Payments have gone from exchanging pieces of paper to swiping a piece of plastic. Now, many people pay with no physical device at all. As digital payments grow, contractors should consider allowing consumers pay the way they want. This means accepting payment apps and possibly even other types of currency, such as crypto.
Chris Yano, CEO of Ryno Strategic Services, said the topic of payment apps has been coming up a lot lately with his clients. Yano said HVAC contractors can’t ignore any form of payment, whether it’s an app or even Bitcoin. They need to meet the customer where they are at.
ACCEPT ALL: Chris Yano recommends HVAC contractors accommodate consumers however they want to pay. (Photo courtesy of Ryno Strategic Solutions)
“My belief is this, just like you should offer all channels for someone to connect with you to do business (i.e., phone, contact form, chat, text, QR code, social), you should do the same with payment options,” Yano said. “If the option comes down to getting paid by having Venmo as an option versus losing the job and not getting paid at all, I'd have the Venmo/Zelle options."
There is one issue for HVAC contractors to consider when taking mobile payments. A new tax rule takes affect this year that requires payment services to report more than $600 in payments to the IRS. Prior to this, reporting was left to the business. The rule change was part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
Still, these payment methods are increasingly popular, especially with younger consumers. HVAC contractors should consider adding them as option. Here’s a rundown of the most popular payment apps with consumers.
Venmo is one of the most popular payment apps, with more than 40 million users. It started as a way for friends to pay each other and then grew to include businesses. It’s a subsidiary of PayPal.
Venmo charges a 2.9% transaction fee for businesses. According to the website Business of Apps, more than two million merchants accept Venmo. The site reports that Venmo processed $159 billion in total payment volume in 2020.
To get started, a business owner needs to create a business profile. The owner of a business profile is charged a fee for every payment received that’s over a dollar. The seller transaction fee is a standard rate of 1.9% plus $0.10 of the payment. That means that if the business profile is sent a $100 payment, $2 of the payment would be charged as a seller transaction ee and the owner of the profile would receive $98.
Business profiles also have features designed to help businesses, such as enhanced payments, tax reporting, and disputes services. Businesses can also use Venmo as a marketing tool. The profile that businesses create use Venmo comes with a picture and background image that appears in customers’ feeds. There’s also an option to create a photo gallery.
Venmo allows for touch-free transactions, which became crucial during the worst of the pandemic. Businesses can accept payments virtually through the app. They can also use a unique business QR code.
In response to Venmo’s growing popularity, seven of the nation’s largest banks created Zelle. The Zelle Network now includes more than 1,000 financial institutions. This means the customers of these institutions all have access to the service. Businesses that maintain a checking or savings account with a member of the Zelle network are usually not charged a fee to use the service.
Consumers send the payment using their bank’s mobile app. In addition to receiving payments from customers, small business owners can send money to other small businesses that bank with a financial institution in the network.
Zelle’s banks limit the dollar amount and frequency of transactions. Because of Zelle’s connection to banks, its transfers are usually processed faster than those using Venmo.
Cash App is the mobile offering from payment processor Block Inc. (formerly Square). Block reports that more than 70 million users actively transact on Cash App. Unlike Venmo, Cash App was originally created as a business solution.
Cash App uses an identifier called a “cashtag.” Businesses can include these cashtags on marketing material to let consumers know about this payment option. Cash App also allows users to pay with Bitcoin.
Cash App limits payments to $1,000 a month unless the user provides additional information such as a date of birth. All transactions incur a 2.75% fee. Customer service is limited and online only.
The two largest smartphone operating systems, Apple’s iOS and Android, both have their own payment options. Neither of these companies are processors, so they work with the major credit card companies. Both are built into the phone’s operating system, so there is no need to download an app.