Receiving payments from clients is an ongoing struggle for B2B businesses. The typical payment acceptance process is clunky and inefficient, and usually requires customers to go out of their way to contact the business to pay off the invoice. Businesses can streamline this process by using a hosted payment form, which allows merchants to provide a quick, convenient, and secure online payment option for their clients.
What are hosted payment forms?
A hosted payment form (also known as an external checkout page) is a webpage hosted by a third-party provider that allows customers to make secure online payments.
How does it work? First, the customer navigates to the merchant’s website. Many merchants choose to put payment links in the header or footer of their website. The customer clicks on the payment link and is taken away from the merchant’s website and to the hosted payment form. From here, the customer enters their payment details and hits the pay now button. Once they’re finished paying, they’re automatically directed back to the merchant’s website, and the merchant receives an email notification of the transaction with relevant details.
Hosted payment forms are most helpful for B2B companies that want to provide quick, convenient, secure payment options for their clients.
5 benefits of hosted payment forms
1. Enhanced data security
One of the biggest challenges of accepting credit cards is providing a secure and protected environment for vulnerable customer data. When merchants use a hosted payment form, they outsource the bulk of that responsibility to an experienced third-party provider that specializes in security. Sensitive data never passes through the merchant’s site—the provider handles and protects all the data as it travels from point to point. The best-hosted payment forms use the latest data security techniques, like PCI compliance, tokenization, and encryption, to protect customer data at every point of the transaction. With platforms like BigCommerce, Magento, WooCommerce, and Zen Cart, merchants can ensure enhanced data security by integrating hosted payment forms provided by trusted third-party providers.
2. Lower liability for merchants
Using an external checkout page means that merchants have reduced liability. They’re not responsible for handling sensitive data because that data never encounters their system or network. Instead, the third-party payment form provider handles the entire transaction and provides a secure environment, then reports the results of the transaction to the merchant. Merchants don’t see or store credit card or CVV numbers, so in the event of a data breach, hackers won’t be able to access sensitive customer data.
3. Quick setup
Hosted payment forms are one of the quickest and easiest ways for B2B companies to begin accepting payments from customers. Setup is fast and simple and doesn’t require in-depth technical knowledge. In many cases, installation is as straightforward as copying and pasting some code, and if merchants need help, the third-party provider can handle the installation. For B2B businesses just starting out with accepting online credit card payments, hosted payment forms are a great option because they’re just so fast and easy, and merchants can get started within minutes.
4. Easy checkout for customers
External checkout pages provide customers with a convenient payment method. In a typical B2B setting, making a payment is a long, drawn-out process. Once the client receives an invoice, they usually only have a few options to pay it off:
- Make a payment over the phone
- Mail in a check
- Send a wire transfer
Each of the above options is inconvenient and has serious drawbacks. Trying to play phone tag with a business is annoying, and when you do manage to connect, reading your credit card number over the phone is unsafe. Checks can be lost in the mail, and wire transfers carry fees and take a few days to finalize.
By contrast, a hosted payment form allows customers to instantly and securely pay off invoices from any internet-connected device. Customers can pay on their own time when it’s convenient for them, and they have immediate confirmation that their payment is accepted.
5. Better cash flow
With the enhanced customer experience provided by external checkout pages, businesses will benefit from better cash flow. Hosted payment forms provide a smooth, seamless payment process for customers that removes friction and allows payments to happen instantly. With this enhanced customer payment experience, businesses will cut down on lost time and receive payments more quickly.
3 things to look for in a hosted payment form
The best external checkout pages allow merchants to customize the look, feel, and function of the page, including form fields, colors, and the company logo. Businesses should choose a solution that allows them to tailor their payment form to their specifications. For example, if a business wants to include a field for the invoice number, they should be able to add that or any other fields to the form. Customization also allows businesses to create a payment form that aligns with their brand and gives their customers a more seamless experience.
2. Easy setup
Again, one of the main advantages of hosted payment forms is the ease of setup. Businesses should look for solutions that require minimal work—or, better yet, are installed by a support team.
3. Good support
Finally, merchants should look for a strong customer service or support team. Payments are an essential part of business—if your payment form goes down, it could have serious effects on your cash flow. Merchants should look for support teams that are available around the clock and that can assist with any customization or troubleshooting requests.
Start accepting online credit card payments today with hosted payment forms
B2B businesses often struggle with getting paid on time. Their outdated payment methods lead to inconvenient and frustrating experiences for clients, which can result in slower payments. To speed up collection times, enjoy a stronger cash flow, improve customer experience, and provide enhanced data security, businesses can quickly and easily set up a hosted payment form on their website.