When it comes time to split the savings, we accept lots of different payment methods. But our preferred method, if you’re up for it, is paying via ACH. That means that we’ll directly debit your bank account via Plaid and Stripe. This isn’t mandatory by any means and you can choose what account to use or use a debit or credit card instead.
What is ACH?
The ACH Network operates by directly transferring money between two accounts. Here’s some more reading on that if you’re curious about the general details. ACH (Automated Clearing House) payments are an alternative to paying via a credit card. It’s a very common payment method for consumers. It’s likely how you receive your paycheck or make car payments. In the U.S., ACH payments account for more than 50 trillion dollars (with a T) of transactions a year.
How does BillFixers use ACH payments?
We use ACH as a means for you to pay us when it comes time to be billed. When you link an account via Plaid, we’ll check to see if it’s a “depository” account, basically meaning whether its something like a checking account or something like a credit card. If it’s a checking account style account, Plaid sends a request to your bank to authorize us to charge that account directly. Then, when it comes time for us to charge you, we’ll send one of those payment requests to your bank.
Why do you use ACH?
Honestly, the big advantage for us is that it costs a lot less. When you pay for something with a credit card, we have to pay the credit card processing company 2.9% + $.30 for each transaction. When you pay for something via ACH, there’s a one time charge of $1.50 and then we only pay .8%, with a $5 cap. An example:
Let’s say we save you $20 a month, so you’re gonna pay us $10 a month for a year. We pay $7.08 to our credit card processing company for that. If you paid that via ACH instead, we only pay $2.46. The next year, if we get the same savings, we only pay $.96. So, over those two years, we save $10.74. Now, imagine the same thing happens for 10,000 customers. Now we’ve saved over $100,000, which is enough for us to hire a new Customer Experience staff member who can provide better support service, lets us upgrade our servers so BillFixers runs faster for you, and pays for bonuses to the negotiators who worked on your bills.
How long does ACH take?
ACH is generally just fast to set up as adding a credit card, since you just need to link your bank. However, one difference between paying with a credit card via ACH is that it takes a few days for the banks to communicate with each other. So, when we process the payment, instead of instantly getting everything settled like you do with a credit card payment, the payment may be “Pending” for 3-5 days. We’ll generally consider that you’ve paid when the charge is pending, but we won’t send a receipt email until the charge actually finalizes. So, you may get your receipt from us a few days after your payment initiates. If the payment fails for whatever reason, we’ll send you an email when that happens too, and update your account in our system. You’ll be able to switch payment methods or retry if that happens.
Is it secure?
Yes. We never have direct access to any of your bank account information at any time during this process. You tell your bank details directly to Plaid, which we can’t even see—they contact the bank and Stripe, which we can’t see—and we only get back a randomized token that represents the idea of your bank account to let us know who is who. Plaid and Stripe both are the industry standard for this kind of thing and have all sorts of security certifications to allow them to do this. You can read more about our general security practice here.
How do I change my payment method?
When you connect an account that is authorized to use ACH, we’ll make that your primary method by default. However, if you want to change that, you can anytime on your Payment Preferences page. All you’ve got to do is switch it to acredit or debit card. You can click “Set as Primary Payment Method” to switch between payment methods.
For more details, you can read this article on Adding or Updating Cards for Payment.
What about a question not answered here?
This is a new system for us and so we’re working on improving it. If you run into problems personally or have suggestions generally about how we can do things better, please get in touch. You can email us or contact us whatever way works best for you.