“51% of survey respondents consider cost-savings a benefit of electronic payments” according to a 2016 Electronic Payments Survey¹ from the Association for Financial Professionals.
But it isn’t just electronic payment methods that are saving businesses money - it’s the payment platforms that go with them. Online payment platforms are revolutionizing the way businesses make payments by streamlining processes and reducing the costs associated with high volumes of payments.
Each individual payment platform has its own features and processes to help you cut costs, but many of them use similar methods to do so. Here are five of the most common features of online payment platforms that will help you cut costs.
5 Payment Platform Features that Save Businesses Money
1. Diverse, Inexpensive Payment Methods
Paper checks are one of the most common payment methods for businesses, but they’re also one of the most expensive. A 2015 Payments Cost Benchmarking Survey found that the median cost of sending a paper check is $3,00; receiving a paper check is $1.57.³ Multiply that by hundreds or thousands of payments each month, and costs skyrocket. Because of costs and other factors, a whopping 79% of businesses are looking to switch over to electronic payments from using paper checks.²
Online payment platforms allow organizations to displace paper checks in favor of more diverse and cost-effective payment methods such as ACH or payroll cards. Using an online payment platform also eliminates the need for printing, distributing, and mailing paper checks, although many retain the ability to send checks if needed.
2. Better Fraud Protection
While compliance is your responsibility, the best online payment platforms are compliant with regulations that help keep both payers and payees safe from fraud and its fiscal consequences.
Look for a platform that’s evaluated by the FFIEC and provides real-time fraud monitoring to help keep you safe. Top payment platforms also include features such as digital signatures and ID verification to ensure payment security and help reduce your fraud risk.
3. Automated Payment Processing
Setting up automated payment processing makes payments more efficient by avoiding problems such as settlement delays, late payment fees and long processing times. Automation also saves time for your staff so they can focus on more strategic pursuits that move your business forward and increase profits.
Most online payment platform provide tools to automate regular, recurring payments like payroll disbursements to help save you time and effort.
4. Payee Self-Service Options
Providing a self-service portal for payees can reduce the amount of time staff has to spend fixing minor payment issues, such as choosing a payment type or updating addresses. With a self-service portal, payees can choose to receive funds from a variety of sources, including:
- Same-day ACH
- Instant payments
- Payroll cards
- Gift cards
- Virtual card numbers
Like automation, providing self-service tools for payees decreases the time your staff spends on repetitive, manual tasks that are necessary, but don’t move your business forward. The more of those tasks you can eliminate, the more high-value work your team can do to make your business more profitable.
5. Payment Tracking and Cash Flow Forecasting
Using an online payment platform to conduct electronic payments makes it easier to track payments and build reports that your team can use to accurately forecast cash flows. ACH, credit cards and other electronic forms of payment leave a clear digital trail that can greatly improve the accuracy of cash forecasting. As you improve your forecasting, you’ll decrease your risk of making mistakes that result in fees or expensive cash flow fixes.
Use an Online Payment Platform that Cuts Costs for Your Business
Online payment platforms offer organizations a way to realize significant cost savings by switching from traditional to electronic forms of payment. They also reduce the time and resources required to process payments while creating a user-friendly way to conduct payroll, incentive, and promotional payments.
Each of these benefits can help your business reduce costs and streamline processes to be more efficient. And when they’re applied over hundreds or thousands of payments to employees, vendors, and partners every month, savings are significant.