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I have a small business and I'm about to start a couple of new initiatives that will require 1. paying contractors 2. paying customers for the purchase of certain items.

Here are the options I have so far:

Send a physical check - This may work for the contractors but my customers my shy away from having to give their address to a virtually unknown company.

PayPal This is good for me but it charges the recipient which will not make my customers or contractors happy

Venmo I asked support about a business account and they said they did not have business accounts. I guess I might be able to funnel payments through my personal account but I am concerned about the spending limits and keeping separate accounting.

ACH Transfer I don't want to have to collect bank info for every person I do business with and my bank charges $30/month for something I might not use every month.

So does anyone have a suggestion about a service to use? I don't mind a per transaction fee as long as it is not pervasive.

  • Are you actually paying customers (i.e., sending money) or receiving money from them? – Roman Jan 2 at 12:05
  • Yes in some cases I would send money to a customer – Alex Jan 2 at 16:20
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Send a check. People typically have no issue providing a mailing address if they are to receive money. And, checks, even if viewed as passé, are how business is still done when payments are sporadic or non-standard. Having a written record of payouts, in addition to digital (online bank statements), is beneficial.

Allow Paypal if selected making them aware Paypal may deduct transaction fees for business accounts. Note that Paypal doesn't deduct any fees received by a personal account regardless of the sender. It is only PayPal business accounts which deduct PayPal transaction fees from the received amount.

I have no experience with Venmo, can't comment on it.

ACH is a nightmare for most people. ACH is really geared more toward B2B transactions. I personally refuse to have yet another database somewhere with my banking information. For me it's merely fool-hearty to have yet another portal which can be "hacked" and cause me strife. I refuse all ACH requests when I get them. ACH for very small businesses (i.e. freelancers) or personal receipt of funds is just too much to request.

Most banks now also have their own "quick pay" option. I know Chase and BankAmerica do... which allow you to merely send with an email address similar to Paypal. I don't know what, if any, fees are associated with each bank though.

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Square offers cash.me. Super clean and fee-free process, easy signup to accept ACH (eCheck). Your subcontractor(s) must be willing to do the signup. They can then give you their "cashtag" (id), and you pay to cash.me/.

Another bank may have options. E.g. Charles Schwab Bank has "Bill Pay", and you can select from their commonly used payees or put in your own. This avoids you collecting routing and account numbers, but not name and address.

Lastly, in the case of a customer, you could get creative. "I owe you XX dollars. Would you like that in the form of a credit on your next invoice of billable hours?"

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E-transfers are convenient. I don't know if they're available to you, but they are a simple way to process payments. Usually it's a fixed fee (maybe $1) per transfer. You need the payees email and provide them a security question/answer. If you aren't processing a lot of transactions, and don't need to pre-schedule transations, it could be a good option.

  • Is e-transfer a service or a general term? – Alex Jan 4 at 6:46
  • It's a service, but all banks in Canada offer it. There are limits to the amount of money that can be transferred per day and per month. I would assume there is something similar available in the US. – Neil McBean Jan 4 at 6:52

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