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Fresh insights and best practices for event professionals

Choosing the Best Event Payment Processing System for Your Business

by | Nov 16, 2023 | Best Practices, Business Management, Event Management, Finances, Tech, Tools and Software

Planning an event can be exhilarating, but when it comes to logistics like payment processing, it can start to feel overwhelming. With so many online payment tools available to choose from, how can you choose the best event payment processing tool for your business?

Fortunately, choosing the best event payment tool isn’t as hard as you might think. By understanding the needs of your business and considering key factors, you’ll not only simplify your payment processes but also elevate your events to a new level of professionalism and efficiency. 

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • What makes a payment processing system & why you should use one for your events
  • How to optimize your event payment processing tool to maximize benefits
  • The 13 factors to consider when choosing an event payment processing system 

Let’s get started! 

What are event payment processing systems?

Event payment processing tools are sophisticated systems designed to collect payments for events. In other words, they streamline the payment process for event organizers, clients, and attendees, ensuring transactions are secure, convenient, and efficient. They’re designed to handle various types of payments, including invoice dues, ticket sales, registration fees, merchandise purchases, and donations.

Man typing credit card number into laptop

How do event payment processing tools work?

Before exploring different payment options, it’s important to understand how payment solutions work. Here’s a quick breakdown of how these tools work and how to make them work better for you:

Online payment integration

Think of event payment processing tools as the intermediaries between an event organizer’s CRM or website and financial institutions. They integrate with online payment gateways, which are trusted, secure portals responsible for authorizing credit card transactions and transferring funds between buyers and sellers.

Website integration

A good event management software will make it easy to integrate an event payment processing tool into your website. This integration allows seamless communication between an event’s registration or ticketing system and the payment gateway. In other words, it makes it easier for attendees to select and pay for their tickets all in one spot. 

Event setup

With an advanced event management system, event organizers can integrate invoicing for the event with their processor of choice, whether it’s a virtual event, in-person event, or hybrid event. This includes specifying prices, event dates, and other details. They also configure payment options, such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover credit/debit cards; digital wallets; or other online payment methods, like PayPal.

Attendee registration, payments, and confirmations

When attendees visit your event website, they’ll choose the tickets or services they wish to purchase. Then, the payment processing tool calculates the total amount due based on their selection. Attendees then enter their payment information during checkout, which is encrypted and securely transmitted to the payment gateway for authorization.

The credit card processing happens through the payment gateway, which verifies the bank account details and the availability of funds. If the transaction is approved, the payment gateway sends an authorization code to the payment processor. Then, your attendees will receive a confirmation of their card payment, and their event tickets or registration details will be sent to them.

Transaction settlement

The right payment system will give you flexible options when it comes to payouts. After your client pays or after the event if you are collecting payments from attendees, the payment system starts the settlement process. It consolidates all the payments received and transfers the funds from the client and attendees’ accounts to the event organizer’s merchant account. Settlement payout may occur daily, weekly, or according to a schedule specified by your team.

Financial Reports

Payment systems typically have basic reports you can use, but the true power behind payment systems is unlocked with the right reporting tool. Integrated payment solutions, like Planning Pod, have robust reporting and analytics that enable you to gain deeper insight and make more data-driven decisions. Event planners can track ticket sales, event registration details, revenue, attendee demographics, refunds, and so much more to optimize future event planning and marketing strategies.

Refunds and customer support

In case of refunds, chargebacks, or online event payment issues, event organizers can initiate refund requests through the payment processing tool. Customer support teams can access transaction details to assist attendees with payment-related inquiries.

PCI-compliant security measures

Throughout the payment process, security measures such as SSL encryption, tokenization, and adherence to PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) are implemented to safeguard sensitive information and ensure secure transactions.

Credit card secured with lock

Choosing the best payment processing tool: 13 factors to consider

Congratulations! You’re almost ready to select the right payment processing tool for you. First, take a moment to understand your specific needs. Are you organizing a one-time event or multiple events? What are you accepting payments for—invoices, deposits, ticket sales, donations, on-site merchandise, or all of the above? Once you know exactly what you’re looking for, consider these factors to choose the best event payment system for your needs.

  1. User-friendly interface

Even if your clients and event attendees aren’t tech-savvy, they should be able to navigate your payment solution. For a seamless client experience, opt for payment platforms that are easy to use. A clutter-free interface and easy navigation can significantly enhance their satisfaction, which in turn drives their loyalty to your business.

