Discussion:Intuit Payment Network alternatives?

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Discussion Forum Index --> Business Growth Community --> Intuit Payment Network alternatives?

Makbo (talk|edits) said:

17 April 2014
Well, now that we don't have to worry about biting the hand that feeds us, anyone know of a convenient payment processing system that takes bank (ACH) payments for a dollar or less?

IPN is a pretty good deal at $0.50 per transaction, but it's no surprise that their customer service sucks. I've been using it for several years for my small tax practice, but this year without any warning, they stopped accepting larger payments for me on Apr 14 (!!!) due to a monthly "payment limit". My customers had to tell me about the problem, thanx for making me look like an idiot, Intuit! For reasons unknown, even after I talked to a phone support rep, they have daily, weekly, and monthly limits on how much money I can take in, even though they hold the money until it clears before sending to my bank. I asked for the limit to be increased, I've never had a problem, been a customer of ProSeries for years, a Certfied Advanced ProAdvisor for years, but no dice, it will probably be a week or more before they get around to reviewing my request.

To add insult to injury, on my final, SMALLEST payment of the season ($160, for a client who had already paid me for an extension but I was able to efile on time anyway), they now sent me an email that they have to check with the client first before releasing funds, and it will take about 10 days before I get my money. Even that, I could live with, but it was the asinine email they sent me, trying very insincerely to make it sound like this was somehow for my own good.

I also use Paypal when a client wants to pay by credit card, but it seems ridiculous to pay $24 for a $800 payment when a $10 payment only costs $0.60 and it costs them about the same to process (yes, I know all credit cards fees are a rip-off in this way). Most of my clients have no problem paying online using bank account info.

Makbo (talk|edits) said:

17 April 2014
An Intuit rep who reads this forum contacted me this morning, we had a good chat, she seemed quite interested in my feedback and promised to pass along to the internal groups. So, good for them on that. I also let her know that it was the confluence of all these things at the same time that finally exceeded my frustration threshold for ranting on the internet (triply-redundant monthly limit without courtesy notification, shutting down TA, and sending me an automated email telling me that I have been identified as a risk that needs to be managed).

I also pointed out that by shutting down this forum, Intuit loses an easy way to monitor tax professional comments about their own and competitors' products and services.

Joanmcq (talk|edits) said:

18 April 2014
I use Square. Simple, low percentage fee and the payment is posted to my bank account in about 2 days.

PDXTaxman (talk|edits) said:

20 April 2014
I really don't follow this, perhaps because I have no idea why you'd want to use an ACH system at all.

We've been in business now about 8 years. In all that time, we've had exactly 3 bad checks. All three were corrected by the clients instantly, including one occasion where he fixed before we ourselves had figured it out. So we're very happy to take old-fashioned paper checks.

Probably 2/3rds of our payments are made via credit or debit cards. Here's what you do: go to Costco. Become a member. Pick up a brochure for merchant services at the service desk. Call. Get set up. Done. Very affordable.

We've actually been using a local merchant service provider -- a refugee from Wells Fargo Bank who opened his own storefront, and provides terrific service. But in most cities there likely is no such thing, hence Costco (which is the cheapest we've found, albeit only a little less than our current guy).

To be fair, maybe there are some outstanding benefits to ACH about which I'm oblivious. But what we do has always seemed to work perfectly well.

Makbo (talk|edits) said:

22 April 2014
"I have no idea why you'd want to use an ACH system at all. "

Hmmm... many ways to answer, let's try using rhetorical questions.

Why wouldn't anyone want to use a payment link that doesn't require paying credit card merchant fees? Empirically, Intuit is still offering the service after several years, so there must be enough folks to make it worthwhile even at 50 cents a pop.

Why does the IRS use ACH debits (a.k.a. EFW) to receive tax payments? Seems to work well for them.

Why would I want to physically handle a customer's credit card or paper check, when many of customers don't meet with me in person, or at best the meet once, at the beginning of the process. Why would I want to make them come (back) to a physical meeting just to pay me? They are usually getting their return copies delivered electronically, paper source documents sent back by mail (but I've got a lot of them trained to scan their own docs and just end me the PDF's).

(Square only seems to work for payments where you have a smartphone and want to physically swipe a card, neither of which apply to me).

What could be simpler, easier, and more universal than sending the customer a unique payment link by email? They don't have to create a login account, they just enter the bank or card info (without sharing it with me, which greatly relieves my security burden), and a few days later $$$ appear in my account. IPN and Paypal both work this way, I use Paypal for customers who really want to pay by credit card, but most are happy to just use direct debit. Both IPN and Paypal "pay now" links are easily generated from Quickbooks invoices.

PDXTaxman (talk|edits) said:

27 April 2014
Makbo, as I said in my posting, there might be some outstanding benefits to ACH we've been unaware of. You mention them, and I thank you for it. But our credit card charges haven't exactly eaten us alive, and except for cost it strikes me that accepting credit and debit cards (which works fine over the phone, of course, as well as in person) is much the equal to ACH.

Now when it comes to the costs, you've got a great point. At 50-cents a pop, flat fee, it scarce matters how reasonable your merchant service's fees are. They're sure the heck not that cheap, so I'll follow your lead here and investigate ACH this summer. My recollection is that when we last looked at it (must have been 5 to 7 years ago) there was something about it (cost or nature of the service, I can't recall) that soured us on the entire concept. But things change, and also it's entirely possible we misunderstood back then. So based on your comments, I think it'll do us well to walk through it again.

On the other hand, we have a nice office, and the vast majority of our clients do come in both at drop-off and later at pick-up. Not one in six of our clients, I think, routinely carry checkbooks anymore. Everyone carries plastic. So whatever we do, we're going to continue with plastic.

I sure hope all these discussions get archived, or (better yet) ported over with search capability to TalkProTalk. Conversations like this are useful, I think, to everyone who's trying to make a go of it in business. Makbo, if you find an alternative to Intuit, please do post here if possible for those future archive searches.

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