Most marketers know that capturing payments is one of the most essential functions of a sales funnel. But, what happens when your product isn’t physical and you don’t sell your own goods?

Let’s say you’re an online marketer. You establish yourself as an authority in your industry by building a website that teaches people how to improve their finances. One of the first questions potential customers may have is, “How do I pay you?” You could show them a traditional invoice form, which complies with the basic requirements of a payments processor, or you could choose to take payment digitally.

Fortunately, there are solutions. And since you’re reading this article, I assume you’re already aware of the many benefits of accepting digital payments. So what type of solution should you choose? In this article, we’ll cover five methods of taking online payments that don’t require you to sell any products.

1. Collect Payments Using a Credit Card

There is a simple, yet effective approach to collecting payments. And it doesn’t require you to sell a product to implement it. All you need is a credit card and a merchant account. Once you’ve set up the credit card and merchant account with your bank, you can begin collecting money from customers. This is known as credit card processing. Let’s say your product is helpful for people in establishing credit histories and you decide to take payment through a credit card. When a customer makes their purchase through your storefront, you’ll submit a small transaction fee (between 2% and 3%) to the credit card company in exchange for the convenience of accepting payments digitally. You can also choose to have the company directly deposit the money into your account.

2. Use an Inbound Method

An interesting fact about credit cards is that they were originally created to facilitate offline transactions. That is, people would present their credit cards at the end of a store visit and the credit card company would settle the bill. As telephone orders and online transactions increased, however, credit cards were developed to facilitate online payments. The reason why you don’t typically see credit cards accepted exclusively online is because of the security concerns. In order to protect consumers’ personal information, most financial institutions restrict the types of websites that they will accept online payments through credit cards.

That is why, in most cases, you’ll need to set up a merchant account specifically to take online payments through a credit card. Still, even when using a credit card for online transactions, you should take a couple of precautions. First, make sure that the website you’re collecting payments on is secure and that your personal information is not being shared with any other parties. Second, only accept credit cards from customers who you know will remain as customers after their purchase. In other words, get to know your customers personally and build a trustworthy relationship. Third, make sure that the website you’re selling on is registered with the appropriate regulatory body. Depending on where you are located, you may need to register with specific licensing or certification authorities.

3. Use an Escrow Service

An escrow service is an intermediary that holds the funds of a buyer and a seller until the conditions of an agreement are met. In online marketing, an escrow service can be a helpful tool for collecting payments. Let’s say you’re selling a product that is supposed to improve people’s marriages. You establish a website with a comparison guide that helps users select the most suitable product for their needs. After they make their purchase, you pay the escrow service to release the funds to you.

Like with most other intermediaries, however, there are certain risks associated with using an escrow service. One of the main risks is that the escrow service can fail. If that happens, you’ll have lost both your capital and the buyer may not feel sufficiently safe in doing business with you. Still, for a simple and quick integration, many entrepreneurs and marketers opt for using escrow services rather than setting up a merchant account.

4. Use a Money Transfer Service

A money transfer service is an intermediary that allows customers to send and receive money digitally without incurring any fees. There are many benefits to using a money transfer service, not the least of which is that you don’t have to worry about keeping track of customer payments. Let’s say you’re running an online store that sells merchandise to people in the U.S. and Canada. You could set up a money transfer service where customers from either country can purchase your products. When a customer makes their payment through the service, the funds are automatically transferred to your account. There is no action required on your part to receive the funds.

5. Use a Third-Party Invoicing Solution

Having a reliable third-party invoicing solution is indispensable when it comes to taking payments. Even if you implement the four preceding methods, you’ll still need a way to generate invoices. Fortunately, there are services that allow you to send professional-looking invoices to customers quickly and efficiently. For example, Freshbooks, an online accounting platform, integrates with over 70 business systems, including PayPal. In other words, once you’ve collected payments using one of the methods mentioned in this article, you can quickly generate invoices and send them to your customers via email.

The three preceding methods only cover the basics for collecting payments. If you want to get fancy, you can use a credit card processing specialist to help you set up a merchant account and process credit cards on your behalf. Alternatively, you can use an online store that specializes in invoicing and payments to set up an account, keep track of customer orders, and generate professional-looking invoices.

Choosing the right approach to accepting online payments depends on a number of factors. One of the most important factors is how much time you have to devote to the task. If you have a limited amount of time, you should prioritize which methods you’ll implement based on how important they are to your business.