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A Guide to Digital Payments for Agile Event Businesses

If you asked someone to write a paper check today, you might be met with some quizzical looks. Some might have no idea where to find their checkbook, while others may not even know how to correctly fill one out (looking at you, Gen Z!). Fortunately, there’s no need to worry about paper checks, thanks to the dawning of digital payments.

Technology has simplified many aspects of business ownership, and accepting virtual payments is no exception—especially for those making on-the-spot sales. But the prevalence of digital payments doesn’t necessarily help to demystify the process for entrepreneurs; for many, it’s merely accepted as today’s status quo.

If you’re looking to adopt a digital payment system or are seeking a new processor, keep reading to learn what to look for and how to protect your business interests.

Prioritize security when selecting a processor

By accepting digital payments, you’ll make your customers’ lives easier by offering a seamless payment experience. However, it’s essential to recognize that you’re asking them to entrust their private financial information with you, whether it’s their credit card details or bank account number. 

So above all else, security must be a top priority when selecting a payment platform. Look for processors that offer fraud detection and other security measures that protect sensitive information. In addition, confirm the use of encryption protocols, such as SSL (Secure Socket Layer) and TLS (Transport Layer Security), to protect data during transit. If a payment processor does not offer adequate security features, it should be an automatic “no.”

Look for reputable companies with proven track records that show they prioritize security and compliance. If a company has bad business practices or has not undergone a security review, your information is more at risk for exposure to a data breach and payment fraud. 

Keep an eye out for red flags

Unfortunately, some payment processing companies put profit before their customers (or their integrity). So as you’re reviewing options, steer clear of platforms with:

  • Hidden fees: Some processors have hidden fees, such as setup fees, monthly fees, or transaction fees, that can impact the overall cost of processing payments. Review the pricing structure and terms thoroughly before signing up.
  • Poor customer service: Responsive customer support is crucial for payment processing. If a payment processor lacks timely and effective customer support, it may cause issues with clients wanting to book your services. Test the customer service experience by requesting a demo or asking questions.
  • Complicated setup and onboarding: An ideal payment processor is one that you and your team can easily pick up and start using. If it has a complex setup process or requires extensive technical knowledge, it may be challenging to implement and use effectively.

Mitigate risks with internal security measures

While your payment processor should provide a certain level of security, it doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. As a business owner, you’re ultimately responsible for safeguarding sensitive information on behalf of your company and your clients. 

Set a recurring reminder to regularly monitor and audit your payment transactions for signs of anomalies or potential security breaches. If you notice anything fishy, contact your payment processor immediately to resolve the issue.

It’s also important to train event staff about the importance of financial security measures so they aren’t unknowingly breaking protocol and putting clients at risk. For example, teach them to be cautious of phishing emails and show them how to report any suspicious activities they notice. Educating everyone who uses the software will establish standard operating procedures that are consistent, reliable, and safe.

Leverage software features to enhance the client experience

Digital payments are designed to improve the client experience but don’t forget to take advantage of additional features that can make it even more enjoyable to do business with you. Here are a few ways to do so:

  • Have multiple payment options: Give people a choice to use credit cards, debit cards, bank transfers, and electronic wallets to accommodate everyone’s needs.
  • Offer payment installments: Setting up payment plans allows flexibility for clients while also providing you with more control over cash flow.
  • Add custom branding: Use customization features to brand the payment experience with your company’s logo.
  • Ensure mobile-friendliness: Confirm your digital payment processor is optimized for mobile devices, as many consumers expect to pay from their phones.

Digital payments are here to stay, but recognize that operating online comes with inherent risk. Choosing a reputable provider and staying vigilant of cyber threats will provide you with the systems and procedures to streamline the client experience while protecting all parties involved. 


Elizabeth Sheils

Co-founder, Rock, Paper, Coin

Elizabeth Sheils is the co-founder of Rock Paper Coin, the first software platform to bring together wedding planners, couples, and vendors into one system for managing and paying contracts and invoices. Elizabeth is also a lead wedding planner with award-winning firm Bridal Bliss, where she manages the Seattle team. She was recently recognized by Special Events in its Top 25 Event Pros to Watch series.