Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mini Critique: Easy Tips for Writing Your Payment Policy

Dollar Sign Necklace by Trophies on Etsy

Today’s critique is for Shades of Grey, & I’ll be focusing on her payment policy.

But before I begin her critique, as always, I want to give you some points to remember when it comes to writing your payment policies.

4 Things to Keep in Mind when Writing Your Payment Policy?

  1. Your payment policy is where you’re going to let you customer know what forms of payment your accept. On Etsy you can choose to be paid by PayPal, personal check, & money order. You need to talk about each form of payment you accept individually. Be specific & let your customer know how each type of payment works. You never know if they’re a first time buyer. Don’t overlook the fact that they might not know anything about the checkout process. You can even include a link to this checkout how-to for customers. How to Shop on Etsy
  2. Let the customer know when you expect payment. Give them a time frame & tell them if the payment needs to clear before you ship.
  3. It’s also a good idea to include your policy on canceling transactions here. The seller has to be the one to cancel the transaction so you need to let customers know that if they want to cancel their order that they need to do it within a certain amount of time {if you wish} & they need to contact you so you can cancel it & refund their money. Etsy has now updated their policy on canceled transactions. If you have to cancel a transaction, Etsy will credit back the .20 listing fee & the 3.5% transaction fee to your bill.
  4. Keep it simple. You want your customers to read your policies so they know what to expect & so they’ll feel comfortable purchasing from you. Don’t make your policies overly wordy. Check for spelling & grammatical errors. Use paragraphs, short sentences, & make sure your writing makes sense.

Now let’s take a look at each payment method below.


PayPal is probably the easiest way for customers to pay you. PayPal is free & it’s easy to set up an account with them. They accept all major credit & debit card & you can pay from your checking account through PayPal. Customers do not have to have a PayPal account to use PayPal when purchasing from you. These are all things to include in your Payment Policy under “PayPal”.

For more help with using PayPal in your Etsy shop, check out the following link: PayPal Workshop

Personal Check

Choosing whether or not to accept customer checks is a personal decision. Some sellers do & others don’t. Like I said earlier, if you want to give your customer the option of paying with a check you can always use PayPal. They enter their checking account information into PayPal & PayPal gets you your money.
If you decide to take checks yourself, it’s a good idea to let the customer know up front that their purchase will not ship until their check clears. That keeps you from getting swindled incase their check bounces leaving you with no cash & no product, & it lets them know what to expect as far as timing goes.

Money Orders

It seems that accepting money orders can be as sticky of a situation as accepting checks. From what I’ve read on the topic, most Etsy sellers say to only accept certified USPS {post office} money orders because others could be scams. Again, if you choose to go this route, make sure you let your customer know that you will not ship their purchase until the money order clears. Don’t worry about offending them…they more than likely will understand your position.

Okay, so now onto the critique!

Alright, so here's Shades of Grey's Payment Policy.

Payment Policy - I accept PayPal payments. Please complete your payment within 24 hours of purchase. Production will not begin until payment is received.
So, IMO, this policy doesn't provide enough information.You can never assume a customer knows how things work or what they're supposed to do. It doesn't hurt to give details. If they know what you're talking about, they'll skim over that part.

Now, the form of payment is listed, but maybe telling your customer a bit more about PayPal, how it works, & what to expect would be nice. 

I do like that you give a time frame on when you expect to receive payment by. 

I'd include your cancellation policy, & provide a link to the How-to Shop on Etsy tutorial.

That's it! A simple, easy, quick fix that will give you a great payment policy that your customers will be clear on! Till next time...good luck!

Meagan Visser is a wife, mother, & creative entrepreneur. Her passion is her family & helping moms learn to build successful creative businesses without neglecting their families. You can connect with her on her website, at her Etsy shop Baby Swank, or on Facebook & Twitter.


Ana Gonzalez said...

Thank you Meagan!!
Very interesting your article. Days ago I want to include in my payment layaway plan and my question is, when Etsy charges in the first payment or the last?, finally I do not know how.

Meagan said...

I'm so sorry Ana! I'm not sure I understand what you're asking.