We partnered with HelloSafe, Canada's number 1 financial comparison site, to bring you this guide on how to choose an ETF platform for your money transfers. Here's 8 questions you should answer to help you choose.
Are you sending money within the country or internationally?
The first thing to consider when choosing an EFT is where you are sending the money. It is relatively simple to choose a way of sending money domestically however if you are sending money abroad you will probably want to shop around to find the best exchange rates for the currency you are converting into.
Some companies offering EFTs will allow you to peg a favorable rate or even pre-book a good rate in advance. If you are sending money to a country outside of the Americas or Europe, you may need to find a company that has links to that country and can transfer money into bank accounts there. Some platforms work by linking bank accounts in different local banks around the world. They can find other customers converting currency in the other direction and therefore save you money on conversion fees.
Is speed or security more important?
In an ideal world, you would of course have to compromise on neither. However, the most secure way to send an EFT is not usually the fastest. For example, peer-to-peer (P2P) transfer services are done between two online accounts, meaning you do not need to share your account details with the other party. The transaction itself is swift but the receiver will still need to transfer the money from an online account into their bank account which makes the process take longer.
Paying via EFT is always more secure than sending cash or a cheque as transactions can be monitored and traced. In Canada all EFTs are regulated by the Canadian Payments Association (CPA).
Have you fully understood all of the fees?
Sending an EFT can often incur fees, especially if the amount is large and always if there is a currency conversion involved. Some platforms are less transparent than others about their fees and unexpected charges being added on is a common complaint among EFT customers.
Make sure you have understood the fee structures fully before deciding on an EFT platform. Reading some consumer reviews will help you understand if previous users feel that a company has overcharged them or added on fees that they felt were not well signposted. Some younger companies have been set up with the specific mission of reducing hidden fees. It may be worth investigating these - especially if you are making recurring payments. Even 1% fees can add up quickly over a prolonged period!
Is it a one-off payment or a recurring one?
Some EFT platforms will allow you to prebook consecutive payments over an extended period. If you are sending funds to another country this may be advantageous as you could lock in a favourable exchange rate and not be vulnerable to changes in the international currency exchange.
Pre-arranging EFT payments is also a good shortcut, it means you do not have to remember to keep making the same payment and you do not have to fill out the same information every time.
Do you need to pay multiple accounts simultaneously?
One very useful feature offered by certain EFT platforms is the ability to pay large numbers of people at the same time. This could be used to pay employees, vendors or contractors. Rather than waste time on admin, some allow you to pay up to 1,000 people in a single transaction.
These payments can usually be set up to recurr automatically, taking over the managing of your business' payroll. This will be especially useful if you are paying multiple people in different countries and currencies.
Do you want to be able to track your funds?
The larger the amount you are sending the more security you will want attached to the EFT you are making. Some platforms have lower fees but an alarming process where funds are not trackable while they move between accounts. For smaller sums this is fine, but peace of mind can be purchased through slightly higher fees and a live tracking system.
How important is customer service?
Customer service is irrelevant when things go smoothly but as soon as things go wrong you want to know that you can get in touch with a concerned human being at the other end of a phone.
When searching for the right EFT platform you should check that they have telephone customer service so that you can speak to a real person who can help you. It is also worth checking out the worktimes and location of a platform's customer service. Do they have offices in your country? Are they open 24/7?
Does the EFT fit with your ERP?
An ERP, or Enterprise Resource Planning, is a useful tool that allows you to update your payroll accounts and keep your accounting statements in one place saving you time and energy.
Business Central is one way of integrating electronic payments with accounting admin. You can create invoices and manage all the information relating to payroll and electronic payments transfers all in one place. This is a far more streamlined way of running your business than making transfers on a platform and then having to keep separate accounts of your own to keep track of payments.