How Payment Systems Affect Gym Growth

By Ryan Halvorson on Sep 21, 2016

According to a report from Les Mills, Millennials—born between 1980 and early 2000—are the leading age group for fitness classes and gym workouts and are likely to consider fitness a sport. This group also presents with specific payment-system needs that many fitness facilities may overlook, according to Jami Hughes, director of sales for Forte Payment Systems (www.forte.net). She offers these insights on how to accommodate the Millennial market:

Make billing and payments mobile. More than 85% of these younger adults use smartphones, and almost 20% use only mobile devices for banking and bill payment. Appeal to their needs with an effective payment service provider (PSP) that offers a mobile checkout interface that’s streamlined and easy to use, as well as easy online bill presentment to avoid the expense and delay of paper billing.

Go beyond credit card payments. Millennial fitness-center members strongly prefer debit and e-check payments to credit cards. In fact, only one-third of under-30 adults have a credit card at all.

ACH recurring payments are valuable for busy members who don’t want to make an online or in-person payment each month. ACH transactions benefit the merchant, too. They cost less in processing fees than credit card payments, make account reconciliation simpler and can settle faster than credit card payments.

Use easy integration with member-management and accounting software. Integrating payments, payment histories and billing tools makes it easy to provide reminders and notifications at check-in, review members’ payment status and follow up with lapsed members. A scalable, easily integrated solution also makes it easier to serve a growing member base, as staff will spend less time looking for information across multiple systems.

As you look for the PSP to help you start or grow your fitness business, keep these questions in mind:

  • Does the PSP offer mobile and online payment options that you can co-brand?
  • Does the PSP support the payment methods your members and potential members prefer?
  • Will the PSP offer support and documentation to help you integrate its service with your existing systems?

If the answer to these questions is yes, you’ve found a solution that can address a multitude of needs.

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Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is the publications assistant for IDEA Health & Fitness Association. He is a speaker and regular contributor to health and fitness publications and a certified personal trainer.

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