The Kings of Convenience, Amazon, are here to make things easier for your customers. You need to be just as convenient if you want to keep hold of them.
Accepting Online Payments for Your Pharmacy
If COVID-19 didn’t stress the importance of being able to take online payments for your pharmacy, Amazon’s recent inroads into the pharmacy world should.
Recently we talked about the importance of a website that works for you. Being able to accept payments is one of the key elements of a brilliant pharmacy website.
I tell people all the time that they aren’t competing with other pharmacies, but the general expectation of the public to what they should be able to do online now. Is it really too much to ask that someone can book and pay for a service online from you?
Well, now you are competing against other pharmacies. Amazon Pharmacy isn’t just out for you, but for everyone. Everyone will be stepping their digital game up.
This isn’t the beginning of the digital wave. The wave has been swelling for a long time. But it’s only just now reaching Community Pharmacy. If you haven’t bought into the idea yet that things are going to change dramatically in pharmacy, then soon it will be too late to surf the wave. Soon the wave will be crashing down on you and pulling you under.
Fortunately, a lot of pharmacies are now taking action. Also, with the evolution of digital health and mobile technology, and the ability to provide a vast array of private services, there are so many more reasons why taking payments online is a fantastic thing to do for your patients. We’ve had a lot of questions recently about online payments for pharmacy. Which one is the best? The cheapest? Which one has the best customer service?
We’ve certainly learned a few things over the last year about pharmacy payment gateways. For example, Stripe, a brilliant online payment gateway that we use for our own business, does not generally accept pharmacies as customers.
So we decided to write this article to give you an idea of the options available to you.
Here, in no particular order, are the Top 3 Online Payment Gateways for Pharmacy in the UK.
As we gather more data and build more eCommerce solutions for pharmacy, this article may change.
PayPal – Trusted Name, Transparent Fees
PayPal is probably the easiest payment gateway to add to any website. It’s also one of the most trusted names in online payments, which gives people convenience and confidence – two crucial factors when you’re looking to defend against convenience on an Amazonian scale.
PayPal is everything you’d want from a modern payment services provider: transparent, affordable and flexible even for the smallest of businesses.
It’s optimised for mobile and major eCommerce CMSs such as WooCommerce (WordPress), Magento, Wix, BigCommerce and Shopify – not something all gateways can claim.
PayPal’s pricing is also completely transparent. Their comprehensive list of merchant fees means you know exactly what you’ll be charged for depending on the kinds of transactions you’re accepting. There’s a high chance you only need to look at the Domestic Card Payment rates if you’re a UK-based pharmacy.
The ideal PayPal customer is going to be a small business with a relatively high volume of card transactions every month – some pharmacies definitely fall into that bracket. 2.75% transaction fees for UK-based companies are pretty steep by anyone’s measure. However, that rate decreases the greater the volume of sales you make is. If you can turn over £15k sales every month, it’s highly affordable at 1.0%.
On the downside, PayPal business customers are known to complain about funds not being released for lengthy periods and getting a resolution can take too long in the case of customer disputes. This is often just whilst PayPal verifies you as a trusted seller, but it can still be a pain if your cashflow is tight. On a similar note, its customer support team is generally quick to respond but often slow to resolve issues.
Pharmacy Mentor are Partnered with PayPal, so if you want to get in touch to see if we can get you a better deal, please contact us and we will refer you to them.
Nochex – No account needed, maximum convenience – This is now not recommended. Update to follow.
Nochex positions itself as the “#1 Alternative to PayPal & Stripe” for businesses in the UK. (Stripe doesn’t allow pharmacies to set up an account – which is why it isn’t on this list.) However, Nochex is a little different from its rivals and this will suit some businesses – or, perhaps in our case more importantly, some customers – more than others.
Customers don’t need to have an account to make payments through Nochex, which is a major plus point for providing this payment option on your site, especially as a pharmacy. People often don’t want to set up an account to pay a smaller fee, especially a one-off fee if they’re booking a service with you for the first time. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to buy from you. If someone went to pay by card in your pharmacy, and you told them before they did they had to set up an account with you? They wouldn’t be very impressed, especially if they were in a rush.
This is taken from the Nochex website:
“Nochex as an online payment service has been providing online payment processing services to small and medium-sized enterprises for many years. Many years ago we decided to actively support entrepreneurs as a PayPal alternative. We don’t automatically take the part of buyers, we give you the time to resolve disputes. Moreover, we won’t automatically freeze your funds, or even close your account, just because a computer says that is the thing to do. We talk to you, and we listen.”
If customer service is your main priority, Nochex might be a better option than PayPal.
Nochex doesn’t provide any hardware like tills or card machines for face-to-face payments, so you’ll need to get these from elsewhere if you need to take payments in person.
Remember, it’s generally a good idea to have more than one gateway on your site so people without a PayPal or Amazon account can still make a payment. So, even if you need tills and card machines, Nochex is still a great payment gateway, simply because people don’t need an account to use it.
Pricing starts at the same rates as Paypal, 2.9%+20p per transaction. But their volume discounts aren’t disclosed on their websites. If you like mysteries, that’s great, but less so if you want to plan things meticulously. Nochex makes our top online payment gateways for pharmacy in 2021.
- Monthly Fees: None Disclosed.
- Set-Up: None disclosed.
Cardstream – completely white-label, brandable payments
Cardstream is the only company in the UK to provide a fully independent “white-label” payment gateway, meaning you can use your brand and make yourself look ultra-professional. This system allows you to accept card payments on your website, whilst also providing a real-time virtual terminal so you can take payments over the phone.
The key difference with Cardstream? It’s entirely independent from banks and other payment companies that actually processes the card payments. This means you can use Cardstream as your payment gateway whichver bank is handling your card payments, and seamlessly integrate a fully customisable gateway into your website.
While Cardstream is an independent company, it has connections with a vast network of global acquirers and payment firms. So if you don’t already have one on board, they can help.
- Transaction Fees: 9.9p added to other fees after 350 transactions
- Monthly Fees: £18 Month
- Set-Up: No Fee
So which is the best online payment gateway for your pharmacy?
The best online payment gateway providers for pharmacies in the UK enable you to take card details online and they’re all highly capable options. In reality, the best choice for your business is going to come down to additional factors, such as the other payment services you need from a provider and the transaction fees you can expect to pay. It also depends on what you prefer more, lower fees, or better customer service.
PayPal, Nochex and Cardstream give you a varied selection to consider initially. Then it comes down to flexibility vs simplicity.
Have you been using a particular payment system for your online pharmacy sales and transactions? Finding a solution useful or poor? We’d love to hear from you.
If you’re looking for help in selecting the right online payment gateway for your pharmacy, please get in touch with us. We’ll be glad to help.