Chapter 4

Accept payments in ways that suit you and your customer

The easier you make it for customers, the faster you’ll get paid. We’ll show you the options for accepting payments.

Small business owner creating an invoice at their desk

Getting paid in cash or by cheque

Paying in cash or by cheque still suits some customers, but it does mean a trip to the bank and a bit of a delay before the payment is deposited.

Unless you’re disciplined about recording the invoice as paid straight away, it’s easy to lose track of who’s paid. If your bank doesn’t reliably enter the reference details you supply into their system, you may be none the wiser when you check your bank statement or bank feed. It’s incredibly frustrating to see a payment on your statement with no way to identify who it came from.

Receiving payment by internet banking

If you provide your bank account details, customers can make a one-off or regular payment using their bank’s internet banking software. It’s convenient, but customers must be in the same country. They’ll also need to log into their online banking to enter your bank account number, the amount to pay, and reference details. So there’s room for error.

Offering online payment, pay now, services

If you send online invoices that link to payment services like Stripe or PayPal, it’s easy for your customers to pay immediately on any device. When they open the invoice, they simply click on the ‘Pay now’ button. It makes life easier for your customers, and you’re more likely to get paid faster.

Online payment services cost nothing to set up, though there’s a small fee for each transaction. But when you look at the improved cash flow, online payments make it better for you and your balance sheet.

Using invoice financing

If you need the cash and you can’t wait for customers to pay you, you could consider invoice financing. It’s faster and more flexible than taking out a loan.

Invoice financing is offered by some finance companies. They’ll typically advance 80 or 90 percent of your unpaid invoices, so you get most of what’s owed to you then and there, instead of waiting for your customer to pay. And you only repay the amounts financed as and when the customer payments come in.

Invoice financing isn’t a regulated industry so you need to find a reputable provider and do your homework into the fees and other terms. It’s worth talking with your accountant first about whether invoice financing is a sensible option for you.

Disclaimer: Xero does not provide accounting, tax, business or legal advice. This guide has been provided for information purposes only. You should consult your own professional advisors for advice directly relating to your business or before taking action in relation to any of the provided content.

Guide to invoicing

Do your invoices go unpaid for ages? There are proven ways to change that. Check out these tips on the art of invoicing.

Download the guide to invoicing

Learn how to create and send invoices that get opened, understood, and paid. Fill out the form to receive our invoicing guide as a PDF.

Start using Xero for free

Access all Xero features for 30 days, then decide which plan best suits your business.

  • Included
    Safe and secure
  • Included
    Cancel any time
  • Included
    24/7 online support