We get this question a lot; should a startup pay vendors via a check or credit card? Now, for the startup, it’s always easier to pay via credit card.
It’s super convenient. You give them the number, they run the transaction. And if you use Brex, like what we like and we put companies on, then it integrates into QuickBooks super easily. And it’s very easy for us, your accountant, to characterize the transaction. It actually does it automatically most the time because of our proprietary software. So we love it when early-stage companies who are our clients pay via credit card.
Credit card vs check
Now there’s a lot of times where the vendor, the person you’re working with and need to pay, doesn’t want to accept a credit card. And the reason why is… Credit cards have a pretty hefty fee. Usually it’s about 3%, 2.5%, 3%. And they don’t want to pay that. I don’t blame them because that’s a lot of money. There’s a lot of margin to lose. So they want to be paid via check.
The problems of doing Bill Pay with Checks
Now, for us, the accountant, the worst solution is for you to actually write a check to that vendor. The reason why is we use Plaid to pull down tons of data from bank counts and integrate into our proprietary systems. And we do not get check images from Plaid. It doesn’t have them. So we have to manually go into your bank accounts. Click the check image once the check is cashed and look and see who you wrote in your chicken scratch to on that check. So that is not a great solution for us, your accountant. But luckily there’s something called Bill.com which is out there. And Bill.com does all this electronically and it’s super easy to pay vendors via a check or it’s more like an ACH, like a direct payment because Bill.com has a payment network where it connects to your vendors, gets their bank account on the other side and actually just does like a direct deposit into their bank account.
And guess what? We don’t have to log into your bank account and read your little chicken scratch on the image. Even better, Bill.com allows you to upload the invoice into Bill.com, which syncs into QuickBooks and matches the payment when that actually goes out. So the real question you should be asking as a startup is should I pay vendors via credit card or Bill.com because Bill.com is a superior solution to just writing a check. And in that situation we’re pretty agnostic. But I do think credit cards are a little bit easier for people.
So I would always lean towards the credit cards. But of course, if your vendor is not accepting the credit card because that fee most likely, then go ahead and just use Bill.com. We used to put all of our clients on Bill.com. It’s super easy to use and you’ll have a invoice record. You’ll be able to pay your vendor electronically and your accounts will be very happy with you. However, now there are several good bill pay solutions out there, like Brex or Ramp, or many of the other expense management tools that we recommend. So paying with a check… no, there really isn’t a need to do that anymore, in 2023 at least.