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Our world is becoming increasingly automated. It’s a good thing, as technology takes a lot of the busywork out of life, leaving us humans free to do the higher value (and usually more fun) stuff.
Payments are one example. Shopping can now be completed online in seconds, with eCommerce retailers offering endless ways to pay, all of which require just a couple of clicks.
But while automation is the direction in which we’re most certainly heading, a savvy business owner knows that there’s still room for more manual processes, because many customers continue to want them.
Enter manual payments.
Today we’ll be taking a deep dive into manual payment methods: what they are, who uses them, how they work, and how a business owner can make the most of them.
What is a manual payment?
First things first: what is manual payment? What does ‘manual payment’ mean as a term?
Manual payments can be considered any payment in which the vendor has to manually contribute to the process, whether that means taking cash and giving change, taking credit card details over the phone, or offering up an invoice and reconciling the resulting payment.
On the other side of the coin, you have automated payments – those that don’t require any manual contribution from the vendor because technology handles it all. The eCommerce retailer with the fully automated online checkout described above is a prime example of an automated payment system. EFTPOS payments and direct debits are also considered automated.
What are the benefits of accepting manual payments?
This raises a genuine question: if manual payments are more complex, laborious and time-consuming, why should a business owner even bother with them? There are three main reasons:
1. You make your customers’ lives easier
Most of us have been there before: we go through the process of finding a product and making our way to the checkout (whether in-store or online), only to find that our money’s no good there, as they don’t accept payment in the form we’d like to use. Accepting payment in all forms will ensure you never leave your customers high and dry, and always allow them to purchase whatever they desire.
2. You increase your market
As a consequence of accepting a broader array of payments you now have access to a broader array of customers, some of whom may not be able to buy from your direct competitors due to their inability to accept the right type of payment.
3. Some industries demand it
Some industries aren’t as progressive or suited to payment automation as others are. Cash still plays a key role at second-hand and farmers markets. Many B2B sales are invoiced and post-paid, with that payment most often manual, in the form of a bank transfer or cheque. Businesses that target an older demographic usually need the ability to take credit card payments over the phone, as many of their customers need things delivered but don’t use the internet.
Types of manual payment
What are the main manual payment methods? Let’s take a look at five of the most common.
While its influence is fading fast, cash is still around, and will be for some time to come, though the extra effort of maintaining a till full of change has seen an increasing number of businesses refusing cash payments.
While you might assume that the days of cheques were long gone, these pieces of paper continue to be used, primarily in the business world, though they’re certainly the exception rather than the rule.
3. Bank transfer
The most common way to post-pay invoices and to move large sums of money, bank transfers themselves may be automated, but they require manual reconciliation on the vendor’s end.
4. ‘Card not present’ transactions
Sometimes referred to as Mail Order/Telepehone Order (MOTO) payments, this form of payment is where the card (or device like Apple Pay on your phone or watch) is not presented to the EFTPOS machine. This can see the vendor manually enter credit card details: the 16-digit card number, the expiration date and the security code CVV. These can be processed on Square POS which allows you to take payments over the phone as well as in person.
5. Virtual Terminal payments
In fact, you don’t need a point of sale system or even an EFTPOS machine to take the manual payments mentioned above. Square Virtual Terminal is a tool that turns your computer into a credit and debit card terminal, allowing you to accept these manual payments without buying or installing any extra hardware.To make those over the phone payments even easier, you can text a link to your customer and stay on the phone to them as they securely enter their details into an online form. This will then update in real time on your Square Virtual Terminal so you can see when the payment has been completed.
How to accept a manual payment with Square
While the term ‘manual payment’ might imply a laborious process, it doesn’t have to be if you choose the right tools. Between Square POS and Square Virtual Terminal you have two of the simplest, quickest and most intuitive systems for accepting manual payments.
How do they work? Let’s take a look at the processes.
Accepting manual payments through Square POS
Go to the navigation bar (bottom of the screen), click More > Settings > Checkout > Payment Types.
Turn on Manual Credit Card Entry and return to the Checkout screen.
Create the sale by adding items from your Item Library (or entering custom items.)
Click Charge to process the payment (for a tablet in portrait mode, click Review Sale > Charge.)
Click Manual Card Entry and enter the card number, expiration date and CVV.
To cancel the payment, tap the back arrow.
Send your customer a digital receipt via email or SMS.
Accepting manual payments through Virtual Terminal
Log into your Square Dashboard.
Navigate to Virtual Terminal > Take a Payment.
Select Quick Charge (a simple dollar amount) or Itemised Sale (to add items, modifiers, discounts and taxes.)
Under Payment Method, select Manually Enter Card.
Enter the card number, expiration date and CVV.
Once you see the words Payment Successful, send your customer a digital receipt via email or SMS.
Manual payments might not be as common as they once were, but they still play an integral role in most businesses, allowing customers to pay in whatever way they prefer. If you’re a business owner who wants to capitalise on every opportunity that comes your way and cater to as many customers as possible, Square’s complete suite of payment tools is ready to help.