What are the best ways to go about accepting the fruits of your labor? In 2017, online payments are quick and painless. Some services will take a small fee for processing and depositing your payment, others won’t. Here we’ll look at the best ways to get payment from students. Likely, you will accept payment via a few different paths below, although customers shouldn’t expect you to accept all forms of payment. It comes down to what works best for your business, situation, and ultimately, the majority of your students.
PayPal is perhaps the easiest and most widely used online payment service. Simply sign up with your work-based email address, get your account linked to your bank, and you’re ready to go. Payment is sent directly to your PayPal account by the student. You can then deposit the money into your bank account, if you choose. PayPal takes a cut of the transaction, either from your end or the sender’s end, depending on which option you choose.
You can also obtain a PayPal.Me link, which you can share with students. This allows them to pay for lessons by simply clicking the button in an email or website, and entering the payment amount.
Credit and Debit Cards
To accept credit and debit cards, there are two main options. You may want a dedicated merchant account, as customers can already use their credit card to pay with PayPal and other aggregated holding accounts. The dedicated merchant account deposits funds, minus processing fees, directly into your bank account. Standard rules apply for credit card transactions through these dedicated accounts. This is helpful if a customer requests a refund, or you have to deal with an unfortunate case of fraud. The middle man is eliminated. PaySimple can set you up with a dedicated merchant account.
The drawback to dedicated merchant accounts is that your business will have to undergo underwriting and a credit check. As a new online teacher or business, you may not have sufficient credit to be approved. In this case, an aggregated account may be best, at least temporarily.
One of the best ways to get payments from students from the teacher’s perspective is recurring billing. Students are automatically billed once per month, or whichever billing cycle you prefer to use, without you having to hassle the student for payment or them having to remember. PaySimple has a strong recurring billing platform. Want to be paid on time every month? Recurring billing is the way to go. Easy to set up, easy to cancel, and convenient for both parties.
Click-to-pay email invoicing and direct payment through accounting apps
If you use QuickBooks for cloud accounting, you have the option to sign up for their in-house payment system. When you invoice a student, they have the option to pay automatically within the invoice. The funds are then deposited into your account in about two business days. It’s quite simple, but QuickBooks does take about a 3% cut of the transaction.
Multiple options are available for click-to-pay email invoicing, including PaySimple. Other than PayPal, this is perhaps the quickest and easiest method for customers, making it one of the best ways to get payment from students. The invoice allows them to pay via ACH, credit or debit card, and saves you the trouble of going through underwriting and a credit check. Other accounting services have similar payment services, but I’ve found QuickBooks to be the most straight forward.
Direct bank account debits are a simple and popular way to get paid online because the transaction fees are frequently lower than those of credit cards. It’s basically like the student writing you a check via the internet. The student inputs the routing and account number into an online payment interface that you provide them access to. PaySimple can also set you up here. 2CheckOut and FTNI are other options.
Venmo, sending money through Facebook, and other forms of ‘social e-payment’ or ‘share payment’ services
Personally, I’m not a fan of using Venmo, Facebook payments, or other ‘payment apps’ for professional situations. Call me old-school, but it just strikes me as cheesy. If you’re teaching a friend how to play guitar, splitting a cab ride, or repaying a family member who lives far away, Venmo is a great option. For the workplace? Not so much.
When considering the best ways to get payment from students, remember that the overall goal is to make the process simple. Keeping it stress-free for both you and the student is key. As an online teacher, you don’t want to be hounding students multiple times to get payment any more than they want to fall behind in the first place. The best ways to get payments from students have minimal clicks involved, keep the payer in one place, and are as automated as possible.