When it comes to business payments, the ACH system is one of the greatest inventions of the electronic age.
ACH payments are digital payments that move funds directly from one bank account to another, even if the two account holders don’t share the same bank.
Companies often use them to pay employees by direct deposit, or to take regular payments from customers, such as monthly mortgage payments or utility bills.
But companies also use ACH transfers to pay each other.
In fact, many businesses make and accept ACH payments as often as possible, vastly preferring them over other payment types like checks or credit cards.
Why ACH is important for your business
Why do businesses prefer ACH payments?
Like any digital payment system, making an ACH payment is a lot more convenient than filling out a check, addressing an envelope, adding a stamp, and taking it to the mailbox.
Plus, when you make payments through the ACH system, those payments show up in your bank register immediately, even if the actual ACH payment processing time takes a few business days.
That makes account reconciliation a lot easier, and you don’t have to worry about that one vendor who keeps cashing your checks three weeks late and throwing off your whole cash flow timing.
ACH payments also reduce the risk of check fraud.
They won’t get intercepted in the mail, and, when you make those payments through a payments provider like BILL, they keep your bank account information private from vendors.
Finally, they’re a lot less expensive than using paper checks or paying credit card fees—even before you consider the tremendous hidden costs involved in manual systems.
For a mid-to-large-size business, with hundreds or even thousands of payments processed every month, those differences can add up to the kind of savings that really matter to the bottom line.
But even small businesses prefer ACH, especially when it comes to getting paid.
Accepting payments through ACH is a lot less expensive than paying credit card fees, so businesses get to keep more of their money.
Step 1: Sign in to BILL
If you want to get set up to make and receive ACH payments, start by signing into your BILL account.
Step 2: Add a bank account
If you’re new to BILL, you’ll need to connect your bank account to make or receive ACH payments. You can do this electronically to be connected immediately.
Choose Settings in the upper right corner. Under Your Company, choose Bank Accounts.
Follow the prompts to sign into online banking, verify your identity, and sign into your bank account using your own user ID and password.
That’s it! Your bank account is set up, and you’re ready to go!
To make your first ACH payment, just connect to a vendor. Let’s walk through it.
Step 3: Add a vendor
If you synced BILL to your accounting software, your vendors were added to the system automatically. But you can always enter a new one.
Add a vendor manually by choosing Vendors in the left-hand column.
Step 4: Connect
Once you’ve added the vendor and you’re ready to pay an invoice, you’ll need to make sure that vendor has added their own bank account info so you can pay them by ACH.
Start by searching for the vendor in the BILL system. There are millions in the network, so there’s a decent chance you’ll find them.
If they’re in the system, send them a connect request, and jump down to the next step.
If they aren’t, you can invite them to join the BILL network and connect. (There’s no monthly charge for setting up an account just to receive payments.)
They’ll have to add their own bank account information to their own BILL account before you can send them an ACH payment, but you can still use BILL to pay them another way until they sign up.
Step 5: Pay by ACH, or get paid
Once the vendor is set up, you can send them an electronic payment whenever you need to. You can even set up recurring payments so you don’t have to waste time on pre-approved bills.
You can also connect to clients to get paid by ACH and stop guessing when those checks are going to show up.
Merchant e-Solutions case study: A payment expert counts on BILL to handle its own payments
Merchant e-Solutions was drowning in paperwork and inefficiency, trying to manage the 400+ invoices it was receiving each month.
BILL brought order to the chaos. Now, Merchant e-Solutions pays every vendor from the same digital dashboard, whether by check, card, ACH payment, or even international wire transfer.
Their busy executives can even handle approvals from their mobile devices, and each payment they make syncs directly to their accounting software.
“I was blown away when I started using BILL. It’s so simple and intuitive. You don’t need to be tech-savvy at all to understand the navigation.”