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 online payment gateways 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.
The Digital Wave
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 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%.
Remember, having more than one gateway on your site gives people more options and flexibility with paying you. Including PayPal alongside another solution is sometimes a better solution for your customers. Ultimately, that’s the game here – making it easy for people to give you their money.
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.
Square – One of the simplest online payment gateways
Square is a straight-forward online payment solution for pharmacies. Square’s simple transaction fees are easy to understand, and their payment solutions are simple to implement. They offer Point of Sale (what you’ll see commonly referred to as PoS) card machines for your physical location as well as their online offering. Square offers all the same integrations with website platforms as PayPal.
Unified customer data
Collecting and understanding data from your existing customers is critical in getting them back into your pharmacy and spending more money. We wrote an entire article about Data Collection for Pharmacies and its value for pharmacy owners. Square generates helpful data from your payments, such as how frequently someone shops with you, average spend and when they first visited. These all enable good segmentation for your pharmacy’s email marketing strategies.
The fact that Square offers both in-store and online payment solutions means your data collection doesn’t miss anything. If people are paying by card, you’re collecting valuable information on customer activity. With real-time reports, understand what sells best, when you’re busiest, and who the bestsellers in your team are.
Making Both Yours and Your Customer’s lives easier
Square prides itself on being easy-to-use for both your staff and your customers. Anyone with retail experience with difficult payment systems understands how important that is. As an added bonus, if you’re one of these pharmacies that looks space-age, the design will slot right in.
Taken from the Square website:
“Most credit card processors charge a fee for payment disputes, but not Square. We also save you time by managing the dispute process on your behalf.”
PayPal protecting consumer rights above all else is not the ideal starting point from a business perspective, although it obviously gives great faith to customers for buying with confidence. Square’s impartial stance on payment disputes is a good sign for dealing with them.
Pricing starts at a lower rate than PayPal, 2.5%. But their volume discounts aren’t disclosed on their website. If you like mysteries, that’s great, but less so if you want to plan things meticulously. We recommend understanding futures rates before signing up with any provider. Square 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 process the card payments. This means you can use Cardstream as your payment gateway whichever 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, Square, 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.