Is there a service I can use for cheque mailing?


3

I am keeping track of commissions earned by my customers in a database. Each month, I have the amount they earned and their Names and Addresses.

I can easily automate the generation of the lists of people and how much to send. What I don't know is an easy way to send the cheques out to these people.

Is there a way for me to automate this, to minimize my time involved?

If one exists, I'd be happy to use a service and send them one list each month if they would send out cheques in the amount I specify to each person, with my business listed as the payer.

Additional info:

I want this system to require nothing from the user. They don't need to sign up. They don't need to provide any authorization or bank account number. They don't need to have a specific account type, such as PayPal.

What would be idea would be an online service that somehow just gets money to them without mailing costs, maybe like wiring money. I don't mind paying a service charge, even a few dollars
per payment.

Is there such a beast?

Payments Affiliate Web Services

asked Jul 17 '10 at 05:16
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Lkessler
1,471 points
  • I dont think there is a service that sends cheques like that. Because how can it be done automatically, printing cheques? – Bhargav Patel 9 years ago
  • Don't most banks now allow check servicing? You just need a way to interface with their api or something – Tim J 9 years ago

5 Answers


3

I'm in the market for this exact same thing. I asked a similar question on SO, but had it closed.

Since then I've found a possible solution called BatchEx, but don't know how trustworthy it is. A while back I attempted to contact them, and got a response, but it was many days later, so it didn't leave a great impression. I haven't followed up yet.

I also found WebmasterChecks, but know nothing more about them yet besides what is on their site.

There are also these API mailing solutions, but it doesn't look like they will mail checks:

The lack of this type of service shocks me, and it seems there must be a solution out there for all of these affiliate marketing systems. Makes me think I should investigate the market some to see if such a solution would be a worthwhile venture.

If you learn more about any services, I'd love to hear about your experiences! Please share pricing information, reliability, and so forth with me.

UPDATE:

I had a conference call with several specialists at my bank today (US Bank, usbank.com) and spoke in great lengths about doing ACH transactions. We also touched on the possibility of mailing checks. It sounds like they do have a service for this, but they did not know all the details and are researching it more.

What they did tell me is the following.

  • US Bank does have a check printing service
  • Can send payment information in a batch file via FTP (maybe SFTP and HTTPS as well)
  • Can issue checks from any number of my own accounts, but not sure if there is a per account surcharge
  • Checks must come from a US Bank account
  • Unsure if they can issue checks from another organization's checking account number
  • Fairly expensive
  • $1250 setup fee
  • $0.20 - $0.47 per check depending on quantity
  • Minimum of $175 per month (will cost $175 for the first 373 checks)
  • Unclear on if there are other costs, such as postage fees
  • $12/transmission (per batch file)

I started looking into all this last June, so it has taken me months to even find out that my bank offers such a service. I would check with your bank and other banks you would like to work with and see what you can find. They might have something similar.

Good luck!
Tauren

answered Oct 15 '10 at 14:12
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Tauren
240 points
  • @Tauren: I voted to reopen your SO question. Add your vote and you'll need 3 more. Modify the question so that it emphasizes the API part more and it might get reopened and have some worthwhile solutions. That said, Hyperwallet does have an API as well. But I've taken off my accepted answer (due to your comment - thanks for it) and will research further. – Lkessler 9 years ago
  • The other problem with International cheques, is that there is often a large charge (several dollars) to the recipient to cash them. – Lkessler 9 years ago
  • @lkessler: Thanks for voting to reopen my question. I've edited it as you suggested. But I'm not expecting it will get reopened. – Tauren 9 years ago
  • Also, the other SO question really pertains to PayPal solutions only. I've already looked at them and there really isn't anything that fits my needs. MassPay is most cost effective, with a 2% fee but it is capped at $1.00 per transaction. Adaptive Payments looks like really great technology, but my understanding is that fees are purely percentage based. For my situation, a $20 fee per $1000 payment simply won't work. Regardless, all their solutions require paypal accounts. – Tauren 9 years ago
  • Determining the exact Adaptive Payments fee is confusing. It is based on the transaction volume received by each recipient. These rates vary (2.9%, 2.5%, 2.2%, or 1.9% plus $0.30). If an adaptive payment of $100 is split out to 2 recipients getting $50 each, the total fee depends on the recipients. If both recipients are are in the 2.9% tier, the fee would be $1.75 to each recipient, or $3.50 total: ($50*0.029 + $0.30)*2 However, if one has a 2.9% rate and the other a 2.2% rate, the overall fee is $1.75 + $1.40. They don't clearly post pricing for Adaptive Payments, so I could be mistaken. – Tauren 9 years ago
  • Anyway, bottom line is that the PayPal solutions have turned into a dead end for me. Same with the Amazon FPS solution. Anything that is percentage based is a no-go. – Tauren 9 years ago
  • Lastly, I added more information to my post about a US Bank check printing solution I learned more about today. – Tauren 9 years ago

2

Ask your local bank. I guarantee they can provide the service for you.

