Fourth in a series on registration software essentials
For many planners, a single registration software tool solves one of the more tedious and difficult event challenges – getting paid.
Online payment, an essential feature of any serious registration software, virtually eliminates the never-ending phone calls, faxes, mailings, collections and – gasp – errors associated with registrations, especially pre-Internet registration processes.
The tool typically integrates an organization’s merchant (bank) account with a payment gateway so that registrants can pay online while signing up for programs or events. It’s a natural component of a registration software suite because participants are accustomed to paying while registering and event administrators don’t want the hassle of 100% “offline” payment.
With some software, online payment set up allows direct transactions from the registrant through the gateway to the event provider’s merchant account. In others, the software provider acts as the payment processor (usually for a fee), passing on the registrants’ payments (minus the fee) at designated times.
Set up is fairly simple. If you don’t already have a merchant account, it isn’t difficult to create one with your bank or a reseller. Many of the payment gateways, along with PayPal, will even set up an account for you. The most complicated aspect might be reviewing all of your options.
With payment processing third parties in place, administrators can simply build payment options and questions into the registration form. Once that information is filled in by the registrant, a typical payment window will open requesting specific payment (e.g., credit card) information. The registrant fills in the blanks, clicks submit and the process is done.
No need to send an invoice. No waiting on checks or running them to the bank. No worries about payments coming in at all hours of the day and all days of the week – because, thankfully, they will. And, expect fewer questions from finance relating to cash flows, invoices, and overdue accounts.
Better registration software also adds functionality to online payment that can make it similar to offline retail offerings. Some systems, for instance, enable administrators to create customized event discounts for anything from early registration to specific offers (e.g., senior citizens, returning participant, military, students, etc.). Other software avails tools to build in payment plans for registrants that spread the cost of an event or program over a pre-determined period.
To learn more about registration software, online payment functionality or ABC Signup, please contact us by phone (866.791.8268x0) or e-mail.