An accounts payable department has several methods available to facilitate the payment of invoices and other company bills.  By comparing various accounts payable payment methods, a business can identify the most efficient approach for each account requiring reimbursement.  This article will cover the different processes accessible to the accounts payable department and compare the pros and cons of each.


Besides cash, checks are the oldest payment method available to accounts payable departments.  The use of checks has been declining as other payment methods have gained popularity. This is due to checks being relatively slow, inefficient and insecure compared to more modern payment types.  Checks require physical delivery, have a propensity for getting lost or compromised and necessitate action from both parties involved for a payment to be made. On the other hand, because of their history and familiarity most businesses continue to accept payment by check.

Wire Transfer

Wire transfers gained traction as international business grew and required money to be sent across borders.  Wire transfers also allow money to be transmitted on a same day basis, which is essentially impossible with international check payments.  However, on the downside, wire transfers have some of the highest user fees of all payment methods.

The Automated Clearing House

The Automated Clearing House (ACH) is an American based system that facilitates automated electronic financial transactions such as payroll direct deposits, direct debit bill payments and business-to-business (B2B) payments.  Costs of using the ACH are much lower than wire transfers, however payments may take up to 3 business days to clear. Other drawbacks are the set-up required, the need to match invoices with payments and the possibility of insufficient funds for scheduled transactions.

Business Credit Cards

Business credit cards have become more popular as a B2B payment method because of their many benefits.  Business credit cards are simple to use and relatively secure while providing instant payment with little or no cost to the payer.  Credit cards also give a business immediate access to cash flow while providing itemized statements and instantaneous monitoring of transactions.  Many business credit cards feature rewards programs which can result in cash back bonuses or reward points.  Responsible use of credit cards will also improve the company’s credit rating.  Drawbacks to business credit card use include merchant fees paid by the receiver, the necessity of a decent credit rating and vendor acceptance issues.

Emburse Business Credit Cards

Of all the accounts payable payment methods, Emburse believes its business credit cards are the best for today’s businesses.  To find out why, contact Emburse today.

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