As more people become interested in the world of cryptocurrency, adoption grows and so does the number of merchants interested in accepting bitcoin payments. Here are some of the easiest methods for integrating bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies into your online business.
Why Your Business Might Want to Accept Bitcoin
Charging customers in bitcoin can prove beneficial to a business in many ways. For a start, accepting payments via credit card can be expensive, with banks and payment processors typically taking a cut of 3-5 percent. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can actually reduce such fees to less than one percent. In the case of bitcoin cash, fees are usually less than one cent. Bitcoin transactions are also irreversible, so chargebacks or returns, which are common with credit card payments, become a thing of the past. Receiving payments in bitcoin can also dramatically expedite international transactions while minimizing fees, which is ideal for online merchants.
On top of all this, there is immediacy of access to funds. Merchants of course like to have funds available as quickly as possible, as cash flow can make or break a business. Charging customers in bitcoin is one way to facilitate this.
How to Get Started
First and foremost, when a business wants to start charging its customers in bitcoin, it needs to make this fact obvious. Just as many businesses, both online and offline, make it clear they accept Mastercard, Visa or Paypal, a merchant accepting bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies will want to display this fact prominently on their website, and particularly at checkout. A brick and mortar store can display their wallet addresses in the form of a QR code at the counter. Hardware terminals and touchscreen apps are other methods for accepting payments.
Setting prices is also an important matter to consider. When a business accepts bitcoin, it makes sense, at least at this stage of cryptocurrency adoption, to display the corresponding fiat currency price, and charge the customer accordingly, since the value of bitcoin fluctuates. Depending on where the business is based, tax will also have to be taken into account. It makes sense to view any bitcoin received as payment as similar to receiving a cash payment; though somewhat anonymous, it will still have to go through the books like any other payment. One thing to bare in mind is refunds. If a customer requests a refund, the merchant will need to ask for their address in order to send the cash back to them – although some platforms have ways of dealing with this smoothly.
Bitpay is by far the most common method for merchants to accept bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH) and other cryptocurrencies right now. Its system is fast, simple and incurs little risk of volatility for merchants, since Bitpay will handle settlement and automatically convert the crypto into fiat. The cryptocurrency payment processor recently released figures revealing it processed over $1 billion in payments last year. When it comes to refunds, things are simpler with Bitpay and merchants only need an email address in order to return funds to the buyer’s account.
Benefits of Bitpay include its ability to support numerous currencies including the U.S. dollar, euro, pound sterling and Chinese yuan and direct bank deposits.
Another popular way to accept bitcoin payments is to use Coinbase Commerce. This is ideal for an online business as it enables merchants to accept payments in bitcoin and instantly convert it into fiat to save themselves from price volatility. It’s free, too, unlike receiving payments via credit card. Given the recognition and trust granted to the Coinbase brand, it may make sense for merchants to integrate Coinbase Commerce.
Receiving international payments is much easier when charging customers in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Gocoin is one of the largest crypto payment processing services and supports a number of cryptocurrencies. It offers easy integration in the form of a plugin that businesses can install on their website and has a zero chargeback system.
Open source payment processor Btcpay is particularly useful for more technically accomplished merchants. The processor is essentially a decentralized version of Bitpay and allows easy migration of existing codebase to the merchant’s self-hosted payment processor. Btcpay is helpful for merchants who want to be in control of their own funds and to accept several different cryptocurrencies. The merchant retains complete control of the full node, and payments go directly into their cryptocurrency wallet, which increases privacy and security.
What other cryptocurrency payment processors have you tried? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.