do you offer any special credit options, like your own branded credit card?
Do you know how to accept a wire transfer? Can you take a check over the phone or via fax?
Can you safely handle cash?
I've provided tips on how to accept payment in all these forms. If you haven't adopted the systems required to accept payment by every means, you should. We only recently set up a secure payment system on our website. Previously, we used PayPal. By incorporating a system offered through Authorize.net, we were able to reduce our costs a bit and provide more flexibility for our clients.
We've created accounts and systems for making payment easy. However, we haven't always explained every element of these systems to our team. We've repeatedly discovered that our people don't understand some part of the system and are frustrating clients trying to pay us. Training your team is a crucial part of making this work.
We still don't accept cows, chicken, and corn as a form of payment, but we're always looking for ways to make it easier for our clients to pay.
Make sure you're not getting in the way of clients rushing toward you offering to give you money.