Things You Should Not Play Games With: Invoicing Edition

It’s not as dire as it sounds but changing my merchant account was not the seamless, uneventful transition it could have been. In the cool light of day, most of the technical issues are my fault but then I’m Gen X so I learn by doing. Also, that means that I don’t always know the proper terminology.

From The Beginning

Admitting this publicly shows questionable judgement but when I starting working with my first client, I didn’t know how I was going to get paid. There are volumes of things you don’t learn in business school.

I needed a merchant account quickly so I went with the easiest solution and signed up for Intuit merchant services. It was fast, easy, and I was able to get past that little bump in the road and on to other issues.

Enter Business Networking

Right before the covid shut down, I joined the Charlotte Business Network. My induction into the crew was scheduled for the first meeting that was canceled. We’ve been keeping up on zoom so it’s fine but it’s not the same. Nothing you didn’t know there.

One of the crew reps for a merchant services company. The new service has lower transaction processing fees. Here again, if you want to get your feelings hurt, take a quick look at what your bank fees. It’s disheartening or more optimistically an area of your business ripe for cost savings.

Always be on the lookout for painless ways to cut costs – the “low hanging fruit” if you’d like to hear it in corporatespeak.

To be honest, I don’t yet know if this is going to save BA&C any money. I’ll do some analysis on that along the way. Even if it costs the same, I’d rather those fees go to a buddy so off I went filling out forms and setting up accounts.

Up and Running

The new merchant account was up and running. I was sent a packet of information with stickers and was all set and ready to – do nothing. Are you kidding me? I started this in the middle of tax season. The tax law changed on a dime (get it – dime) and keeping up with all of that was a bit of a challenge.

Expectation vs. Reality

The first invoice for my new merchant account woke me up. Until then, I was still running everything through the old account and paying the higher fees. Even better, now a lazy tax for not switching everything over.

I thought it was going to be easy. Switch merchant accounts over, put in a little button and repoint it to the new account. Hours on the phone. Apparently that’s not something that you can edit on your own. I was pretty confused about why it was so difficult. Editing little buttons is not hard. I have little buttons all over my website and that’s not even my forte.

My buddy made an odd comment though, he said that no one he’s worked with has gotten this button to update and just put the link to the payment portal in their email.

It turns out that this button in the invoice is ONLY available if you use their service. Now that I know that, the switch over is quite simple. What is not simple are transitions.

Options

One of the reasons I wanted to test this out was to see if it would work for any of my clients to save them money on bank processing fees. So far what I’ve concluded is that there are two options:

                1. Use the merchant dashboard to send invoices – They will build a portal that you can then use to send invoices instead of sending them through QBO. I did not go with that option because I wanted this to all happen behind the scenes with as little business disruption as possible.

                2. Send invoices from QBO with a link to your payment portal – This is the link to the portal to pay invoices. To me, it seems a bit cumbersome. I’m going to stick with it for now, but do let me know what you think.

Sometimes paying a little more for convenience isn’t the worst allocation of assets.

Action Needed:

I’m updating my invoices now to include the link to my payment portal. If you have an invoice that has a “review and pay” button, it may not work so please use this link instead. If you have any issues with the payment portal, let me know. The last thing any of us needs is to make is harder to get paid:

https://portal.icheckgateway.com/BlackberryAccountingandConsultingLLC/