Late payments can affect your relationship with your vendors, harm your reputation and derail your credit score. Nevertheless, late payments can happen. You're only human, and running a business on top of that doesn’t make things any easier.
It might happen because you get caught up in the daily grind every once in a while, you forget to pay a bill, or you remember at the last minute. Or maybe you’re low on cash at the moment because you’re still waiting to get paid yourself. And sometimes, it’s not even up to you - a check can easily get lost in the mail.
Whatever the reason, late payments happen, and we’ve got you covered with a guide to fast payments. Fast payments allow you to minimize the risk of late payments by expediting a payment when you really need to. There are many ways to do that: Same/next-day ACH, wire transfers, and more. And there’s also a secret hack that gives you added perks - paying with your credit card even to vendors who don’t accept cards. Let’s dive in.
Pay your vendor with a credit card (even if they don’t accept cards)
Wait, paying business bills with your credit card* even if your vendor doesn’t accept cards? What sorcery is this?
It’s simpler than you might think. Services like Melio allow you to pay your business bills with a credit card, while your vendor still gets paid by ACH transfer.
There are many benefits to paying your business bills with a credit card, and we’ll touch on them in a second, but the main, lesser-known advantage of paying with a card is that credit card payments are processed faster than bank transfers. By using your credit card with Melio, your vendor gets paid the next day by bank transfer.
What other perks does paying with your card hold, you ask? Well, you’ll be able to…
- Defer payments and hold onto money longer. Paying with a credit card lets you enjoy the extra 45-day float until the next billing cycle, giving you more breathing room.
- Earn rewards. You can collect cash back, points, miles and rewards with each payment.
Pricing: Melio offers credit card payments for a 2.9% fee.
ACH payments are a popular way to make business-to-business payments. However, a standard ACH transfer can take up to 3 business days to process because it moves through the ACH network. 3 business days isn’t too bad, but if you need a faster option, NACHA provides you with two: same-day and next-day ACH transfers.
The price and availability of expedited transfers depend on the service provider, which can be a bank, a credit union, or a private provider. Some, but not all banks, offer accounts with same-day or next-day ACH transfers.
Pricing: Most banks don’t advertise their ACH fees, but it varies from $10-$30 per transfer. As a point of reference, Bank of America charges $30 for same-day ACH and $5 for next-day ACH.
Compare the terms and fees of the different ACH service providers right here.
Wire transfers are faster than standard ACH, as the money moves directly between two financial institutions (point-to-point) rather than going through an ACH system. So when you send a wire transfer, it's usually processed the same day.
Pricing: Wire transfers are substantially more expensive than standard and next-day ACH. Pricing for outgoing domestic wire transfers ranges from $20-$30 and can even go up to $50 for international transfers. Most banks also charge for incoming wire transfers.
Fast check delivery
Pop quiz: you need to pay a bill urgently, but your vendor insists on getting paid by paper check. USPS takes around 5-7 days to deliver. What do you do?
One option is to send the check yourself via express courier. Another option is to drop everything and physically deliver the check yourself—both options sound as appealing as watching grass grow.
Another hassle-free option is to let Melio work it out for you: with Melio you can pay your bill online (with an ACH bank transfer, debit, or credit card*), and we’ll take it from there. Melio prints out a check and sends it to your vendor via FedEx so it arrives in just 3 days. You can track it online and get notified on each step along the way.
Pricing: Melio offers expedited check delivery for $20.
How to get paid fast
Until now, we talked about outgoing payments. But what if you’re on the receiving end of a payment, as a vendor? There’s one easy step you can take to get your business clients to pay you faster - make it easy for them. Melio lets your business customers pay you online by ACH, without having to sign up, for free. Instead, you send them a payment request with an attached invoice and a built-in pay button, and all they have to do is click it and schedule the payment.
Fast payments - a great solution, but here’s a better one
Fast payments are important to have in your arsenal when the occasional late payment ensues or when you urgently need to expedite a shipment of supplies. But fast payments cost money, and you should try not to depend entirely on them. The key here is to plan your payments, and have full control of when they arrive. Here’s where an effective online bill pay service will do the work for a fraction of the cost - one where you can schedule payments ahead of time, track all your vendor bills and stay on top of all unpaid invoices.
Try Melio’s bill pay service. There are no subscription or monthly fees and ACH bank transfers are free. You can keep track of all your vendors, pay all your invoices in minutes and take your bill pay game to the next level.
*Subject to card network limitations