5 Online Payment Form Best Practices
Companies today know that sleek, efficient online payment forms are extremely important. After all, these forms are digital versions of the customer checkout experience. And you can do a lot with them, too: You can create order forms, donation forms, event registration forms, and more… the possibilities are endless!
But let’s talk about the customer experience. Think about the last time you went to a store and bought something. Was it easy or difficult to check out and pay?
Chances are, it was easy. You probably don’t even remember when you swiped your card, as it was a seemingly minor detail (and likely didn’t take any time at all).
OK, that’s not entirely fair. It’s not always a pleasant experience, after all. Maybe you had to wait through a ridiculously long line when you happened to be in a rush.
I think we can all agree that lines and long waits are annoying. We go into stores to buy things, not hang out in lines.
If you were at the grocery store waiting around in what turned out to be a VERY long line, holding just a gallon of milk, would you stick around — or would you be more likely to call it a day and come back another time (or maybe even go to another store)?
You’d probably be closer to leaving, depending on how long the line was and how much time you had to spare.
Here’s the thing: This same scenario happens online all the time, and people can lose a lot of money over it. If your payment forms present too many obstacles, people will want to abandon your form, which results in lost trust and fewer sales.
If an order form isn’t efficient or it takes a long time to complete, people will be more likely to abandon the form entirely and go back to their lives.
People like convenience.
So, if you want to learn how to optimize your forms and stop missing out on potential sales, then read on to learn about the top four online payment form best practices:
1. Keep the design simple
To give your visitors the best possible experience, your design should be simple! Why? It (quite literally) pays off to follow the “less is more” philosophy when it comes to payment forms. This has been proven time and time again in studies, including one by Google revealing that visually complex design is seen as generally unappealing.
Psychologically, we feel more inspired to interact with a website when it’s straightforward and easy to use.
I know, I know: But you want to conserve space. But the truth is that when you squeeze everything you want into one small area, it can come across as unprofessional. And unprofessional is the absolute last thing you want to be when collecting payments.
The above form is a great example of this — there is plenty of open space, and no unnecessary fields. Each and every field plays an important role, and the questions are straightforward and easy to understand.
2. Convenience matters: Offer multiple methods of payment
As humans, we love being able to make choices and decisions for ourselves.
There’s a reason why just about every store you walk into offers multiple forms of payment: It’s convenient and much more flexible than limiting customers to one form of payment.
The more convenient the process is, the less obstacles there are in front of you and the customer.
And when you’re collecting payments online, eliminating obstacles like this can be especially crucial.
When deciding what payment methods to offer, do some market research to figure out what is most widely used in your industry, while also keeping in mind overall statistics. For example, it’s pretty useful to know that people most commonly use credit cards to take care of online payments..
3. Keep organization in mind
Here’s one big mistake I see all too often on websites: Order forms that seem to be never-ending. If a form has 30+ fields and they’re all in one place, that can be overwhelming. And anyway, who has the time to fill all those fields out?
Even if somebody did have the time to fill out every single field, they’d probably prefer doing something else with their time.
And as an organization, you value your customer’s time — and you want them to know that!
Take this example, taken from one of our templates (you can view the full version here):
The design is elegant and simple, and the best part is that the process is split into portions that are easy to digest. After filling out just a few fields, the customer is taken to the next page to fill out more information.
Breaking the steps up, as shown in the example above, makes it easier for people to use.
4. Use Web Form Solutions With TLS 1.2 Encryption
You shop at places where you feel safe, right?
Of course you do! I’m sure you can also remember a time where you walked into a store that seemed a little shady (and you probably left).
It’s no secret that people like to feel safe when they pull out their wallets, which is why stores go to great lengths to make people feel comfortable when they walk through the door.
And, as you can imagine, web order forms are no exception. In fact, earning trust online can be pretty tough. In fact, a study by Statista revealed that 17% of shoppers left a page without paying due to concerns about security.
Think about that. A whopping seventeen percent. How much would you lose in a year if 17% of people left before completing your payment form?
So, don’t give visitors any reason to question your commitment to security — make sure TLS 1.2 is enabled on your forms to help protect your data! It’s simple, effective, and it’ll give your visitors peace of mind. Showing visitors your site uses TLS 1.2 means that they know all interactions are encrypted.
It’s a simple way of keeping your visitor’s data extra secure, so hey, why not?
5. Be very, very clear — but don’t ramble
Have you ever received an email from someone, only to realize you have no idea what they’re asking for?
Don’t let your web forms fall into that same trap. Communicate clearly on your website and your customers will be happier.
Payment forms are not the place for vague questions or confusing language. For best results, it’s important to phrase questions in a way that makes sense to anyone who may be reading.
In the example below, the questions could be much shorter. On top of that, the second question is a little confusing — the respondent would have a hard time figuring out which box they will actually be receiving since it appears to be based on preference only (and not orders).
Here’s a tip: Before publishing your next form, take a few moments to run it by a colleague or a copywriter and get their feedback. A second pair of eyes can really be a big help, as somebody else may be able to point out certain areas of the form that could use more (or less) clarity.
Keep in mind that while clarity is crucial, it’s important not to bore your visitors with questions that are way too long. Say what you need to say in a way that is clear, but also short and sweet.
So, what’s your #1 tip?
It’s your turn now: What do you think is most important when it comes to online payment forms? We’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, or tweet with us @FormAssembly.