Print This Post

New Features in Intuit PaymentNetwork

January 12, 2012 | By | 23 Replies More

Intuit PaymentNetwork (IPN) is an excellent option for receiving customer payments via electronic check (ACH) or credit card. It is simple to use and integrates well with QuickBooks. I love to use it – ACH payments with only a $0.50 charge per transaction and no percentage! Let’s take a look at some of the improvements to the service from the past few months:

  • Branding of Payment Request page
  • Credit Card Acceptance
  • Guest Payments
  • Better Reconciliation (using QB 2012) without using Sync Manager
  • Recurring Payments

An Overview of Intuit PaymentNetwork

There are a lot of ways to handle electronic payments with QuickBooks. The choice you use depends on your business situation. Some examples:

Each of these has different advantages, methods of integrating with QuickBooks, and fees. That is the tough part for the SMALL business – fees. If you handle a good volume of payments, your fees may be lower and more manageable. When you look at these various solutions, watch for these components of the fee structure:

  • Monthly Fee: Many of these options require that you pay a monthly fee, which for the SMALL business can be a hassle. In some cases there are TWO monthly fees – one for the “merchant services” account (processing credit cards), one for the ability to collect payments online and manage the collection/payment process.
  • Per Transaction Fee: Very often you will have a fixed fee that is added for each transaction.
  • Discount Rate: This may be worded differently in different cases. This is a percentage of the transaction, and it can become a considerable cost. Your discount rate can vary based on the payment solution vendor, the volume of business you do, the size of your transactions, your ability to “swipe” the physical card, and more.

This service has been around since 2009 and has evolved quite a bit since I wrote my first review article about it. Why do I like it? Because there is no monthly fee, and no discount rate. My cost to receive a payment (via ACH/bank payment) is a flat $0.50 per transaction – no more, no less. This is the lowest cost payment solution that I’ve found. Intuit PaymentNetwork is integrated with QuickBooks – if you set it up and email your QuickBooks invoice to the client there is a payment link added to the invoice and to the email message. Very convenient!

To use this feature, first create an account at the Intuit PaymentNetwork site, then enable your Payment preferences in QuickBooks.

Intuit PaymentNetwork Preferences

When you create an invoice you will see a check box in the lower corner.

Enable online payment

When you print or email the invoice there will be a payment link included. The email message will include payment information as well.

IPN Link in invoice

Branding of the Payment Request Page

One recent improvement is the “branding” of the payment page. When a customer clicks on the payment link your company name is shown at the top. A very nice improvement.

IPN Branding

Accept Payments via Credit Card

This recent improvement has proven to be very useful to me. Initially, IPN could only be used to accept ACH payments. The customer has to enter bank account information, and some customers aren’t comfortable with that. Now, subject to your credit approval, you can allow customers to pay via credit card.

Credit Card Payment

If you don’t already have an Intuit Merchant Services account set up you can establish one through IPN. Payments received this way are subject to the typical merchant account fees (per transaction flat fee and a percentage of the sale), rather than the typical $0.50 per transaction for an IPN ACH payment. However, you don’t have to pay a monthly base fee. This helps if you are a low volume payment processor.

Having this as an option has been very beneficial to me. However, I wish that I could control which payment method shows as the default, as I would rather have the Bank Account option show first.

Guest Payments

One of the drawbacks to IPN has been that the customer has to establish an account when using ACH payments. There is no charge for your customer to set up an account and pay this way, but some people resist that.

However, IPN has changed their procedures to allow a “guest” account, where the customer can provide you with the necessary bank information for an ACH payment WITHOUT having to establish an account.

Guest Account

Better Reconciliation with QuickBooks 2012

If you have QuickBooks 2012 the IPN/QuickBooks reconciliation function has been improved tremendously.

In earlier versions of  QuickBooks you had to establish a Sync Manager connection between your QuickBooks desktop and the IPN services. Sync Manager is the tool that synchronizes your QuickBooks desktop database with “apps” in the Intuit App Center, and I have to say that it isn’t my favorite QuickBooks feature. Although there have been many changes over the past year, Sync Manager can be a source of frustration for many users.

However, IPN no longer uses Sync Manager if you have QuickBooks 2012. This is a GREAT improvement. The new process is much easier than earlier versions, and the download glitches seem to have been resolved.

From the Online Solutions menu, select Intuit Payment Network, and then select Download Payments.

