While some small business owners cringe at the very thought of processing their own payroll, others cringe at the mere thought of relinquishing control over that paramount responsibility. It takes all kinds. However, in these tech-driven times, employees have come to expect certain amenities — namely direct deposit — and for small companies that handle their own payroll, that hasn’t been an easy perk to provide.
Today, Wells Fargo announced the addition of a new direct-deposit function — Employer Direct Pay — to its Business Online Banking services. Designed for small companies that process their own payroll, the new program lets employers directly deposit net pay, expense reimbursements and commissions into their employees’ accounts.
While the business owners must have a business checking account with Wells Fargo, they can make deposits into any banking institution — employees do not need to have an account at Wells Fargo.
According to Mark Baumli, senior vice president and head of Wells Fargo’s Business Internet Services, Employer Direct Pay offers companies with one to 100 employees a manageable way to offer direct deposit. “There hasn’t been a simple, cost-effective way for small business owners who prefer processing their own payroll to offer direct deposits — until now,” said Baumli. “This is all about giving our small business customers more control.”
Business owners access the Employer Direct Pay service online and make the deposits themselves, Baumli said. The service takes the place of writing checks and offers a number of other features. Employer Direct Pay lets you:
- Schedule regular payments for benefits such as insurance and annuities as well as partnership distributions
- Maximize daily cash flow. Funds are debited from the account by 3 p.m. Pacific Time on the date a payment is scheduled to be sent
- Provide view-only access for up to 25 individuals. Allows key employees, accountants and bookkeepers to review account information, check images and download online statements
- Reserve payment authorization for the business owner or his or her delegate
The Wells Fargo site employs 128-bit encryption — an industry standard. Baumli said that the company also provides two-factor authentication tokens for Employer Direct Pay customers as an added security measure to prevent fraud. When employees log on, they must present their user name and password (one factor) and then enter the token code (the second factor) in order to gain access to the site.
Employer Direct Pay costs $10 per month for an unlimited number of employees and deposits. Deposits made to employees with Wells Fargo accounts are free. Deposits made to employees with accounts at other institutions incur a 50 cent charge per deposit.
Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com
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