Microsoft is launching a payments system inside Microsoft Teams that lets small businesses earn money from appointments, classes, one-on-one sessions, webinars, and much more. Teams business users in the US and Canada will now be able to collect payments during a meeting, opening up the service to financial advisors, lawyers, instructors, tutors, and other small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) to collect payments for virtual meetings.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a shift in how services are offered online, thanks in part to the pandemic and the growth and ease of virtual meetings. “The pandemic changed the game,” says Brenna Robinson, general manager of Microsoft 365 small and medium business, in an interview with The Verge. “I think a lot of the SMBs have now pivoted where they’re now more tech savvy and they’re not just corner shops.”
Microsoft is now tapping into that tech-savviness and demand from small businesses to offer a new payments app within Teams. It’s designed to let businesses host webinars or one-on-one sessions and accept payments for them. Microsoft has partnered with GoDaddy, PayPal, and Stripe to make this possible, and it’s free for Teams business users.
Whereas before you might have met your accountant face-to-face or taken classes in person, Teams is now making it easier than ever for small businesses to do it virtually. “I’m not sure I’m ever going to meet my accountant in-person ever again,” says Robinson. “I think we’ve learned that we maybe didn’t need to be in-person for all of these things.”
The Microsoft Teams payments app can track money received or anything outstanding during a meeting, and there are options for customers to pay at any point during a meeting. Stripe and PayPal integrations are both available today as part of a public preview, with GoDaddy payments coming soon.
With support for webinars and large amounts of attendees, there’s a lot of potential for small businesses to use this system for online classes, private networking events, and more. And for the smaller one-on-one sessions, I could imagine a future subscriptions option here so you can easily subscribe to a class and pay through Teams. “Right now it’s more one off,” explains Robinson. “I think we’re interested in this space... I’d say this is the first step of many thinking about how SMBs engage with their customers.”
The payments app for Microsoft Teams is available in public preview right now, and you can install and configure it from Microsoft’s business AppSource store right here.