If your business collects consumer payments through online bill pay services and processes them in the traditional manual way, you face an uphill battle to post those payments in a timely manner.
Online bill payments are converted into paper checks and mailed to your business. Each check combines multiple payments and is accompanied by a list of customer names, accounts and dollar amounts. With these online bill payments, you must manually reconcile every entry, verify the accounts and payments due, and wait for the lump-payment check to clear. That adds up to extra time and work, delays cash flow, increases the risk of errors, and offers no easy way to reverse or refund payments if necessary.
Payments generated by online bill-pay services present a major challenge for retailers, utilities, municipalities, insurers, property management companies and not-for-profits, among others. If you are a financial manager at such a business, what if you could automate this process and be more efficient? What if you could receive credit for those payments a week faster through an Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit and avoid manual reconciliation headaches by having the remittance data loaded automatically onto your accounting software?
Bill Pay Direct Post
In fact, you can do all those things today. Hancock Whitney’s Bill Pay Direct Post service captures payments from bill payment service providers, consolidates them, and presents your business with a single electronic remittance file for posting directly to your accounting system. As a result, your labor costs decline and you minimize processing errors. Plus, you receive payment credit within two to three days instead of 10 or more days when you receive a check in the mail. With interest rates on the rise, that’s a significant cash flow benefit.
In addition to delivering an electronic file containing your payments, the service provides online access to management reporting and invoice decisioning. It displays any payments with exceptions or errors for review. All corrections and changes are automatically recorded and thereafter reflected in the electronic file sent to your accounting system. Fixing errors is easy and corrected errors stay fixed.
When you use the online Bill Pay Direct Post portal to view and correct exceptions, it’s often a one-time process. For example, if a customer you bill has provided the wrong account number to their bill payment service provider, you can fix this online, and the system will always remember to swap the incorrect account number with the right one. This corrected information is seamlessly imported into your accounting file every time a payment is received.
Bill Pay Direct Post also permits your business to manage rejects and refunds by using the online system. All payments are displayed with an option to “reject.” Rejected payments are immediately refunded and reconciled with your accounting system.
Maximizing Staff Time
By automating the process with Bill Pay Direct Post, one utility has dramatically reduced the staff time it devotes to processing check and online bill payments.
The utility processes about 30,000 such payments a month and previously had high exception rates. An exception can result, for example, if there’s an inaccurate account number or the payment information is formatted improperly. The utility had about 200 exceptions per day and fixing them was a daily, time-consuming task.
By adopting Bill Pay Direct Post, the utility reduced exceptions to an average of five a day, which eliminated the need to have multiple staff members manage exceptions.
The service is easy to implement. We work with you to tailor the system to your needs, providing implementation guidance, file testing and user training to get you started. Additionally, we follow up with periodic reviews to ensure the solution is working smoothly.
To learn more about Bill Pay Direct Post, contact your account officer or Treasury Sales Specialist at 866-594-2304 and ask for a video demonstration.