  1. Security measures

When it comes to online transactions, security is paramount. To give your clients and event attendees peace of mind throughout the online payment and registration process, search for a processing tool that complies with industry-standard security protocols and that consumers are already familiar with, such as Stripe, Square, and PaySimple. SSL encryption and PCI DSS compliance aren’t just fancy terms; they ensure your clients’ and attendees’ sensitive information is kept safe.

  1. Payment processing costs

Nobody likes hidden fees or unexpected charges, so it’s best to opt for a payment processing tool with transparent pricing. Planning Pod’s event payment processing tools don’t charge additional ticketing fees for registration events and work with top-rated processors like Stripe, with low processing fees of 3.2% + $0.30 per transaction. By understanding transaction fees, you’ll be able to make the best choice for your business and maximize profits. 

  1. Robust customer support

Picture this: It’s the night before your ticketed event, and you notice a payment processing glitch in the registration process. To avoid these situations, choose a payment solution that offers around-the-clock customer support. A responsive support team can be a lifesaver during crunch times.

  1. Custom invoicing templates

There’s no one-size-fits-all tool when it comes to invoicing, but that doesn’t mean you have to waste time creating individual invoices for every event. To save time and effort, choose a payment management system that offers custom invoicing options. For example, with Planning Pod’s event management technology, you can easily tailor your invoices to match your brand, add specific event details, and even include promotional messages. 

  1. Card storage options

What if your clients didn’t have to type in their card details for every single payment they make on their invoices? When you choose a payment processing tool that offers card storage, your clients can securely save their card information and make future transactions a breeze. Streamlined customer payment data makes transactions convenient and efficient, and it’s the kind of seamless experience your clients, and therefore their guests, appreciate.

Business thriving with steady revenue
  1. Business Analytics

Never underestimate the power of data. To optimize future events, search for a comprehensive solution with reports that’s compatible with your processor. Planning Pod’s CRM for event management offers invaluable insights, along with all-inclusive tools like invoicing, lead management, event registration software, and seamless event check-in to help you save time when executing events.

  1. Flexible discount codes

When choosing your payment processing tool, make sure it offers a flexible discount code system. Discounts can be a powerful marketing tool, enticing potential attendees and rewarding loyal ones. Whether you’re offering early bird specials, group discounts, or VIP perks, the ability to create and manage various discount codes easily can be a game-changer. It adds an extra layer of personalization and incentive, making your events even more appealing.

  1. Sales tax options

It’s also important to make sure your payment solution offers different sales tax options. Different events might have different tax requirements based on locations, ticket types, or products sold. As a result, having a tool that allows you to customize and automate your sales tax calculations helps take the headache out of compliance. 

  1. Seamless integration

Your payment processing tool should seamlessly integrate with your event management platform, CRM, email marketing platform, and any other tools you use during the planning process. Integration ensures your data is consistent across all platforms, saving you time, reducing errors, and enhancing your overall efficiency. When everything works together harmoniously, you can focus on what truly matters: creating unforgettable events.

  1. Dashboard alerts 

Imagine your event is right around the corner, but your client missed their payment deadlines. What’s the next step? Instead of panicking, choose an event management system that has an intuitive dashboard that can alert you to outstanding payments. It’s not just about avoiding last-minute chaos; it’s about creating a smooth, stress-free experience for both you and your clients.

Planning Pod Dashboard Alerts
  1. Automated payments

Sometimes, clients prefer to pay in installments. The right payment processing tool will allow you to set up automated payments for payment plans. Clients can opt for a payment plan—and the tool takes care of the rest. Instead of worrying about manual follow-ups and missed deadlines, your payment tool can ensure everyone stays on track without the hassle.

  1. Multiple currencies

In our interconnected world, events can attract attendees from all over the world. A payment processing tool that supports multiple currencies is your ticket to embracing this diversity. You need a platform that adapts to the currency you use, making the process familiar, convenient, and hassle-free. No more currency conversion headaches—just smooth transactions, regardless of where your business is located.

Streamline payments with event management software

Choosing the best event payment processing tool for your business might seem like a daunting task, but with the right information, it can be a breeze. By understanding your unique needs and researching your options, it’s possible to make the smartest choice for your business. Remember: The right online payment processing tool isn’t just a convenience for you; it’s also a part of the overall experience you offer to your clients and event attendees.

Streamline and optimize your event planning by integrating your preferred payment processing tool into Planning Pod’s centralized event management platform.