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Accepting Payments
By Electronic Checks

What are electronic checks?

Otherwise known as e-checks, these useful but not overly utilized payment vehicles enable Internet merchants to offer their website customers the option of paying by check, rather than using a credit card.

Accept Checks Online

Below, we'll list 5 top providers of e-checks.

But first... 

It is estimated that Internet commerce exceeds $10 billion annually - and is growing. Yet only about one-half of shoppers possess credit cards, and of those that do, many would prefer to pay by check if they could. 

From your point of view as an online merchant, the ability to accept e-checks has a number of significant advantages:
 

you can tap into the tens of millions of potential customers who do not own credit cards. Some estimate that offering e-checks on your website can increase sales by as much as 20%

your cost of processing e-checks can be less than with credit cards 

funds are deposited into your merchant account and then into your business checking account within days 

there are often no monthly fees and no monthly minimums

some services offering e-checks also provide electronic NSF collection and check guarantee services, at an additional cost, that provide you with complete assurance that you will be paid in full for every check processed. Although with such fraud screening services, the cost per transaction can rise considerably, e-checks costs can still be less than for credit card transactions.
 

be sure to get a basic understanding on credit card processing

Sidenote: Before reviewing the e-checks providers below, you sure be take The Nine Minute Tutorial . It will provide you with a basic understanding of what is involved in credit card processing, the costs you can expect to incur, the equipment or software you may need to acquire and how to select the best merchant account provider for your particular business.

How does online processing of e-checks actually work? 

Let's take a look at an example.


PaybyCheck  PaybyCheck uses your existing merchant account as the recipient of funds processed. To use their e-checks service, you either add some HTML code into your website, or use their services to integrate the system into your website order forms. 

When a customer is on your order page and chooses to pay using e-checks, they click on a PaybyCheck button and are immediately presented with an online form that closely resembles a physical paper check. They fill in their name, address, phone number, bank account information and the dollar amount, and click on the "Continue" button. 

They will then view a confirmation page so they can confirm the information they inputted, and click on the "I Agree" button. They are either approved or declined. Both you and the customer receive email confirmations of the transaction. 

You typically receive the funds in your account in five days. 

PaybyCheck offers other complementary fraud prevention e-checks services which automatically resubmit NSF checks electronically, check customer addresses and phone numbers, etc. 

Fees for their e-checks service include:

Account Activation and ECP Approval: $99.95 (one-time payment) 

Monthly Fee: $9.95 

Per Check Transaction Fee: $.94 to $1.08 

Maximum Transaction Amount: $500.00




Another e-checks service you may want to look at is Accelerated Payment Systems. It charges $295 for the software, a $50 application fee and a transaction fee usually between 10 cents and 80 cents. Additional charges apply for fraud prevention services. 



Creative Cashflow Solutions offers payments by checks online, over the phone or by fax.
Eliminate one of the three greatest lies..."The check is in the mail."

Accept payments from consumers who don't have credit cards.

Eliminate "the check is in the mail" syndrome.

Allows faster access to funds than waiting for check payment by mail.

Reduce labor costs associated with physical check processing.
Half the price of accepting credit cards.
Lower risk of credit card chage backs.
Funds available in as little as 48 hours.
Collect past-due accounts using their Check by Phone System.
Use their Automated Payments feature to receive your monthly payments on-time, every time.
Streamline the billing process.
Guarantee timely customer payments.
Gain competitive advantage by offering an additional payment option.
Improve cash flow with online check processing.

Save on expensive invoicing and mailing costs.

To apply online or to learn more, visit Creative Cashflow Solutions.


Some of the merchant account providers referred to in other sections of The Merchant Account Advisor also offer e-checks services, including Charge.com (after clicking on this link, click on More Information) which charges only 5 cents per e-check with no software or set-up fee; and Merchant Express , which has a one-time set-up fee of $149 and charges 1.95% plus 30 cents per transaction.

As was stressed in The Nine Minute Tutorial when dealing with selecting a merchant account provider, please be very sure to read the contract for these services before signing up. Make sure you are fully aware of all the costs and terms that apply to the e-checks service you choose. 

Any fees quoted above are as of October 15, 2003. As fees are revised from time to time, be sure to check their websites and to speak with their representatives to ensure the fees mentioned here are still up-to-date.



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