If you run a small business or are thinking of taking the plunge into self-employment then there’s a good chance you will need a quick and easy method of invoicing and charging your customers or clients.
This is especially true if your customers live abroad, but it also nice to offer a fast, secure and accessible payment method that suits prospective buyers as much as it does you. PayPal is the current king of online transactions; it’s quick, it’s easy and it’s even available on your smartphone.
In this article we’re going to run through how to set up a PayPal account for your business.
Which Account Do I Need?
There are a few different types of PayPal account – personal, premier and business – and then there are a couple of different types of business accounts within that category too. Choosing the right one is important, and entirely depends on the needs of your company.
The most basic account which allows the processing of credit card transactions is the premier account. This is one step up from a personal account, and if you sell a lot of things on eBay or use PayPal for other online services there’s a good chance you already have a premier account. The main thing that separates the premier account and a full-blown business account is that you cannot set up a premier account in your business name. You can however still use extra features like mass payments for paying hundreds of people in one go with minimal fees.
Business accounts require a business bank account and an approval period of a few days before you’re up and running. Premier users will still have to verify their bank details as any normal PayPal user would, and can only link their account to a personal funding source.
If you’re in the process of starting a business and don’t yet have a company bank account you can select a premier account and then upgrade your account later once you have the necessary requirements.
Registering A Business Account
To register an account click here to open PayPal (global link) and select your country and desired language. Once you have selected a country the page may refresh to reflect policies local to your region, for example in Australia it is not possible for businesses operating in a trustee capacity to open a PayPal account – your own country may have their own requirements, so make sure you read the small print!
Once you are satisfied that your business meets PayPal’s requirements click Get Started underneath the business account option. Depending on your region this next step may vary, and you may be asked to choose a business account that suits you. There are three types – standard, advanced and pro. A standard account costs nothing (except for fees on payments you receive, of course) and requires that customers carry out their transactions off-site (i.e. they must leave your company’s website and finalise payment within PayPal). Advanced accounts cost $5 a month (in the US) and allow you to integrate payment forms into your company’s website. Customers will not have to leave your site to pay, instead a PayPal checkout form is embedded within your e-commerce software. You will either need to have a developer integrate the form or be using one of the supported ecommerce platforms.
Finally there’s the pro business account which, at $30 per month, is clearly aimed at bigger businesses who need some powerful extra features. For that monthly fee you’ll be able to take total control over your checkout pages, allowing for completely customised on-site payment systems. A virtual terminal is also provided for processing payments over the phone, via fax and snail mail. Don’t forget you can always upgrade once your account is up and running, so if you’re not sure whether you need these extra features yet then select a standard account for now.
Due to disparity between the many different international versions of PayPal, the next step differs depending on your region. If you live in the US you will first be asked menial account information followed by a page of business requirements. On the Australian PayPal registration I was asked immediately for all business details before even registering an account. Regardless of where you are in the world, you’re going to need your business information handy at this point. Bank account details, an address, customer service email as well as personal details for the account operator (that’s you) are all requested. Fill in the form as thoroughly as possible, as PayPal must verify your account and any incorrect information will further delay the process.
If you are given the option, choose “Website Payments Standard” for the free standard account, from the “select Payment solution” menu, though this may or may not appear as an option depending on your region.
Finishing Up & Extras
Once you’ve filled out all your business information you will only have to wait a few days before PayPal verifies your account and you can start using it. Don’t forget upgrades are possible from your account after logging in, so if you discover you need extra functionality at a later date you can always upgrade.
There are also two other products that might interest business owners who use PayPal – the PayPal MasterCard debit card and PayPal Here which allows users to accept mobile credit card payments using an iPhone and a card reader. PayPal’s debit card is at present only available in the US (though fingers crossed it will roll out elsewhere soon) and can be requested within your My Account area if available.
For information about PayPal here you should check out the PayPal Here mini-site for more information on availability in your region.
Once your business PayPal account is up and running you’re ready to start accepting payments from a variety of sources, including the major credit card providers Visa and MasterCard. If you’d like to know more about receiving payments and the fees you will incur on your incoming funds then you can check out PayPal’s official fees chart.
Do you use PayPal? Have you got a business account? Is it the best payment solution, or does it drive you mad? Let us know in the comments!