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Best Payment Apps for Small Business
Best Payment Apps for Small Business

The 5 Best Payment Apps for Small Business

The use of online payment apps is increasing. There are pros and cons to accepting this payment method.

As of 2018, 87% of all UK purchases are made online. This number has only increased, with more and more customers preferring to pay online.

If you are starting your own business in the UK, you will need to be able to make payments online. In this article, we take you through the basics and summarize some of the different options available of payment apps.

How to take payments online

How to take payments online

There are several different ways to handle online payments.

  • Bank transfers are simple and understandable, but they may seem unprofessional.
  • Direct debits allow customers to set up recurring payments, such as subscriptions and recurring billing.. They are not designed for one-time payments, but they work well if you collect recurring payments.
  • Mobile payments allow customers to pay using their mobile phone, either on a website or at a point of sale.
  • Point of Sale (POS) payments are payments made at your physical location or from an internet counter.
  • Online card payments are the most popular way for businesses to make payments online, which is what we’ll focus on here.

Card payments are processed through online payment systems and can be made using a debit or credit card or directly from the customer’s bank account.

We’ll look at how to set up a payment system below, but you should know right from the start that whatever you do, you can adopt a payment structure that works for your business, from flat monthly fees to pay-as-you-go models.

Read about The 5 Best Accounting Apps for Independent Contractors.

How do online payment systems work?

An online payment system usually consists of three components:

  • Payment gateway, sends payments to the processor
  • Payment processor, who handles the actual transaction
  • Commercial bank, where customer funds are deposited before they are transferred to your commercial bank account

All-in-one payment systems provide all of these items in one package, and nearly all systems make integration quick and easy.

Benefits of online payments

Benefits of online payments

Online payment systems make selling fast and easy, and provide good security on both ends.

Payment card industry regulations require that all online payments be SSL-encrypted. Most systems will get their own SSL certificate, while website builders like Squarespace or Wix make it easy for you to get an SSL certificate for your site.

Mobile payment systems

With the improvement of smartphone security, more and more people are using their mobile devices to pay. Adopting these systems for your business can make dealing with customers easier and faster than ever before.

Types of mobile payment include:

  • QR Code Payments – Customers have to scan a QR code to open a payment window
  • Mobile to Mobile Payments – Allows fast and secure payment using a mobile phone number but is less common for businesses
  • Magnetic Secure Transfer (MST) and Near Field Communication (NFC) Payments – Requires Physical Device

All of them are useful for in-person transactions, but mobile payment is also available online. Many online payment apps allow customers to use their mobile phone to complete a purchase, and most browsers allow mobile users to enter their card details as they would on a desktop.

General Tips

If you need help deciding which payment system is best for you, consider the following questions:

  • Does this payment app fit a business model (eg e-commerce or subscription)?
  • Will my customers recognize this payment system?
  • Does this app offer the payment options that my customers expect?
  • Is this payment system suitable for the size of my business?
  • Do I expect to receive international payments?
  • Can this payment system connect directly to QuickBooks?

Online payment apps that integrate with QuickBooks

Online payment apps

Consider online payment apps for your business – they can all be integrated with QuickBooks.

1- PayPal – best for international payments


  • Available worldwide: Doesn’t limit your business by location
  • One of the most reliable online payment apps
  • Offer discounts on e-commerce platforms
  • Offers business solutions including PayPal Business Debit Mastercard and PayPal Here Card Reader
  • An optional PayPal account for your customers


  • Does not contain shopping cart function
  • Relatively expensive fees for PayPal Wallet and American Express payments

2- GoCardless – best for recurring payments


  • They offer a very low fee of 1% + 20p per transaction, with a maximum of £4 on local payments.
  • Direct Debit is used to automatically charge recurring payments like subscriptions, installments, and bills each time they’re due.
  • Flexible option for businesses with recurring payments – also allows price changes.
  • Customers provide details and authorize future payments only once.
  • Integrated into QuickBooks Online, saving hours of administrator time.


  • Payments usually take a few days longer than cards are processed, so they are less suitable for one-time purchases.
  • Only available in UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Sweden and Eurozone

3- Zettle – best for point of sale payments


  • No monthly fees or insurance contracts
  • Accepts almost any payment method, including Amex, contactless smartphones, and smartphones
  • Quick setup means you can start selling right away
  • Zettle Reader charges quickly for all-day battery
  • Ultra-fast transaction speed processes payment in seconds


  • Bank deposits take 2 business days
  • 1.75% transaction fee can be expensive on higher ticket items

4- Shopify – best for e-commerce websites


  • Offers everything you need to start selling online, including web hosting, shopping cart, payment processing, blog and SSL Certificate
  • Offers customizable themes for your online store
  • You don’t need a credit card to join


  • It becomes more expensive if you want to use an external portal

5- Amazon Pay – best for ease of use


  • Exit quickly and without friction
  • Customer details are verified with Amazon
  • Enables you to complete transactions on your own site
  • No hidden costs, booking or monthly fees


  • It can be expensive for small businesses

How long do online payments take to process?

Although details may vary, merchants typically receive payment anywhere from 24 hours to three days after customers submit it. This means that not only are online payments quick for customers, but they can usually bring money into your business account more quickly than if you were depositing checks or cash.

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