Today we're very excited to talk about one of our newest features in our most recent BQE Core update, which literally just took place over the weekend. 😁 Core ACH ePayments is now available and we couldn't be happier to share the news with you. Keep reading to learn all about this feature and the value it brings to your business and clients.
Expanding ePayment Options in Core
Electronic Fund Transfers (EFTs) are steadily becoming the preferred method for businesses to accept payments from their customers. Popular forms of these online payments include credit card transactions and ACH transfers. Previously, Core introduced the ability for businesses to accept credit card payments that allowed customers to pay their balances using borrowed credits from credit card companies. Core has now expanded the available online payment options to include Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfer payments. ACH transfer payments are electronic payments that pull funds directly from a specified bank account instead of allowing a credit card company to act as the middle person. They are, however, supported for businesses based in the United States only. When compared to credit card payments, the main benefit of ACH transfers is the reduced cost of transaction fees. Providing more payment options to your customers ensures that your business can conveniently cater to all of their different payment preferences.
Getting Started with ACH Transfers in Core
Plaid Verifies Your Client’s Bank Accounts
Plaid partners with Stripe to allow your clients to verify and add their bank account for ACH transfers. Your business can sign up for Plaid’s verification services through multiple plans. The Development Plan is a free plan that allows verification of up to 100 client accounts. When creating a new account, you will need to request access to this plan by filling out a brief request form. There is also the Production plan, which is a paid plan that allows verification of an unlimited number of client accounts. This plan also requires you to request access. Plaid’s response to the Development plan is ideally instant while its response to the Production plan might take up to a few days. ACH transfer payments cannot be initiated until Plaid accepts your request and activates the necessary keys for use.
Stripe Conducts the ACH Transfer
Stripe is another third-party company that securely conducts the payment transfer between bank accounts. When creating a Stripe account, your business must provide a verified bank account and authorize BQE Core to facilitate payments to and from this account. ACH payments conducted through Stripe can take up to 5 business days to process a successful or failed payment.
ACH payments on Stripe cost 0.80%, capped at $5, with no monthly fees or verification fees. [BQE does not charge any extra fees for using ACH payments in Core.]
Configuring ACH Transfer Payment Account in Global Settings
In order to set up your business for accepting ACH transfer payments, Core uses a configuration wizard in Global Settings > ePayments to help you gather and organize the information from both Plaid and Stripe to set up an ACH online payment account. Check out Core Help for details on setting up the online payment accounts.
👉If you sent a request to access Plaid’s Development plan, keep an eye out for their confirmation email in your inbox. After receiving this confirmation of your request, return to the ePayments screen and make this account active. This account cannot be used to facilitate payments until Plaid has confirmed your request and you make the account active.
After configuring your Plaid and Stripe accounts, you can specify a bank account, expense account, and other account details. You can also decide if you’d like to charge the Stripe processing fee to your clients or not. Since you cannot associate this payment account with any invoice until you receive that approval from Plaid, the option to activate this payment account is disabled until you confirm that you received their confirmation email. Manage this payment account or add more payment accounts using the Add Payment Account option.
Monitoring ACH Transfer Payments within Core
After you’ve finished configuring a payment account for ACH payments, you may now begin associating invoices with it. To do so, go to the Invoices screen and open the invoice details to check the option to allow online payments on that invoice and select an online payment account. The status of ACH transfer payments can be tracked in the Invoices list view using the ePayment Status column. This column will specify if an ACH payment is in progress or has been completed/rejected.
After an ACH payment has been completed, Core automatically creates a reconciled payment entry in the Payments screen. Core also automatically creates a deposit to the associated bank account that’s visible in the Deposits screen.
In the event that an ACH payment is not successful, you will receive a notification in Core and the ePayment status of the associated invoice will be updated. You can see this updated ePayment status reflected in the Invoices list view. A payment entry and deposit will not be created for this.
What Your Client Sees
After enabling online payments for your invoices, Core sends your clients to the ePayment Portal where they are able to see and pay their invoices electronically. The invoice details are specified for them on this portal and they are presented with the options to pay the invoice through credit card or an ACH payment.
If your clients opt to use the ACH payment method, they’ll first need to verify their bank account using Plaid. To do so, they will need to log into their bank account using the Plaid interface and share the account. The plaid interface lets them signal which account or account(s) they'd like to link after they've successfully logged into their bank. On Plaid’s customization page, you can configure many settings such as how many accounts your clients can enable, the banks they can connect, and other settings.
When your clients log in and connect their bank accounts, they can authorize a payment by entering their email on the invoice and checking the disclaimer. After the online payments are validated by Stripe, Core reflects the ePayments status accordingly. It also processes relevant notifications and delivers them to the Core user who creates the invoices as well as the project managers.