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How Businesses Can Process Payments Without Stress If you can reliably provide customers with peace of mind during checkout, you'll come out on top.

By Lucas Miller

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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There is a lot that goes into selling products online. From setting up a user-friendly website to improving your SEO rankings, there can be so many tasks on your plate that it can be easy for something like payment processing to slip to the back of your mind.

But while payment processing may not get as much press as other digital marketing topics, there is no denying just how important it is if you plan to build a successful brand from the ground up. By working with the right payment-processing tools, you can create a fluid checkout experience that also gives you much-needed peace of mind. Of course, not all payment and checkout systems are created equal. By accounting for a few important factors, you'll be able to effectively process payments without stress.

Related: How to Find the Right Payment System

1. Fast and easy checkout is a must

Payment processing actually begins before a customer enters her credit-card information to make a payment. You have to consider the entire process, starting from the moment she considers adding an item to her digital shopping cart.

According to the Baymard Institute, the average online shopping cart-abandonment rate is 69.57 percent. While there may be several reasons why a customer might abandon her digital shopping cart, the top-cited factors were too-high shipping and tax costs, a site requiring users to create an account or a checkout process that was simply too long.

As conversion-optimization specialist Andra Baragan writes for The Startup, "Ultimately the outcomes we are seeking here are: Reduce friction, reduce frustration, increase user experience [and] increase transparency. Any work which is completed with the above outcomes in mind will lead to a higher conversion rate and ultimately more revenue."

2. Make plans for your global customers

Fortunately, the digital age has made the world a smaller, more accessible place than ever. In fact, many (perhaps even most, honestly) of today's most successful businesses don't just target their home country — they expand their reach into other markets.

Takings things to an international level is certainly a great opportunity for entrepreneurs, but you need to make sure you have a system in place that can accept and process international payments. The more payment options you accept, the easier you make things for your customers. To plan for your international customers, you'll need to consider not just how much your products would cost in international currencies, as well as the unique payment methods a new target country could introduce.

For example, Prestashop reports that, unsurprisingly, credit/debit cards and PayPal are the most popular online-payment methods in the United States. In Japan, however, one of the most popular options is to pay in a "konibini," a convenience store where customers can make cash payments for a product they bought online.

When evaluating payment-processing options, carefully consider all the payment options your customers are likely to use. Clearly communicate this upfront so that buyers can start the checkout process with confidence.

3. Stop fraud in its tracks

Fraud is a serious concern for online buyers and sellers. According to Experian, online-shopping fraud rose by 30 percent from 2016 to 2017 alone. As such, any payment-processing system you use must have solutions in place to counteract fraud. After all, each chargeback fee hurts your bottom line.

In addition to upgrading your website's security to prevent data theft, brand owners should use payment processors that can identify and block fraudulent payments. Even basic fraud filters can go a long way in helping you avoid chargeback fees.

As Shoshanah Posner writes for this site, "Most payment gateways allow e-commerce merchants to set up some basic fraud-prevention rules to block or flag transactions that may be fraudulent. Typical examples are to decline all transactions when the billing address does not match what the credit card company has on file (an AVS mismatch) or excluding all transactions from specified countries."

Such filters prevent fraudulent purchases from going through, helping both you and your customers avoid major headaches.

4. Automation makes the world go round

The payment process doesn't end after a customer submits their credit-card information. From confirmation emails and shipping updates to ensuring that confirmed funds are actually deposited into your company's accounts, there are several additional steps that come into play to ensure a quality sales experience for everyone involved.

Look for a payment-processing system that gives you the option to automate these and other related tasks. Integration with third-party plugins can even automatically update your spreadsheets and inventory-management systems or send notifications to your customer service team.

The more invoices and payments your company processes, the greater the impact automation can make. According to Financial Executives, departments using highly automated systems are 16 times more productive at processing invoices than counterparts that don't use any automation. Giving your staff the opportunity to focus on higher-level strategy rather than mundane payment-processing tasks will help your company's production expand exponentially.

Related: Check Your Checkout

Payment processing may not seem as sexy as a social media campaign or a well-designed landing page, but it could have an even bigger impact on your brand's chances for lasting online success. By using a secure, customer-friendly payment processing system, you can have confidence that you'll actually be making money from your entrepreneurial efforts in 2020 and beyond.

Lucas Miller

Founder of Echelon Copy LLC

Lucas Miller is the founder and CEO of Echelon Copy LLC, a media relations agency based in Provo, Utah that helps brands improve visibility, enhance reputation and generate leads through authentic storytelling.

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