Simple Payment Platforms Overview by

TAM 066: Simple Payment Platforms

Barry Moore - ActiveCampaign

If your needs are simple and you don't need all the extras in the high end cart platforms, or you just want to validate a concept quickly, try some of these simple online payment options

More explanation

We Chat About:

  • PayPal buttons
  • Stripe as a gateway
  • Simple options to be up and running in a few minutes


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Announcer: Welcome to The Active Marketer Podcast where we talk about how to design, automate and scale your business to the next level using sales and marketing automation. You can find out all the tips, tactics, and techniques you need to get more customers and sell more stuff over at Now, here's your host, Barry Moore.

Barry: Welcome back to The Active Marketer Podcast and another episode in our payment series. If you want to go back to episode 63, that's where it's starts, where we talk about how to come up with your requirements before you even go looking for a payment platform. No payment platform is "best." There's only one that best fits your requirements. If you don't have requirements in the first place, you're going to end up with the wrong one. I can almost guarantee it. If you haven't done it already, head back to episode 63 and listen to how to choose a payment platform.

We talked to the creators of Active Relay and SamCart, some of the more popular carts that integrate with active campaign, but what if you are just starting out and you don't have a lot of transaction value, you're not ready for a big cart platform like SamCart, or you just want something simple to test out a minimum viable product, you just want a payment button to see if anybody will buy your product in the first place? That's what today's episode is all about. It's all about simple payment platforms, simple ways to start taking payments if you're just starting out or if you just want a validate a concept.

Today, we're going to talk about a few resources you can use to quickly get payments capability up and on your website. Before we get into the meat of this week's episode, time for the Shameless Social Proof segment where we read out your iTunes reviews. This week, we've got one from I Like Maps in the United States. Five stars, says, "Great practical advice. Barry always has a great podcast. I find highly practical advice that is easy to implement. He also does a great job interviewing guests on interesting topics. Thanks for making a difference." Thank you so much for I Like Maps. I appreciate you taking the time to leave a review.

If you're enjoying the podcast and you're getting some value out of it, I'd urge you to go over to iTunes and subscribe and leave a review. The reviews help us drive the podcast further up the rankings so we can get this information and implementable advice into the hands of everybody who's trying to grow their business, so I would really appreciate it if you could take the time to do that. Without further ado, let's get into this week's episode all about simple payment platforms you can implement straight away.

In the payment series, we've been highlighting a number of different shopping carts, and there's still more to come. In the upcoming episodes, we're going to talk about the more traditional type shopping carts where you [inaudible 00:02:59] put multiple products into your basket, then you take the whole basket to the checkout, but so far, we've been talking about more the one-off product where the subscription type product checkout shopping carts where you might want to buy a product, but then upsell to another product or you might want to sell a subscription, either monthly, yearly, whatever that is, and manage those payments with your cart.

If you're just starting out, I am a big fan of the minimum viable product. Before you put a lot of time and effort in marketing into a product, you should probably check out to see if anybody wants to buy that product from you. That's what we're talking about, the minimum viable product. Sometimes, those carts can be overkill or you just want to sell a few products and you don't need the big cart and you don't want to pay $99 a month or $49 a month or whatever the price is. You just want something super simple that you can whack up there. If you're doing a minimum viable product, this is great. You can just whack together a payment button, whack it up there, and see if anybody will buy it to validate that concept of whether or not that product's going to sell. If you just have a simple product, you're not selling too many products, but you want to get started, but you don't have a high volume yet, then those higher priced carts don't really make sense.

In this episode, we're going to talk about the simpler solutions to get up and running and taking payments straightaway. Let's talk of the very, very, very simplest one, and that would be a PayPal button. If you have a PayPal account, and most people online do I think, if you have a PayPal account, you can go into your settings inside your PayPal account and you can create a button either for a one-off product or for a subscription product, as well, monthly recurring. Once you create the price and the interval that it recurs at, if it's a recurring product, PayPal will just give you some code and you can paste that code into your website, boom. Presto, you've got a PayPal button.

As I've talked about in previous episodes, if you're going to be doing a lot of volume, what you're going to find soon enough is that you want a few more features, especially around customer management and statistics and that sort of thing. It's a great way to validate a minimum viable product or if you have low volume transactions. It's a great way to just whack a button on there and start getting paid tomorrow. Super simple. Don't need SSL certificates on your site because the customer gets bounced to PayPal. They log into PayPal. They can pay by credit card with PayPal, as well, but most people don't who don't have a PayPal account, don't seem to know that, so you're going to lose a few people along the way.

If you don't want to use PayPal for whatever reason or you can't get a PayPal account where you are or you just don't like PayPal for whatever reason, then I suggest the next easiest thing would be to get a Stripe account, which we talked about in our online guide to payment processors, which I will like to in the show notes. A stripe account basically just allows you to take credit card payments and it will pull the money out of their bank account, put it into your bank account. Stripe is just the swipe machine, if you will. It's just the swipe machine in the shop. It's not the actual cash register. You still need some forms for your customer to fill out their details.

What you're going to need is something that plugs into Stripe to create forms. If you're talking about a super simple solution that's still pretty flexible, I would have a look at Moon Clerk. Moon Clerk allows you to hook up to your Stripe account and create some pretty complex payments plans, but super simple. You log in. You say, "I want to create a new payment form." It asks you what the terms of the payment are, whether it's a one-off or recurring or whether it's maybe three payments. I want to do three payments of $100 or something like that or it's $99 up front and then it's $29 a month after that. All those different payment permutations you can build pretty easily in a Moon Clerk form.

