Financials and Cash Flow

How to optimize payment types to support your cash flow

Don’t let limited payments hold your business back. Learn what you can do to make your accounts payable and accounts receivable more efficient.

Published: January 18, 2019

When it comes to business operations, how you choose to make or receive payments is critical to your cash flow. Inefficient payment methods not only keep your business from growing, but can also cost you money.

Here are four ways to improve your payments.

1. Accepting payments: Switch from cash to plastic

“While the fastest method of collecting payment is cold hard cash, the problem with collecting cash in bulk is that it is costly for banks to process, so fees could add up,” says Gabriel Sofaer, business banking manager at Wells Fargo.

In addition to possible fees, restricting the way you receive payments could prevent your business from attracting new customers. According to the 2017 U.S. Consumer Payment Study, more than 75% of consumers prefer to pay with a card.1 And in 2016 alone, U.S. credit card purchasing exceeded $3 trillion.2

2. Accepting payments: Go digital

Consumers’ inclination to use mobile payments over traditional methods is on the rise. In 2015, consumers paid for goods or services using their mobile wallet 1.3 billion times — a leap from 0.3 billion times in 2012.1

“So this means that small business owners have to be prepared to accept multiple payment types, be more technology savvy, and have to be able to understand how their customers want to pay,” says Tracey Fanelli, senior vice president of treasury, merchant and payment solutions at Wells Fargo.

For many businesses, going mobile may mean building a presence online. “E-commerce is probably one of the fastest sectors of the payment industry because companies are finding out that they need a presence online for the convenience of their customers,” adds Robert Ash, treasury management sales manager at Wells Fargo. “Business owners can use a provider like Wells Fargo as a gateway to access products and services so their customers can go online and be able to conduct business with them digitally.”

3. Accepting payments: Consider all-in-one point-of-sale technology

Wherever you are in the business lifecycle, leverage technology that allows you to do more. This may include the Clover® platform of products, which allows you to not only accept various types of payments but to manage and grow your business with a suite of available applications. These applications can help provide key insights into your customers’ purchasing habits and help you manage operations such as employee scheduling and payroll.

“These systems enable business owners to improve their business with detailed and robust reporting,” says Ash. “From how to grow your customers to creating a customer loyalty program, good reporting helps you see the big picture.”

4. Making payments: Skip the check for a better bottom line

Checks can be inconvenient for your cash flow management: you’ll need to account for that check’s payment until the check is processed, despite the sum still appearing in your account. Failing to do so can lead to disruptions in your cash flow. From start to finish, it could take weeks for a check to clear.

With paper checks, you’ll also face the risk of potential payment loss, or a bank hold, says Sofaer.

For these reasons, Sofaer says, “Doing business electronically is the most effective way to manage cash flow on both sides.” However, it’s important to only consider electronic options that are safe for your business, such as ACH payments, electronic wire transfers, and Wells Fargo Direct Pay.

As you explore your payment processing options and additional available resources, consider how each may impact your cash flow to choose the option that makes the most sense for your business’s current standing.

1 “2017 TSYS U.S. Consumer Payment Study,” TSYS, 2017.

2 “Credit card purchase volume in the United States from 2000 to 2016,” Statista, 2017.