10 years ago the only reliable methods for accepting payments for most small business owners were face-to-face, credit cards over the phone or billing through the mail. As technology has advanced and people have become more Internet savvy, the possibility for payment processing has opened up and now allows small businesses similar opportunities as their larger competitors.

Until recently, accepting online payments was too costly for many small business owners, and too confusing to manage on their own. With payment gateways and payment processor agreements, it was often easier to mail invoices as they have done for decades. That is not the case anymore. With simple to install, low cost online invoicing solutions such as SimplifyThis, business owners everywhere can enjoy the benefits of automatic, online payment processing.

Accept Payments 24 Hours a Day

Online billing and payment processing systems allow you to send invoices directly through email and give your customers the ability to access their account directly from your company website. This offers clients the ability to pay their bills 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and reduces the occurrence of late payments, thus saving on overdue mailer reminders.

Customer Payment Plans and Reoccurring Billing

By offering automatic email invoicing and client account access online, it is often easy to setup payment plans for customers. For larger purchases they can pay off the balance over time, and they have the ability to make additional payments through the website.

For subscription-based services, reoccurring billing can be the lifeblood of the company. Rather than trying to capture full year payments or sending invoices on a regular basis, you can setup automatic credit card billing or allow the customer to access the account online if they would rather pay manually every billing cycle.

Offers Customers a Sense of Professionalism

In today’s competitive landscape, businesses need every advantage they can get in order to beat out their competition. It could be as simple as what cardstock your business card uses or the color scheme or your company logo. By offering additional features such as online account access and automatic email invoicing, you show your customers that you are on the cutting edge of technology and will go the extra mile to offer them additional features and services unavailable from your competitors.

Save Time and Money

Probably the most important feature for any small business owner, these systems can save you time and money. Manually invoicing a customer takes personnel and materials which both cost money. Whether you have a staff of two or 100, the quicker and easier it is to get invoices out, the more you will add to your bottom line. With the ability to send invoices with the click of a button directly via email, your billing costs can be greatly reduced.

Additionally, many of these systems can tie in directly to your accounting software or allow for direct export of the billing data for easy integration. Rather than having someone responsible for opening envelopes and manually tracking income, you can process the information in a matter of minutes. Plus, reducing the likelihood for human error is always an added bonus.

Eric Stauffer is a payment-processing consultant that works with small businesses and assists them in finding reputable companies to work with. He reviews some of the biggest names in credit card processing, such as WorldPay and 2Checkout. When not working with small businesses, he spends him time researching the payment processing landscape and writing articles for finance and business blogs.

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