In the last decade, advancements in payment technology, also referred to as ‘paytech’, has unlocked a lot of business expansion opportunities. Managing cash flow and keeping a record of the same seems like a tedious job usually, right? However, the incorporation of various paytech technologies has now enabled business owners to operate across long distances without any hassle. The shift towards paytech is also attributed to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Not to forget, the trend of virtual money rather than physical notes is creating a lot of space for the application of paytech in both large and small enterprises.
Besides transaction speed and tracking records, the paytech revolution has also addressed user experience and risk protection. Security and efficient attributes have enabled SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) to optimize operations according to the technology. SMEs are adopting various paytech solutions to regulate transactions in both wholesaler and retailer dealings.
Here are some of the trending digital payment formats being used widely:

1. Payment Gateway: Payment gateways are consumer-facing interfaces that enable you to collect payments from customers. The payment format is incorporated at point of sale (POS) terminals in physical stores. Customers can pay by either using a card or phone.

At online stores, payment gateways require APIs (application programming interfaces). The APIs allow the website to communicate with the integrated payment processing service network. At the checkout portal, the customer needs to feed credit card details for certain service providers such as PayPal.

2. Payment Links: The format is usually utilized by small businesses or companies with no e-commerce websites. Another benefit of a payment link is that the customers do not need to download or login into any payment application. Also, the payment mode is secured, instant, and user-friendly. These advantages make payment links a seamless transaction platform.

A link is generated and shared by the merchant to the customers. As soon as the customer clicks on the link, it redirects to a secured payment page. The payment can be done via UPI, cards, net banking, and wallet, among other methods. Once the transaction is done, the merchant and customer will receive the message of the transaction instantly.

3. UPI: The advent of UPI, also referred to as Unified Payment Interface, has brought many small entrepreneurs and startups under the umbrella of digital payments. The format allows both P2P (person to person payment) and P2M (Person to merchant payment). The secured payment platform allows instant payment with a prompt message of transaction.

4. eWallet: This particular payment mode first earned prominence at the time of demonetization in India, when the entire nation went cashless. And it continues to be extremely popular among small businesses. Anyone using the eWallet can add money to the wallet by linking it with a bank account. Further, the fund can be transferred and managed using a phone or computer with the help of the eWallet dashboard.

By using this payment method, you can save both paper and time. Besides, the transactions get recorded instantly.

5. Account Transfer (Net Banking): Using this payment format, money can be transferred to any bank account using relevant details. The transaction can be done using three methods- National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT), Real-time Gross Settlement (RTGS), and Immediate Payment Service (IMPS). All these transfers are done in electronic mode; however, each of them varies slightly in terms of transfer duration and minimum amount.
NEFT is done in timed batches, whereas IMPS and RTGS are real-time transfer modes. When it comes to a minimum amount, IMPS and NEFT have no minimum limitations. On the other hand, RTGS requires you to transfer a minimum sum.

6. WhatsApp Pay: The National Payments Corporation of India has allowed WhatsApp to introduce its payments feature. This means, WhatsApp users can carry out UPI transfers between different bank accounts through the app now, at no charge. However, the transaction limit is INR 1 lakh per transaction.
To make money transfers through this app, users will need an Indian bank account (one that is linked to an Indian mobile number), a debit card and an active UPI pin of 4 digits. The latest version of the app (2.20.206.5) will be needed to get registered for the WhatsApp payment feature. There is no need to hold any money in the WhatsApp wallet to make the transactions.
WhatsApp payments can also be made to those recipients who use other UPI enabled payment apps like Google Pay, PhonePe or BHIM. The payer simply has to enter the UPI ID of the recipient on WhatsApp to proceed with the transfer.

Conclusion
For small businesses, accepting payments using the above-mentioned applications can be simple and quick. This way, you can save both the time and effort involved in traditional monetary transactions, and track the inflow and outflow of cash better. Moreover, offering digital payment formats that are secured against frauds will help you earn the trust of customers too.