Download Payments

If necessary, log into the Intuit PaymentNetwork with your account information. You will see a list of payments to be downloaded. Select the payments you wish to download and click Download to QuickBooks.

Payments to Download

After your payments are downloaded to your QuickBooks file you can see the Customer Payment transaction, and the deposit. Note that each IPN payment will be a separate deposit in your bank account. There is no “batching” of IPN payments.

IPN Customer Payment

The Deposit is already recorded, but there is a slight problem you have to fix. The second line of the deposit backs out the service fee, but IPN creates and uses a new expense account called “IPN Fees.” I suggest you change the deposit transaction so the second line uses “Bank Service Charges” or whatever account you use for merchant fees.

IPN Fees

Recurring Payments

This is a nice feature, although I haven’t had the opportunity to work with this yet. You now can set up recurring payments via IPN. Very useful.

Recurring Payments

 

Intuit PaymentNetwork works very well for many payment situations. Before you implement it I recommend that you study the fee structure carefully and think about how you want to collect payments. It doesn’t fit ALL situations, but I’ve found that it can be a useful tool to complement the other payment methods that I use in my business. The close integration with QuickBooks (now that they have improved reconciliation) saves time, and I do love that low $0.50 fee when a customer pays me via ACH.

Doug Sleeter contributed to this article

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Category: Technical QuickBooks, Working with QuickBooks

About the Author ()

Charlie Russell is the founder of CCRSoftware. He's been involved with the small business software industry since the mid 70's, and remembers releasing his first commercial accounting software product when you had a one-floppy disk drive system, loading the program from one floppy and then replacing that with the other floppy to hold the data. He has a special interest in inventory and manufacturing software for small businesses. Charlie is a Certified Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor with additional certifications for QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Enterprise. He also is a Xero Certified Partner. Visit his CCRSoftware web site for information about his QuickBooks add-on products. Charlie can be reached at [email protected] He is also the author of the California Wildflower Hikes blog Connect with Charlie at Google

Comments (23)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Jim 'Rustler' Ernest says:

    Interesting.

    ” … are subject to the typical merchant account fees (per transaction flat fee and a percentage of the sale)” – typical? I have had two merchant accounts, I moved to the second because the fee and the percentage was lower and my volume had not changed. Intuit does not let you know what they are?

    In the screen shot titled Customer Payment, 3rd from the bottom, the screen says deposit to: and undeposited funds is showing. But you say it deposits directly to the bank account. An error in the screen shot or ? Then in the next screen shot it shows make deposits.

    How does QB know which bank account to deposit it to?

    I see nothing wrong with the IPN fee expense account.
    Jim

    • Jim, as far as the “typical merchant account fees”, by “typical” I was referring to the structure – having a per transaction flat fee, a percentage of the sale, and possibly a monthly minimum fee. As opposed to what you pay with an IPN bank payment, which is a flat $0.50 per transaction, period.

      The actual rates that you pay depend on a variety of factors. You should always compare rates with merchant accounts to make sure that you are getting the best for your situation. IPN can set up a new merchant account for you, or use your existing GoPayment or QuickBooks Merchant Services account if you have one. The rates and fees you will pay can vary depending on which service you have. The volume of transactions, the types of transactions, the size of typical transactions, all can affect your rates. I didn’t go into an analsys of the rates that are available.

      I already had a low volume GoPayment account. My rate there is actually slightly higher than what I get from PayPal for larger transactions, but lower for smaller transactions. My volume of credit card payments is very, very low. One of the nice things about the IPN/GoPayment account, for me, is that there isn’t a monthly minimum like I used to have with my old merchant services account. That was a big savings for me. And if I can get people to use the bank transfer method in IPN the savings are significant.

      I like the convenience of IPN for some situations, and how it integrates with QuickBooks. But this might not be the best solution for everyone.

    • Jim, in answer to your second question:

      First, if you look closely (sorry for the small screen shots) at the “Download Payments” window, you’ll see that there is a dropdown list that lets you select which bank account to use.

      Second, two transactions are entered by the IPN integration. The first is the Payment Receipt, which can go to Undeposited Funds. The second is the deposit that removes it from Undeposited Funds and places it in the selected bank account. Details of how these screens are shown will depend on your QuickBooks preferences.

