By Pamela Phillips
As always, when it comes to business doing the work is one thing, but getting paid for it is another!
Our #1 preference is to collect payment through direct debit using GoCardless as payment is collected automatically with no human effort required. However, there will be times when you will want to take payment quickly over the phone - perhaps for a deposit before starting work on a project.
We’ve been asked a few times recently how to go about doing this so I thought I’d share what tech we use at de Jong Phillips.
On the odd occasion that it’s not possible to take payment through direct debit, we use Square and this is also what we recommend to our clients.
It's easy to set up a Square account, and it can be done online in a matter of minutes. Once done it's set up then it’s simply a case of signing into your account, choosing ‘take a payment’ and filling in your client card details and payment fields.
The money will be paid into your account the next business day.
And of course, your square account can be connected to your Xero account so you can keep track of your square balance easily.
You don’t need to have a physical card reader as this online portal is your virtual card reader.
What are the fees for using Square?
As it's risky to take card payments over the phone credit card networks charge slightly higher fees than they would for face-to-face transactions.
Fees are currently 2.5% per transaction. Unlike GoCardless where fees are capped at £2 per transaction, there is no upper limit to the fees with Square so you would want to avoid collecting large sums of money this way where possible.
Can I pass the Square fees on to my client?
Provided your client is in agreement, then you may pass on the payment processing charges you have incurred to them. This is only the case if your client is a corporate entity (a company). If your client is an individual person (so not a company) then the EU regulations known as the European Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) mean you can not pass these costs on so will have to absorb them yourself.
What are the risks of taking payment over the phone?
There are some risks around taking payments over the phone so it's important you take sufficient measures to protect yourself.
Firstly, how do you know the person you are speaking to is the owner of the card? If you are dealing with a regular client who you know well this risk is going to be far less than a brand new client.
Because of this, we’d recommend you do your due diligence on any new clients before taking payment. By this I mean you should check they are who they say they are by asking for photo ID and proof of address from them. If you’ve never met them face-to-face then a zoom call to check they are the person in the photo ID would also be a good idea.
A second risk is internal to your business. You should be careful with who within your own company you allow to take payments. Only give a restricted number of your team access to the Square dashboard and make sure they have their own login so that you can see who has taken each payment. Ideally, the person in your business who is taking the payment should not be the same person who raises the invoices to clients.
We recommend that your client's card details are only added to the Square dashboard and not recorded elsewhere in your systems or on paper. Otherwise, there is a risk of other people finding and abusing the card details.
Want to improve cash collection in your business?
If you want to find out more about the different ways to collect cash from your customers, then get in touch to arrange a call with one of our team.