Faster, easier payments: New features in Xero

Discover how our accounting software is evolving with payment features including Buy Now Pay Later and eInvoicing.

Two phones physically connecting to create an instant transaction.

The world of payments is fast-changing. Here’s how Xero is leading the way with new payment technology.

One of the biggest challenges for small businesses is getting paid on time. When customers miss payment deadlines, cash flow takes a hit and time is spent chasing up invoices.

Businesses, therefore, need to make life as easy as possible for their customers. This means offering more ways to pay by accepting digital payments so customers can choose their preferred method.

This hot topic was discussed at Xerocon London 2024 where industry leaders shared clever new technology that makes accepting payments a piece of cake. Xero is the first major accounting software to offer tech such as eInvoicing and the upcoming feature of Tap to Pay in the UK and Australia. Read on to learn exactly how Xero’s evolving platform can help you and your clients.

A rapidly changing world of payments

It’s exciting to think how open banking offers faster, more convenient ways to pay. Then there’s the rise of digital wallets and Near Field Communication (NFC) technology that lets devices communicate with one another. More than ever before, customers are looking to tap a card or push a button.

The upshot? Cash transactions are massively on the decline and this brings plenty of benefits. Businesses are managing less cash, and seeing improved back office processing and reconciliation. Anyone who isn’t moving with the times, however, may be failing to meet their customers’ needs and suffering late payments.

With such late payments costing UK businesses £1.6bn a year, there’s a huge fall out here. And the cost isn’t just financial – small businesses play an essential role in local communities. That’s why we’re so invested in building a payment solution that works for everyone.

How Xero streamlines the payment process

Xero helps your clients both make and receive payments with less fuss, freeing up time for the rest of their business. Let’s look at some of the specific benefits.

Accepting payments straight from a Xero invoice

Add a ‘pay now’ button to your online invoices and get paid up to twice as fast. If using Apple Pay, for example, a customer won’t need to log into their online bank account or go fetch their credit card and enter their details manually, which saves time and the risk of manual error.

In addition to choosing from multiple ways to pay, customers will find leading payment services and trusted processing services for top security. With fewer doubts and complications, they’ll likely pay that bit quicker.

Avoiding manual data entry with eInvoicing

Gone are the days when bills arrive via email and you must enter all the information yourself. Instead, eInvoices land in your Xero accounting software electronically and you can approve them in the app or on your laptop.

From here you can enjoy a better view of your client’s cash flow, seeing the money come in and go out in almost real-time. Another plus? eInvoicing is more secure than traditional methods and reduces the risk of fraud.

Paying bills directly from Xero

Just as your clients need to receive payments easily, they must pay their bills too.

Xero accounting software makes this easy. We recently launched a bill payments solution that uses open banking – powered by Crezco – and allows businesses to manage, approve, and pay GBP supplier bills directly from Xero.

It’s then possible to keep track of finances without the guesswork. You can use accurate and real-time information to understand the impact of bill payments, identify trends, and help predict and manage cash flow effectively.

New features in Xero payments

At Xero, we’re always simplifying life for accountants and bookkeepers. Here are some recently added features to our accounting software.

1. New payment methods including ‘Buy Now Pay Later’

These days, consumers are looking for more ways to pay. In particular, ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ is a popular option for anyone after a tighter grip on their cash flow.

We’ll soon roll out this new payment method to your clients through our payment partner, Stripe, along with other payment methods such as bank transfers. This means your clients can say goodbye to the hassle of juggling multiple logins and passwords, and instead access various payment methods with just one seamless sign-up.

Additionally, we've made it easy to manage payment methods in one place. Both you and your clients can now turn on or off the payment methods offered, giving you complete control.

2. Better onboarding with Stripe

We've made improvements to the onboarding process with Stripe, so that it's quick and simple to get your clients started. This includes introducing sign-up at the right place and right time, and a smoother process with fewer steps.

3. More features for bill payments

We're making it easier to pay bills by enabling end-to-end accounts payable workflows, including data capture, bill payments, and bank feeds.

Check out these new features of our software:

  1. You can schedule payments to be paid at a future date, avoiding potential bank charges for same day transactions and missing due dates.
  2. You can check the status of payments in real-time without needing to log in to the bank account.
  3. You can also see a summary of all bill payments made using direct bank transfer, giving you an accurate, digital record of which suppliers have been paid and when.

4. Even easier eInvoicing

When it comes to eInvoicing, this just got easier. You can receive your practice and client Xero subscription bills via eInvoicing.

Last month we made the opt in process even easier so you can now opt in on the billing contact page or on the subscription bill itself.

Coming soon to payments through Xero

Our product teams are continually looking for new and innovative ways to help small businesses get paid on time. Let’s look at some new features on the horizon.

Tap to Pay

Your client finishes a job. But rather than get paid straight away, they must wait to see when – or if – the money lands in their bank account.

Xero will be the first major accounting platform to offer Tap to Pay in the UK and Australia, enabling businesses to accept payments on the spot, right from their Xero Accounting app.

Businesses can simply generate an invoice in Xero and choose the Tap to Pay option. Their client can then pay with the tap of a card or digital wallet on their phone, and the Xero invoice will be marked as paid and ready to reconcile.

Powered by Stripe, this new contactless payment method for Xero invoicing gives small businesses more ways to accept the types of payments their customers want. Tap to Pay will first be offered to UK Android users in a beta program in August, and will be available on more platforms in coming months.

Greater flexibility to pay

According to Xero Small Business Insights, 50% of small businesses are paid late. To support businesses to get paid faster, Xero is helping in a number of ways:

  1. New payment methods with Stripe: In addition to credit cards, debit cards, and digital wallets (Apple Pay, Google Pay), businesses will soon be able to offer bank transfer and Buy Now Pay Later options.
  2. Single, one-time sign-up: A simpler, embedded sign-up with Stripe makes it easier to get moving and get paid.
  3. Complete control and customisation: Businesses can learn more about available payment methods and enable or disable the payment methods they want to offer.

Improved efficiencies

We’ll be improving efficiencies in getting bill information into Xero and identifying duplicate versions of the same bill in Xero. You’ll also soon be able to pay bills in foreign currencies from Xero.

Empowering businesses through better software

The right accounting software can streamline all sorts of processes, from managing tax returns and payroll to using powerful tools to predict the future.

What’s more, by automating everyday tasks, there’s less human error and more time to spend on the rest of your work – or whatever makes you happy. Learn more by joining our partner programme.

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