Viewpoint: Payment Options to Keep Cash Flowing
By Judith Haughton
The coronavirus pandemic has caused lots of uncertainty and change in both our personal and business lives. It has forced us to adapt to a new normal, perhaps changing the way business gets done in the future. While things remain fluid, there are some steps companies should consider to keep payment processing moving forward and efficient.
There are several ways to process payments when a business can’t get to their physical office-due to social distancing, that can provide companies the cash flow they need to keep their businesses running. Regardless of the type of payment processing a company wants to implement, they should seek efficiency, transparency, ease-of-use for their customers and finality with their payments. Everyone is looking for that seamless end-to-end customer experience.
There are various payment processing options to consider. Below are just a few that businesses can talk to their bankers about:
- Automatic Clearing House (ACH). An ACH payment occurs when money moves from one bank to another bank. This money moves electronically, through the Automated Clearing House Network. It usually takes a few banking days for ACH transfers since they are processed in batches only three times a day. There is an opportunity to post same day ACH transfers, but there could be additional fees associated with doing so.
- Wire Transfers. A wire transfer is an electronic transfer of money from one financial institution to another using a network. A wire transfer happens in near real-time, typically a few hours or less and usually has a higher cost associated with it given its speed. A wire transfer is relatively safe since it goes from one bank account to another-just be sure to verify the beneficiary who the money is being sent to.
- Remote Deposit Capture. There are two forms of remote deposit capture to process paper checks; one with a check scanner, the other with a deposit snapshot via a mobile phone. An image of checks is processed and sent to your bank, providing faster deposits. In many cases your bank makes funds available in one business day. Businesses should keep the paper checks until the allotted time the bank says to shred them.
- Faster Payments Options. While still relatively new, there are a few fast payment options available, such as Zelle. Faster payments allow companies to push money to consumers in near real-time for things like rebates, refunds, insurance claims and tax refunds in hours or even minutesThe coronavirus pandemic has caused lots of uncertainty and change in both our personal and business lives. It has forced us to adapt to a new normal, perhaps changing the way business gets done in the future. While things remain fluid, there are some steps companies should consider to keep payment processing moving forward and efficient.
There are also a few other ways businesses can be efficient with their finances. Businesses should use their bank’s online and mobile channels to stay current on their accounts. Electronic statements can be printed right from your home printer, if needed. This can help companies stay on top of reporting and accounting needs. Now is also the time to keep eye on security; businesses should review fraud management policies and procedures and check that they have the tools and solutions in place based on their risk tolerance. For more insights on fraud mitigation, click here.
There are several options to consider for your payment processing needs. Make sure to discuss what’s available and best for you with your business banker.
Judith Haughton is the bank cash management manager for WSFS Bank in Wilmington