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A Payment By Any Other Name…

What do YOU call them? Generically, they are Bank Account Payments, although in the United States they are also called ACH (Automated Clearing House) or EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) payments. In the UK, Australia and Europe, they are referred to as Direct Debit payments. No matter what name you use, Advantage supports them, and more and more people the world over are using them.

When making a direct debit payment (we'll use the European/UK name for now), the customer provides information about their bank account ? the bank's ID number and their account number at the bank. The payment is collected by transferring payment request records to the clearing system that is used by your bank.


Don't want to use up space on your beautiful marketing piece for bank information? Offer a check-box for "I want to pay from my bank account." Create a dummy DD payment code for such responses. Use the Billing feature to send them a form to provide the bank account details. When they respond, you update their DD Instruction and bam! there's the payment.

DD payments operate much like Credit Card payments. The process to send a file to your DD clearing system is ARP376 (the process for sending Credit Card payments is ARP370). Many DD clearing systems will provide response records which can be loaded through the ARP377/378 processes. (Credit Card responses are loaded through the ARP371 process.)

Like Credit Cards, Direct Debit payments can be generated automatically through the installment billing feature or through order generating features ? automatic access agreement renewal or Book Club order releases, for example. Also, a customer's DD payment information can be "saved" for future use. During the next order they make over the phone (or web), you can ask them if they want to use what is already on file.

Setup for DD payments is done at the ARPTBL workspace very much as setup for CC payments is done. A key element of the setup for DD payments is the clearing system you want to use. Several clearing systems are already supported and if you can use one of those, then you are ready to go. Support for a new clearing system is usually a small effort. If you are operating outside of the United States, there may be more effort involved.

Contact your ACS representative for information about implementing DD payments.

Filed under: Software