How to collect payments with a membership site - GJ Inc.

How to collect payments with a membership site

“Adventures are the best way to learn.”

There’s one thing we’ve been taking for granted for a very long time - the use of our credit cards. For many, they are a part of our almost everyday life. As users, we know very little about what’s behind the use of our cards, except that we swap them in a card reader and we get to walk away with goods. Yay, that’s the fun part.

We also use them online on a regular basis. We simply enter a series of numbers, an expiration date and a cryptogram, et voila, a purchase is made via a website and a receipt is being sent via email. So convenient, right?

Now let’s flip the role.
Imagine you’re someone who wants to start a membership and collect subscription payments online.
Hummm, how does that work exactly?
How are you going to collect payments via your membership site?

When it comes to collecting money online, one of the first services that usually comes to mind is PayPal. AND, even though PayPal is certainly an option to collect payments, it is not necessarily the easiest or the best one for you as a membership site owner.

But don’t worry, there’s no need to run to your bank and ask them for a complicated credit card integration - which will cost you lots of money and most likely headaches as well.

There are easier solutions.

First let’s take a look at what happens when a purchase is made online.

  • A buyer enters a credit card number on the website, in what is called a shopping cart.
  • The shopping cart is connected to a payment gateway which collects the money.
  • The money is then wired to the merchant’s (seller, membership owner) bank account.

It is that simple.

Now let’s look at what you need as a membership site owner.

  • A shopping cart, or some sort of membership functionality that acts as a shopping cart
  • An account with a payment gateway
  • A bank account to receive the funds

Shopping cart

There are multiple solutions available for shopping carts depending on what platform you use for your membership site and how you want to enroll your members in your membership. It is best to choose a shopping cart that allows you to automatically enroll new members at the time of their enrollment. This is the type of shopping cart that is included on all of our GJ Membership site templates. One less thing to worry about.

Payment gateway

There are three big payment gateways used in the online business world. PayPal, Stripe, and Square. You’re most likely familiar with PayPal, however, it’s good to know that PayPal doesn’t have a great level of protection for the seller, aka you, the membership site owner. Additionally, its commission is higher than the other two. Although all GJ Membership site templates have the capability to use PayPal as a payment gateway, it is not our preferred option. We recommend you open an account with Stripe (it’s free) unless you already have an account with Square and prefer to use Square. In either case, their per transaction fee is lower than PayPal’s.

Bank account

What, you do not have a bank account?
Just kidding!
All right, all you need is a bank account at any bank. Stripe, Square and PayPal have the ability to transfer funds to most banks in the world depending on the country you’re in. It’s best to check with them first.

As a new membership site owner, it might look like it is a big undertaking to all of a sudden collect payments online, and it certainly can be if you’re trying to figure it out on your own. However, it’s actually a relatively simple and seamless process that can be summarized like this:

  1. Your membership site collects payments.
  2. Those payments are received via PayPal, Stripe or Square.
  3. The funds are wired to your bank account.
  4. You do a happy dance.

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