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SMS stands for Short Message Service; it’s commonly known as text messaging. SMS payments are when a buyer sends you a text message to make a purchase, or you send an invoice by text to a customer. The message contains a link to a secure payment form where the customer can enter payment account information and confirm the purchase. If your business is interested in accepting SMS payments, here’s what you need to know to get started. 
SMS payments are one way to use SMS in business. They’re a form of contactless payment, so anyone with a text-enabled phone can make an SMS payment to a business. 
If your company wants to start accepting SMS payments, you’ll need an SMS payment provider. SMS payment providers enable SMS payments by integrating messaging with secure, PCI-compliant payment processing functionality. 
Some SMS payment providers are also credit card processors or facilitators, while others are purely SMS payment providers. If you’re already working with a credit card payment facilitator, check to see if it has an affiliated payment provider – this will provide the easiest integration. Otherwise, a stand-alone SMS payment provider will work just as well.
TipTip: If your business needs to find a credit card processor, check out our reviews of the best credit card processors so you can work with one that fits both your needs and budget.
Your first and most important step to start offering SMS payments as an alternative payment method is to select an SMS payment provider that is right for your business. Check with your credit card facilitator to see if it offers SMS payment processing, and compare the features and costs of other SMS payment providers.
After choosing an SMS payment provider, work with the company to select the right plan based on your anticipated SMS volume. Once you’ve done that, you can set up billing with the company, set up your account and possibly get a third-party merchant account – if needed. There are several highly rated merchant account services from which to choose.
You’ll connect your customer database with the provider, create rules about who you’ll contact and when you’ll contact them and create your basic text messages to send out for various payment situations. 
The provider will typically give you the choice of using your current business phone number or a virtual SMS number with which to receive payments.
All SMS payment providers should showcase data security and be PCI compliant. Beyond those basics, here are some other features to look for:
Here’s a look at some of the most popular and well-regarded SMS payment solutions, along with their fees, pros and cons. 
Based on the number of SMS messages sent and number of closed tickets or finished conversations:
Monthly fee of $15, $49 or $99, depending on the plan
Transaction fees:
TipTip: When you have a product that’s in high demand because it’s new, innovative, or on sale, text customers a QR code so they can reserve the product, or give them a short code to text you. This will prompt your SMS payment solution provider to reply with a text payment link to complete the sale.
While there is some variation among providers, here is how SMS payments usually work: 
FYIFYI: It’s important that your customer opts to receive text messages from your business, helping you adhere to text messaging laws. Without a customer’s consent to receive your texts, you could face fines and penalties for messaging them.
It’s ideal to initiate SMS payments either when a sale is made or after the fact. If you’re selling a service, you can immediately invoice via SMS and get paid while you’re with the customer – either at a brick-and-mortar store, an event or the customer’s location.
You can also use SMS to follow up on other forms of communication – such as mail or email – about collecting past-due invoices. Texts are harder to ignore or miss than other kinds of communication; and since the message comes on a mobile device, it’s more convenient to pay from a phone than to write a check. When it’s easier for a customer to pay, you’re more likely to get paid in a timely manner. 
If your company is already using SMS marketing, adding SMS payment options can help you close more sales. If you’re already in a conversation with a customer over text, and the customer expresses interest in buying a specific product or service, you can send an SMS invoice for that product.
Did you know?Did you know? SMS marketing and mobile marketing are different: SMS marketing sends promotional materials via text, while mobile marketing is a multichannel digital marketing strategy.
There are a variety of reasons why you may consider using SMS payment systems. Here are a few popular upsides to SMS payments:
Did you know?Did you know? There are various digital wallet options, including Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.
Implementing SMS payments is one of the best ways to use business texting, especially if you find an SMS payment provider that works with your budget and helps you connect with customers. With millions of smartphones and mobile devices out there, SMS payments are an excellent way to grow your business and foster customer loyalty.
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