Intuit Merchant Services Versus Bill&Pay
Question: I want to be able to invoice and receive payments electronically from clients and have them entered automatically in QuickBooks. What are my options? Answer: Currently, the best two options you have are Intuit Merchant Services and a service that integrates with QuickBooks called "Bill&Pay." Intuit Merchant Services, being a QuickBooks service, is the most obvious and simplest.
They offer 2 options:
- $0 monthly fee with transaction fees
- A monthly fee option with lower transaction fees
You create your invoice in QuickBooks and send an email to your client with a link to the invoice, which can be paid by credit card or bank draft. You can decide which method(s) you prefer and set the preferences accordingly. When you receive payment and electronically download the information, the payment will automatically be entered into QuickBooks against your invoice.
While this is the most direct method for electronic payments, I have some personal experience with this that I would like to share. I applied with Intuit for its Merchant Services when they eliminated an earlier QuickBooks service I had used for several years. I was turned down for the service, despite excellent credit. In trying to determine why, I was told that the reason was "proprietary," and they don't disclose the reason, although they admitted it wasn't my credit (which I already knew).
After talking to several people who work professionally with QuickBooks, the following two reasons seemed the most likely:
- I told Intuit when applying for the service that I only wanted the bank payment portion of the service, which is not as profitable to them as the credit card services. It was not asked of me, but I foolishly said this in passing. Don’t make this error.
- The other thought was that I use a private mailbox at a UPS Store for my mailing address. This could perhaps be a red flag for fraud.
When speaking to Intuit on multiple occasions to get this straightened out, I was told that it deals all day long with businesses that have been rejected for the service. That's why I wanted to share my story, because I am sure I am not the only one.
In search of another payment service that links to QuickBooks, I found Bill&Pay, which I now use. It's not as simple as Intuit Merchant Services, but it is the best option I’ve found thus far.
The setup for Bill&Pay was complex and involved multiple steps to ensure that my email server was set correctly. After many attempts and calling in my computer guru, I finally have the service up and running. From it, I can sync my QuickBooks invoices with Bill&Pay, from which my invoices are emailed to my clients with an electronic email link. I receive email notification when the payment is received and sync with QuickBooks again for the payment to be recorded against the invoice.
There is a monthly fee and transaction fees to use Bill&Pay, and it can be used for bank transactions as well as connecting your existing merchant services to their system. I am pleased with the service after the troublesome set up.
Overall, I would have to recommend Intuit Merchant Services as your best option since it is a product of the QuickBooks family, if the fees are acceptable to you and you qualify for the service. Alternatively, Bill&Pay is a solid service.
*In the interest of full disclosure, I am set up as a reseller of Bill&Pay.
QuickBooks Premier and Enterprise can be modified to better serve ad specialty distributors. Harriet Gatter is a QuickBooks ProAdvisor, a former accounting professor and a former ad specialty distributor. She advises ad specialty distributors to use QuickBooks Premier and Enterprise, often in conjunction with other industry-specific software, to manage the complexities of the ad specialty business, with the results being time saved, errors eliminated and an overall accurate accounting of your business. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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