Payment Form Best Practices

In 2014 the average online conversion rate was only 3%. Here at Beanstream, we know that conversion rate is too low. While payment forms are only one piece of the conversion puzzle, they are a critical one.

Payment forms have the ability to redefine your conversion rate. In a recent report of Formstack customers, those who embed a form on their site saw a 62% increase in conversions, while those who customised it to fit their theme saw a 42% increase.

Changing a few critical components of your payment form can do wonders. Just follow our best practices when updating or picking your next payment form.


Less is more, and the more simple the form the more it will convert. That is not to say that putting a single text field box into your website will magically convert leads; design is still a huge factor. So what makes a form simple?

First, reduce the number of required fields, and remove all optional fields. Are you still asking your customer if they are paying by Visa, MasterCard or AMEX? The first four digits of the credit card indicate the card type, and simple logic can automate that process.

You should also be able to indicate that the billing and shipping information are one and the same, so your customer doesn’t have to double enter their information.

Don’t bog down your customer with more fields than necessary. Especially at payment. The call to action is to pay, and asking for anything more than what is required can risk losing that conversion.

Reassure The Customer

Online payments have come a long way since the dawn of e-commerce. More and more people are shopping online. In the first quarter of 2014, 198 million US consumers bought something online; that’s 78% of the US population. However, customers can still be wary, especially on an outdated payment form.

Indicate how the payment form is secure. Do you use a well recognisable payment processor? Beanstream has a payment badge that you can add to your website that indicates you are processing with us. Is the payment form secured through a SSL? Is their payment information tokenized? Have security information easily retrievable to combat their doubts.

The best payment forms can validate information in real time, which reassures the customer that they have filled out the correct information. A common data validation is expiry date. If the expiry date is in the past, an alert will appear.

Just as information is validated in real time, error messages should occur instantaneously. Don’t wait until they hit submit to tell them the information is invalid. It’s also important to be up front with data entry requirements, to avoid customers receiving an error. Ideally data should be able to be accepted in multiple formats to avoid errors messages all together. Whatever you do, don’t make the customer use trial and error.

ex) The input for credit card number 1234 5678 9101 1121 and 123456789101112 should both be accepted.

For security reasons, you may be using a hosted payment form. A hosted payment form is held by a 3rd party, allowing all the payment information to live on their server instead of your own. The disadvantage of having this information off your server is that your customers must link to their site, which disrupts the buyer’s journey and can cause hesitation from the customer.

Payment forms that are either embedded in a website, appear as an overlay, or are customised to look like the site always convert at a greater rate.

Although best practice is to keep your form short, if you are required to have a longer form you can help your customer along. Let the customer know where they stand or how far they have to go with breadcrumbs. This can be a progress bar at the top of the page, assuring them that they only have two more steps, or have completed 3/4 of the journey.

Make it Easy

Let’s face it, the easier it is for the customer, the more likely they will convert. Don’t accept their card type? They may move along to someone who does. Accepting multiple payment methods, especially the most popular, is a guaranteed way to increase conversions.

By 2017, approximately 155.5 million users will have made at least one purchase via a web browser or mobile app on their mobile device. Make sure that your payment form is easily completed on a mobile device. If people are trying to fill in their credit card number and have the alphabet keyboard appear instead of numbers, you can guarantee they are going to be frustrated, so it’s important that the form is text block smart. A good payment form will have a responsive design so that it appears as eloquently on mobile and tablet as it does on desktop, and will help tab the customer to the next field once the previous one is completed.

Payment Forms are always evolving, and best practices shift every year as new technologies are developed. Because of this constant evolution, it’s important that you work with forms that are automatically updated for you, or, future-proofed. This ensures that the form you have on your site is always following best practices and keeping up with the latest technology and security.

Looking to upgrade your payment form? Beanstream has recently launched two new future-proof payment options; PayFields and PayForms. With five minutes and a few line of codes, you can start following payment form best practices. Start converting more today!

Nicole Stright

Nicole Stright

Nicole is our coffee dependent content specialist. With a quick-witted way with words, she could make you enjoy reading an instruction manual. She was born American, raised Canadian and has lived briefly in Poland. A quintessential west coastian she can be found running the seawall, practicing savasana in yoga or enjoying an over-hopped I.P.A. Nicole is responsible for all of the bean puns as well as creating compelling copy driven by analytics that converts. She strives to simplify the complicated and wants readers to easily understand the often convoluted industry of payments.
Nicole Stright