The Applecado blog

How to Take Payments on Your Website


Taking payments online

Do you need to take payments, send invoices or payment requests, deposits, or perhaps online bookings or memberships, but don’t want to complexity of an online shop? Read this article and we’ll explain the options for taking payments using your website.

The pandemic, lockdown and post-lockdown situation has lead to a significant shift in customer behaviour. The news reports daily on major brands reducing the number of stores or offices and adjusting to shifts in online traffic and business.

Lots of companies appear to be striving towards being cashless, even where some face to face interaction remains. We always think a good website can do more! You can easily utilise your site to accept payments as part of your business, and stay organised!

First of all, accepting card payments online is preferable to taking card details over the phone – it’s infinitely more secure, it controls for human error when sharing card numbers, and it can be much quicker than one or more phone calls to arrange payment.

Who can benefit from taking payments online, and how can you take online payments when you don’t have a product range or eCommerce site?

We thought this article would make more sense with context, so where we’ve seen clever companies cope with this huge change, we wanted to share some examples of how they could benefit from moving elusively to online payments via their website, or at least, in combination with other payment methods.

Short course providers

These businesses have had a major challenge with lockdown and distancing. Whether you’re selling a ‘craft’ or something academic, your product is the course and content. You could spin up a quick online shop with off the shelf solutions (read our blog comparing bespoke versus off-the-shelf ecommerce), but having a proper website to sell courses will look and feel more professional, and is more likely to convert where all the course and booking information is properly shared with readers.

With a tailored website, designed around selling online courses, you could:

  • Create a ‘register’ - much easier to manage contact details this way
  • Limit attendees, and refer to them later-starting courses or perhaps private tuition
  • Encourage engagement with an online course, the website can automatically send emails or notifications to encourage people back, or for you to get in touch with them at certain points for a personal touch
  • Ensure hygiene is adhered to, sending timed, automated emails the night before a first session, or a symptom questionnaire before each class or appointment
  • Sell supplies, or equipment at appropriate points in the course
  • Use your (GDPR compliant) register to offer follow up subjects or greater depth courses afterwards.

Restaurants, hairdressers taking bookings and deposits

With restrictions on the number of bookings you can make now, taking a deposit for services should be something you implement. Websites can integrate with your calendar or booking software – or be programmed to help manage that too – but adding a step to take a deposit payment at the same time reduces the chances of a no-show.

With some payment providers, once we’ve received a deposit, we can allow pre-authorisations to take any remaining balance afterwards too – which can be really useful.

Pubs, restaurants (again), farm shops and producers

People have been reminded about the importance of local small businesses and producers, from what we’ve seen anyway. Lots of pubs and restaurants haven’t closed over lockdown, but adjusted to takeaways and deli’s, or delivery boxes instead. Some farm shops that initially closed were able to offer distanced selling or produce hampers.

Ordering a takeaway is a fairly simple process, more so if you know the menu, but ordering a produce box where you don’t know the stock or prices does mean a little more effort to arrange.

We often build proforma invoice functionality for some of our clients – this gives business owners the chance to help select a basket, organise picking and delivery. The customer can be emailed a unique link to make payment, and receipts and accounts can be made even easier. It saves time swapping calls or emails, and is more secure than sharing payment details.

Groups collecting fees

Perhaps you run fitness classes, or manage a few sports teams who need split hire costs; taking lots of small payments from different people gives some businesses a bit of an organisational headache, cash does help make sure that everyone who turns up has paid but there are easy ways to move to online payments.

Membership subscriptions

Recurring payments are reasonably simple with the common payment merchants. They can be used, like memberships can, to access online content, and provide a more stable income stream. We’ve used subscription based payments in quite a few of our projects, they can be tied to set tiers or packages, and we make it easy to manage the pricing and tier packages.

Museums and venues

Donation buttons can be really easily integrated into your website, but you can go one step further and friendlier by allowing customers to donate regularly, or specifically sponsor a plant (yep, we’ve seen it), a seat, or an animal. Loyal customers want to support their local venues, and giving them the ability to see something tangible they’re supporting really helps.

Online payment processors

There are loads of different ways to take payments, often called payment gateways. We can integrate with anything, but we use the following providers most often:

  • Stripe
  • Paypal
  • Worldpay
  • Sagepay
  • Klarna
  • Pay4Later
  • Go Cardless.

How can we help?

We are a development agency, we specialise in custom built solutions for our clients. We know the flexibility that a bespoke approach brings, and we know we can think up great ways for you to interact with your customers. If you’ve got any questions about taking online payments (or anything else, for that matter) don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re always happy to help!