Researchers have noticed a shift in the last two or three years in the business check writing habits of managers and owners. While the number of people using other forms of payment besides checks has been increasing, the number of businesses relying on paper checks as payment has steadily declined.
There are many reasons why paper checks for business use are continuing to fall. First, paper checks take a long time to go through the banking system. While electronic payments can hit a business’ bank account in a day or two, paper checks can take up to 10 business days to process. That is a lifetime for many small businesses. Second, paper checks are easy to duplicate given today’s technology. This means businesses that are still using paper checks are leaving themselves open to fraud because the account number is clearly written on the check. No one wants to lose money from their business due to fraud.
If you are tired of worrying about paper checks as a business owner, there is software available to help you move paperless payment systems. This has become even more important because many companies have a brick-and-mortar business as well as an online business. You need a payment system that can handle both. Here is more information and ideas for moving away from paperless checks.
Things to Consider With a Payment Processing System
When you begin thinking about moving to a paperless payment processing system, there are some criteria you need to consider before making the switch. First, how much will the paperless system cost your business? If the cost is too high, it does not make sense to switch from the system you already have.
Second, will you have to sign a contract? Many business owners prefer software that allows them to try the service for a few weeks or a month for free. That way, they can decide if they like the service before they purchase it.
Third, what kind of equipment will you need to operate the service? The less equipment your business needs to move to paperless checks, the better for your business.
Fourth, is there a customer support feature? You will want a service that allows you to contact customer service quickly if a problem arises. Finally, you need to know what forms of payment the system accepts. It needs to match the forms of payment your customers are familiar with.
New Payment Systems
In the past, payment processing systems came in the form of software you could download onto computers. While some payment systems have software downloads, many others are available as an app or as a subscription that is available via cloud technology. Small businesses find apps on phones or tablets helpful because they are able to view their balance sheets and payments from anywhere.
Here are three of the most popular payment systems for businesses if you want to move away from paper check writing.
One of the popular payment systems for small businesses is Braintree Payments. Braintree Payments began as an independent company, but they have since been purchased by PayPal, which gives them immediate name recognition and PayPal’s good security features.
There are a lot of positives if you choose to go with Braintree Payments for paperless check payments. First, Braintree Payments allow small businesses to take many forms of payment, such as PayPal, ApplePay, AndroidPay, Venmo, and Bitcoin, which puts this service ahead of many paperless payment services. Another great benefit of Braintree Payments is that the system can accept a monthly subscription payment, direct sales, service calls, online sales, and brick and mortar sales. No matter what kind of business you have, Braintree can handle the payments.
The paperless payment plan doesn’t charge a monthly subscription fee, and there are no minimum transactions your company must make monthly. Braintree charges a flat 2.9% fee plus 30 cents per each transaction. Braintree has the same amount of fraud protection as PayPal has, which is great for small businesses. One of the only downsides to Braintree is that the service does not accept American Express as payment.
Another payment system that is popular with businesses is Melio. With Melio you can pay invoices, but you can also receive payments from customers. Melio accepts credit or debit card payments for your invoices or sales, as well as ACH payments available as bank transfers. There are no setup fees for businesses that use Melio, and the payment system can be integrated with the Quickbooks system. You can see both incoming and outgoing payments with your phone or tablet as well as your laptop.
Melio allows you to grow the number of people who have access to your payment system as your business grows. This is great when you have multiple people handling your accounts payable or receivable. Melio charges the standard $2.90 fee per transaction. One of the reasons Melio is so popular is the ease of use. If you cannot figure an aspect of Melio out, customer service is around 24/7 to help you out. One of the only negatives about Melio is that it is not integrated with Zapier, which is a popular workshare application.
Bill.com is also very popular with businesses. Bill.com works well for both small and medium-sized businesses. The software to use Bill.com works through the cloud, so it is available to download onto a laptop. Like Melio, Bill.com allows you to pay your bills and receive payments for products or services. Bill.com has a budgeting program that gives you the ability to get credit for your business and continue to grow it. Bill.com takes ACH payments as well as international payments for products or services and requires a monthly subscription based on the size of your business. The company is tailored for companies who charge for professional services, such as bookkeeping, counseling or therapy, nonprofit organizations, and other service-oriented businesses. Bill.com can integrate with Quickbooks, Xero, Oracle, Sage, and Microsoft, which gives business owners a lot of options for integration as their businesses grow.
One of the downsides to Bill.com is the amount of the monthly subscription plan. However, if you need specialized accounting software for a consulting or other service-oriented business, Bill.com may be perfect for your needs.
Let Protea Financial Help Guide You Away from Paper Checks
No matter which paperless option you choose, you need to get with the future. Because businesses are constantly growing and changing, adding paperless check writing options is a great way for your business to advance with the times. To find out more about how going paperless could help your business, reach out to us here at Protea Financial today!