So, you have this amazing business idea, you have thought about everything from capital, logistics, registration and even patenting (if that’s your thing). Now you are ready to hit the market, then it hits you “How are my clients going to pay conveniently?” Especially in these trying times where hygiene and safety are top priority when it comes to payment.
As a business developer, I have encountered many entrepreneurs on a daily who go through this and end up making poor decisions when it comes to selecting the most convenient digital payment channels for their business and clients. Making such mistakes could be costly because we are in an environment with relatively many options and when clients encounter the least inconvenience they quickly move to the next option.
In this article we will look at the various digital payment options available to you as an entrepreneur, so that the next time you are thinking of going “cashless” you will be able to make an informed decision.
In the Ghanaian business ecosystem, the digital payment channels preferred by most clients can be broadly classified into two, Card Payments (VISA,MasterCard etc..) and Mobile Money(All the Telecos) But does that mean you only have to go to a bank to get a POS device to receive card payments? Or Go to every Teleco to get a wallet to satisfy all your clients with varying Mobile Money wallets? Well the answer is NO! Thanks to the development of technology, you can have one solution and be able to receive money from all these payment channels without having to open multiple mobile money wallets or bank accounts for your business. These solutions are normally provided by companies called “Fin-Techs” (Financial Technology Companies). So what are the various channels available to you as a business?
Which fully means (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) is one of the most common type of digital payments in Ghana. This is mostly characterized by numbers preceded by a “*” and normally ending with a “#” eg. *123*2# .This mode of payment is preferred by most merchants because of its ease to use and also its ability to be used with both smart phones and feature phones (Yams) even without internet! If you have clients who are not as “Tech-savvy” then this will be the best option for you. This channel is currently limited to Mobile Money at the moment.
PLUG IN INTEGRATIONS
Some businesses can afford websites, and build them on certain platforms called Content Management Systems. Popular CMS’s include WordPress, Magento etc. CMS’s are a plug and play solution that businesses can build their websites on and receive payment through payment gateways. Payment gateways are connected to the websites through what we call “PLUG-INS”. So, if you are having a website built for your business, be sure to find out what it is being built on. This will help you decide on which payment gateway to choose as not all payment gateways have very plug in for all CMS’s.
Some businesses decide to for example build an app, portal or even a website from scratch (not using any CMS), and will like to receive payments there. For such businesses their apps and portals can be made to receive payments by connecting it to a payment gateway through what is known as an API (Application Programming Interface). This form of connection comes with a documentation that shows developers how to connect the payment gateway to the app or portal. Developers will appreciate this method more because it gives them more control over the payment gateway, however it requires a bit of programming knowledge.
So, this is one of the easiest ways businesses can receive digital payments without necessarily having to develop a website or build an application. With this solution, a unique payment link can be generated for the business. All the business does is to share this link to their clients, and once their clients click on the link it directs them to a secured “check out” landing page where they can make payments with ease. This means your clients all over the country and world can make payments to you by just clicking a link you send to them. As simple as that! These links mostly support both Card payments and Mobile Money.
As technology develops there will be other payment options available for businesses to make their operations easier. That is not to say these are the only available payment options, there may be more out there. But as a business developer these are the common ones I have identified. With this information, I hope the next time you are in the market looking for a digital payment channel for your business you will make an informed decision.