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Electronic funds transfer is defined as any transfer of funds that occurs in a paperless manner. This includes that transactions that take place at a point of sale system in a retail store, as well as transactions that take place online, via telephone, or by fax. These payments utilize EFT processing to ensure the money is sent to the correct account quickly. This term is often used synonymously with ACH processing.  The ACH or Automated Clearing House network operates on a batch-oriented funds transfer system. It uses the Federal Reserve Bank’s network to receive and transmit files through its various associations so that payments made from one account are deposited into the intended account. The file contains information pertinent to the transaction so that there is proper documentation of the process and confirmation that it was received. There are many ways that EFT processing can be used to improve cash flow and reduce expenses. Using the paperless method, the risk for processing checks is dramatically reduced. If the funds are verified in the account, the entire transaction can be completed with only a small charge. This is several days faster than if a paper check was used. If there are insufficient funds, the transaction is not attempted and the check is returned. This saves money in bounced check fees as well as the personnel required to settle the account. The advantage for EFT processing for checks is that they are posted before paper checks. This means the electronic version will receive any funds in the account first, reducing the number of returned payments. Electronic payments can be submitted automatically up to three times, increasing the chance of collection in a shorter period of time than if attempted by other methods. Having payment entries automated cuts down on data entry errors, decreases the total transaction time and saves money on the personnel required for the task. Payroll costs are reduced and the recovery of funds is achieved in a significantly short period of time. By taking advantage of EFT processing, businesses are able to collect funds faster and spend less to do so. However, it is not only on the payment side of the transaction that funds are saved. Administration expenses are drastically reduced as invoices and payment notices can be sent automatically at pre-determined timeframes. There are no invoices to be printed, envelopes to be stuffed or trips to the post office required. This helps businesses control their expenses and operate more efficiently.

Posted in ACH, EFT, Uncategorized on Feb 02, 2010