Alternatively, buy blank checks, and print them yourself. Most professional accounting software will do so. Again, check with your bank about what types of checks to order.

Alter-alternatively, hire a payroll service. Many banks provide this as well. So do many accountants. For that matter, if you're growing (congratulations!) to the point where it's a hassle to be sending out so many checks, maybe you should consider hiring an accountant and/or payroll service at this point anyway.

answered Oct 17 '10 at 02:38
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Benjamin Chambers
121 points

1

Bank of America provides free check mailing to third parties via its Bill Pay system. All you need is a name and address to send the check to. You could get someone to write a script to fill in the BoA form automatically. Recurring payments can be scheduled in advance. Not sure if there's some API that can be used to integrate with a website, but you might want to ask them.

answered Oct 21 '10 at 19:20
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Henry The Hengineer
4,316 points
  • Would be a possibility. Unfortunately, its only US to US and I'm in Canada and have international customers. – Lkessler 9 years ago
  • What you are referring to here is BofA's **consumer** bill pay. It may be free, but I'm guessing there is a limit to the free payments you can make. There is a hard cost to printing and mailing letters. I'm sure they wouldn't take kindly to you writing a script to log into the site and send thousands of payments. My guess is your time and money spent writing that script would be wasted, as they would quickly block it. As I indicate in my answer, some banks do offer a check printing service. But they want some big money to get started using it. – Tauren 9 years ago

0

you could use PayPal or similar services to pay your customers. They allow mass payments, so you could take your list and pay all customers with just one payment.

Well, they are only sending money to your customers email-address. However, if you have international customers, the above mentioned solution will make it easier for you. Furthermore, you don't need to worry if a cheque might get lost.

Otherwise you need to search for a solution provided for your Country, as accepting cheque payments may vary from country to country

Hope this helps.

answered Aug 23 '10 at 23:52
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Abenetis
371 points
  • For PayPal to send to customers, it requires that they have a PayPal account. – Lkessler 9 years ago
  • Yes, they need a PayPal Account. But it's free and it might be that even some of your customers already have a PayPal Account. Have you asked them? BTW: Are your Customers not using Online-Services? If so, you might look for a Software, which is able to print out the cheques for you automatically. (I saw something like that, but could not remember where. If I find it, I'll drop another comment.) – Abenetis 9 years ago
  • I don't want to print 2,000 cheques myself and stuff and address and mail them. I'd sooner have a service do it for me. – Lkessler 9 years ago
  • Sorry for the later reply, but you may not need to write all cheques yourself, when you get a Software which is able to print cheques. And even for your Signature there should be a solution, as big companies don't need to sign all cheques by hand. Just get in contact with your Bank about automatic Signature. When using Software to print cheques, I'm sure you only need to enter customer data once. I didn't remember the Software, but it might have been a Cash-Management Software, which was famous. – Abenetis 9 years ago

0

After searching a long time, I think I found a better way.

Cheques involve something physical, and mailing and handling costs are an unneeded expense. In addition, cashing the cheque can sometimes involve a bank charge for the recipient (something I don't want) if it is not in their currency.

But there are some online ways to transfer money. The one I like the best is HyperWallet at: www.hyperwallet.com. They create an online "wallet" where the person in the other country can get the money and deposit it into their bank.

Charge is only 1.00 (or less) per transaction if you decide to pay sender's cash out fee, which you should. That is much more convenient and much cheaper than the $2.50 or more it will cost to send a cheque.

HyperWallet is a Canadian company and has direct connections to Canadian banks and credit unions. Since I am in Canada, it is a no-brainer for me.

When I get to the point of using them for this, I'll try to remember and come back here and add my experiences.

answered Oct 17 '10 at 12:16
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Lkessler
1,471 points
  • How is this any different than PayPal? Doesn't it still require the recipient to log onto hyperwallet and create an account or do something to get the money? I thought your goal was for the recipient to not have to do anything or sign anything. – Tauren 9 years ago
  • @Tauren. Yes, you are correct that the recipient has to create a wallet. I didn't realize it and that's not readily made clear by them. So I will research a little more. But, unlike PayPal, you do not need a credit card or bank account to sign up with, so at least its a little bit less abhorent that way. Although you'll probably have to specify the bank account you'll want to withdraw the funds to. I'll have to check further to see how easy or difficult this would be for international customers. – Lkessler 9 years ago
  • Moneybookers www.moneybookers.com is a British service that seems similar to HyperWallet. It still requires the recipient create an account. It seems worthwhile to compare the two and see if there are others. – Lkessler 9 years ago

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