Moving money in the real world is fairly simple at this point. You write a check, you slide your card, you hand someone cash. The world of business is changing, however, and that means incorporating a globalized clientele and contractors.
The digital realm has also brought new competition against consumer banks in the form of alternative ways to house and distribute money. Businesses used to concern themselves with how to hire the best personnel. Today they have to worry about that in addition to figuring out how to pay these people.
If you’re an entrepreneur in the digital age, there are a variety of methods to move your money where you need it. The right one for you will depend on what you want to do with your company.
Online banking allows a merchant to keep his own accounts and manage them from a browser. Higher interest rates attract some businesses to the realm of online banking, because the return is often much higher than a brick and mortar bank. These online banks are especially useful for saving long term, but you can conduct day-to-day checking from these outlets as well.
Sources like BankRate can help you track down the highest rates to grow your investment, cutting substantial time out of the comparison shopping you need to do. Online banking is excellent for individual contractors looking for a safe space to store their earnings while gaining some interest.
A merchant account helps eTailers accept different credit cards from their customer base. There are free ones available around the web that charge a “per transaction fee” like PayPal or you can enroll in a merchant processor or a big bank. Brick and mortar stores will often receive a point of sale device with enrollment, but online retailers need a form that records customer payment information and posts it to a database for processing.
Payment processors are best suited for companies that have launched and received some moderate success. The costs can be prohibitive for newbies, but established businesses will reap the rewards of looking more legitimate and trustworthy.
Money transfers are a lot more informal than most forms of payment. Typically the transaction is between two parties, making money transfers good for paying for contractors. The trick is verifying your contact received the funds.
Ria Money Transfer gets around this by offering services that allow an individual to pick his money up from an agent. There are even more options for in-person delivery, like sending a courier to deliver the funds to the recipient. This is in addition to more common methods like next day delivery to one’s bank account.
An eCheck takes the payment directly from your bank account and is often a function of the payment processor your business uses. This means when a customer pays with eCheck, your business receives funds within a few days that come directly from the customer’s account. eChecks are relatively safe for regular use, but there are other methods of moving money that can be much faster for the recipient.
eChecks are a nice addition to your existing payment processor, but you may want to reconsider running a business that relies exclusively on eChecks for payment.
Mobile payment processors are becoming more popular and are useful for business conducted on the go. There is always the informal cash transaction, but a mobile payment processor uses your phone or tablet to process credit card transactions.
You can also use mobile payment software to email a receipt to the buyer instead of printing something out at point of sale. Many food trucks use mobile processing to sell to a wider audience who may not have ready access to cash.
Jennifer Brown is a senior at UNC Chapel Hill. She loves entrepreneurship, technology, gadgets and startups.