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Think Global, Act Local When Accepting Payments

Hotels, B&Bs, taxis, restaurants and cafes, gift shops, local art and entertainment centers – they all make a certain place unique, authentic and memorable. They provide local communities with meeting places for dinner, relaxation and shopping, and offer unique experiences to visitors and travelers. They support the local economy. If you are a merchant in one of the above-mentioned industries, this article is for you.

But how can local businesses attract more clients or rather not loose on seasonal customers and tourists?

One way is by accepting variety of payment methods and card schemes.

Using innovative payment services has been a challenge for small and micro businesses due to the high requirements from the banks towards such businesses in obtaining point-of-sale devices or other payment acceptance solutions. With the development of the EU regulations towards e-money financial institutions, the European market has become rich with innovative and affordable payment service providers – myPOS, iZettle, SumUp, Smile & Pay, Adyen, and many more.

Let’s see what popular card schemes or payment methods you can accept

Doing business in Europe, which is frequently visited by tourists from all continents, it is really important that you accept as many international card schemes as possible. Here are some of them:

VISA, one of the most recognised card operators internationally, works with numerous card issuers worldwide to offer debit and credit cards cobranded with VISA, VISA Electron and VPay.

Mastercard is another widely recognised card operator, which delivers Mastercard -branded prepaid, debit and credit cards to consumers via their issuing banks or financial instructions. Sub-brands include Maestro and Cirrus.

American Express, also known as Amex, is an American multinational financial services company, best recognised for its charge card, credit cards and traveller’s cheques. The Amex products cards are mostly used among North American customers, but well known worldwide.

China Union Pay (CUP) is the most popular card scheme company in mainland China, with headquarters in Shanghai.  With China having a population of 1.4 billion citizens, it is very likely that you will come across a UnionPay card owner in your gift shop, restaurant or taxi.

Japan Credit Bureau, known as JCB is Japan’s leading credit card company based in Tokyo, but dynamically expanding its business overseas, having formed strategic alliances with card operators in  the United States,  China,  Canada, and India. And, since the Japanese are some of the best travellers worldwide, wouldn’t be nice to be able to accept a JCB payment for your product or service?

Mobile wallets such as GPay and ApplePay are widely used by the younger users as they can tap and pay easily from their smartphones.

In addition to the global card schemes, there are also European domestic payment methods which are gaining a growing popularity.

iDeal is an online payment method in the Netherlands that enables consumers to pay online through their own bank. iDEAL enjoys over 60% usage in the Netherlands and is also very popular in Belgium. Customers use iDEAL to pay energy bills, make donations to charities, buy mobile credits, pay local taxes, traffic fines, et

Bancontact is a payment method from Bancontact Payconiq company, widely used in Belgium, which enables customers to make electronic payments by card or mobile device, using their Belgium bank account. Bancontact payments can be made/accepted both on point-of-sale devices and online.

Channels of acceptance

Usually the first thing that comes to mind is a card reader or a payment terminal and, rightfully so, those card schemes and payment methods can be accepted by swiping, inserting or tapping your customers card onto your payment device.

Online ways of accepting card payments typically include e-commerce checkout module as well as payment links and buttons placed on websites, social media pages and even email newsletters. This type of payment acceptance is commonly used by the accommodation industry (hotels, B&Bs) as well as online retail.

There is one more way for accepting card payments and that is with over the telephone. You can use the classic MO/TO payments by receiving and processing customer card details manually. A more recent option is the Payment request, which enables you to send a payment link to your customer by email, SMS or chat.

Other bonus payment services you can offer to your customers

Mobile top-up. Offer your customers the option to top-up their prepaid mobile line while having a beverage at your coffee shop or riding in your taxi. They will surely remember the extra service.

GiftCards purchase. Why not offer your customer base your own personalised gift cards. Some providers of payment solutions offer the service – the gift cards are loaded with a chosen amount through your payment terminal and can be spent only at your locations.

top-up with myPOS terminal

Conclusion

Growing your business means going flexible in your international payments acceptance options but also staying true and loyal to your local preferences. Check out your available options for card payment acquirers and choose the one offering the richest variety of card acceptance and affordable terms of usage.

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