Now several popular payment options in the US and Canada. EFT/ACH payments.
Even a few years back, offering online payments were only something associated with credit card acceptance. Now several other options are becoming popular among the consumer and business owner around the US and Canada. EFT/ACH payments are easier than accepting and making payments from credit and debit cards for the customers or vendors. The greatest thing about this payment system is definitely the universal acceptance of payments in all forms. Instant processing, lower costs and minimal management efforts have made this a suitable payment method for all the people around the world. If you are still confused, here are a few things that can help you to decide about your business transaction and management system.
ACH stands for a self-defining term Automated Clearing House. This is a payment-processing network maintained by the Federal Reserve management. Many business owners take ACH/EFT as a direct business rival for the credit card companies. This general misconception has developed due to the exposure and advertising of the payment system providers around. The major difference between ACH/EFT and other payment providers is the credit usage and access to savings account. These two are different in transaction management as well. The accessibility and availability of ACH/EFT payments is way more universal than card payments. Canadian business can benefit from paying US vendors and suppliers without cross border delays and high transfer fees.
ACH payments are also popular as automatic check handling system by the merchants. The way it transfers money from one account to another is totally electronic and automated. That’s why EFT/ACH payments are also considered as the safest payment transactions system.
Now several popular payment options in the US and Canada. EFT/ACH payments.
Most successfully businesses use one or more 3rd party payment processing services to process their credit card orders on Internet, since this doesn't require to obtain a direct merchant account or to setup expensive ssl certificates. The 3rd party payment processing services handles payment by credit card (and usually can handle checks and other forms of payment as well), and sends the seller a monthly (typically) check or wire transfer, minus various processing fees, which vary from service to service.
These 3rd party payment processing solutions give the seller a link to a secure webpage where they can redirect their customers to, for completing the order. While the method has many benefits, it also has disadvantages.
Below I would like to make an introduction of the basic terms and concepts used by the standard payment processing services, to help sellers Understand better what they need to compare when choosing an payment processing service.
Payment Cycle- the time interval during which orders are taken for one payment. Can be monthly, bimonthly, weekly, etc. After each payment cycle ends, the payment should be sent to the seller.
Payment Hodling Time - unfortunattely every payment processing service deliberately holds the payment for an amount of time that varies between a few days up to several months. They do not send the payment immediately after the payment cycle has ended, but instead they hold the payment for the specified payment holding time. They say this is to protect them against fraud, chargebacks, and it also helps them with increasing their profit ( by holding the money in bank for an interest ). For example, for a monthly payment cycle and a payment holding time of 15 days, the money resulting from orders during October will be sent to you on or after 15th November. This is not a big issue if the payment holding time is not long, but some services have a payment holding time of 2 months or more, and you will receive your payment for October sales in January the next year.
Payment Processing Day - is the date of the month ( for montly payment cycles ) when the payment cycle should end, and the payment calculated. Usually this is the last day of the month, but some services let you specifically set it.
Signup Fee - the fee for signup. Some charge non-refundable fees, other application fees, other do not charge a fee at all.
Transaction Fee - the per transaction fee, usually a percentage with a minimum fixed value.
Chargeback Fee - when a chargeback occurs ( it happens in case of fraudulent orders or when the customer is not satisfied with the product ) not only that the payment processing service takes back the amount of the order, but it also charges you with a chargeback fee.
Some payment processing services have additional fees, such as product download fee ( for virtual goods ), monthly fee, statement fee, refund fee, wire transfer fee, contract canceling fee. You need to ask them about all these fees, because most services do NOT clearly specify it on the website nor in easy to find documentation; and you might have unpleasant surprises later if you do not. Especially with the payment holding time, it's disappointing to expect to receive the first payment just to find out that it will be sent to you months later.
It is a good practice to read the TOS ( terms of services ) and the contract before signing up, as many payment processing services state they reserve the right to terminate or suspend their services to any customer, for any and no reason at all, without notice, and they also state that the last payment will be held 6 months, for chargeback protection.
If you have a company where you bill customers on a regular basis, such as a subscription-based business, you will do well to accept electronic payments. This type of processing is known as e billing and it can do wonders for your profitability. If you have to rely on customers to be solely responsible for making their monthly payment, there is a greater chance for late or missed payments or cancellations. You are much better off to provide your customers a regular, automated system with either e billing or electronic payments. You can do this when you have a merchant account that offers this solution.
If you have any sort of monthly service that you offer customers, then the objective is to get paid as regularly as possible. You also want to make sure that the customer stays with the service which is why you would benefit from electronic payments. If you want to make sure that the customer pays consistently, then the best way to do so is to take the money on an automatic basis through e billing. Not only is this better for your business, it is actually more convenient for customers. An increasing number of people are setting up their electronic payments so that they create an automatic schedule. This is easier for them to do and tends to work out better for both parties. Those who are looking for a way to streamline their bill paying process can do so by paying automatically through this type of e billing system.
Successfull businesses look forward to accepting payments in any form from their customers. The more convenient you make it for customers to pay for goods and services, the more sales you will make. If you have any sort of monthly service that you offer as part of your business, then you want to offer your customers the chance to sign-up for automatic billing either through checking accounts, debits, electronic payments or e billing. Many people will like these types of payments as they are time-saving and cost-effective.
Strong and viable companies are becoming more automated when it comes to billing for their goods and services. Most people are accustomed to paying at least one, if not all of their bills automatically. Save yourself the time it takes to ensure your accounts recievable are accurate and make doing business with you more convenient for your customers by finding a merchant account that will process this type of payment for you.
So, save money in the long run and offer easy convenience for your customers by accepting automated monthly payments. Particularly when you offer a monthly service or some type of subscription business where customers pay you on a regular basis, you make it more convenient for them to pay you as well as easier for you to get paid.
IMPORTANT: Canada Post is increasing their postage rates to $1 for a single stamp starting April 1st, 2014!
As the costs of using traditional cheque/check payments continue to grow, it’s never been a better time to start paying your vendors and employees from Sage BusinessVision by EFT / Direct Deposit!
Be sure to check out zeckoPay! The most automated, efficient, cost-effective, and secure way to make EFT vendor and employee payments in Sage BusinessVision!
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How easy is it to create an EFT payment file in zeckoPay? Well, let's just say that after 3 quick and easy steps, you'll be wondering what else you can do during the rest of the day. Here's all you need to do:
- Select vendors and invoices you want to pay from your ERP/accounting software.
- Select payment dates for individual invoices within the EFT file, or simply accept the default payment date for entire file.
- Select the "process file" icon, and zeckoPay creates the file.
That's it, you're done!
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