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How to Accept Mobile Payments Online


Is your business losing sales because you don’t accept mobile payments online? Don’t get left behind. Plus, giving customers the power to pay with their phones is much easier than you think. Contactless payments are a must-have for UK businesses, offering convenient transactions that let you move on from dated card machines, endless hardware, and unnecessary fees. Online retail and appointment-based businesses stand to gain the most from mobile payments, so let’s find out why.

Without further delay, let’s tackle how your business can accept mobile payments! We’ll make this process easy for you, with a special focus on small business solutions available in the UK, avoiding fuss or needless costs.

Understanding mobile payments and how they work

So, what exactly are online mobile payments and how can your business accept them? Think of them as an easy way to take payments without traditional card machines. The benefits of cashless transactions in 2024 speak for themselves. Customers can pay by tapping their phone, scanning codes, or using apps. It’s cheaper than cards and much easier than cash…for everyone involved.

Contactless payments

This is the super common “tap your card or phone” method that I’m pretty sure everyone has tried once or twice by now!

Your card or phone has a chip that securely communicates with a contactless reader, usually through near-field communication (NFC). Mobile and digital wallets like Apple Pay are used for in-person contactless payments.

App-based mobile payments

These use dedicated apps on your customer’s phone. Customers link their card details to an app. The app then generates a secure way to pay, maybe through a QR code to scan or a link to tap. Atoa, PayPal, and Apple Pay are just a few platforms that you may be aware of. 

SMS payments

Payment links are the usual go-to here, which can be handy for remote businesses or services. Customers text a special code, which links to their card details on file or, in our case, triggers a payment request in the bank app. We’re biased, but Atoa works a treat for small businesses.

QR code payments

These are gaining popularity, especially for quick in-person payments. We’re fans, but for a reason, as this is an undeniably easy and low-cost way to collect funds. You display a QR code for customers to scan with their smartphone camera, and their payment app takes care of the rest. These are great if you don’t want to invest in a card machine or pay unfair card processing fees.

Exploring cashless transctions benefits and how to accept mobile payments online

Who can benefit from accepting mobile payments?

In today’s fast-paced world, consumers are on the lookout for speed and convenience, which includes online shopping and payment processes. Mobile payments offer a fast and secure experience that drives customer satisfaction for online and offline businesses.

Mobile payments also speed up the checkout process, significantly reducing time customers might spend keying in card details. Taking away this frustration can reduce cart abandonment and improve the overall buying experience. Subscription-based businesses or operators who take block bookings will find that mobile wallets tidy up their processes and help hold onto precious customers.

Furthermore, if your online business often makes sales in person, such as at pop-up shops or craft fairs, mobile payments mean you never have to flash that ‘cash-only’ sign. 

Businesses that should consider mobile payments

  • Retailers and vendors that usually trade online can access portable payment solutions if they decide to work at markets or seasonal fairs. 
  • Consultants and freelancers can use mobile payments to get paid on time.
  • Home service providers and tradespeople can accept on-the-spot payments, improving cash flow and customer satisfaction. No more triple-checking bank details for bank transfers either…
  • Transportation services like taxis benefit from tap-and-go payment solutions, allowing customers without cash to pay easily.

How to start accepting mobile payments online

Mobile payments are the future for businesses of all sizes. They’re convenient for customers, secure, and can streamline your entire payment process. But where do you even begin?

Choosing the right mobile payment provider

  • Consider your business needs first and foremost. What is your average volume of transactions and are you looking for in-person or online payments?
  • Are there any upfront costs for your business or hardware to invest in?
  • Transaction fees vary and can impact your cash flow if you don’t research them, so prioritise plans with lower rates.
  • How confident with tech are you, and what level of customer support do you need?
  • Does the provider integrate with your existing tools, such as POS or accounting software?
  • How important is the cost? Are you willing to pay more for extra features or lower transaction fees?

Here’s a snapshot of how we compare against some other leading mobile payment providers.

ProviderTransaction feesMonthly feeHardware costsPayout
Atoa0.6% per transaction, falling with higher volumes£0, paid plans available£0Instantly
PayPalAdd staff, manage payments for multiple businesses and locations, and easily pair with POS and software£0£29 for your first card reader and additional card readers at £59 each, plus VAT.Few days or minutes (for an extra fee)
SumUp1.69% per QR code transaction, 2.5% per payment link£0Air reader costs £39 and Solo reader costs £792 – 3 working days

How to get started with mobile business payments

  1. Research and choose your provider.
  2. Set up your account. Providers will want to double-check you’re a legit business with account verification (or KYB). This helps to protect everyone involved in the payment process.
  3. You might think you need a card reader… but you don’t! If you’re looking for an option without hardware, look to QR codes and payment links as your go-to. 
  4. Link your payment setup to your website and social pages. Remember, mobile payments can also save you from fraud and chargeback hassles.

Benefits of accepting payments with a phone

  • You can accept payments anywhere and at any time. Plus, QR codes and digital payments get your business paid faster than using traditional methods. Sometimes in seconds! 
  • Rely on a better customer experience for more sales by offering the payment methods that customers prefer.
  • Boost your efficiency with smoother sales, inventory tracking, and more. QR codes give customers the option to pay without interacting much with staff.
  • Know your money and customer’s data is safe by using trusted providers with strong encryption and security measures.
  • Reduce your hardware costs when you ditch the card machine. Plus, there’s no need to charge up or carry it around.

Tips for success with mobile payments

  • Not sure whether they are for you? Try it out! Lots of mobile payment providers have free trial periods.
  • Let customers know they can pay with their phones! Try posts across your website, social media and signs in-store.
  • Train your staff with a simple how-to for cashiers to make customers feel at ease.
  • Focus on the customer experience and share how quick and easy mobile payments are. Explain the technology in simple terms and offer extra reassurance by explaining the regulations and security they come with.
  • Plot your progress to see how payment options affect your sales, and ask customers what they think.

FAQs on how to accept mobile payments online

Can I get free mobile payments?

Sort of! Some have free plans, but they often limit the features you can access or have higher fees per transaction. Research is key to getting the costs right, so do it wisely.

What is the best way to take business payments?

It depends on your business type and how it is set up. Start with deciding the pros and cons of each payment method to decide if it will be suitable, and move forward from there.

The takeaway

Mobile payments are an amazing tool for small businesses and more straightforward to set up than you think! Give it a go and you might be surprised how much you and your customers love the simplicity. 

Join Atoa now and get
14 days of free transactions.

Atoa is the low-cost alternative to card machines, enabling you to take payment from your customers in-store, on the move or via SMS and WhatsApp.

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