Reading Time: 4 minutes
When you run your own business, you discover a strange contradiction: that taking payments is both the most important and among the most challenging parts of your business. You have to manage credit card payments, figure out online terminals, juggle invoices, and take checks to the bank. What if we told you there was a way you could handle all of that with one process that will get you your money faster and cheaper?
ACH payments can help you get payments processed as quickly as the same day you take the payment and for less than a dollar per transaction. Read on to learn more about how to accept ACH payments and the benefit they can bring to your business.
What Are ACH Payments?
ACH stands for automated clearing house, and it’s an option for accepting online payments. These payments transfer funds from bank to bank and can replace things like paper checks, wire transfers, and credit or debit card payments. ACH has been around since the 1970s, but according to the regulatory body for ACH payments, more than $51 trillion was transferred via ACH in 2018.
An ACH payment allows businesses to pull money directly from customers’ checking accounts without compromising the security of either party. These can be set up as a one-time payment or as recurring payments, depending on your needs. You can set these up as debits (where your bank pulls funds from your customer’s account) or credits (where your customer’s bank sends money to your account).
Why Online Payments Are Important
One of the biggest reasons that you should be accepting credit card payments online is that you make it easier for customers to spend money with you. Without ever leaving their homes, or while they’re out on the go, your customers can buy your products. You can also capture the impulse buyers who look at your site out of curiosity and wind up spending money they might not if they had to take time to go to your store.
Online payments also make it possible for you to set up recurring payments. This allows you to set up subscriptions with your customers, whether that be for things like a monthly membership or for recurring purchases. We don’t have to tell you that having this sort of guaranteed income every month can make a huge difference is the success of your business.
When you set up ACH payments, you will have to pay a processing rate. There are a couple of different options for how these rates are set: a flat rate or a percentage. If you’re already accepting credit card payments, your merchant may provide ACH processing at no extra fee to you.
If your average transactions tend to be larger, you’ll be better off going for a flat rate processing fee rather than a percentage fee. You may also have to pay a setup fee, a monthly fee, an equipment fee, and several other fees for ACH processing. Shop around and find an ACH processing merchant whose fees will best fit your needs.
Find a Processor
There are a few different types of merchants who can help you process ACH transactions. A credit card processor or merchant account provider can help you out, as can a business bank account provider. You may be able to find an all-in-one processor who handles your credit card and ACH payments, and some accounting software providers will provide these services.
If you already have a relationship with one of these types of businesses, ask them if they offer ACH processing. If they do, find out what sorts of fees they charge for those services and if your current contract with them will cover those fees. If not, you can also look at a dedicated ACH processor.
How ACH Payments Are Processed
When you’re talking to your potential ACH processors, ask the merchant what sort of processing options they offer. There are three primary methods: a check scanner, a virtual terminal, or website payments.
Even if you accept a paper check, you can still use ACH to process the payment. You can run the check through a scanner and skip a trip to the bank.
If you have mail order payments or recurring payments, you can use a virtual terminal to input ACH payments.
You can also set up a website payment page that accepts ACH payments. It may take your customers a little while to get used to inputting their bank information during a website order. But this can be a cheaper, easier way to process these payments.
Thanks to the speed of modern technology, ACH is one of the fastest payment processing options available. ACH transactions are run through batch processing three times a day. This means you may be able to virtually settle your ACH payments on the same day you take them.
Although you can run the ACH payments on the same day, it doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily have access to those funds that day. Your bank may take a few days to process that transaction. But some upcoming changes to ACH processing may make it possible for you to get same-day or even instant deposits.
Learn How to Accept ACH Payments
Knowing how to accept ACH payments can help you grow your business even more. You can set up recurring payments, reel in impulse buyers, and get payments the same day as you run transactions. Find an ACH processor whose terms suit your needs, and start reaping the benefits of cheap, quick transactions.
If you’d like help processing ACH payments, check out the rest of our site at Seamless Chex. We can help you send and receive digital checks, receive echecks online, and run credit card and ACH processing all seamlessly. Learn more about our Seamless Merchant product and make accepting payments easier today.