If your business is looking for ways to strengthen its cash flow, it may be time to contact your bank.
There are a variety of technologies designed to speed the processing of customer payments, helping you gain access to your funds faster—and much more. Let’s take a closer look at a couple of options.
Remote deposit. This easy-to-use technology makes it possible for you to scan customer checks on an office computer and deposit them directly into your business’ bank account.
Once considered a novelty, businesses and organizations of all sizes have discovered that remote deposit can tangibly improve their cash flow, while creating other business efficiencies. Between 2008 and 2010 alone, the number of remote deposit capture scanners installed skyrocketed from 500,000 to three million, according to the research firm Celent.
Why the growing popularity? For one thing, remote deposit enables a business to deposit checks immediately, rather than holding on to them until it’s worthwhile to make a trip to the bank.
Remote deposit also increases the accuracy of your back-office deposit process by guaranteeing that batches of checks are balanced prior to submission. It also improves the timeliness and the accuracy of financial reporting. If you have multiple locations, it may reduce your need to maintain multiple bank accounts and funds concentration systems.
Plus, remote deposit is easy to use. In most cases, all you have to do is plug a small scanner into your computer and download a driver from your bank’s website. Minutes later, you can be processing deposits. It’s like having a secure dedicated deposit window you can use any time you’d like.
While every system is a little different, most share some common characteristics.
- When users wish to deposit a check, they put it in the scanner, which takes digital images of both sides. The user then verifies the image and submits the deposit into the bank account using a secure, encrypted Internet connection.
- Check images are typically stored in a searchable database for easy reference. So you’ll save on paper and storage costs, too.
- Deposits can be made at any time of the day or night. To find out when the funds become available to you, check with your financial institution; every bank is different. At Commerce Bank, for example, if checks are scanned and deposited by 7pm, funds are generally available the next business day.
Select Payment. Ideal for businesses and other organizations with recurring payments, this technology enables you to automatically receive payments from your customers’ bank accounts by ACH transaction. By automating the billing process, you will not only save your customers’ time, you’ll also create a more predictable, steady cash flow for your business.
Select Payment makes scheduling these recurring payments easy. Once you obtain written authorization from your customer, Select Payment technology can be configured to process payments on virtually any schedule you desire: once or twice a year, monthly, semi-monthly, quarterly, weekly—that decision is between you and your customer. Because the amount charged each time remains the same (except for periodic adjustments), Select Payment is a good choice for customers who are on a payment plan.
Your business, meanwhile, will be much better able to predict cash flow, thanks to customized, real-time reports you can access of the payments you will receive on any given day.
Select Payment also makes it possible for your personnel to accept a one-time payment over the phone. With your customers’ authorization, the technology can verify bank routing numbers and process the transaction through the Automated Clearinghouse Network.
You get paid, and you look good in your customers’ eyes for offering convenient payment options. iBi