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Accounting & Reconciling with multiple online payment providers

What you need to know

Businesses today make sales through many more channels than previously. The main reason being that customers now also hold funds with new payment providers and are looking for enterprises which allow them to purchase through those channels as well.

Online payment providers have certainly become more prevalent as a means for business sales. Advancements in technology and online banking safety has led to increasing use of online payments, both for in-store and online purchases.

Customers can complete purchases quickly, safely and easily with online providers such as Paypal, Klarna, Amazon Pay and Giro Pay. Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Europe in general have joined the global trend in adopting these new online payment providers.

With funds flowing in from these new sources, your accounting and reconciliation system must support accurate recording of sales through the new and regular avenues.

 

The benefits of paying with online payment providers

Online service providers emerged as a safe and easy alternative to regular cash and card purchasing.
When users transfer funds, they are stored by the online service provider in a virtual account. This protects customer data, as no bank details are linked when using those funds for purchasing. Rather, the accounts are linked to the buyer’s email address. The virtual setting means payment transfers happen quickly, with funds instantly moving to the retailer’s account.
Some online payment providers further protect buyers by easily reimbursing disputed funds.

 

The benefits for businesses

Similarly to the buyer, the retailer’s business also receives an account with the online payment provider linked to their email address. Since the account is virtual, no bank details are linked or required for identification.

When a customer makes a purchase the amount is credited to the business’ virtual account with the online payment provider. For accounting purposes, the funds have not yet been transferred to the business bank account and this delay needs to be accounted for. The commission for online purchases is also paid by the retailer.

Using online payment providers for sales is made easy for businesses as a button can be embedded into your website or in your online store.
Business sales are made easy as your business can:

 > Trade globally - receiving funds in any currency is easy with online payment processing and their use of virtual accounts. The different currencies can be stored separately until you are ready to convert and transfer to your bank account.

 > Take advantage of better conversion rates - many online payment providers advertise better conversion rates than you’d get converting through your bank.

 > Receive funds quickly and easily - since funds move between the virtual accounts with the same online payment provider, the transfer is almost instantaneous.

 > Support customer trust -  fast, easy reimbursement rules for customers help reduce the risks they feel when purchasing.

 

Costs and considerations

Since the funds are stored in a virtual account by the online payment provider there is always a risk that due to a dispute or even quite suddenly, access to the funds can be denied or frozen for a period of time. Sometimes this dispute can take a lot of effort to resolve, so regularly moving most of the funds to your bank account is highly recommended.

Your company is dependent on the availability and support of those online payment providers to resolve any issues with access or the funds. There have been numerous negative reviews related to the support level of these providers.

Fee charges can differ as well among online payment providers. They must be covered by the retailer and usually include a commission plus fee for each domestic or international transaction. With some charging significantly higher rates which consequently affect your bottom line.

 

A look at some of the main online payment providers:


Paypal

Paypal is an established player in the online payment industry, with probably the largest global customer base, making it more accepted and popular world-wide. Paypal offers individual consumers and businesses digital wallet and online payment options to suit their individual needs. Additionally, Paypal is known for their security measures protecting private consumers as well as offering security services, such as fraud protection and buyer authentication, for businesses. On the other hand, these services, of course, come with a fee. Paypal is known to be have relatively higher fee levels.

Klarna

Klarna, a fintech company, works with businesses to enable customers the chance to pay in installments - or better known as buy now pay later. Customers can choose direct payment, payment within 30 days or payment in 4 installments. Today, Klarna also operates as one of Europe’s largest banks and thus offers financing loans as well. Fee structures depend on the payment format.

Amazon Pay

Amazon Pay is the digital wallet for web and mobile payments provided by Amazon. With Amazon Pay consumers can use their Amazon account to pay for purchases in other online stores. They provide compatibility for a vast range of websites. This saves them having to enter payment details again.

Giropay

Giropay is an online payment method, based in Germany, which enables consumers to pay with direct bank transfers. Since this is a popular payment method in Germany, Giropay facilitates the process between the merchants and banks in a secure portal, linked to over 1,500 German banks. Bank transfers are done in real time so merchants benefit from secure online payments.

 

Accounting: The steps

From your online payment provider account to your bank account:

1.   You need to enter the transactions from the online payment provider just like any other into your accounts
2.   You should have three types of accounts: your bank account, an account named for the online payment provider and a clearing account.
3.   Always transfer funds from the online payment provider to your bank account via the clearing account. This keeps your accounts transparent.

For example, if you are using Klarna, posting is done as so:

Step 1: Klarna clearing account (debit)​​ ➨  Klarna account (credit)
Step 2: Bank account (debit) ➨   Klarna clearing account (credit)

Accounting for fees and commissions:

1.     Post the total price (gross invoice amount) as revenue
2.     Post commission ‘incidental costs of monetary transactions’ (operating expenses)
3.     Enter the total amount deducted by the online payment provider


Continuing with the Klarna example, your accounting would look like the following:

Step 1: €X Invoice amount; Klarna account (debit) ➨  customer/debtor account (credit)
Step 2: 1.35% fee + € 0.10 + € 0.20 fee per transaction; Incidental costs of monetary transactions (debit) ➨  Klarna account (credit)
 
Now, you have the debtor balanced and the Klarna account shows the net amount.
Online payment providers fees reduce your income and thus the full amount can be claimed as a tax deduction.

(Note: Fee structures differ based on the plan, payment type, gateway etc. These figures are examples of one possibility)

 

Automate online payment accounting

A reconciliation software such as ReconHub can make the process easy and accurate. This software automatically extracts and compares the transactions in your financial records with those in your payment provider account, identifying any discrepancies which need to be investigated. Rather than devoting time to sorting through the records and searching for the root of each issue, ReconHub highlights it for you, quickly and continuously as they arise.

 

Make accounting for any online payment provider easy

Your business benefits with a system that maintains the accuracy of your financial records at all times and gives you the information you need, when you need it.
With a sturdy reconciliation software your enterprise is prepared for the future. Your business has the flexibility to accept any online payment provider and security in knowing that all costs have been accounted for and incoming revenue is maximized.


To learn more about how ReconHub can streamline your reconciliation process, contact us here!

 

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