Credit Card

How to Make Clients Love Paying Your Invoice

The easier you make it for your clients to pay your invoice back, the more likely they will.

Online invoices and payments

No matter how scary this might sound, the cold hard fact is that we are living our lives online now. We prefer to connect with one another online, select products and companies online, and even manage our finances online. The entire business journey begins and ends online.

As more and more companies are switching to online payments, those that still require old-school manual payments are increasingly getting forgotten about (read not getting paid). That means YOU are not getting PAID (here’s a proof)!

One of the biggest reasons for this is the inconvenience of the old invoicing method.

Let’s see what happens when you send a conventional paper invoice:

  1. You write and print the invoice
  2. Insert it into an envelope and stuff it
  3. Go to the local postal office and send it by mail
  4. Wait for them to receive (assuming it doesn't get lost)
  5. Forward it to the right person/department and hopefully open it
  6. Then go through their payment process (sorting, prioritizing, filling out forms, bank slips, cheques)
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Each of those steps takes time and opens the door for delays to add up, all of which equals you receiving payment later and later. According to mailPro report, in the case of paper invoices, it takes an average of 19 to 40 days from the moment of issuance to payment, of which it takes at least 10 days to deliver the document.

There are other problems with this method too. For example, you have to create and reuse templates for different customers and enter their billing information twice: once in your accounts and once in each invoice. Also, keeping track of bills and payments can be time-consuming – especially if you keep them on your desktop or in a folder. Even emailing PDF invoices won't reduce the workload by much.

So how to make this more efficient? Online invoicing.

  1. You write and email an online invoice
  2. They open the invoice and pay with a click

Sending an online invoice means an immediate transmission of the document to your client, which translates into earlier payment and gives you the certainty of document delivery in real-time.

This is super convenient because your client is given a pro-active way to pay the invoice from any device at any time. The process is fast, secure and error-free; and many times it results in receiving payments within minutes of sending the invoice.

The information management company for financial services Fiserv conducted a study that suggests convenience makes payment faster and more consistent. The study analyzed 8 million telephone company accounts and discovered that people who received online bills were more likely to stay on as customers and pay their bills on time.
Get your invoices paid
online with Invoicebus

We also made a research on over five hundred thousand invoices sent via Invoicebus and noticed that businesses that use online payment as an option typically receive payment within 11 days, while all other methods usually take an average of 29 days.

Online Payments

In other words, if customers are able to instantly access a payment button on an invoice, they can instantly make a payment as well.

Speed and convenience are just a few of the many competitive advantages, but the benefits don't stop there. The online invoicing is also:


According to Finextra, the cost of using traditional or paper-based billing (postage, printing, storage, admin etc.) is around 9.5% of the amount collected. Accepting online payments helps you eliminate these costs – savings which you can then pass on to your clients, making them even happier and more likely to come back.


Online invoicing eliminates a significant amount of the manual labor you may have to spend putting invoices together. Moreover, the automation of some tasks is a huge time saver – especially when it comes to emailing invoices or following-up late payments. Remember, being able to shave off even a few minutes is worth its weight in gold.

Environmentally friendly

The carbon footprint of a single online invoice can be as small as 150 grams, whereas for a paper invoice the same figure is 450 grams. This corresponds to 1 and 3 kilometers drive in a passenger car respectively [Source: Study for Environmentally friendly electronic invoice by Federation of Finnish Financial Services, November 2010]

Get your invoices paid
online with Invoicebus

How do online invoices work?

Almost every online invoicing system works on the “bill-is-in-the-email” principle, meaning anyone with an email address can receive an itemized invoice from you. You email a link to a dynamic, real-time document to the client, who then clicks the link and opens the invoice in a browser.

Invoice Email

As the online invoice is not a PDF file, they don’t need to download or use any special software to view it. They also don't have to write a check or fill out any complicated forms to send you a payment. They just click a payment button on the invoice and that’s all.

To better visualize what an online invoice looks like, we used the online invoicing system Invoicebus to generate a live demo invoice. We also prepared a test card so you can easily simulate payment (don’t worry no real charge will be made):

Stripe Checkout arrow Credit Card

The simple payment form allows your clients to pay instantly, without being redirected away to complete the transaction. This also works well on phones and tablets, so your clients save their details, connected to an email address and a phone number, and pay with a single tap (nobody likes poking at their screens to type long card numbers).

Get your invoices paid
online with Invoicebus

How to set up online payments?

Most small business owners say they haven’t set up online payments because they just aren’t sure how to get things up and running. But don’t worry – this is easier than you think!

Probably the first and most basic step in providing online payment option is through accepting credit and debit cards.

In order to implement this you have two options:

  • use an aggregated account such as PayPal or Stripe
  • set up a dedicated merchant account

An aggregated account is quick and easy to set up but will charge you fees on top of any charges from the credit card companies (will discuss this later).

Having a dedicated merchant account reduces those fees, but can be more complicated to set up. You’ll need to go through comprehensive underwriting, and may have a hard time getting approved if you are a brand new business. It may also require additional customization of your invoicing system.

Here we’ll focus on Stripe and PayPal, as they flawlessly integrate with almost any modern invoicing system.

Get your invoices paid
online with Invoicebus


Stripe is a quick and secure way that allows you to accept Credit cards, Debit cards, and Bitcoins online. The great thing about Stripe is that you don’t need a merchant account or any special procedure to start using it. It easily integrates with almost any modern invoicing system, so you can start accepting payments directly through invoices.

