When shopping online, there are several options for payment, depending on the merchant or store you’re shopping with. Savvy merchants offer as many payment options as possible to help grow their customer base. If you’ve never shopped online with an eCheck, we’ve put together a brief guide to help you understand what it is, how to pay online with echeck, and the top stores that offer this payment option.
What is an eCheck?
An eCheck, or electronic check, is a form of payment that requires bank account information rather than credit card information. The payment gateway asks the customer for their bank account information to process the payment. Data points requested for this type of payment may include some or all of the following:
- Bank account number
- Routing number
- The name on the account
- Zip code or full address associated with the account
Some gateways will ask for more than this, and others will ask for different data points. The reason for this requirement is largely security in processing the transaction.
How Does an eCheck Work?
When a customer enters their account information, the data goes through a series of access points to move the money from one account to the other. Here’s an overview of the process:
- The customer enters bank account information in the payment gateway on the payment screen of the merchant’s website.
- The data is securely transmitted from the payment processor to the merchant’s bank.
- From there, the data is securely transmitted to the customer’s bank account via the Automated Clearing House
- The customer’s bank (the issuing bank) reviews the details of the transaction and verifies whether the account numbers are accurate, the address matches the account, and there are sufficient funds to cover the transaction
If the transaction is approved, the issuing bank sends an approval back to the payment gateway through ACH. If the transaction is declined, the issuing bank will send a rejection.
For approved transactions, the money will be moved from the customer’s bank account to the merchant’s account, usually within 1-2 business days, but sometimes sooner
For declined transactions, the customer will be alerted on the payment screen and the transaction will not be processed
Why Should I Use eChecks?
The biggest benefit of using eChecks is security. While most online payments are secure and safe to use, eChecks are one of the safest. This is because eChecks are processed through the automated clearing house. High-level encryption, data transfer, and secure storage of the information all contribute to a safe environment in which to process eCheck payments. There is also additional security in using this form of payment, instead of handing over a paper check with all your account information on it, which could get lost or stolen.
In addition to security, eChecks offer the benefit of speed. They generally process within 1-2 days, which is faster than the typical 3-5 days for other EFT payments.
Top Stores That Offer eCheck Payments
Shopping online is a convenient and easy way to get everything you need without leaving your home. If you want the added benefit of using an eCheck instead of a credit card, you’ll need to be more selective about the retailers you choose.
If you’re looking for online merchants who accept eCheck payments, check out our list below!
Amazon allows customers to create an account and add a bank account as a payment option. This allows those customers to use eChecks to pay for goods. However, there are limitations to the purchases, such as transaction amounts and gift cards.
Additionally, individual retailers on Amazon have the right not to accept eChecks. This isn’t a common phenomenon on Amazon, but it is still important to note.
One of the first to offer eChecks for online payments, Walmart is a pioneer in the space. They allow customers to create an online account and enter their bank account information to process purchases.
Customers on the Target website also have the option to add bank account information and pay for goods using eChecks. They do not allow gift cards to be purchased with eChecks. They also don’t allow the purchase of wholesale items with bank account information. They do allow split payments on orders, which means you can pay for part of the order on a card and the rest with an eCheck.
Macy’s has an interesting setup for their online portal. You can use eChecks to purchase products on their website, but you have to go through PayPal. In other words, you can set up your bank account information in your PayPal account and then use that to make purchases on the Macy’s website.
eBay is similar to Macy’s with eChecks. You can purchase items using eChecks that are connected to your PayPal account. You have to remember to click “pay with check” on the payment screen. Additionally, merchandise from eBay will not be shipped to the customer until the payment has cleared their bank and deposited into the merchant’s account.
If you have a need for arts and crafts or party supplies, you might’ve used Oriental Trading before. You can purchase these items in bulk using an eCheck, but only through PayPal. In other words, you can connect your bank account to PayPal via their eCheck option and then use it to purchase items online at the Oriental Trading website.
Using an eCheck online makes it simple to purchase items without racking up credit card bills. Many customers prefer to pay with cash, check, or debit, to avoid the potential for interest charges on credit lines. If this sounds like you, eChecks might be a perfect fit.
Remember that some online retailers don’t have a specific option for eChecks, but will accept virtual wallets like PayPal, which do allow eChecks. Look into your specific options before completing your purchase!