Review: Intuit PaymentNetwork

| September 21, 2009 | 39 Comments

Intuit recently announced the Intuit PaymentNetwork, a low cost method of sending and receiving payments. As someone who collects and makes payments via online services every day, I was intrigued by the extremely low fees for this service. I’ve been playing with it lately, so here are some thoughts.

There are different methods of collecting and paying fees online. Often a business will find that they have to use several, both to provide the kinds of services that their customers need as well as to fit different business situations. I’m not going to go into the details of each option, nor am I going to list all possible options. I’ll review a few examples, then talk about the Intuit PaymentNetwork and show where it might fit in. My thanks to Michelle Long at Long for Success, who helped me try this out.

Merchant Accounts

If you want to receive payments via credit cards you need to establish a “merchant account”. There are many different companies that offer this kind of service, and I won’t go into details. The typical merchant account is going to charge you a monthly fee (often waived if you go over a certain volume), a per-transaction fee, and a percentage of the transaction. For example, you can use Intuit QuickBooks Merchant Services, which integrates with QuickBooks. Fees (subject to change) are $19.95 a month, $0.23 per transaction, and 2.44% of the transaction if you don’t have the credit card in your hand. Note that these kinds of services are very reliable, and the Intuit  option is a good choice because they don’t hit you with a lot of ticky-tacky add-on fees.

PayPal

I use PayPal extensively, both to collect payments as well as to pay for things. PayPal is a good option for online transfers. With PayPal you can ask people to pay with a PayPal account, or via credit card without having to create a PayPal account. Fees (subject to change) start at $0.30 per transaction and 2.9% of the transaction, and the rate gets lower as your volume increases. It is important to note that there is no monthly fee for this kind of service.

Intuit PaymentNetwork

This service can be used to send or receive payments electronically, very similar to a check. The eye-catcher here is that your only cost is $0.50 per received payment. No monthly fees, no percentage of transaction.  If you are working with small amounts this might not be significant. But if you are transferring large amounts in a single transaction, the savings can be phenomenal.

When you sign up for the Intuit PaymentNetwork you have two account options: Small Business or Personal. A Personal account will only let you send payments, and it is free. A Small Business account takes a day (or so) to approve and allows you to send and receive payments.

You will be providing them with direct access to your checking account, all funds are exchanged between your bank and the client’s bank. This is not a complete online payment service, as it won’t let someone pay you by credit card.

Here is what the “landing page” looks like. Note that you sign on with your Intuit sign in. This is the account you use in QuickBooks if you are using any of their online services, as well as the Intuit Community forum, QuickBooks Online, Quicken and Turbo Tax.

image

When you sign up you must provide information about your checking account. This program is going to be transferring money directly in and out of your bank account.

image

If you create a personal account it will be approved in a very short time. Note, though, that you can only use this account to send payments.

If you create a business account the approval may take longer – Michelle and I found that it only took one or two days. With a business account you can both send and receive payments. Fees are charged only when you request and receive a payment.

Request Payment

If you want someone to send a payment to you, you follow the request payment process. Specify an email address and enter the amount to request. The recipient gets an email message with the request. The recipient must open an account so that they can pay, they cannot pay with a credit card. After the payment is received, it shows up in your account.

image

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9-14-2009 6-52-04 PM

The recipient will get an email message similar to the following (this isn’t the message that goes with the request shown above, it is similar).

image To make the payment they have to sign in, create an account (if they don’t have one already), and send you the payment.

Managing Your Account

In your account you will be able to easily see payment requests you have created and payments you have received.

image One very important point. Note the status of the Recent Payments. When someone sends a payment to you, the status is Pending. The funds aren’t in your account. It typically takes a minimum of three days to get your funds posted to your account. Then the status is marked as Completed.

image Note also, once it is marked as Completed your own bank may not show the transaction immediately. I usually see the payment by the next day (using Chase – this may vary with other banks).

Does It Work?

Yes! It does work. However, there are both good points and bad points:

Bad Points

  • Both sides must have an account, and it must be tied to a checking account. This works well if you are making frequent exchanges with someone, but it isn’t as good for one-time payments. I did find that one of my clients preferred this over working with PayPal, though.
  • The biggest problem to me is that it takes three or more days to complete a payment transaction. Note that if you use something like PayPal the payment is credited to your account within minutes (usually), although it does take three days to withdraw from that account via a bank transfer.
  • It is important that the recipient of a payment request create their account using the same email address – otherwise Intuit PaymentNetwork won’t match the payment with the payment request.

