It's never been easier. An online merchant service comparison

Posted by Jon Haslett on 15 August, 2014 in payments , ecommerce

The ability to seamlessly and securely send payments online is one of the great innovations that the internet has offered the world.

Online payments aren't just for ecommerce stores. Tradespeople and service providers can also benefit from accepting payments online. In fact, if your business accepts credit/debit card payments for invoices then there's a good chance that online payments could benefit your business.

Online Payments Photo by Fosforix

Accepting payments directly on your website has become cheaper and easier than ever before thanks to new payment services like Stripe, Braintree, and eWay All-in-one that simplify the number of steps involved in online payment systems.

Let's have a look at the old process, the new way of doing things and some of the new payment services available to Australian businesses.

The old way

From the customer to your bank account, here's what the steps look like for traditional e-commerce websites.

Customer -> Your Website/Cart/Checkout -> Payment Gateway -> Merchant Facility -> Bank Account

Your Website/Cart/Checkout

Your website is the public face of your business and will vary greatly depending on what kind of business you're running. Your website's cart, checkout, and invoicing functionality could be part of your website, or it could be a third party solution such as Xero, FoxyCart, Shopify, or Charfigy.

Payment Gateway

A payment gateway sits between your website's cart/checkout and the bank. They exist to solve the technical and security challenges of collecting, transmitting, and storing credit card details. A gateway needs to be compatible with both your website's software and your bank's merchant facility.

Cost: Combination of monthly service charge and fee per transaction. For example $30 per month plus $0.60 per transaction.

Merchant Facility

The merchant facility is the bank's digital equivalent of an EFTPOS machine in terms of how they charge for the service as well as the the application and approval process.

Cost: A combination of a monthly service charge and a percentage of each transaction. Your bank will issue a quote making you an offer that you can choose to accept. For example a merchant facility quote might look like 2% of transactions with a minimum fee of $20 per month.

Bank Account

This is your regular business banking account where any payments that you receive end up.

Cost: Banks usually charge a monthly account keeping fee. For example $10 per month. Check your bank to see what you're currently being charged.

The new way

Over the last couple of years, banks and several innovative non-bank companies have created solutions that combine the Payment Gateway and Merchant Facility into a single online service which changes to model to look something like this:

Customer -> Your Website/Cart/Checkout -> Combined Payment Service -> Bank Account

The big Australian banks all offer their own combined payment services such as Commbank's CommWeb or Nab's Nab Transact. The downside to these bank provided services is that you're still going through a merchant application and approval process that can include business plans, balance sheets, and expected revenue before the bank will even provide you with a quote. That's where innovative online payment companies with payment services like Stripe, Braintree, and eWay All-in-one are shaking things up.

Service Comparison

Here are some popular services available to Australia businesses that remove the need to apply for an online merchant facility from your bank.

eWay All-in-one

  • Accept online payments for offline invoices with Xero online accounting software
  • Next business day clearing of funds
  • Brand trust and recognition, eWay is Australia's most popular online payment provider
  • Multiple plans and pricing options

Stripe

BrainTree

  • Simple pricing 2.4% + $0.30 per transaction
  • Next business day clearing of funds
  • Operates behind the scenes, customers never interact with the BrainTree brand
  • Braintree was acquired by PayPal in 2013

Still confused? Are you trying to decide whether online payments are a good fit for your business? Are you not sure which payment service would suit your needs? Get in touch and we'll help you decide if online payments are right for your business.