The most obvious reason to offer eCheck payment processing at your place of business?
Because it’s just one more way of accepting payments. Some customers swear by their Paypal card, others like carrying cash, and there are those that like the eCheck system. We all have our personal favorite way of paying for things. Maybe we carry our smartphone and use that for everything. Maybe we like the feel of change jingling around in our pockets. Whatever the case may be, there are those who insist on paying with eCheck, and you might as well be ready to serve those customers as well as any other.
But there are a lot more reasons to consider setting up eCheck payment processing at your terminals or online shop than simply “Because you might as well.” The system is convenient for customers, sure, but it has a lot more to offer sellers than you might think. From security to efficiency to convenience, there’s simply quite a bit that eCheck payment processing has to offer that will make your life a little bit easier. Here’s just a few of our favorite things about eCheck payment processing, or ACH (Automatic Clearing House) transactions that will help your business to run a little more smoothly:
Benefits of ACH Payments #1: It’s Cheaper
If you’re not trying to improve your profit margins, are you really running a business, or is that a non-profit?
Not to say there’s anything wrong with a non-profit. And of course, you don’t want to cut costs if it means cutting corners. But at the end of the day, you’re trying to get a solid return on your investment. If your customers love that you prepare every meal to order with none of that frozen, microwaved stuff, then obviously, that’s not an area where you want to compromise. But a smart business owner is always looking for those areas where we’re just wasting money, spending more without getting anything in return for it. Spending a little extra to keep your customers loyal is just smart business. Spending a little more when there’s absolutely no reason for it, on the other hand…
So this is one of the Big Deals when it comes to ACH transactions. We don’t need to tell you that processing fees will eat into your profits on a daily basis. When you run a credit card through your system, everyone wants their cut. It makes good business days almost frustrating because yeah, you turned a tidy profit today, and now you gotta give a nice hefty chunk of it to the credit card companies and banks.
With eCheck payment processing, you get fees that are around a third the cost of a credit card processing for the same transaction, and around half of what you’d be shelling out for a paper check transaction.
Credit and debit cards are calculated as a percentage of each transaction in most cases, not counting any additional costs that may come with certain cards. Paper checks have lower transaction fees, but you have to consider the extra investment of time and energy. Dropping that big envelope of checks off at the end of the day, that eats up time and gas money when you’d rather be at home with a beverage of your choice and your favorite show on Netflix.
So an eCheck process basically combines the instantaneousness of a debit or credit card transaction with the low fees involved in paper check cashing. In short, it’s kind of weird that eCheck transactions haven’t become the standard form of payment. Some version of this technology has been around for decades, but it hasn’t really started catching on as a leading form of payment until relatively recently.
Benefits of ACH Payments #2: It’s Easier
When you make things easier, everything else seems to fall into place. Make your store easier to navigate and people will have an easier time finding what they’re after. Open up a location closer to main street and people won’t get lost on the way there. If people can get something done with one button, they’re not going to go the extra mile of pushing five. So any time something is easier, it’s better for business. People don’t like to be inconvenienced, and they definitely do not want to be inconvenienced by the people who rely on them in order to make a living. It’s just a bit… we don’t want to say insulting, but “inconsiderate” wouldn’t be a stretch. Sometimes you want to make things easier for your customers just to make sure that they know they’re appreciated.
So how does an ACH transaction make things easier for you and your customers?
Well, it’s just less stuff to have to carry around. Your customers don’t have to walk back to their car and get their checkbook and then get back in line when you tell them “Sorry, we don’t accept eChecks.” You don’t have to drive those checks across town to the bank. And nobody has to worry if someone’s going to get ripped off because you lost a check during the end-of-day transfer.
When it comes to recurring billing, eCheck processing just gets rid of a lot of headaches. Your customers don’t have to worry about whether or not they remembered to pay that invoice, they just rest easy knowing that it’s all taken care of. This is really what it’s all about, it’s why we have electronic payment options in the first place: So that we have one less thing that we have to worry about from day to day.