Good Points

  • Low Fees, Low Fees, Low Fees! That is clearly the advantage here. If you are transferring large amounts, paying only $0.50 for a transfer is far superior to using a merchant account or PayPal.
  • The system is simple to use and provides you easy access to your account. The user interface is simple, providing you with clear notices of the status of your transactions as well as step by step guidance through each process.
  • Why not just do bank transfers? The best reason is that you don’t have to provide any sort of bank number information to your client.

Will I Continue to Use Intuit PaymentNetwork?

I will definitely continue to use this service for large transfers where a delay is not critical. I also will use it for smaller transactions when the client refuses to use a PayPal account or a credit card, which does happen to me on occasion.

I would like to add that this is a new service, and the staff at Intuit who manages this program have been very receptive to suggestions. The time delay is one criticism that they have noted and they are considering what they can change.

However, this will not replace my merchant/PayPal account. I often need to receive a confirmed payment immediately. I also have to use a merchant or PayPal account along with my online web store or phone orders.

Intuit PaymentNetwork will not replace the other payment tools I’ve been using, but it is a nice addition to my business toolbox.

Many thanks to Michelle Long of Long For Success LLC who helped me document this service. Michelle’s web site is listed as one of my QuickBooks Support and Training Resources, a wonderful source for tips and tricks on using QuickBooks, and particularly for people who are interested in starting a QuickBooks oriented consulting business.

Updated Information

This information was added on 10/05/2010)

There have been a number of improvements since this article was first written. Please see my follup article about Intuit PaymentNetwork and QuickBooks 2011 for details on the improvements to this service.


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Category: Billing, Invoicing, Product Reviews

About the Author (Author Profile)

Charlie Russell is the founder of CCRSoftware. He’s been involved with the small business software industry since the mid 70’s, focusing on inventory and accounting software for small businesses. Charlie is a Certified Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor. Look for Charlie’s articles in the Accountex Report blog, as well as his California Wildflower Hikes blog.

Comments (39)

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  1. New Features in Intuit PaymentNetwork : QuickBooks and Beyond | January 12, 2012
  1. Laura D says:

    Very well written and clear – thanks so much, Charlie!!

  2. Chetan Sukthanker says:

    This is great Charlie. Thanks for clearly articulating Intuit PaymentNetwork in your blog.

  3. Chetan Sukthanker says:

    Also account holders (Personal and Small Business) can link their checking, savings or loan accounts to Intuit PaymentNetwork

  4. Rustler says:

    Very nice Charlie. Please keep us updated on the service as they add capabilities. I am especially interested in this if they do away with the requirement for the customer to have an account.

    • Charlie says:

      Thanks, Rustler. I doubt that they would make that change (but I can’t say for sure) because it is a ban-to-bank transfer, so you have to establish a bank account connection. That would be tedious to use repeatedly without them saving info. They aren’t processing credit card payments…

  5. Sandy lenner says:

    The use of QuickBooks Online Merchant does save you money because you do not need to lease phone lines and lease terminal hardware or software.

  6. Laura Dion says:

    Charlie –

    Can a link be put on a website for this, like with PayPal?

  7. Charlie says:

    No, Laura, you can’t.

  8. Karen Magno says:

    Thanks for the well written review. Hopefully over time if they can make the following two changes (1)Process payments faster and (2) provide for links on a website they will be a strong competitor to Paypal.

  9. Hi Charlie,

    After half a year of use, how do you like the Intuit PaymentNetwork?

    Thanks,
    ~Phil

    • Charlie says:

      Phil, it has its place in my business. It works very cleanly, but I tend to use it only if there are larger payments (where the normal bank fees would be way too high) or where there is someone who doesn’t want to use PayPal or a credit card for some reason. I can’t link it into my normal web site, which is where most of my payments come from. It doesn’t really link into QuickBooks (they have an integration, but it is IIF and I don’t like that). And most of my customers don’t want to bother with the hassle of setting up an account. For repeat customers and large amounts, it fits the bill nicely. When I do get a customer set up with it, things work very smoothly and reliably.

  10. Gregg says:

    The website says request payment from anyone with an email address, but it appears that they will need a US Bank account to fund the payment as well. Is this true or can it be funded with bank accounts from other countries as well?

    • Charlie says:

      Greg, I can’t say if it would work with bank accounts in other countries. You would have to check with them. I have a feeling that it will be a US-only product, but I can’t say for sure.

  11. Gregg says:

    A phone call to Intuit support confirms it is only for transactions between US Banks.

    –g

  12. Cynthia says:

    Thanks for the posts all! I just signed up for this service. I just read that it will connect to a webpage….

    Let customers pay from within your web site! If a lot of your customers visit and purchase items on your web site, make it easy for them to send payment through IPN (Intuit PaymentNetwork). Add a Pay by IPN button to your site, and PaymentNetwork speeds clients through the payment process, charging them the price you set.

