Every business needs to strive to deliver a positive customer journey constantly. Those experiences your customers have with you will influence whether they come back and become loyal customers and tell others. So managing every aspect of the customer journey is critical to your success.

One key element that will help you improve the customer journey is offering convenient payment options. This level of convenience is essential for local businesses, as you are competing with larger companies with more resources. Fortunately, technology makes it easier for local companies to offer experiences just like more prominent businesses. By providing convenient payment options, you can set your business apart from the competition to attract more customers and retain your existing ones. 

Can I accept payment over SMS?

One of the best methods to improve the customer journey is to offer SMS payment, as this is among the most convenient methods for customers to pay. SMS payments have been gaining popularity in recent years, and it’s a way for your business to stand out.

Most businesses can accept payment over SMS, and it is likely more straightforward than you realize. 


Taking payment can be difficult sometimes. Sometimes customers just don’t want to come into your business to pay. You could call them and take payment over the phone, but that can be difficult and awkward for customers. Why not improve that experience by sending a text with a link to pay? That link is secure, so customers don’t have to worry about fraud.

Additionally, you can accept all of your customers’ favorite payment methods over text. This includes credit cards, Google Pay, and Apple Pay.

Customers are also much more likely to pay on time if you offer SMS payments. 95% of texts are read within 3 minutes, and the process for taking payment could take only a couple of minutes, so it’s faster than most other payment methods.

The system for sending invoices over text is automated, including the ability to text payment reminders.

The automated element of this reduces the need for manual administrative tasks. Additionally, the fact that customers are more likely to pay on time reduces the time and labor associated with following up on overdue payments.  

Plus, most consumers have smartphones today, so they’re likely to be able to follow through on your payment link.

person putting credit card into laptop


If your customers pay with a credit card, your processing fees will be for card-not-present transactions. These are slightly higher than card-present transactions.

Because paying requires following a link, only customers with smartphones can text to pay. 

How to set up SMS payments

The process of setting up SMS payments is relatively simple. The most challenging part will be deciding what service or platform to use for the payments.

Text-enable your business phone number

Before setting up your SMS payments, you will need to make sure that your number is text-enabled. You can text-enable your business’s landline number, but this feature is not automatically enabled.

Using the same number for texts and calls is wise, as it makes it easier for your customers to remember. It also makes them more likely to save your number in their phone and recognize the source of the texts. Overall, it adds convenience for your customers, improving their experience.

If your number is not already text-enabled, you can wait to do so until the next step, as your SMS provider will take care of it for you.

Remember that once your number is text-enabled, you can use it for more than just SMS payments. You can also use it for SMS marketing, customer support, and employee communications. You can use it for nearly every customer journey stage, from facilitating the sales team’s interactions to getting feedback on customer satisfaction after purchase. Plus, you can manage SMS messages from anywhere.

These are important features, as excellent customer service will come via clients’ preferred communication methods, including texting. Research suggests that customers prefer texting over phone calls, so focus on that communication method in your customer journey map. 

woman with smartphone and credit card in hands

Choose an SMS provider

If you don’t already have an SMS provider, you will need to select one. Make sure that they offer text-to-pay. Ideally, you will choose a system that also lets you handle SMS marketing on the same platform, such as Podium. This will reduce the learning curve for the software and should lower your costs.

Follow their instructions to set up SMS payments

Once you have chosen an SMS provider, follow their instructions to set up SMS payments. The best companies will guide you through the process and only require a few steps. It may be as simple as setting up your account and importing the relevant customer information. The best systems will also easily integrate with your customer relationship management program and even export data to your accounting software. 

Let your customers know (and get opt-ins)

You don’t want to text your customers with a payment link without a previous warning. They may suspect fraud and even worry that someone is spoofing your number. This concern could taint the entire customer experience, so you want to avoid it. 

Instead, let them know that you offer this service ahead of time. You can send a text or email about the new payment method, announce it on your website, or put up physical signs in your store.

Start using the system

Now all that is left to do is start using your new system. You will send customers a link via text that lets them pay securely via their preferred method. Soon, you will start noticing more on-time payments and more satisfied customers. 


What is an SMS payment link?

An SMS payment link refers to the link you send to clients via SMS. They click on the link, taking them to your secure payment platform. From there, they can use their smartphone to pay using their method of choice. 

What makes a good customer journey?

A good customer journey will be a process that makes the customers happy and represents your company in a good light. To create a practical customer journey map, you should:

  • Do your research on the preferences of your customers
  • Create customer personas with goals
  • Focus on emotions
  • Evaluate your brand’s promise
  • Pay attention to the length of the customer’s journey

During the journey itself, you want to:

  • Meet customer expectations
  • Make it easy to contact your company
  • Ensure a positive experience at each of the customer interactions or touchpoints 
  • Ask for feedback on ways to improve 

Following the above steps should help improve the customer experience. Remember to regularly evaluate customer experience data to see if you need to improve your customer journey maps. 

Why don’t customers pay?

There are numerous reasons your customers don’t pay, and offering SMS payments can overcome some of these.

Some potential reasons include:

  • They lost the invoice
  • They thought they had already paid
  • They don’t have the funds to pay
  • You make it too hard to pay
  • They aren’t happy with the product or service or service delivery 
  • You don’t penalize them for late payments

SMS is a great way to remind customers to pay on time. A gentle nudge via text helps you avoid the awkwardness of asking over the phone or in person, and it will help you get paid faster.


By offering SMS payments, you give your customers a convenient payment method. This improves customer journeys while also offering you the benefit of more on-time payments. Podium Payments offers the ability to pay over SMS, including the use of your customers’ favorite payment methods. 

Mario Ruiz
Mario Ruiz Director, Payments Product Marketing

Mario has been building software for and consulting with local businesses for 9 years. His passion in helping businesses grow has taken him across the US to meet with business owners to help them with technology and marketing solutions that will accelerate growth and improve operations.

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