Choosing the Right Payment Method: ACH vs. Credit Cards vs. Written Checks

Kenzie Kirchoff
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Businesses have a multitude of payment methods to choose from when collecting funds from their customers. While credit cards have long been the standard, Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments and traditional written checks also remain viable options. Each method comes with its own set of advantages and considerations. In this blog, we will explore the differences between ACH, credit cards, and written checks as payment options, helping businesses make informed decisions based on their specific needs and circumstances.

ACH Payments: Convenience and Cost-Effectiveness

ACH payments involve the electronic transfer of funds directly from one bank account to another. Here are some key advantages of using ACH:

a. Cost Savings: ACH payments generally have lower transaction fees compared to credit card payments. Businesses can save money on processing fees, making ACH a cost-effective option for large-volume transactions.

b. Convenience for Recurring Payments: ACH is widely used for recurring payments such as monthly subscriptions or regular billing. Customers can set up automatic payments, providing a convenient and hassle-free experience.

c. Enhanced Security: ACH transactions are highly secure, leveraging encryption and authentication protocols to protect sensitive financial information. This offers peace of mind to both businesses and customers.


Credit Cards: Widespread Acceptance and Consumer Benefits

Credit card payments are a popular choice for both online and in-person transactions. Here are the advantages of accepting credit card payments:

a. Global Acceptance: Credit cards are widely accepted across the globe, making them a convenient option for businesses with an international customer base or aspirations for expansion.

b. Immediate Payment: Credit card transactions provide businesses with near-instantaneous payment, improving cash flow. Funds are typically deposited into the merchant's account within a few business days.

c. Consumer Protection: Credit cards offer consumer protection benefits such as fraud protection, dispute resolution mechanisms, and the ability to withhold payment for faulty goods or services. This can help foster trust and confidence in the buying process.


Written Checks: Tradition and Flexibility

While traditional, written checks are still used by some customers for various reasons. Consider the following aspects of accepting checks:

a. Familiarity: Checks have a long-standing history and are familiar to many customers, particularly those in older demographics or specific industries.

b. Flexibility: Accepting checks allows customers to pay without requiring a bank account or credit card. This flexibility can cater to customers who prefer more traditional payment methods.

c. Processing Time: Compared to electronic payment methods, written checks can take longer to process. Businesses should consider the additional time required for check clearance and potential return checks due to insufficient funds.


Choosing the right payment method for your business requires careful consideration of various factors, including cost, convenience, security, and customer preferences. ACH payments offer cost savings and convenience for recurring transactions, credit cards provide global acceptance and consumer benefits, while written checks cater to customers who prefer traditional payment methods. Assess your business needs, customer demographics, and transaction volumes to determine the optimal mix of payment options that align with your goals and enhance the overall customer experience. By offering multiple payment methods, businesses can accommodate diverse customer preferences and maximize their revenue potential.

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