Then once you're finished, MoonClerk will give you a number of different options. You can put that onto your site as a PayPal button. Sorry, put that onto your site as a Pay Now button. You can send that link to your customer and they can click on the link and that takes them to the payment form. You can embed the payment form into your website. It will still have MoonClerk branding on it, but if you're just trying to get up and running quickly, validate a concept, who really cares? The other cool thing about MoonClerk is it's a tiered pricing model, so when you're just starting out, it's quite inexpensive, maybe $9 a month, and then you pay more as you sell more. You can get in at a relatively low price and get started straightaway. The other nice thing about MoonClerk is it does give you a link, so if someone's credit card expires, you can send that person a link, and they can update their credit card details themselves. You just go, "Hey, hey, Bob, your credit card's expired. Please click on this link and update your details." That's pretty nice.

Another nice entry level one that ramps up as you go is SendOwl. SendOwl allows you to take payments, put the payment button on your website. It pops up a little form. People put their name and address in the form and their credit card details and bang, you're taking payments. Again, they hook up to Stripe in the back end, so you're still going to need a Stripe account. Similar to MoonClerk, it starts off quite inexpensively, $9 a month I think, just to be able to take payments for one-off payments. If you want subscriptions, then that's going to cost you a little bit more. It has a similar tiered pricing model where the more features you want or the more products you sell, the cost of the cart software goes up.

MoonClerk and SendOwl are quick ways to connect to your Stripe account and be up and selling in a matter of minutes, as well. If you already have a Stripe account, you can log into MoonClerk. You could create a payment form. You can be selling something in five minutes, ten minutes tops. Same with SendOwl. If you want to do subscriptions in SendOwl though, I think that's the next tier up, which I think is $15 a month. I'll have all the links in the show notes down below, so you can just go and have a look.

If you want something that integrates with your WordPress site and you want to be able to work it into your WordPress site, a decent option there is something called Easy Digital Downloads. A nice thing about Easy Digital Downloads is it's like the low-cost airline version of a shopping cart, meaning that you get the basic functionality for free, I think, but if you want to hook up other bits and pieces to it, there are additional extensions or additional add-ons that you can buy depending on what it is you want to do. Like those low-cost airlines, if you don't want a sandwich, you don't pay for a sandwich. You just pay for what you need. It's a way to get started simply and easily and work it into your WordPress site without paying a whole lot of money, but as you grow, you can buy more extensions and more extensions to make it do what you want, recurring subscriptions, multiple payment gateways, all that kind of stuff. It's an easy start, but then the price will ramp up as you try to add more features into it.

Those are a few of the simple get started right now in the next five minutes without a big layout of cost shopping carts and a great way to validate a minimum viable product to see if anybody will buy it or if you're doing low volumes and you don't justify one of these $99 a month type carts. You can create your own payment forms and payment buttons with any of these solutions.

PayPal, you can create payment buttons, pay now buttons with PayPal, drop those buttons on your website, and people can just click, off to PayPal. PayPal does the settlement, so you don't need SSL on your site. The same with MoonClerk, except MoonClerk and SendOwl use Stripe instead of PayPal for the payment processing. Again, you'll be flipped off to their sites for the transaction, so you don't need SSL on your site. You will need a Stripe account, which is easy enough to do. It takes a day or two to set up. You plug Stripe into MoonClerk, create your payment forms, and you drop the payment button on your site or send your customer the subscription link or embed the form in your site. Very similar with SendOwl. You create a product in SendOwl. You drop the button on your site. People click on it. Up pops a little payment form. Put their details in. Boom, and they're paid. Both will do one-off products, as well as subscriptions, which is nice.

Then if you want something that will grow with you a bit more, Easy Digital Downloads is a WordPress plugin, so it's going to live inside of WordPress' part of your site. You will need SSL there to do your transactions. You're going to need an SSL certificate for your site.

If the carts we've been talking about so far are not for you, they're just a little bit too much for you right now, and you're just getting started, check out some of the ones I mentioned here, PayPal, MoonClerk, SendOwl, and Easy Digital Downloads. We'll continue on with the payment series. In upcoming episodes, we'll be talking more about the traditional shopping cart type carts where you put product A and B, put product C in your cart, take the whole cart to the checkout, multiple carts, multiple variations. You could have small, medium, large and red, blue, and green, all that kind of stuff. We're talking about those carts in upcoming episodes. Stay tuned for more in our ongoing payment series.

Thank you so much for tuning into these week's episode. In upcoming episodes, I answer your payment questions. We've got some guests coming on to talk about the more traditional carts, like Shopify and WooCommerce. Lastly, we'll talk about some of the add-on products that you can get to make your life as an online merchant a little bit easier. I look forward to seeing you back on the next episode of the podcast, but before then, as I said in the open, please, I'd love it if you could head over to iTunes, subscribe, and leave us a review. Help us get this podcast out to as many people as we can.

See you back here next week. In the meantime, get out there and design, automate, and scale your business to the next level with sales and marketing automation. See you next time, everybody.

Announcer: Thanks for listening to The Active Marketer Podcast. You can find the show notes and all the latest marketing automation news over at

Barry Moore

Entrepreneur, aviator and former eCommerce and technology executive, Barry Moore is the founder of When he isn't geeking out about how sales and marketing automation can help your business, you can find him in the surf or in an airplane.

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