What is ACH?
ACH is an acronym for automated clearing house, and it provides a convenient way for businesses and other organizations to electronically move money from one account to another. ACH is now utilized to complete payroll needs, B2B payments, online transactions, mobile payments, utilities, in-store purchases, and more.
ACH provides a very inexpensive and secure way to process funds for your business. According to NACHA — The Electronic Payments Association®, debit and credit card payments via ACH grew over 10.2% in 2014. This trend continues as more people are spending money online and recognize ACH as a fast and easy way to pay for products they need. B2B payments and recurring payments are also seeing upwards growth, but ACH payment transactions utilized by online shoppers has seen the most robust growth recently.
So what are the benefits of ACH processing?
You’re probably already familiar with the ease of ACH processing for payroll or paying for your own utility bills online – but what about offering it to your customers? There are pretty good reasons to consider offering ACH payments to your customers.
ACH offers low-cost a processing choice. One of the biggest reasons more businesses are choosing to go with an ACH processing company is that it can be a cheaper option than processing credit cards online or in-person. Another reason that you can benefit from offering ACH as a payment option for your customers is simply because more ways to pay is just good business.
Customers like to have choices, and some people want to avoid using their credit cards along with the fees that come with them. For that reason, an ACH transaction can be seen as the cost-saving choice in your customers’ eyes as well.
ACH processing is convenient. ACH payment processing companies help you avoid a trip to the bank with convenient electronic transfer of funds. It’s often the preferred choice for your customers, too. People who prefer to pay with a check will likely appreciate being able to avoid writing a check and saving a stamp with the electronic ACH option instead.
ACH can reduce disputes. Unlike a credit card charge that can be disputed for almost any reason, an ACH can only be disputed under a certain set of circumstances. Your customer will need to prove that they did not authorize the charge or that the charge was not the exact authorized amount. The other way a customer can dispute an ACH charge would be if it is processed earlier than the date it was authorized by your customer.
Get paid on time. ACH offers recurrent automatic payment options. For the company that sells subscription services or has monthly fees, offering ACH processing can save time and money for all parties involved. Your customers don’t have to spend the money on a stamp, check, and envelope, and you can relax a little knowing the whole process is automated.
There’s virtually no risk that a customer will forget to send you payment when it has been automated with the recurring ACH option. Your customer only needs to authorize the charges and you can rely on it getting to you on time.
Security with ACH is strong. A paper check leaves a paper trail and can be more vulnerable to interception and loss along the way. Anytime a customer makes out a paper check, the risk of fraud is present. With the customer’s name and bank account information on the check, the vulnerability is always there, but with an ACH payment that is encrypted over a secure system, the process is secure.
ACH saves trees. ACH payments ease the environmental burden of paper checks and the envelopes needed to mail them. It’s great for the ecosystem and a great money-saver for you and your customers -- which is one reason why more people are choosing ACH payments this year.
How do ACH Processing Companies Process Payments?
ACH processing is a way to process a check payment without the need for a paper check. Whether your customer walks in your shop or visits your online store, you can offer ACH payments as an option. ACH processing can be utilized for a one-time sale or a recurring payment solution for you and your customers.
ACH processing completely takes out the need for a paper check – everything happens electronically which offers a secure and cheaper way to process payments. The ACH payment process is simple:
- The customer signs the authorization agreement that clearly states the date and amount being authorized, as well as if it is a one-time authorization or recurring payment.
- Your customer enters the payment information and saves information.
- Once submitted, the ACH transaction process starts.
- After submitted and confirmed, the funds are then transferred from your customer’s account into yours.
- ACH funds are typically seen within 3 business days in your account – these are some of the fastest times that can be seen in check processing.
The ACH transaction requires no trip to the bank on your part, and no paper check or postage on the part of your customer.
How does a customer authorize an ACH payment?
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Online merchants provide terms and conditions which will then be read and agreed to via electronic signature. In-store ACH transactions can be signed for, and there is also an option for a voice recording, although that is the least utilized method.
ACH processing helps you provide more payment options for your customers, and it continues to grow in popularity. In a nutshell, here are a few great reasons why you should start taking advantage of the benefits ACH payment processing companies have to offer:
- Secure transfer of account and payment data
- No risk of lost, damage, or stolen paper check – it’s all electronic!
- Provide more options to customers including recurrent payments – get paid on time!
- Significantly lower processing costs with ACH transactions as opposed to credit processing rates
Start offering the option for ACH payments and you’ll enable a much simple, cheaper, and more effective way to get payments – for both you and your customers. Taking checks has never been easier!
If you are interested in learning more about ACH processing, there is a good chance that you’re looking for other payment solutions and other merchant services as well. The good news is that many companies that process ACH payments also offer a variety of processing solutions. Whether you’re a startup or you have owned a successful “mom-and-pop” for years, there has never been a better time to start offering your customers options to pay with check and credit. Here are some of the services you can expect from quality ACH processing companies in addition to check and ACH processing:
- Credit Card Processing
- Point-of-Sale Equipment
- High Risk Business Services
- Online Payment Processing
- Payment Gateway
- Mobile Payment Processing
- Merchant Cash Advance
At Top Credit Card Processing Specialists, our goal is to help you find the best ACH processing company that you can rely on for consistent service. Our analysis covers hundreds of processing companies to determine which companies are the leaders in their field.
We look at a variety of factors including how competitive rates are, but we also look at the overall quality of service that is provided by processing companies.
How do I find a good ACH processing company?
We suggest calling several companies to compare service and rates. Our Best ACH Processing Companies guide also helps you by listing some of the most important indicators of a good company – company retention rates. We believe that finding a good company isn’t always based on being the biggest or longest-standing.
Companies shouldn’t rely on the past to secure future sales, but they should be engaged with current industry trends. Engagement in the industry and keeping on top of changing guidelines and the law is critical to safe and secure payment processing.
Here are a few of the ways we determined who got listed on February’s Best ACH Processing Companies list:
Competitive Rate Structures – Our team actively looks for companies who stay competitive with their rates. You don’t want to get stuck with inflated rates and fees, and our team works to identify those companies that are committed to keeping prices low.
Reliable ACH Processing – ACH processing is one of the fastest ways to transfer money between accounts, and your processing company should ensure consistently reliable, efficient processing for you.
Strong Customer Support – One of the most important indicators of success with an ACH company is a strong history of consistent client retention. Companies that invest in providing reliable and helpful customer support naturally come to the top with a solid reputation, and they have satisfied customers to show for it.
Service Variance for Merchants – Businesses often need more than one solution in payment processing and other merchant services. That’s why when we rank companies for ACH processing services, we also dig a little deeper to ensure they offer consistently top-notch service across the board.
Ready to find the ACH processing company that will provide consistently outstanding service for your business? Start with our list of ACH processing companies this month, and find solutions you need.