  13. 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

    • Charlie says:

      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.

  14. Sam says:

    Very clear explanations. Thank you

  15. Raj says:

    Do you still recommend IPN. I am thinking about using for my tenants. I think this would be ideal

    • Charlie says:

      Absolutely, Raj – for the situations where it works. If you can get payments via the ACH option, the cost of just $0.50 per transaction is FAR better than the normal merchant fee charges with a credit card.

  16. Kevin says:

    Charlie,

    I’m curious if you ever had IPN try to get you to stop accepting payments via PayPal or another method? I recently opened an IPN account and after the account was approved, I was informed there would be a separate, additional “merchant agreement” that would also cover my account. There was an item in this agreement that caught my eye:

    ARTICLE I, General Provisions
    1.03 Warranties of Merchant

    “f. Unless Merchant notifies IPS in writing and is approved (either on the Merchant Application or otherwise) and is approved by IPS, no other processing relationship for any of the services offered by IPS under this Agreement may exist between Merchant and another Card processing institution, for any business run or owned by Merchant.”

    When I asked IPN customer support about this, they stated that once I was signed up for the Intuit Payment Network, I could no longer accept payments using another service like PayPal, Dwolla, or even a merchant account from my own bank.

    I was under the impression IPN was a payments processor similar to PayPal, but apparently they want to be my exclusive merchant account instead. I have since asked them to close my IPN account, since I have no intention of giving Intuit exclusive access to my customer’s payments.

    Oddly enough, the provision listed above mentions “IPS” (Intuit Payment Solutions?), even though I applied for an account with the Intuit Payment Network on IPN’s website. More than once I have wondered if IPN was trying to punt me over to IPS so they could charge me a $50 signup fee and $19.95 monthly fee for a “regular” merchant account.

    • Charlie says:

      Intuit Payment Solutions is the “umbrella” that encompasses all of their payment solutions.

      I use several different payment solutions myself.

      I’ve never had them tell me that I couldn’t (and I’ll admit I didn’t read the entire agreement thoroughly) use others.

      I don’t know how they would tell if you did.

  17. Ethan says:

    I’ve had serious problems with Intuit PaymentNetwork as well. The company I do business with made a couple payments via PaymentNetwork and he tried to make another payment he found out his account was locked and he was told that someone tried to break into his account. He found it hard to believe. Also, the previous payment that he made never came through and no one at Intuit PaymentNetwork has tried to contact me – 10 days later I called and found out that the risk team decided to withhold my money until they get verification (they ask for my DL, utility bill, and two more things and require that I fax them over to the risk team before they can release the money). I immediately asked them to cancel the payment – essentially returning the money to the company I do business with and that company will issue a check and I asked them to close my account. Why didn’t the risk team contact me immediately? They can’t be trusted! I’m trying to find out the state of its headquarters so I can file a complaint with BBB and such. Now, we’re hoping they will return the money to the person who made the payment over 10 days ago.

    • Charlie says:

      That is more of the nature of the kind of thing that you get from ANY of the Intuit merchant account systems, and not inherent in just Intuit PaymentNetwork. They all have the same payment solutions group behind them. Personally, I’ve never had an issue like that (I’ve had similar issues with OTHER merchant account systems). It isn’t a great thing to have to deal with.

  18. Crystal says:

    We started using IPN recently and have had MAJOR problems. First, they are only open limited hours mon-fri. One of our problems fell on Friday at 3pm, so we were locked out of our account and ALL of our transactions were put on hold. (further delaying processing) I was told Monday right when they open, that everything was fine, there was an issue with me processing client payments. I have clearly defined and ongoing monthly authorizations that we process for our clients, this authorization was for an ACH debit from a clients checking account. Once I explained why I was the one that entered the payment for processing, they said everything with my account was good and my payment was going to post that day or the next day. Unfortunately that was not true. Moments after getting off the phone, I received an email stating that my money was being held for 4 more days and THEN they would issue payment to my bank taking another 1-2 business days. REALLY!?!?!? I called and the Risk Department’s Manager doesn’t work on Mondays…How convenient Mr. Paul. Soooo with all of this trouble, how about I just cancel this and go back to my clients and apologize for the problem, but just have them re-issue the check. NOPE…get this, IPN has already debited my clients account, but they won’t release the funds for a few days to make sure that the funds aren’t “rejected”. So they HAVE the funds, they know that I can provide written authorization from my clients for automatic processing every month, yet they are holding them….I AM FURIOUS!! Oh, and this transaction amount is $1467 so they should have released in 1-2 business days. I will NEVER EVER use Intuit Payment Network AGAIN!! This is only one of many problems after trying them for only 2 months.

    • Charlie says:

      Interesting. I’ve never had any problems with them like this. I’ve had similar kinds of problems with other merchant services accounts, though.