All you need to do is register at, provide bank details where you’d like your funds to be sent and connect it with your invoicing system. Earnings will be transferred to your bank account on a 2-day rolling basis.

  • 2.9% + 30¢ per successful card transaction (Invoicebus automatically calculates this fee and gives you approximation how much you’ll be charged).
  • 0.5% per successful Bitcoin transaction.
  • No setup or monthly fees.
  • No refund cost
  • International cards are free, but currency conversion costs 2%.
In order to accept payments through Stripe, you or your business must be based in one of the 25 countries Stripe supports (more to come soon).
Get your invoices paid
online via Stripe


PayPal is one of the most common ways to send or receive payments online. Many invoicing systems integrate well with PayPal and add “Pay Now” button on your invoices. To pay the invoice your client will be taken to the PayPal website and prompted to fill out a simple form. They can pay with a credit card (they don’t need PayPal account), or with their PayPal balance. Once paid, the funds go straight to your PayPal account, and then you can either withdraw them to your bank account (it takes 1 day) or spend them online.

  • 1.9% to 3.4% + fixed fee per transaction.
  • No setup or monthly fees.
  • No fees to withdraw from your PayPal balance to your bank account.
  • Refund cost: transaction fee
  • International cards: 1.5% (more info)

After you properly setup your Stripe/PayPal accounts, the only thing you need to do is connect them with your online invoicing system. This usually can be done via a simple button within your online invoicing system (in Invoicebus, you can find this under Settings).

Get your invoices paid
online with Invoicebus

What about security?

The main drawbacks to online invoicing and payments are concerns over privacy and the possibility of identity theft. Fortunately, there are many safeguards available to protect your sensitive personal information from falling into the wrong hands.

In 2014, identity fraud claimed fewer victims than any other period since 2003.

According to experts, identity fraud is primarily a low-tech crime that occurs most often in traditional physical channels, such as in-person transactions and the direct theft of personal data by individuals.

Online Fraud

As the graph shows, over 41% of small businesses experience fraud when using paper-based checks. On the other hand, online payments and wire transfers are the most secure form of payment.

Replacing paper bills and statements with online invoices allows you to reduce the flow of personal information from unsecured mailboxes, where it can be a target for theft.

If you're concerned about using the Internet for financial transactions, don't be. Paying and receiving bills online is more secure than mailing paper checks.

And when you use a cutting-edge solution like Stripe or PayPal in a combination with an online invoicing system like Invoicebus, your security is guaranteed in the unlikely event of unauthorized transactions or processing delays.

Get your invoices paid
securely with Invoicebus
Whenever you need to evaluate an online invoicing tool have in mind to make a quick check of the following:

  • Look at the address bar
    The web address of any login page should begin with https:, not http:. The 's' stands for 'secure', and denotes that the website has been authenticated. In some browsers, the address bar will turn green.
  • Security seal
    Look for a security seal, such as the McAfee, Symantec, Trustwave or similar trustmark, indicating that the site has been scanned and verified as secure by a trusted third party. This security seal indicates that the site will protect you from identity theft, credit card fraud, spam and other malicious threats.
  • Password security assessment
    Check if your password is securely stored on their system. The easiest way to do it is to request a password reset. Secure systems can never retrieve your original password in clear text. They will either send you a password reset link or will generate a new password.
  • Redundancy, backups, data encryption
    This is something you can’t test it on your own, but you can always ask them how they handle your sensitive information. You can also look for this info on their website. Here’re few questions to have in mind:

    • How do you ensure the security of your web server?
    • Do you use any kind of encryption in your database?
    • How often do you make back-ups?
    • How do you protect the billing information?
Get your invoices paid
securely with Invoicebus

Few more tips to become their favorite biller

Consider offering partial payments

Some of your clients can’t afford to pay the whole amount you’re asking for immediately. Unexpected expenses, sudden fall in sales, or delayed payment from their customers are very real situations. However, this shouldn’t discourage you from giving them a chance to spread out smaller payments (make sure you make this clear on the invoice itself). Although not ideal, this might be the key to getting your money instead of them not paying at all.

Provide more than one payment option

Giving your clients various payment options can make a big difference in the likeliness of getting paid. For example, if you are offering online payments, make sure to include other methods like bank transfer or check. No matter how awesome electronic payments are, some clients will still resist paying online.

Incentivize clients for prompt payments

To help keep cash flowing into your wallet more smoothly and predictably, you may also consider something known as prompt-pay discount - incentive to encourage clients to pay not just on time, but early. Incentives might include a 1 to 2 percent discount if payment is received within a specific “early” time frame. Prompt-pay discounts are often referred to as “2/10, net 30” discounts. This reads: If the invoice is due in 30 days, you’d receive a 2% discount if you pay it in 10 days instead of 30.

Send your invoices consistently

For the clients you do regular business with, try to send your invoices on the same day each month. If they get used to seeing your invoice land in their inbox on a certain day of the month, they can make a routine of getting the payment processed as part of their own internal system.

Discuss your payment options up front

It’s always a good idea to openly discuss how you’re going to be paid before you send out an invoice. Do you accept credit card, PayPal, or maybe a check? This will ensure you never get caught in an awkward conversation later on.

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