Merchants that process with Vantiv Inc. will have a new option to receive their settlements within minutes in the FastAccess Funding program the processor and program partner Visa Inc. announced Thursday.
Merchants typically receive their settlement funds via the automated clearing house, which may take one to three days. Instead of using the ACH network, the FastAccess Funding program relies on a Visa debit card, using the same technology in popular person-to-person services, such as Square Cash, to get funds to merchants. Vantiv says it is the first major merchant acquirer to offer this type of service. A test begins later this month.
“What we have heard loud and clear from our large SMB (small and medium-size business) merchant base is that cash flow is a significant issue for them,” Scott DeAngelo, Vantiv senior vice president of product, tells Digital Transactions News in an email. “Getting the payments from their customers funded faster to them solves a myriad of issues that small businesses face, whether that is to compensate employees, pay vendors or invest in marketing to grow their business.”
That rapidity may be especially important to merchants that experience peak business hours late at night or on Friday and weekends, DeAngelo says. “For these businesses, late Thursday business often results in being funded the following Monday, while weekend business can result in being funded the following Monday or Tuesday,” he says.
Participating merchants must, of course, be a Vantiv merchant, and they must have a demand-deposit, or checking, account with an associated, eligible Visa debit card. The service relies on Visa Direct, a real-time payments platform. Mastercard Inc. calls its similar service Mastercard Send. Vantiv is planning to add additional network debit cards in the near future, DeAngelo says.
There is a fee to participate in the service, but Vantiv says the pricing is still being determined. FastAccess Funding is available only in the United States at this time. Vantiv says the program is the first use case for what it calls its push-to-card platform. It expects to add other features for merchants in the next six months.
Vantiv is not the first processor to use Visa’s or Mastercard’s real-time payments services. A year ago, online-payments specialist Stripe began using Visa Direct and Mastercard Send to pay enable Lyft to pay its drivers, and marketplaces to pay their merchants, for example.