Way back in the 20th century, payment processing was straightforward. You mailed your client a bill, and they mailed you back a check. That will hardly do today. If you’re a 21st century professional small business, clients expect you to offer an online facility where they can quickly and easily submit payment. You must support online credit card processing plus any other way the client wants to pay the bill.

You need a payment processing system. If you just want to have a standalone payment processing service, there are lots of card processing services providers who can make that happen for you. Any time somebody swipes a card through a Square reader or clicks an online “submit payment” button, there’s a credit card processing business at work to make sure the payment is valid and the vendor or service provider gets their money.

If you're going to have a payment processing solution, it makes sense to have one that presents a high-quality professional-looking interface to the client and that integrates with your billing system. When you add BigTime Wallet to your BigTime accounting system, you don’t have to worry about how you’re going to accept, apply and report payments. It’s all taken care of as part of an integrated billing and payments system.

A cohesive system not only gets you paid more quickly. It improves your cash flow and gives your client a better personalized experience. They can make payment on time, and they can do it from anywhere with a button click.

With this kind of solution, there’s no switching between payments and invoicing software. Payment are secure in compliance with the payment card industry data security standard (PCI DSS). With a robust payment processing system, collecting payments is one less thing to worry about while you spend your time on the real work or providing the services that your clients value.

The best payment processing solutions, such as BigTime, offer enhanced communication and transparency with a client portal. It enables the client to see all the important information about every payment in a single location. For each bill, the amount, the due date, the payment status, the payment date and the payment method are all right there. Clients can save their payment method and use it again and again.

Invoicing and payment processing also becomes easier for you. BigTime cuts several steps out of the process of generating invoices and pops up a payment link right there in the system. Payment is a snap for both you and your client.

Which Credit Card Processing Is Cheapest for Small Business?

What's the best way to accept credit acre for small business? Some business owners just look for the cheapest or for credit card processing for small business no monthly fee. While that’s an entirely reasonable way to start your search, you need to consider the total cost of your small business payment processing solution.

You also ought to look at what you get for your money, that is, the total set of benefits you realize from everything that your software does for you. When payment processing is integrated not only with invoicing but also your entire management and accounting system, the gains you get can be considerable. These gains come not only in terms of the tangible system benefits, but also in freeing your valuable time to focus on the areas where your expertise lies, that activities that make money for you and your company.

If you’re in a professional service industry such as accounting, architecture, engineering, IT, government contracting, legal or other consulting, the best fit for you may be a total accounting and management solution such as BigTime. For starters, it will take care of the task of accepting payments. If there are credit card payments, it’s a complex process, involving payment processors, payment gateways and a couple of banks in the background. You need a system that securely and reliably does all those things.

But if you look for a system that only does payment processing, not matter how inexpensively it does it, you may be missing an opportunity. If you install a cohesive solution that provides payment processing and invoice generation and ties them to your accounting capabilities, you have a solution that’s truly cost-effective in what it costs and what it gives you.

Also, it’s worth remembering that there’s more cost to a payment processing system than monthly fees and transaction fees. If you have to move data to and from other systems, that’s a cost. If you have to build and maintain interfaces, that’s a cost. If you have to devote some of your valuable management time to overseeing the payment system and ensuring it works in conjunction with everything else, that’s a cost.

Can you find a small business payment processing with a lower monthly cost than BigTime? No doubt you can. Can you find one that’s more cost-effective in all that it does for you? That’s a bigger challenge.

Payment Card Processing Companies

There are several parties in a credit card payment transaction. For starters, there’s the client and their bank, and there’s you and your bank. There are the card associations such as Visa and Mastercard that arbitrate the relationships between the banks. Then there are the payment card processing companies, which connect all of these parties and make online credit card payment possible.

Here's how it all works. When a customer pays with a credit card, an authorization request goes to the payment processor. The authorization request goes through the card association to the issuing bank, which approves or declines the transaction.

Authorized transactions go back to the payment processor, which creates the transaction that will move money from the client’s bank to your bank. Authorization happens almost instantly when the card is read or the submit button is clicked, and the actual movement of funds usually takes place overnight.

The list of credit card processing companies include some everyone is familiar with as well as few that aren’t as well-known. Some of the key names are PayPal, Square, Payment Depot, National Processing, Intuit QuickBooks, Stripe, Stax and Clover.

When there’s no physical card present, which is the case when your client is making a payment at a portal, there are other organizations that come into play. These are the payment gateway companies. They provide encrypted processing for your online payments. As with a payment processor, the details go through the credit card to the issuing bank, which approves or declines the transaction. Eventually the payment screen informs the client whether the payment has been accepted.

Some of the best-known payment gateways are PayPal, Stripe, Amazon Pay, Square, WePay, BlueSnap, Payoneer and BluePay. As you can see, many of these are the names from the payment processor company list.

When choosing a payment processing channel, you must consider cost, speed, setup cost and effort, security and the quality of the support you get from the company.

Of course, you don’t have to engage a standalone payment processing company or payment gateway. A comprehensive software solution such as BigTime embeds all the required functionality in its overall system. Thus your payment processing is tied to your invoicing and payments are automatically applied against client accounts.If you have any questions or issues about payment processing or anything else in your system, there's a single central place you can look to for support.

PayPal Credit Card Processing

It seems like everybody uses PayPal. It’s even become a verb in day-to-day conversation, as in, “I’ll PayPal that money to you.” If you’re a business owner, you may have a personal PayPal account that you use to make payments in your private life.

You can also have a PayPal business account to accept payments on behalf of your company. You’re aware of PayPal, and most or all of your clients are familiar with it. But should you use PayPal as your payment processor?

There are several advantages to using PayPal. It’s simple to set up and start using. You don’t even need a bank account to accept payments. The money goes right into your PayPal account and you can transfer it elsewhere any time you choose. Your clients don’t have to be on PayPal. You can set up invoices in a PayPay account. PayPal security is strong.

All in all, PayPal is not a bad solution for a new small business getting started. It’s quick, it’s easy, and the rates are competitive. However, as your business grows, you may find that PayPal, like many of the other standalone payment processing offerings, does not provide the flexibility, the support, the professional appearance and the integration features that a comprehensive invoicing, billing and accounting system does.

There are many payment processing solutions available to you as a small business owner. However, we’re convinced that you’ll find that a complete solution such as BigTime offers advantages that go beyond just payment processing. As you grow, you won’t find yourself saying, “Now that we’re bigger, what are we going to do?” When you add the payment process capabilities of BigTime Wallet to your BigTime accounting and management system, you have an integrated solution that seamlessly invoices and applies payments in coordination with everything else it does.

We offer a free trial. Why not find out what BigTime can do for your payment processing and other aspects of your business as well.