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For years now, PayPal has solidified itself as the payment system of choice for anyone doing business on the Internet. When people first started doing business over the Internet, you would have thought that some sort of convenient credit-card payment system would have been the system of choice. However, the collective greediness of the major credit card processors created a gap online, where businesses without a lot of available cash flow needed an inexpensive way to offer potential online customers with a fast and convenient way to pay for things online.
The Ebay craze really fueled this. The need for a cheap and convenient payment system was fed by the millions of transactions taking place on Ebay, where most sellers had very little expendable cash to pay for a credit card payment system, and most buyers only had a bank account and credit cards to pay with – and most were very wary of typing in their credit card information over the Internet, with so many cases of credit card numbers getting hacked on the Internet.
Enter PayPal, a system where both buyer and seller simply set up a safe and secure account that can be fed with funds from a bank account, and where the only thing required for monetary transactions on the Internet is an email address. This middle-man of financial transactions was the perfect solution, providing sellers with one of the easiest ways to accept payments on the Internet, and with sellers a “safe-zone” of transactions where they could simply use their email address to make a purchase, and leave the credit card numbers safely tucked away.
With the growth of PayPal, came a greater number of methods sellers can use to accept payments online. Not too long ago, Tim discussed how businesses can make use of PayPal, but in this article, I’d like to take that a step further and show you all of the different ways that you can actually accept payments from people.
How to Set Up a Paypal Account for Receiving Payments
Sending payments using PayPal is easy, and you can even send out mass payments now. For years, the most common way to receive payments on PayPal (in fact it’s still the most common way) is simply to request a payment from someone. Usually, this won’t be required if you’re using a system like Ebay, where the request for payment is an automated part of the process, and where buyers usually just pay for the products immediately upon winning the auction.
However, if you’re working for clients or you have a friend that owes you some money, you can quickly send them a request, which will issue an email from PayPal asking them to submit payment immediately, and providing a convenient link where they can send you the dough with just a few clicks.
The request process gives you a chance to type a quick note that will also be a part of that reminder email. This is one of the fastest and most convenient ways to get payments from someone via PayPal.
Of course, if you run a business or a contracting service, issuing simple requests like this isn’t very professional. If you’re going to be expecting payments from the same clients every month, it’s much more professional to issue monthly invoices, and PayPal can help you there as well.
Under the “Request Money” tab, just click on the “Create Invoice” link, and you’ll have the option to issue invoice details, including how many days you’ll allow the client to take to send in payment, an itemized list, and even an automated invoice number for your records. There are even several invoice templates available for you to choose from.
These are the two most common ways to receive money from people, and these methods have been available in some form or another since PayPal was founded. However, these days, PayPal provides many more options for you to offer your customers and clients for sending you the money that you’re owed.
Setting Up Recurring Payments and Other Payment Options
One feature I’ve always liked once PayPal started offering it was the ability to place a payment button right on your website. I described how to do this when I wrote about offering online tech support with LiveZilla.
One thing I just noticed is now available in addition to just offering a “Buy Now” button is that PayPal now offers a list of buttons you can use, including subscriptions, automatic billing (very nice for website or newsletter subscriptions), or even an installment plan for large purchases.
I love the ability to allow clients or readers to set up a subscription right from a button on your site. This is sure to increase conversion rates, since making the purchase process streamlined and easy always encourages people to move forward with the transaction.
Depending which type of button you choose to embed on your site, the options that are available in the PayPal wizard will change to be applicable to that button type.
You can even have PayPal send your customers to customized pages on your own site either after the payment is completed (to thank them and help them continue to other parts of your website), or if they cancel (to encourage them to proceed with the purchase).
Installing the button is wicked easy, and it doesn’t take any expert level programming skill. At the end of the PayPal button-creation wizard, you’ll be provided a form code that you can embed on any page of your site where you want to place the button.
Here’s what the newsletter subscription button looks like once it was embedded on my own blog. What’s cool is that it gives the customers the option to use credit cards rather than their PayPal account if that’s the option they choose – because PayPal accepts credit cards as part of its payment options.
The latest innovative way that PayPal now offers to accept payments from people is the ultra cool “PayPal Here” app that’s now available for iPhone or Android. All you have to do on PayPal is select this option under Merchant Services, and type your mobile number in the field to get a text message with the link to install the “PayPal Here” app.
This app, believe it or not, will let you accept credit card payments to your PayPal account with nothing more than your iPhone or Android, and a little credit card reader device that PayPal will send you for free once you sign up for the service. Unlike other payment systems small businesses have to use, this service requires absolutely no monthly service fee. You simply pay the per-transaction service charge of 2.7 to 3.5 percent (slightly higher in some countries), and you’re good to go. If I had a small business and wanted to keep my overhead costs down, but still offer customers the convenience of credit cards, this is definitely the way I would go, no doubt about it.
So those are all of the many ways how to set up a Paypal account to receive payments from just about anyone, anywhere in the world. All you have to do is figure out exactly how you intend to conduct your business, and then choose the solution that’s right for you.
Have you ever used any of PayPal’s services to receive payments? Which methods do you prefer? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!
Image Credit: Male Using Credit Cards via ShutterStock