      As far as the IPN fee expense account – I wish that there was a preference where we could select what expense account should be used. I already have a Merchant Fee expense account that I use for all the fees from the various payment methods I use. IPN creates a new account. I prefer to have control over my Chart of Accounts and would rather that they didn’t add a new account here. There isn’t anything grossly wrong with they way they do it, this works, I just prefer that all the expenses go to the place that I want.

      Thanks for the comments!

  2. Charlie,

    Thanks for the update on IPN. It’s one of my favorite ways to get paid. And Intuit recently announced that they will waive the $.50 per transaction fees for ProAdvisors for one year – even better.

    Can you clarify on the recurring payments? I see recurring requests. Does that simply send a recurring request that the customer has to respond to each time or can it automatically debit their account on a recurring basis?

    Thanks.

    • Susan, thanks for the question! I can see that I didn’t explain this in enough detail (this was a light review article…).

      If you look at the Recurring Payments window you will see that there are Recurring “Payments” and Recurring “Requests”.

      You use a Recurring Payment if you want to SEND money TO someone regularly. You set it up, it goes out as scheduled without more action required.

      You use a Recurrent Request to ASK to get money FROM someone regularly. This is a “request”, so the user has to approve it each time. Here is a statement from the IPN help information:

      “Note: When you make a request, you’re scheduling only when the request goes out, not when payment is made. Scheduling actual payments is up to the sender.”

      I actually haven’t used it yet so there are some details I’m not sure of.

  3. Pam Burke says:

    Thanks for the information on IPN.

    Curious if you may have a comparison chart or come across any research detailing the differences between this utility and say the other choices you itemize in the second section.

    If I am reading correctly, it appears that the fees are the major reason why you believe IPN is a better solution than the others, rather than other functionality or features.

    Are the fee’s in fact the only reason that IPN might be considered a “better” utility vs. the others?

    I haven’t reviewed all the programs, but at the Sleeter Convention presentation, it appeared that Bill & Pay had more bells and whistles. I can’t speak to the others.

    Thanks,
    Pam

    • Pam, at this time I don’t have a comprehensive “comparison” of all the products. I personally have not used all of them, yet. Over the next year I hope to review many of these, and that will provide the comparisons.

      IPN is a fairly basic low level product, in a ways. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that a product like Bill.com or Bill and Pay has. They address different needs. Higher level products provide higher level features. But, then, higher level products often cost more as well.

      Personally, in my own business, I don’t have any significant amount of “receivables”. Mostly I am taking prepayments, and the volumes/amounts are very low. So IPN works well for me. GoPayment is useful to me so that I can take charges while at a remote site (something I’m doing less and less of these days). These tools fit my needs.

  4. Kara says:

    I have set up to use this for a client that does a lot of small transactions weekly. Does the IPN only do separate bank account transactions, or do they have a daily lump sum option?

  5. Boris says:

    We switched to Inuit Payment Solutions and Intuit Payment Processing. It was not a good experience at all. As I read other reviews on websites about holding money “hostage”, I was leary, but the Inuit brand kept us proceeding. It was a nightmare to say the least. They held our money hostage for 12 months. thousands and thousands of dollars. no call backs. no customer services. horrible response from their VPs, directors, etc. Finally, after 12 months, they released the money and shorted us. We requested an accounting of our money and, again, no call backs, no response, no service. THIS IS THE WORSE COMPANY. THEIR LEADERSHIP should not be running a company like this. I wish there were more review sites so i can warn others about our terrible mistake to go with Intuit Payment Processing

    • Boris, you stated this in my other blog, as well as in the Intuit Community Forum, and my answer is the same in each case.

      This article/discussion is about Intuit PaymentNetwork. Your reference is to Intuit Payment Solutions, and that is a totally different product. It is a totally different group of support and sales people. The difficulties that you had there have no connection to Intuit PaymentNetwork (IPN) as we are discussing here. You would never see that kind of issue with IPN.

      That isn’t to say that Intuit is off the hook in your case – I can’t say much about your particular case without knowing a lot more. I’m just saying that it has no bearing on the discussion on IPN.

      I used Intuit Merchant Services years ago and I didn’t like how things worked, so I no longer use them. IPN has been very different, I haven’t had any problems here.

  6. Patrick says:

    Needing to find a viable option to Paypal and the monstrous chunk of money they take from each invoice. My only hesitation in using IPN is in that I invoice to clients overseas on a regular basis. From what I see on this and their page is that the bank accounts have to be US based for the flat .50 fee. What are the fees if your client is based overseas?

