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Payment gateways give SMEs so much more

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Online payment gateways can save your business time and money, even if you do not run an electronic commerce website. They offer your customers more ways to pay, cut away expensive transaction costs, and allow you to manage payments in a more streamlined manner.
That’s the word from Daryl Blundell, MD of Sage SSB (Start-up and small businesses) Accounting South & Southern Africa, consisting of Sage One and Sage Pastel Accounting, who says that many SMEs continue to spend more effort and money on managing their payment environments than they need to. With the advent of payment gateways, SMEs now have access to instant, cheap transactional services that can transform their businesses, he adds.
Blundell notes that leading payment gateways give small businesses a single online portal where they can manage all their transactions easily and at a low cost. These facilities include card processing – removing the need for bank merchant facilities; acceptance of payments across all major banks; and even the ability to accept payments through the post office or many of the large retail chains.
“One of the major challenges that SMEs face is how expensive and complex it is to offer clients flexible payment choices. But a payment gateway allows them to reduce their transaction costs while giving their customers more choice and convenience.
“For example, in addition to enabling e-commerce, a payment gateway’s credit card facility makes it simple for small businesses to take credit card payments or to accept payment at nearly any major bank. They can easily track and reconcile payments to multiple bank accounts from a single account with a payments provider.”
Blundell notes that a robust payments solution such as Sage Pay’s Pay Now has major benefits for an SME: 24/7 availability, access to data wherever there’s an Internet connection, and seamless secure integration within business applications and third-party apps and services.
“By managing payments received through a single gateway, businesses can automate many of their manual processes and gain better control and visibility into their payments environment,” says Sage Pay MD Charles Pittaway. “If this gateway plugs into a larger suite that also includes salary and creditor payments, debit order collections and risk reports, the benefits can be even more pronounced.”
Additional benefits can accumulate if the payments platform integrates with the accounting or ERP solution the company uses. It becomes a simple matter to issue invoices directly from the accounting software and reconcile invoices issued and payments received.
“In our view, SMEs shouldn’t just be thinking about a payments gateway for e-commerce,” says Pittaway.” We are changing the way that millions of businesses track the movement of money through their business. It is a way for them to modernise many of their business practices and become easier to do business with.”