Payments are an important part of the transaction when you’re running a business. To ensure you get paid and get your funds as quickly as possible, savvy business owners go out of their way to make payments as easy as possible for their clients and customers. After all, it would be a shame to lose a sale because you don’t accept the customer’s preferred payment method.
Making payments easy on your customers reduces the risk of unpaid invoices, abandoned carts, and customers going to competitors that are happy to take their cash, paper check, credit card, debit card, or electronic funds transfer.
The busy holiday season is critical to land sales and finish the year strong. Here are some tools to make payments easier for your customers and your business during the busy holiday season and year-round.
Credit and debit card processing
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, consumers make 34 payments per month on average. The COVID-19 Pandemic accelerated a trend toward card and electronic payments, shrinking cash to less than 20% of all payments for the first time in 2020. Card-based payments account for a little more than half of all payments, split nearly evenly between debit cards and credit cards.
Don’t lose sales because you can’t take the payment your customer wants to use. Thanks to a partnership with First Data, businesses banking with Valley don’t have to shop around for merchant processing. We offer a comprehensive suite of online and offline card payment processing using the popular and trusted Clover checkout system.
Remember, when you use your Valley credit card for purchasing, you are protected from fraudulent and unauthorized purchases.
Deposit checks with a snap
Remember that many customers want to pay with old-fashioned checks. In some industries, checks are still a normal part of doing business, while others have seen paper checks mostly go by the wayside. Regardless, you’ll want a way to accept them if a customer uses one for payment.
For occasional checks, all business banking customers can deposit using a smartphone and the Valley app. You can upgrade to a desktop check scanner for higher volumes.
Lockbox services could be a good choice if your business receives a high volume of check payments by mail. With a lockbox, Valley arranges your business to have a unique PO box address, picks up the mail, opens the envelopes, deposits the payments to your business account, and sends over an electronic file with all payment details.
Learn more about lockbox payment processing for businesses here.
Sweeps and zero balance accounts
Small businesses usually start with a single checking account. However, as your business grows, you can upgrade to use multiple accounts to improve your business operations, financial security, and earn as much interest as possible from idle cash balances.
A zero balance account (ZBA) is a checking account used exclusively to accept payments. The balance is automatically swept (transferred) to your operating account or another designated account daily, returning the daily balance to zero. Sweeping into a savings account also enables your business to earn interest from cash balances.
Why use a ZBA with a sweep? There are a few major benefits. For example, you can confidently share a bank account routing number and account number with your clients for payments. Even if a bad actor tried to withdraw from the account, the account would have a zero balance.
Each ZBA account could be designated to a specific product or service, which can help with accounting and bookkeeping. You can also use a series of accounts to limit information access on a need-to-know basis within your treasury, accounting, and finance teams rather than expose full access to your cash flows.
Advanced payment data
Electronic Data Interface (EDI) enables sending ACH payments with extra appended data to assist with customer, PO, and invoice matching, among other benefits. For accounting and auditing purposes, EDI is an incredibly helpful tool offering valuable information and time-saving opportunities.
EDI reporting helps businesses ensure the accurate posting of payments and accelerate cash flow. Once your accounting systems are set up to sync with your EDI data, you’ll be blown away by how much manual work is now easily automated. EDI also removes opportunities for manual error and hours of tedious data entry.
Mix and match to meet customer demand
Payments are not a one-size fits all proposition. Even small businesses often accept a combination of cash, debit, credit, check, and electronic payments. Even if you wouldn’t use a specific payment method yourself, it’s worth supporting if a customer wants to use it, even a small portion of your customer base.
Put yourself in the shoes of a customer. When you go shopping, you don’t care what happens behind the cash register or in the seller’s bank account. You simply want a fast and easy checkout process using your favorite card, checkbook, or crisp bills in your wallet.
You don’t have to look far to accept each of these payment methods. With Valley, you can craft an ideal, customized suite of tools to enable frictionless payments to your bank account.
Here are other payment services Valley offers to support a wide variety of business needs:
- ACH origination: Send or receive ACH payments using Valley to originate payments to or from your chosen accounts. ACH is one of the lowest-cost, fastest payment methods available today.
- Risk management: Positive Pay is an advanced payment security platform that allows you to customize payment risk decisions, view exceptions, and receive important alerts when we detect suspicious activity. With Positive Pay, you can stop fraudulent payments before they hit your account with real-time data.
- Reconciliation services: As your business grows and payment volume increases, reconciling every payment and transaction to your accounting records can become laborious. Valley Account Reconcilement Services come with varying options to capture the exact payment data you need to speed up payment matching and account reconciliation. Insurance, mortgage, and other businesses with many transactions benefit greatly from advanced reconciliation support.
- VNB Escrow: Designed for escrow agents, Valley Escrow Plus provides sub-accounting, advanced account management features, and detailed reporting for cash held on behalf of a client.
- Auto lending: Valley offers custom solutions for auto dealers, including curated checking accounts, treasury solutions, and white-labeled or indirect auto loans. With Valley as a banking partner, even small dealerships can help customers secure financing and sign at the dotted line before they walk out the door.
- Cannabis Banking: Finding a bank partner for a cannabis and marijuana business can be extremely difficult. We offer a Cannabis-Related Business (CRB) Banking program. With a national charter and secure cash transportation services available, dispensaries, cultivators, testing labs, armored car services, wholesalers, and CBD businesses may find an ideal set of banking services at Valley.
You work hard to build your business, and it would be a shame to lose out on potential sales because you’re not using the best payment solutions. Working with Valley, you can create the ideal suite of banking services to find a win-win for you and your customers. Streamlining payments is even more important during the holidays so you can focus on one of your business’s busiest seasons of the year.
And when the holidays are over, you can rest assured that your payment systems are optimized and ready for whatever your customer wants to send your way. With an ideal payment system deployed, a happy prospective customer is as good as cash in the bank.