Everything You Need to Know About Scheduled Payments and How to Implement Them
Businesses, both big and small, already have too much on their plates to worry about missed payments. As your empire grows, you need systems that alleviate pressure — systems that take what’s in your head and move it to a fail-safe process that keeps you on track.
The share of cash transactions worldwide has fallen from 89% to 77% between 2013 and 2018. This coupled with the rise in electronic payments and the need to support multiple payment methods make payment processing one of the most important considerations for a business.
Payments can be one of the hardest elements to outsource, and yet, the right payment solution can help you greatly streamline and optimize your operations.
Scheduled payments let you set and forget your payments. No mental checklists, no uncertain worries. They go through while you are free to think of other things.
This practical guide will help you understand all about scheduled payments and how to implement them. So, let’s get started.
What are scheduled payments?
Scheduled payments are exactly what they sound like: they’re individual payments that are scheduled to be paid at a certain date.
While it’s not difficult to work out what scheduled payments are, many don’t realize what they can actually accomplish. Scheduled payments are powerful because of their customizability.
If a new payment is not due immediately, merchants can schedule this as a one-time payment for a future date. You simply add the specific amount to be paid, and you can forget about it until it reaches your bank account.
Scheduled payments can also be split up to create installments. The payment amount is split equally over customized payment periods. The invoice amount is withdrawn from the customer’s credit card or other registered payment information on the due dates. If these payments aren’t split evenly, the last payment will correct the difference.
Finally, scheduled payments can be set up to make automatic payments for subscriptions. These are simply scheduled as recurring payments that will charge the stored payment method at specified intervals.
How do scheduled payments differ from autopay?
Autopay (or automatic payment) is commonly used by consumers to stay on top of their bills. The main difference between autopay and scheduled payments is really in who’s scheduling them.
Autopay is an option that most financial institutions allow users to set up using their bank account. In this case, the user would program these payables to come out automatically on chosen dates, in chosen amounts.
Autopay works great if your customers stay on top of their payments. However, it gives them the control to cancel payments, which makes them more likely to do so. With customers controlling your payments, it’s harder to project cash flow and minimize overdue payments.
In contrast, scheduled payments put you in control of the payment setup. They allow you to reassure your customers that they don’t need to keep track of them. At the same time, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your payments are in place and no one but you can alter the withdrawal information.
Benefits of scheduling payments
Scheduled payments remove the burden of chasing payments and change the dynamic between you and your customers. They put you in control.
If payments need to be altered, customers will have to call you to request this change. This ensures that you are aware of any changes in bill payments.
With yourself in a position of power, you can minimize any surprises. Reports are updated when changes are made, so you can project cash flow with certainty. Knowledge of your scheduled payment dates lets you know when those unpaid invoices are going from red to black.
Greater clarity over your payments allows you to plan ahead and be more proactive in your business.
How to set up scheduled payments
While there are a number of payment solution providers in the market who can help you set up scheduled payments, you must do your research on them and choose the one that best fits your budget and business model.
Most payment providers charge a fee for every credit card transaction, including every scheduled payment, so make sure to review their rates and fees carefully. Below are some of the best payment providers that allow you to schedule payments.
SwipeSimple provides payment equipment and solutions for small to medium businesses. Besides its range of POS and mobile POS solutions, SwipeSimple’s scheduled payments make it a preferred choice for SMEs with diverse payment needs.
It supports one-time scheduled payments, installments, and recurring payments. Each of these is easy to set up using its intuitive interface. SwipeSimple also allows you to notify your customers when a scheduled payment has been made.
Merchants can also set up email notifications to be kept up to date on payment statuses. Also, any failed payment statuses will automatically be sent to all parties (merchant and customers).
SwipeSimple also allows you to pause your scheduled payments quite easily, thus giving you and your customers the peace of mind you deserve.
Square allows you to set up recurring payments so you can get paid automatically on scheduled dates. This ensures that you don’t need to chase down your customers for any late payments or re-enter their payment information every time.
It’s quite easy to set up these payments using the Square Dashboard. However, Square charges a fee of 3.5% plus 15 cents for each such transaction.
Helcim also allows you to set up recurring payments with ease. You can use the card vault to save your customer’s card information and use it to process payments automatically when they are due.
The card vault keeps your customer information secure and you can automatically notify subscribed customers when they are charged.
On the flip side, however, Helcim offers an interchange-plus pricing structure that isn’t quite favorable for low-volume businesses. Plus, they offer a single plan and don’t cater to high-risk businesses.
Leveraging the power of scheduled payments
Scheduled payments can make your life a lot easier. However, as mentioned earlier, it’s important to carefully review all fees and charges before choosing a payment provider. Make sure that the solution is secure and meets your business needs and budget.
Most payment providers would charge you a fee for every scheduled payment which can easily eat away at your profits. However, SwipeSimple, in collaboration with Payment Depot, provides a powerful solution that covers all your payment needs.
With Payment Depot’s transparent wholesale pricing, you can save more and keep your costs down while leveraging the power of secure scheduled payments with SwipeSimple. Its comprehensive software solutions will let you accept payments anywhere, in virtually any way.
FAQs about Scheduled Payments
Q: What are scheduled payments?
Scheduled payments are individual payments that are set to be paid at a specific date. They offer flexibility and peace of mind to businesses due to their ease of operation. The system automatically executes the payment, allowing businesses to focus on other tasks.
Q: Why should I consider implementing scheduled payments in my business operations?
Scheduled payments help businesses optimize their cash flow and minimize payment delays. They are especially beneficial for businesses dealing with a high volume of payments as they can help these businesses stay more organized and proactive.
Q: What are some of the practical uses of scheduled payments?
Scheduled payments can be used to facilitate one-time payments for future due balances, split large payments into manageable installments, and process recurring subscription payments automatically.
Q: What is the difference between autopay and scheduled payments?
With autopay, the customer is in control of scheduling their payments. They can cancel or alter their payment pattern at their discretion. On the other hand, scheduled payments give the businesses control over payment schedules, ensuring better predictability of cash flow.
Q: How do scheduled payments benefit my clients?
Scheduled payments offer convenience to customers by automatically processing their payments and eliminating the need for them to remember due dates. Customers can be assured that their payments will be processed in a timely manner.
Q: Which payment solutions providers support scheduled payments?
Numerous providers support scheduled payments. Some of the prominent ones include Payment Depot, Stax, SwipeSimple, Square, and Helcim. However, businesses must evaluate the charges and service models of these providers to choose the one that best fulfills their specific needs.
Q: What precautions should I take when choosing a payment provider for scheduled payments?
Besides evaluating the charges and terms of service, robust security measures of payment providers should be a consideration. The chosen provider’s solution should securely process payments and store payment information.
Q: What if a scheduled payment needs to be altered?
If a customer’s payment situation changes, they will need to contact the business to request changes in the scheduled payments. This maintains transparency and ensures businesses are updated about changes in billings.
Q: Does setting up scheduled payments come with any fees?
Yes, most payment providers charge a fee for processing each scheduled payment. Therefore, businesses must thoroughly review all associated costs before choosing a provider.
Q: Are scheduled payments suitable for small businesses?
Absolutely. Regardless of the size or industry, many businesses can greatly benefit from implementing scheduled payments as it simplifies managing payments and optimizes cash flow.