I just read a really interesting article from American Trucker on forms of payment Hate paper checks? You are not alone and it asks a question about the implications of more and more people disliking checks as a form of payment for truckers and their freight payments.
It got me thinking about the various payment options that are available to trucking companies. Some are more common than others, and each has their pluses and minuses. Below is a breakdown of the various forms with some information about each that you may or may not be aware of.
ACH stands for Automated Clearing House and is a way for payments to be directly deposited into your account. There is sometimes a fee for the company initiating the payment but not for the company who will be receiving the payment, and they can take between 1 and 3 days to be completed. The company who will be receiving the funds needs to provide their bank account number and banks routing number to receive the funds. This can be a great alternative to paper checks, as the money will go directly into your account. One downside, however, is that many banks don’t inform you when the payment is received so you might have to establish a way that works for your company, such as activating deposit alerts, these will allow you to track that the payment has been received. This form of payment is something you could use to be paid and to pay for your expenses.
A wire transfer is a fairly immediate transfer of funds from one account to another. The benefit over an ACH/Direct Deposit is that it occurs much more quickly, and the recipient does not have to wait for it to “clear”. However, this usually comes with a slightly higher fee for the company initiating the transfer/payment and there is also typically a fee for the person receiving the funds. The company who will be receiving the funds needs to provide their bank account number and banks routing number to receive the funds.
There are many cost-saving benefits of utilizing fuel cards, including discounts on fuel and more which you can read about in our post The Skinny on Fuel Cards for Trucking Companies. However, many trucking companies are unaware that some partners, such as some Freight Factoring Companies, will load funds directly on a fuel card as a way to quickly get you the money you are owed. Most likely this is not a form of payment you can offer to your clients, but it can be a good solution for some partners. The benefit is that the funds will be available for you to use without you needing to spend the time adding them and there is typically no transaction fee.
Money Transfer Checks
There are two types of money transfer checks available only to the transportation industry. These checks are another form of paper checks with the difference being that they are not drawn directly from a bank account
EFS (Electronic Funds Source) Checks are offered through EFS. To use an EFS check you need an issue number and transaction number and then EFS needs to provide an authorization number which will all be tied to a specific dollar amount that the check is good for. There can be various fees, most companies charge a fee to issue the check and some charge fees to cash it too. EFS checks can be used for trucking companies to make payments and also to receive payment from shipping brokers. Not all companies will accept them as forms of payment but most trucking related services such as gas stations, truck stops, and maintenance stations will.
Comcheks are offered by Comdata. Shippers, brokers, and factoring companies often use them as a form of payment to carriers and carriers can use them to pay for transportation-related expenses such as fuel, maintenance, and lumpers. Additionally, they can be cashed at either a truck stop, which typically will charge a fee or can be directly deposited into your company’s bank account, which may or may not carry a fee to do so. To issue a Comchek you must have an account with Comdata and obtain an Express Code for a predetermined dollar amount. Once the Comchek is received as payment, an Express Code needs to be obtained from Comdata to receive the funds.
Credit Card Payments
Credit cards are a very common form of payment for personal and businesses expenses. It is common to hear that if you accept credit card payments, you will receive payment from your clients more quickly. However, the credit card company charges the company who accepts the credit card a percentage of the transaction and can even charge an additional set transaction fee, which can really add up. There are several ways you can set up to accept credit card payments, and some require you to purchase special equipment, and others can be done through a website or app on your computer or mobile device.
Online payment methods are another way to accept credit cards but can sometimes come with lower fees and equipment costs. There are many companies that offer these services, and each one has different costs, requirements, payment methods and methods for getting you the funds. Some companies you could consider if you wanted to explore this option would be PayPal, Square and Intuit GoPayment.
Regardless of your feeling about paper checks as a form of payment, they are certainly one of the more commonly used options and are sure to be for some time. However, there are some other options available to trucking companies that can be beneficial to explore. I hope this information has been helpful in understanding those many options.