    • Ian Connor says:

      They also locked us out with no information. Lucky the customer who was frustrated didn’t take it out on us. We have removed it from all invoices going forward – too risky!

  19. Sonda says:

    I’m curious if my encounter with IPN is standard. Our company, a small 501(c)3 non-profit organization, has an existing merchant account with Intuit Merchant Services. We wanted to add IPN for those clients who might not have a credit card and might want to pay online via their checking account. I was surprised when I began filling out the application and it asked for my SSN. I supplied our EIN, so I called their customer service and was told to put all 5’s in the SSN field and explain the situation to customer service/underwriting when they contacted me. Indeed, after about 4 days, underwriting sent me an email asking for more information (last three bank statements, 501(c)3 letter, etc.) I sent the information but refused to send my SSN. IPN sends me another form email asking for the SSN, saying that it is required as a part of their “Know Your Customer” program. I called them today for clarification and was told that my personal credit would be checked. I don’t have bad credit, but I do have a problem with Intuit checking my credit for no reason. My company has an established business relationship with their company. We are not money laundering, we are serving parents and children. Our company is a nonprofit, so no one has any material interest in the corporation. Is this a standard part of their application process?

    • Charlie says:

      Sonda, never heard of this, but then I don’t work with non-profits.

    • Charlie says:

      Sonda, I asked the product manager for Intuit Payment Network about this, and she referred me to another person there. Here is a response that I got from them (their own words):

      “Basically, the individual that applies for an IPN account does provide a personal guarantee for the account, even if it is for a business or a non-profit agency. During the merchant application, there is a pop-up box with the key terms. In these terms, we describe the terms of both the Personal Guarantee and the Credit Report Consent. The credit report that we pull is a soft credit pull, which would not result in a credit hit on the individual; however, we do use the credit report to verify their identity and sometimes use the data to determine the credit, i.e. payment processing limits. In the case of a non-profit, the credit score may not be as much of a factor as time-on-file and the type of organization.”

  20. Raj says:

    I love Intuit payment system. It has really helped by small business which are renting condos. It’s fast easy to use and I think the tenants also enjoy it. I’m starting to pay people through this process also it is quite excellent. I think it’s the future of rent collection

    • JUTHIKA RAY says:

      Dear Brother Raj
      I am located in NJ and I have done a course in Quick Books but do not have practical experience. I am a women of 55 years and would like to give QB voluntary services to a Ashram (Church) in NJ, USA. I am looking for a CPA company or any other company where I could have the training without being paid. I would appreciate if anyone can provide this to me.
      Thanking you in anticipation.
      Juthika

  21. Peter says:

    It’d be nice if Intuit spent some time helping it’s small customers. I just tried to pay an invoice sent to me by a recent college graduate [whose using the Intuit Payment Network] and guess what!?! He’s not authorized to accept $945.00!!! WHAT??? They set limits on how much money customers are able to receive??? ARE THEY OUT OF YOUR COLLECTIVE MINDS? I called their support network and they’re pretty set in their ways as was/is the “supervisor” (Michelle) who was determined not to speak to me about this kids account. Clearly, not my account, so not my business. But guess what, I have 2 companies and I would never use this payment system, not w/ those kinds of attitudes. So I went from being a consumer trying to pay an invoice, lobbying on behalf of one of their clients (no go) to being a potential customer which I can assure you, at this point I will never be. And when I find the CEO’s number I’ll be sure to let him know that financial systems are a dynamic 24/7 enterprise which should never close down on weekends… at least certainly not the department that oversees/approves receivables. Over $945.00… indeed. And they blame Obama for stifling the economy. Ha! Charlie, not your fault, just venting on behalf of a poor college kid… at this point I’ll probably give him cash. Peter

  22. Ian Connor says:

    We just got locked out (after hours so no support and no warning). Unless you have excellent relationships with your customers and they will jump through hoops to pay you – it is not worth the risk.

    I just makes you look bad when parts of your service fail (which includes accepting payments).

    We were lucky and it was only in testing for us and affected only one client. They were understanding so no real damage was suffered.

  23. formercustomer says:

    Intuit Payment Network is garbage.

    They constantly flag my transactions, and never send my “approved” transaction funds to me. I’ve waited for months.

    My company has been in business 40+ years with 1+ million in sales a month and a stellar credit rating. We’ve only used Intuit for up to maybe $1000 worth of transactions per month. Thankfully. We’ve used Intuit Payments several months, and our transactions say “pending” — we’ve never seen a dime. Our clients credit card/bank accounts were deducted the money by Intuit months ago. Intuit offers us no warning, no recourse, and no explanation.

    Avoid Intuit at all costs.

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