For new small businesses, a big part of biting off the market share they need to grow is finding ways to make service easy for customers. One of the best, fastest opportunities is by accepting the payment options your customers want to use. That’s why practically every small business now accepts credit cards, even pop-up vendors that operate their independent enterprises part-time. It’s also why more and more businesses are turning to ACH payment as an option, especially businesses that rely on ecommerce. The trend toward ACH payment processing is also growing for traditional retail spaces, though, especially as processing options become more accessible. Here are all the reasons why it’s a good idea to make ACH an option for your customers no matter what line of work your business is in.
1. It’s Often the Cheapest Option
Processing checks means waiting for payment to clear for your business. For customers, it means maintaining a physical checkbook and paying for the supplies. ACH allows for a deduction from a checking account without any of those extras, so customers can use it without having to run through a limited supply of paper checks. If the ACH transaction is declined, you just refuse the sale unless there’s another payment option presented. While there are fees associated with the processing, they’re usually lower than the costs for processing a similarly sized credit card transaction.
2. Transactions Complete Faster Than Paper Checks
ACH is instantly verified and cleared in moments, so you don’t have to worry about whether a transaction will bounce like you do with checks. This can lower your costs overall, but it mostly operates as good insurance against customer fraud. It’s harder to reverse an authorized ACH transaction than to put a chargeback into motion, and it involves getting you to authorize the refund in most cases.
3. It Makes Managing Your Finances Easier
Card payments can take one to five days to reach your business checking account after a payment is authorized, and checks can take even longer sometimes. By contrast, an ACH payment is done immediately, so by the time a customer leaves your store or an online order is processed for shipping you’ve already got cash on hand. This makes it easier for you to meet your obligations by making your cash flow work for you. After all, it’s just good business sense to opt for any method that reduces the gap between a transaction appearing on your books and cash appearing in your account.
4. Widen Your Customer Pool
Online companies are especially well-positioned to expand sales when they take on ACH processing, for a number of reasons. Companies that serve other businesses often find their clients prefer to be able to pay electronically without relying on options that charge them high interest rates, as business credit cards sometimes do. This is especially true when it comes to large orders or payment agreements that allow customers to pay you directly in installments as a project is completed, like some manufacturers do when ordering supplies that will take multiple delivery shipments. For public-facing companies, ACH allows you to reach customers who don’t want to use a credit or debit card for their own reasons and those that don’t even have them.
5. Attract Customers With Forward-Thinking Policies
This last reason for accepting ACH payment is harder to quantify in terms of bottom line benefits, but it’s no less real than the dollars and sense reasons, and that is the appeal it makes to customers who don’t use ACH. Even customers who opt for a credit or debit transaction will remember your commitment to offering the broadest range of payment options possible, which sets you apart from companies that do not. It communicates a willingness to be flexible and to meet the people you serve where they are at, and it can also be a good point for word-of-mouth marketing, because people who don’t opt for ACH will spread the word to customers who do under the right circumstances.
Finding the Right Payment Processor
ACH payment processing is a separate service from other kinds of electronic payment processing like NFC chips and credit cards, so most of the time it requires its own dedicated payment processor. That’s not always the case, though. When you work with a provider who offers both services, you have the opportunity to streamline your payment management and POS setup for the new payment option. That means there are fewer troubleshooting steps and less people involved if there are any hiccups as you get going. Get set up today and start letting your customers know that you can accept direct electronic payment via ACH whenever it suits their needs. It’s a simple addition to your existing system online or off, and one that offers you an entirely new way to meet your customers wherever they happen to be.