The Business Owner's Handbook to Payments & Payment Methods

Published on
December 29, 2023
Written by
Aaron Oh
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Episode #
The Business Owner's Handbook to Payments & Payment Methods
Explore What payment is and explore various business payment methods. Uncover secure transactions and swift payment options in Singapore.
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Paying the right amount at the right time is crucial for any business. It's like the beating heart that keeps everything working smoothly. But with so many payment options available, knowing if you're using the best resources for your business can take time and effort. That's why we're here to explore the fundamentals of everything related to "payment."

What Is a Payment?

At its essence, a payment is the exchange of something valuable – whether it's money, an equivalent, or other assets – from one party to another. This transaction typically occurs in return for goods, or services or to fulfil a legal obligation. The one making the payment is commonly referred to as the payer, while the recipient is the payee. 

What Are the Various Ways in Which Businesses Make Payments?

There are two main types of payments: one-time payments for specific things and recurring payments that happen regularly. Let's look at them more closely to see how businesses manage their money effectively.

Ad-hoc Payments

An ad-hoc payment is a one-time or irregular payment made for a specific purpose. Unlike regular transactions, these payments are spontaneous and don't follow a set schedule. You might make ad-hoc payments in response to unique needs or unexpected expenses, addressing specific circumstances as they arise.

  • Vendor Services: Making a one-time payment to a service provider for a unique project or specialised service outside regular contracts.
  • Emergency Repairs: Paying a contractor for unforeseen urgent repairs or maintenance work not part of regular maintenance agreements.
  • Consulting Fees: Engaging a consultant for advice or expertise on a particular issue, resulting in a one-time payment.
  • Travel Expenses: Reimbursing employees for unexpected travel or business-related expenses outside planned budgets.
  • Unplanned Purchases: Buying equipment or materials on a non-recurring basis that wasn't budgeted for in the regular expense plan.
  • Ad-hoc Training Programs: Paying for specific training sessions or workshops not part of the regular training schedule.

Recurring Payments

Recurring payments are those regular transactions where a set amount of money is automatically deducted or charged at scheduled intervals. You likely encounter this for various services or subscriptions essential to your business operations. These automatic and predictable payments occur monthly, quarterly, or annually. This may involve an agreement between you (the business owner) and the service providers or vendors, ensuring a smooth and continuous flow of financial transactions.

  • Utility Bill Payment: Regular bill payments for essential services like electricity, water, and gas.
  • Rent or Lease Payments: Monthly payments for office space, equipment, or leased assets.
  • Salary Payment: Consistent payments to employees for their salaries, wages, and bonuses.
  • Loan Repayments: Scheduled payments to cover borrowed amounts for business loans.
  • Insurance Premiums: Regular payments to ensure continuous business coverage with insurance.
  • Maintenance Contracts: Ongoing payments for maintenance services on equipment or facilities.
  • Software Licenses: Regular payments for software licenses or software as a service (SaaS).
  • Tax payments: Annual payments for corporate income tax.

Now, let’s talk about something that's often misconstrued. Payment processors, payment gateways, and payment methods are distinct entities, each playing a unique role in the payment process. Understanding the distinctions between payment processors, payment gateways, and payment methods is paramount for efficient business operations. It enables streamlined transactions, cost-effective management, and heightened security measures for customer data. 

What is Payment Method vs Payment Processor vs Payment Gateway?

How Does the Payment Process Unfold?

  1. The payer initiates the transaction by entering payment details.
  2. The payment gateway encrypts and transmits this data to the payment processor.
  3. The payment processor forwards the encrypted data to the payer's bank for authorisation.
  4. The payer's bank verifies the payment details and responds to the payment processor.
  5. The payment processor communicates the response to the payment gateway.
  6. The payment gateway relays the response to the payer and the business.
  7. If the transaction is approved, the payment processor coordinates the funds transfer from the payer's bank to the business's bank.

Here’s what the process looks like:

What Are the Benefits of Having Multiple Payment Methods for Your Business?

Offering various payment methods for global payments, local payments, mobile payments, offline payments etc. can bring your business numerous benefits:

  • Enhanced Customer Satisfaction: Providing diverse payment options makes customers happy. It caters to individual preferences and lets them choose how they want to pay.
  • Expanded Customer Base: Offering multiple payment methods attracts a broader audience. Some prefer cards, others mobile payments. By accommodating both, you open doors to more customers.
  • Security Reinforcement: Different payment methods come with distinct security features. This layered approach adds extra security locks to protect transactions and sensitive data.
  • Risk Mitigation: In case of issues with one payment method, having alternatives serves as a safety net. It's a strategic move to avoid potential disruptions and ensures your business stays on track.
  • Strategic Business Decision: Offering a variety of payment methods is a strategic move. It showcases your business's adaptability, aligns with customer preferences, and positions you as a forward-thinking player in the market.

What are some of the most efficient payment methods for different businesses?

Providing a diverse array of payment options not only enhances the overall customer experience but also serves as a catalyst for increased sales. Recognising that customers seek convenience, offering multiple payment choices can eliminate purchase barriers and elevate conversion rates. 

So, here are some recommended payment methods tailored for various business scenarios.

