Hoping to reach businesses with purchasing needs that can't be handled with just a credit card, WePay is turning to Automated Clearing House payments to diversify its transaction options.

On Sept. 16, WePay introduced ACH bank transfers as a supported payment type, in addition to the card payments it already offered. WePay predicts the ACH option will appeal for larger business payment, said Karen White, a vice president of product at WePay.

"We have some customers who are remodelers or builders, and the payments for those businesses would be large, and the biller may not be interested in accepting a payment from a credit card," White said.

WePay's standard embedded checkout process, called iframe, now includes a 'pay with bank' option to invoke the ACH feature. Other platforms that have integrated WePay's code into their checkout experiences can add the new payment type by refreshing their implementations.

Parties making payments can do so through an integration that's unlocked by their online banking log-in. Users can also manually enter their account and routing number, and authenticate through a series of micro-deposits.

"We're doing the risk management behind the scenes whether it's a credit card or an ACH bank payment," White said.

Since its founding in 2008, WePay has evolved from a group payments engine to a technology company that serves online commerce and crowdfunding platforms such as GoFundMe, Care.com and FreshBooks.

The company is also expanding its ancillary products to include social media driven risk management, invoice presentment and cross border transactions.

"As we go deeper into business management software, we're seeing more demand for broader payment methods with an elegant experience," White said.

Another company that provides technology tools to build payments interfaces, Dwolla, is taking a different approach to bank transfers.   

Instead of enabling a connection for small businesses, Dwolla is using its network to offer a white-label API that smaller banks and merchants can use to execute faster payments as an alternative to ACH. Dwolla says this process works better for larger banks, which are better equipped to manage the complexity of such payments.

The demand for ACH payments for small to medium sized businesses is "situational," said Thad Peterson, a senior analyst at Aite Group. "Adding ACH to a payment platform makes sense because it provides WePay's customers a full suite of payment options," he said. "I don't think there is necessarily a lot of demand for ACH among small to medium sized businesses, but if WePay can remove some of the friction of loading up ACH, it could be helpful for merchants and simple for customers."

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