By Mary Hughes
Senior Payments Consultant, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
The Business Payments Coalition recently released the third version of its Small Business Payments Toolkit. The Toolkit provides education about payments and encourages the adoption of electronic business-to-business (B2B) payments by small businesses.
Visit this link to download this free resource:
Breaking Up (with Checks) is Hard to Do!
Checks are the main way many small businesses make B2B payments. Checks are popular because you don’t need to know the account information of the person or business you want to pay. However, the Toolkit points out that small businesses should try to reduce their reliance on checks because they are expensive, labor-intensive and expose a small business to fraud.
What Should Small Businesses Use Instead of Checks?
Using plain language, the Toolkit educates small businesses on the benefits of using electronic payment types such as Automated Clearing House (ACH) credits and debits, wire transfers, and credit and debit cards instead of checks. It explains the pros and cons of each of major payment type.
What’s New in the Toolkit?
Originally published in April 2015 by the Business Payments Coalition (formerly the Remittance Coalition), the Toolkit is now on its third version. Original content has been refreshed and new content includes:
• Same Day ACH: An Important New Payments Tool for Small Businesses
• Hot Topics in Payments Fraud (round up of latest fraud scams and threats)
• Self-Assessment Quiz so small businesses can test how ready they are for electronic payments
• Updated content on Online and Mobile Payments Alternatives
• New links in the extensive Resources section
How to Get Started with Electronic Payments
The Toolkit offers tips on working with bankers, including what to bring to a meeting with your banker to discuss improving payments processing. It covers what small businesses need to know to get started making and receiving electronic payments. The Toolkit contains a lot of helpful information on sending and receiving ACH payments. There is an excellent article for first-time ACH originators on how small businesses can evaluate third party ACH origination software packages.
Beware of Payment Fraud!
Given that all payment types carry the risk of fraud, small businesses should educate themselves on how to protect their assets from fraudsters. Where are the greatest risks? What precautions should small businesses take? The Toolkit provides practical information on how to avoid losses due to payments fraud. It offers tips on training employees to recognize and avoid fraud attempts.
An extensive resources section has links to additional information.
Who is the Toolkit for?
The newly updated Toolkit isn’t just for small businesses. Corporations that want to motivate their smaller trading partners to give up checks, small business bankers, SBDC advisors and anyone else interested in learning more about B2B payments and/or helping small businesses improve their payments processing will find it helpful.
Downloaded over 18,000 times, the Toolkit is a popular and relevant educational resource for entrepreneurs, small businesses, and the banks and business consultants who serve them.
The Toolkit is intended for public use, is not copyrighted, and can be shared and linked. Content can be used for webinars, presentations, and for general educational purposes by anyone. Check it out today!
The Business Payments Coalition (which produced the Small Business Payments Toolkit) is a group of payments industry participants that conduct volunteer work to fulfill their mission of increasing the efficiency of business-to-business (B2B) payments and promoting straight-through-processing. New members are always welcome.