Years ago, it would have been hard to find merchants that would accept bitcoin payments. It was a very niche market back then and Bitcoin was mainly used as an investment tool.
However, the currency has evolved since then—creating many real-use opportunities, including using Bitcoin as a faster and more secure means of payment. Now, the cat’s out of the bag and we know that there are tons of things we can buy with Bitcoin.
Benefits of accepting Bitcoin as payment
As a business owner, what are the benefits of accepting Bitcoin? Here are a few that are enough to sway even the smallest of businesses:
- Reach a wider market – Since Bitcoin is decentralized and isn’t tied to a specific country, global transactions are seamless.
- Cost-efficient transactions – Bitcoin transactions are lightning quick and are cheaper than your traditional money transfer methods.
- Secure transactions – Although traditional means of transfer are secure, Bitcoin’s transactions are by far the most secure because of their complex hashes and immutable transaction records.
With these advantages in mind, it’s easy to see why Bitcoin transactions can be appealing to business owners. With Bitcoin being a new and unique kind of money, it’s also understandable that business owners can get a little intimidated at the start. You might wonder where to start and how to accept Bitcoin as a payment. Don’t worry! It’s simpler than you think.
One simple step away from accepting Bitcoin
Yep, you read it right—it only takes one simple step to start accepting Bitcoin as payment for your business, and that step is to create a Bitcoin wallet.
Simply put, a Bitcoin wallet is a software program that stores your Bitcoin. Because it has no physical attributes, it shows itself as a seemingly-random string of letters and numbers called a wallet address. It can also come in the form of a QR code, a pattern you can scan to make lightning-fast transactions.
Think of it as your digital cash register: as a business owner, it’s where all your earnings go at the end of a workday. It’s where your hard-earned cash is stored, so make sure you get yourself a secure one.
However, cash registers are merely temporary storage spaces—you don’t want to keep all your profits on a cash register, right? So generally speaking, it’s good practice to move your money to a more secure space at the end of your workday.
The same is true for Bitcoin: it’s more secure to move your earnings into a more secure Bitcoin wallet after settling your transactions. For example, you could use a mobile or web wallet to store your transactions for the day and then transfer it to a hardware wallet afterward. To get a clearer idea of what wallets you should be using, be sure to read up on the different types of wallets.
Once you’ve created your Bitcoin wallet, you can actually start taking Bitcoin payments—just send a wallet address or QR code to your customer, wait for them to pay, and then provide your goods or services. But what if you want an easier and more “official” way of accepting Bitcoin for your website?
In that case, you can use payment processors like Pay With Paxful to help you streamline the Bitcoin payment process on your online business. Payment processing services like this will handle the dirty work in exchange for a small service fee. But don’t worry, compared to most credit card companies and online payment services, these fees can be way cheaper.
Maximizing the opportunity
Once your Bitcoin wallet is ready to go, you can start taking payments…but why not take this opportunity to create a whole marketing campaign around it? You can’t do something this innovative without letting your audience know!
If your business is a brick-and-mortar establishment and you’re wondering how to make a Bitcoin payment at a physical store, you could add small signs, banners, or stickers around the place to let people know. If you’re running an online business, you could add a small button on your home page.
Avidly advertising that your business accepts Bitcoin is a good way to go global. It also shows that your enterprise is forward-thinking and innovative and announces that your payment processes are streamlined. Be sure to let people know what your business has got going on, and they just might want to get in on the action.
Other ways to integrate Bitcoin
Aside from direct transactions and payment processors, you can also use point-of-sale services, touchscreen applications, and gift cards to optimize your Bitcoin payments.
A point-of-sale (POS) refers to the place where a customer goes to execute a transaction, whether that be online or offline. Offline POS services can refer to hardware terminals that process virtual sales. On the other hand, their online counterparts can refer to portals or Bitcoin-specific APIs that can be integrated into existing systems.
With cryptocurrency adoption on the rise, touchscreen applications have emerged over the past few years as well. All you need to do is connect your wallet address with your selected app and input the amount you’re owed for the transaction. The app will then generate a QR code, which the customer will then scan and sign with their private keys.
Lastly, there are gift cards—a popular medium of exchange in the Bitcoin space. Unfortunately, a lot of today’s major retailers still don’t accept Bitcoin. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t pay for their goods or services using our favorite virtual currency. This is where gift cards come in.
You can use platforms like Paxful to buy gift cards using Bitcoin, and then redeem those gift cards at your favorite retailer. So if your business sells gift cards, it should be even easier for you to set up a Bitcoin payment method for them.
Get your priorities straight
Bitcoin transactions are slowly but surely changing the paradigm of daily transactions. But at the end of the day, your business is your business—you know what’s best for it.
Bitcoin transactions, as beneficial as they are, are a “nice to have” feature. They aren’t usually a make-or-break for consumers, so be sure to get your priorities in check before you even consider accepting Bitcoin.
In a time like today, new businesses are sprouting up like wildfire. We just want what’s best for you and if that means the beginning of Bitcoin payments, go for it!