As a business owner, your goal is to find convenient, time-saving, and straightforward ways to process customer payments. After establishing electronic payment options for your customers via credit and debit card payments, you need to also explore the possibility of accepting ACH payments. These are electronic payments that are carried out through the Automated Clearing House (ACH), an extensive network of nearly every bank in the United States.
If you can’t accept ACH, read on to learn what you need to do to offer your customers this payment option.
ACH payments allow customers to make electronic payments even if they don’t have a credit card. When an ACH payment is made, funds are directly withdrawn from the customer’s bank account and transferred to the account of the business providing the product or service.
The most important advantage of ACH payments is cost. Whereas credit card processing carries fees ranging from 1 percent to 4 percent, ACH transfers are considerably lower since transactions do not go through the credit card networks and are batched to keep expenses down.
However, there are other benefits, including:
ACH transfers used to offer next-day settlements, but there now exist same-day balance transfers in the United States.1 Some countries even offer multiple settlements throughout each 24-hour cycle. By contrast, credit and debit card payments can sometimes take several days to completely clear.
ACH payments are great for companies that take regular, recurring payments from clients, such as mortgage payments, monthly utility bill payments, or subscription services. It’s possible to set up recurring payments with credit cards, but the ACH network was specifically designed for this purpose. This is why so many employers use ACH for direct deposit.
Although most shoppers have a bank account of some sort, not everyone uses consumer credit cards. This is especially true of millennials, of which 26 percent don’t have any credit cards at all.2 By enabling ACH payments, you’re able to tap into this demographic.
Although you may already have credit card processing capabilities, your business needs an account set up to accept ACH payments. While the most typical method of accepting such a payment form would be through your own company bank account, you can also accept these payments by using:
Once you have ACH processing capabilities, the following is required from the customer:
If customers are not comfortable handing over this information or your company is not prepared to properly handle it, your business should not accept ACH payments.
Most businesses are capable of accepting ACH payments without problems, and offering the ability to accept these payments often increases your customer base and income. Make sure you consider this payment option when you are working toward accommodating your customers by providing them their option of choice for paying for the products and services offered by your business.
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