Text to Pay: Accepting Payments by SMS Text
By now, you’ve probably seen announcements asking for donations through text messages. Various charitable organizations like the Red Cross have made donating easy – just text a particular word to a short (usually 5-digit) number to make a $10 donation. The amounts and other variables can be adjusted for different purchases or donations.
Non-profits organizations and for-profit businesses alike can take advantage of this easy payment method by understanding the fundamentals of text payments and working with a company that can support the service.
- How it Works
- Benefits to Businesses
- Text to Pay Companies
- Costs for Text Payments
How It Works
Sending and accepting payments by text is straightforward. Customers can text the number assigned to your business by the text payment company. As with all SMS text messages, the message must be 160 characters or less.
The process of sending a payment via text is the same as sending any other text message. They’ll send the information to a specific number. For some services, the payment gets added to the customer’s phone bill. In other cases, the customer will have an account with a text message payments company, and will add their credit card, debit card, or bank account and pay using one of those methods.
For Businesses and Charities
When you decide to accept payments by text, you’ll work with a company that will provide you with a phone number for customers to text, and a dashboard for you to manage texts and payments. Some services allow you to program canned responses so you can more quickly answer common questions or confirm details with customers. Additionally, by using transaction reporting and analytics, you may be able to encourage repeat visits and sign up customers for loyalty programs, or send promotional materials. The screenshots from Sonar, below, show examples of effectively marketing to customers through the messaging service.
As you can see, it’s possible to engage customers with text and images to increase sales and encourage repeat business.
Benefits to Businesses
Many customers indicate a preference for texting over phone calls. If your target market is familiar with and prefers texting, it could give you an edge over businesses that they have to call to place orders, book appointments, or make payments.
Some services may also allow you to offer discounts for repeat purchases, building loyalty.
Text to Pay Companies
To accept payments by text from your customers, you’ll need an account with a processing company that enables SMS text payments. Fortunately, there are several options already, with more appearing as the service becomes more popular.
Rhombus, powered by Stripe, is a Washington DC-based company that focuses specifically on text payments. The company sets up businesses and non-profits with a specific Rhombus number that customers can text. When making a purchase or a donation, customers simply text your number with the amount of the payment and a description of the purchase. For example, a customer purchasing a $12 pizza by text would send, “$12.00 large pizza.” Customers will receive a confirmation text and an email receipt.
Read our full Rhombus Review.
Payment Savvy, a payment technologies company based in Texas, offers pay by text with reminders when bills are due. Customers can provide their mobile number to your business to receive alerts when it’s time to pay. Customers can pay directly from their phones by text using their credit or debit card.
Sonar, another customer text messaging company powered by Stripe, provides a dedicated phone number so customers can text you with questions about products/services, place orders, and pay for purchases without having to make a call or visit your store. Sonar claims that the process of integrating text payments through your Stripe account is very easy, only requiring minimal code.
Do you use a different pay-by-text company? Let us know in the comments!
Costs for Text Payments
There is no cost to customers beyond the transaction amount.
Costs for businesses and non-profit organizations vary depending on the company and plan levels you choose. Some companies charge a monthly fee for the text services as well as a percentage and transaction fee for each payment you accept. Be sure to consider all costs when determining the right SMS text payment system for your business.
Have you accepted payments by text at your business or charity? What do you like and dislike about it? Let us know in the comments!