For E-commerce

It's essential to align payment options with customer demographics and preferences. Prioritising integration with popular e-wallets and BNPL providers can help reach a wider user base. It's also crucial to ensure the adoption of secure payment gateways to safeguard customer data and offer an optimal checkout experience by providing easily accessible payment options. 

Recommended Payment Modes:

  • Digital Wallets:
  • GrabPay: Known for loyalty programs.
  • PayNow: Facilitates real-time bank transfers.
  • NETS Pay: Trusted, especially for offline payments.
  • Credit Card Payments: Ideal for higher-value purchases.
  • Debit Cards: Convenient for everyday transactions.
  • Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL): Gaining popularity, especially with younger demographics.
  • Other Options: Offline Payments (e.g., COD) or Bank Transfers for B2B transactions.

For SaaS Business

Payment options should be aligned with specific subscription plans. Understanding customer demographics and preferences can help tailor payment offerings. Providing diverse payment options to accommodate varied customer preferences is also crucial. 

Recommended Payment Modes:

  • Digital Wallets:
  • GrabPay: Known for loyalty programs and integration.
  • PayNow: Facilitates real-time transfers for recurring charges.
  • NETS Pay: Trusted for smaller subscriptions.
  • Corporate Cards: Convenient for automatic recurring payments.
  • Credit Card Payments: Widely used, especially for rewards.
  • Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL): Ideal for flexible payment options.
  • International Payment Methods: Consider Alipay or WeChat Pay for global customers.

For Professional Services

It's essential to reflect professionalism in chosen payment methods. Offering payment options that align with client preferences and being prepared to adjust offerings based on client feedback and emerging payment trends is also recommended. 

Recommended Payment Modes:

  • Bank Transfers:
  • Direct Bank Transfers: Ideal for more significant transactions.
  • PayNow: Quick and convenient for smaller payments.
  • FAST: Facilitates instant interbank transfers for more significant amounts.
  • Credit Card Payments: Still popular, especially for higher-value services.
  • Additional Considerations: Online Invoicing Platforms, Stage Payments, Deposits and Retainers, Cash (use cautiously for smaller transactions or specific preferences).

For On-demand Services

Payment options catering to on-the-go mobile users should be prioritised. Streamlining the payment process to ensure a quick and seamless experience is also essential. 

Recommended Payment Modes:

  • Digital Wallets:
  • GrabPay: Known for instant transactions and integration.
  • PayNow: Facilitates quick and secure fund transfers.
  • NETS Pay: Convenient for e-wallet users.
  • Credit Card Payments: Ideal for higher-value services.
  • Real-time Payment Networks: e.g., FAST for instant transfers.
  • Additional Considerations: In-app Payments, Card-on-File, Cash (still an option for some services).

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How to decide which payment processor to use?

Deciding on the appropriate payment processor for your business can be a daunting task. However, you can make an informed decision by focusing on key factors such as flexibility, user-friendliness, the capability to accept diverse payment methods, and robust security features. It's essential to assess which payment processor best suits your business needs, as this choice can significantly impact the customer experience. Additionally, it's advisable to compare a few payment processors and choose the one that provides the expertise and support required for your business. By carefully considering these factors, you can identify the most suitable payment processor to meet your specific business requirements.

  1. What is the most secure payment method?

The most recognised form of online payment, credit card transactions, is also one of the most secure payment methods. These transactions are encrypted, meaning the details are encoded, providing a high level of protection against unauthorised access and fraud.

  1. What is the fastest payment method in Singapore?

FAST, which stands for Fast And Secure Transfers, is a recently introduced electronic funds transfer service. It allows customers of participating banks to swiftly transfer Singapore Dollar funds from one bank to another within Singapore. This service is available 24/7, 365 days a year, providing almost instantaneous fund transfers.

  1. Are there discounts for using a particular payment method?

Yes, businesses often incentivise specific payment methods by offering discounts or exclusive promotions to encourage preferred transaction channels. 

Are you searching for an Integrated Financial Management Solution?

Aspire presents a comprehensive receivable management solution designed to streamline payment processes, optimise receivables, and ensure a robust cash flow for businesses. Our platform prioritises security with stringent safety protocols, facilitating secure transactions, while its user-friendly interface simplifies tracking and collection tasks.  The advanced reporting feature offers valuable financial insights, catering to businesses of all sizes and enhancing financial control for sustained growth. 

Aspire further enables businesses to strategically limit payment options, focusing on cost-effective methods to minimise transaction fees and streamline financial operations. Integration with accounting software expedites the book-closing process, ensuring seamless synchronisation with major accounting platforms. 

Moreover, Aspire's multi-currency corporate cards simplify global spending with competitive exchange rates and lower transaction costs. Enjoy free local transfers, save on currency exchange, and streamline international transactions hassle-free.

Don't waste any more time. Open your account now!

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Aaron Oh is a seasoned content writer specialising in finance, insurance and tech industries. With a writing history at S&P Global, EdgeProp, Indeed, Prudential, and others, Aaron leverages finance knowledge and business insights to help businesses improve productivity and performance.
Aaron Oh
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Aspire is the all-in-one finance operating system for businesses. Our mission is to empower the next generation of entrepreneurs with the financial tools they need to realise their company’s full potential.
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