Tag Archives: accounting

Getting Paid the Cool Kids’ Way: Venmo and Apple Pay

In today’s environment of instant gratification and demand for convenience, small businesses must make it as convenient and safe as possible for people to pay for products and services. As new platforms emerge, businesses that target millennials and Generation Zers (known for being early adopters of technology) need to stay in the know about the cutting edge options out there.

Two innovative payment methods that have been getting a lot of press include Venmo and Apple Pay.

Venmo

What Is Venmo?

Venmo, a mobile-only app owned by PayPal, is part social network/part digital wallet. After a user sets up a Venmo account and links it to their bank account or debit card, they can transfer money to and accept money from other Venmo users.

Available on Android and iOS devices, the Venmo app is also used to pay for purchases made through mobile browsers or mobile apps—and to split the cost of expenses such as rideshares, pizza delivery, and movie tickets via mobile apps (e.g., Uber, Papa John’s, Fandango).

With a growing user base (PayPal recently reported the app has over 40 million users) and the social aspect of the app, Venmo has the potential to generate exposure and a steady dose of word of mouth for businesses that sell products and services online.

How Can Your Business Accept Venmo Payments?

If your business accepts payments via your mobile website or app, you may want to explore adding Venmo to your list of payment options. You can connect with the payment gateway Braintree to accept Venmo at checkout on your mobile site or mobile app. Or you can add Venmo as a payment option at PayPal checkout.

How Much Does It Cost To Receive Payments Through Venmo?

When customers pay through Venmo, the merchant is charged 2.9 percent of the purchase price plus a transaction fee of $.30.

Is Venmo Secure?

Venmo uses encryption to help protect users’ account information, and they store account data on servers at secure locations. Users may set up multifactor authentication and add a PIN code in the app for additional peace of mind. Also, Venmo monitors activity to help detect unauthorized transactions. Visit the Venmo website for more information about the protections they have in place.

 

Apple Pay

What is Apple Pay?

Apple’s payment platform, Apple Pay, gives iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch users a convenient way to make secure purchases in stores, online, and in apps. Apple Pay accounts can be connected to most credit and debit cards from most U.S. banks. Apple has announced it will introduce Apple Card later this summer as a new way to pay with Apple Pay. Many major retailers, restaurants, and service providers—brick and mortar, online, and in-app—accept Apple Pay at checkout.

Apple Pay also has a peer-to-peer component, allowing users to send money to (or receive money from) other Apple Pay users through Apple Messages or by asking Siri.

How Can You Accept Payments Through Apple Pay?

Unlike Venmo, Apple encourages brick-and-mortar stores to accept Apple Pay. Merchants must have a contactless payment–capable point-of-sale terminal to do so. If you have one but haven’t yet been accepting contactless payments, ask your payment provider to enable that capability. The Apple website shares additional information that stores need to know about Apple Pay. It also provides details about implementing Apple Pay in your app or website.

How Much Does It Cost To Receive Payments Through Apple Pay?

According to Apple Pay’s info for merchants, “Apple doesn’t charge any additional fees” to accept Apple Pay. Merchants will pay the same fees as usual to banks and credit cards (those that customers access through their Apple Pay accounts) for transactions.

Is Apple Pay Secure?

In addition to the security features built into the hardware and software of Apple devices, Apple Pay requires users to have a passcode on their device. Further security options include facial recognition and fingerprint identification.

Apple does not store the numbers of the credit, debit, or prepaid cards that people use with Apple Pay, nor does it retain any transaction information.

For more details about Apple Pay’s security and privacy protections, visit the overview on the Apple website.

How Can a SCORE Mentor Help?

As you consider which payment methods will benefit your customers and your business, remember that SCORE mentors can offer valuable input and feedback to help you make an informed decision. Contact us today!

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Is Cloud Based Accounting for You?

As a solopreneur or small business owner, it’s likely you’re the one responsible for tracking your business’s revenues, expenses, payments, deposits, etc. Whether you decide to do that manually through excel spreadsheets or paper records, buy desktop accounting software, or go with an online solution, you need to maintain accurate and up-to-date accounting information.

With the convenience and level of comfort with cloud computing solutions growing, many entrepreneurs are turning to online platforms like Quickbooks Online, FreshBooks, and others to manage their financial records.

Could a cloud-based solution be right for you? Here are some of the perks and pitfalls to consider:

Advantages

  • Platforms are easy to access. (Because they’re online, you can access the solutions from anywhere. Some offer access via mobile apps, too.)
  • Most are very easy to use.
  • Software is automatically updated by the solution providers (no need to purchase updates).
  • Cloud computing solutions are subscription based with a generally low monthly fee. (Payments are set up to process automatically. There’s no large upfront investment.)
  • Data is automatically backed up by the solution providers.
  • Data security is managed by the solution providers.

Disadvantages

  • Over time, paying for a monthly subscription may add up to more than buying desktop accounting software (which typically needs to be updated every four to five years).
  • Cloud accounting software may lack some of the capabilities desktop solutions provide.
  • They’re dependent on an internet connection. (If your internet connectivity is down, so is your ability to use the platform.)
  • You might not be able to make a backup of your data and export it or save it to your own computer. That could make it difficult to change to a different solution. (And if you decide to close your business, you might be stuck paying the monthly subscription so you can keep long-term records as required by the IRS.)

Want to learn more about the pros and cons of cloud-based accounting platforms?

Here are two articles that provide helpful insight:

The Best Cloud-Based Accounting Services for Small Business via PC Mag

Best Accounting Software for Small Business 2015 via Business News Daily

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which systems of bookkeeping and accounting will work best for you. But that doesn’t mean you couldn’t benefit from a little direction. As you’re setting up your business processes and exploring options, talk with a trusted accounting professional. Also, turn to a SCORE Maine mentor for guidance. SCORE provides mentoring for free. With practical knowledge about all aspects of starting and running a business, we have Certified mentors with the expertise and business experience to help you succeed.