  7. We find the IPN payment network to be a useful tool, and we’ve used it for 18 months or so. Here is a recurring headache: When I create a Quickbooks report of IPN payments, the payment date reported is the date that the IPN payment was initiated by the customer (“Initial date”). I need to create a report of only “Complete” IPN payments (there seem to be 3 possible statuses: initial, pending, and complete.)

    Here is why I need this: I use this report to pay 1099 vendors, who are paid semi-monthly. So far this year, I have failed to pay my vendors correctly in five instances because the IPN payments were in a “pending” status as of my semi-monthly cut-off dates. I have considered a 24-hour “quiet” period between my cut-off date and the date I prepare the check, but 24 hours may not be the right length of time. Any suggestions?

    • Nancy, I’m not sure that I have a good answer for you. IPN doesn’t have good reporting, the idea is that once you get it into QuickBooks you handle the reporting from there. The status doesn’t come over, and the clearing date isn’t always 24 hours. I don’t have, off the top of my head, a good automatic way to deal with this.

      Just thinking aloud, are the payments going to a special bank account? Can you deal with this by using the “reconcile” feature to handle what has been reported or not? Might be worth thinking about, but you would have to have a separate account for this.

  8. Jay says:

    My small business has been using IPN for a few years. We get our money quickly.
    Our only complaint (and perhaps our misunderstanding) is that IPN does NOT support recurring ACH setup either directly through the merchant account or through QuickBooks. We’ve called several times to be told “we’re working on that feature.”

    Could we have missed how to properly set this feature up?

    • Jay, I’m not sure what exactly you are looking for. If you log in to IPN online, there is a “recurring payments” link on the left, and you can use it to set up recurring payments.

      • Dan says:

        Charlie, while this option will allow Jay to send automatic requests for payment, IPN does not seem to support automatic withdrawal from clients’ checking accounts. This may be what Jay’s looking for? Automatic ACH withdrawals, like what QB Payments will do for credit cards. Intuit lists some check processing options that might be automatic – ‘online terminal where you can type in one-time and recurring eChecks’ – but non integrate with QB, unfortunately.
        Intuit check processing options: http://support.quickbooks.intuit.com/support/Articles/INF20914

  9. Amir Muslim says:

    We have just started to use the IPN network as a better option to integrate into our website. My only issue is that when someone pays through the IPN, the .50 they take before the transaction comes to quickbooks leave my invoices with .50 left over even though they paid the full amount. I am trying to figure out a way to show that the customer paid fully while using an expense account for the .50 marks that are paid to the IPN. Any advice? Using Pro 2013.

    • Amir, what method are you using to get your payments from IPN? I use IPN with QB 2012, and I use the menu option in the Online Services menu (this will be in a different place in your 2013 product). When I use that method, the full payment is applied to the invoice (closing it) and there is a separate line in the deposit slip for the IPN fee. So the payment is the full amount, the deposit is the full amount minus the fee. It is all very simple and clean.

  10. Louise says:

    Greeting Mr. Russell:

    I am very glad I found your website. I have been struggling with having to use this mode of payment to a contractor and I am still holding back. His account does not accept credit cards, only checks, I have a problem with that and here is why:
    This institution must be supplied with my complete checking ID and although I am aware of the reputation of Intuit, any institution is at the mercy of hackers or staff integrity.
    A credit card is much tighter and it takes responsibility for fraudulent charges. (At least mine does it well) That is why I have been with them for 15 years and counting.
    A check payment has an amount stipulated and it cannot be used multiple times, even electronically.
    But, as far as I read, IPN has my bank account ID at its disposal to use ad lib. and I have not found any additional personal security feature nor was I given any when I asked that very question to a CSA by phone a few minutes ago.
    I would really appreciate your feedback on this issue.
    I am not paranoiac, I have just been using financial entities the world over and I also worked for the Federal Government for a spell… I have learnt the hard way.
    Thank you in anticipation.

  11. Chris says:

    I know this article is a few years old but maybe you can answer my question. Can you now offer customers the ACH bank transfer option but choose not to offer the credit card payment option? Of if you offer one, you must offer both?

    • Chris, your options in the current system would be “bank account” (which is ACH) or “bank account or credit card”, if you are using IPN. So you don’t have to offer credit card as an option (which is a more costly option).

Leave a Reply