Last updated April 3, 2023
This article is a guest post written by Aliza Sharma, a Partner Associate at Stax by Fattmerchant.
Running a professional services business is not for the faint of heart. Not only do you have to ensure your clients are getting the highest quality of service, but have to manage the tactical aspects of running a business - such as getting paid on time and protecting your client’s data.
That said, when it comes to optimizing your operations and getting paid faster without compromising on security, many professional service businesses find it best to shift their firm from accepting paper checks to adopting an integrated, online payments solution.
Here’s why you should make the leap from paper checks to a unified online payments solution for a more secure customer payment experience:
Online payment solutions help reduces the risk of identity theft
According to a study released by Better Business Bureau, most identity thefts occurred as a result of traditional channels. In fact, a great majority of fraud instances were traced back to stolen paper mail and checks.
As recently as February 2023, The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is warning banks of a nationwide surge in check fraud. From 2021 to 2022, the number of potential check fraud-related cases has grown 96%. This is a significant change from 2020 to 2021.
With online payments, this risk of identity theft is significantly reduced due to standards put in place by the major card brands, Visa, MasterCard, Discover & American Express. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards, set by these brands ensure sensitive payment data is securely processed, transmitted, and stored.
While it’s still important for clients to always use strong passwords for online payments and change their passwords frequently, PCI standards essentially eliminate the chance of your client’s bank information being misplaced or getting in the wrong hands.
It’s more secure than traditional paper checks
Along with reducing the risk of identity theft, accepting online payments via an integrated payments solution offers an additional layer of protection that paper checks just do not. If this isn’t reason enough, it’s estimated that about 75% of businesses have been victims to check fraud.
Check fraud is estimated to reach at least $24 billion or more this year, a 50% increase from 2018. The troubling trend targets businesses simply trying to get paid for their hard work."Criminals typically steal personal checks, business checks, tax refund checks, and checks related to government assistance programs.”Additional information on this surge in check fraud and what to do if your business unfortunately suspects fraud can be reviewed on the recent FinCEN alert.
By contrast, online payments offer protections such as payment card tokenization that limit the chances of hackers and thieves being able to access your client’s payment information. Tokenization replaces credit card numbers with a different, random string of numbers, called a “token”, the card number is then stored securely via the token and the numbers have no relation to the client’s data, so their card data is protected. This allows you to run your business with peace of mind and immune to liability associated with a client’s data breach.
Integrated payment solutions make it easier to forecast and budget
Online payments that are integrated into your existing software allow your professional service business to easily monitor and maintain predictable cash flow. Your clients have the option of setting up recurring billing so you’re not chasing your clients for payments, allowing you to seamlessly track your business’s revenue, monitor budget, and plan ahead for future business expenses.
With paper checks, there’s a lack of predictability as checks take longer to clear, may bounce, or worst of all they may get lost in the mail. In fact, about 41% of businesses experienced cash flow issues in 2018 as a result of paper checks.
Online payment options allow your business to get paid faster
Aside from the greater level of security associated with online payments, integrated online payment solutions allow professional service businesses to get paid faster. There’s a minimal delay from when a service is delivered to when the customer is invoiced.
Take it from Ren, a current BigTime Wallet user who is now able to get paid faster —
“BigTime offered us a way to get payments faster from our clients, and also eliminate any fees within electronic payments on the client end”.
Online payments also reduce payment friction between you and your customers. By allowing your clients to pay invoices online, anytime, anywhere with their preferred payment methods, your business is able to deliver a far better experience for all involved. Additionally, online payments allow you to get paid days faster as you no longer have to wait for checks to arrive in the mail.
Interested in exploring BigTime’s integrated payment processing feature, BigTime Wallet? Request your personalized demo today to learn more.