So eCheck payment processing makes life a little simpler for you, and it makes life a little simpler for your customers.
Not to mention, the whole thing is just plain faster. At the very least, a check written on paper isn’t going through until the banks open up the next day.
And what if the next day is a weekend or a bank holiday?
Bank hours don’t seem to make any sense. Sometimes it feels like you’re better off waiting for a total eclipse of the sun than you are waiting for a bank to open. But eCheck processes are automatic and instantaneous. Depending on the bank or store there might be processing time involved, but it’s generally going to be a lot faster than any paper check alternative, and oftentimes as fast as any credit or debit card transaction.
Benefits of ACH Payments #3: It’s Safer
There was a time when people thought that any electronic transaction was automatically vulnerable. The truth is that if someone steals cash out of your pocket, that’s it, it’s gone forever. But when it comes to electronic transactions, anytime someone tries to rip someone off, the victim can simply call their bank or Paypal or whatever the appropriate institution or organization may be in that particular instance, and tell them to cancel those credit cards, reverse that payment or remove that charge. There are vulnerabilities with electronic payments that you don’t have with paper, but there’s a relatively easy solution to all of these vulnerabilities.
You might have to stay on hold with your bank longer than you’d like, but it sure beats waiting to see if the cops catch the guy who pickpocketed you (and here’s a hint: If they’re sneaky enough to pickpocket you, then they’re sneaky enough to dodge the cops).
So by being an electronic payment option, there’s a level of security that comes with the territory when it comes to eCheck payments. But we’re not measuring eChecks up against every other form of money in the world, we’re measuring them up against comparable payment methods like debit and credit cards and paper checks. And anyways, if a customer gets pickpocketed, that’s really too bad for them, but you’ve got your own security concerns to worry about.
So what can eChecks offer a business owner in that direction?
Well a report from the AFP Payments Fraud and Control Survey released in 2016 tells us that paper checks are actually the most at-risk payment method for fraud based on data from 2014. if you think about that, it makes sense. You can print a paper check from any computer printer and most people won’t know the difference at a glance. The digital nature of an ACH payment means that everything is being verified and cross-referenced by several databases and nodes before a transaction can through. And on the off-chance that someone does manage to slip through the system, again, you can always just call the appropriate parties and have that money returned to your account.
Benefits of ACH Payments #4: It’s More Accurate
This is one of the most important things that eCheck processing has to offer.
A lot of the problems that we face when running a business simply have to do with misplaced decimals and commas, nines that look like sevens, sevens that look like ones, mishandling, on and on. When you’re handling hundreds of paper checks in a day, something is almost guaranteed to go wrong. Until the day we can hire androids to do the job for us, paper checks will come with a lot of issues relating to plain old human error.
eCheck processing is overseen by the ACH and NACHA and associated organizations. Essentially, nothing goes through the system until it’s been cross-referenced by several guidelines, protocols, regulations and databases. If something’s off, the network is going to catch it. It’s easy to slip a bad check past a human cashier, it’s easy for a human cashier to misread a good check as a bad one, it’s easy to mistake one number for another. With electronic checking, these mistakes are a non-issue.
Can things go wrong in electronic transactions?
Sure, they can. But comparing the mistakes that can be made by busy humans who are finishing a fulltime shift to the mistakes being made by a network of computers that is designed only to make eCheck transactions, it’s not even close. There’s always a margin of error, of course, but the margin of error with eCheck transactions is very close to zero.
All of this being said, it may very well be that the best reason to consider making sure that you are eCheck-capable is simply because some customers prefer paying with an eCheck.
You can use apps to pay directly from your phone, you don’t even need to take your wallet with you when you go to the store, and really, what’s better than that for the busy customer in the modern age?
Simply adapting to your customers’ needs is ninety nine percent of what running a business is all about. But as long as you’re already having an eCheck-capable terminal being installed, you might as well take the time to appreciate everything that eCheck processing can do to make your life easier and to help your business run a little more smoothly.