It provides companies with a very efficient way of depositing customer payments. This is especially beneficial if a company is unable to deposit checks on a timely basis or if it is constantly receiving customer payments through the mail. Service bureau lockbox providers are subject to an intense process that is unique to their business. Each of your customers has different volumes and processing requirements, different banking relationships, different accounting systems and reporting requirements.
Lockbox processing is a cash management service provided by banks to their corporate customers. Lockbox services are designed to accelerate the collection and deposit of check payments, sent with accompanying remittance document(s), through the mail.Lockbox services are provided almost exclusively by large banks. Competitive break-even volumes are rising, and banks are being pressured to either increase their volumes, exit the business, or out source the function.
How Lockbox Banking Works
Employees must also learn to use the new service and time must be devoted to training and testing prior to implementation. Ifpayment processingis beginning to take up a greater percentage of work time, a lockbox system may be one way to gain efficiency.
With the customer’s permission, notify your state bankers association and your local clearinghouse and law enforcement authorities. Businesses that receive frequent payments and documents by mail use lockbox services to help reduce expenses, improve cash flow and update their accounting systems quickly. With these services, businesses contract a third-party processor to collect and handle incoming payments. Customers mail payments and documents directly to a unique post office box for the third party to collect. Using image-based technology, data is captured quickly, errors are reduced and paper is eliminated.
AQ2 Lockbox can help you simplify and effectively gain and maintain control over your entire operation. It even makes it easy to process check only payments containing little customer-specific information. Across the cash management process of many businesses, Bank Lockbox Services have been around for decades as a way for treasury & finance teams to improve their receivable process for checks and other corporate payments sent through the mail. But in today’s digitally connected Internet economy, electronic alternatives to traditional lockbox services have emerged.
Banks have the knowledge, equipment and control processes to be great lockbox providers. Getting deposits quickly in the bank and accurately storing images for easy research are key values an Automated Lockbox system will deliver. Clearingworks – Automated Lockbox takes a modern approach to the types of Lockbox processing most banks are handling today. In today’s world, a greater number of lockbox payments are the more difficult payments to process.
Doing this work yourself can delay the deposit of the payments anywhere from one to two days depending on how long it takes you to process your customers’ payments for deposit, and to actually make the deposit at the bank. Businesses still receive a lot of checks – but check imaging and processing is not their main focus. Many businesses would prefer to have their bank provide lockbox services so they can get back to doing what they do best.
- Lockbox processing is a cash management service provided by banks to their corporate customers.
- Lockbox services are designed to accelerate the collection and deposit of check payments, sent with accompanying remittance document(s), through the mail.Lockbox services are provided almost exclusively by large banks.
Remittance documents are missing or are in a non-standard format, bill payment companies send in check and lists of accounts to pay, with or without correct account numbers and correspondence will often be received with the payment. Our Automated Lockbox uses advanced Image Analysis technology with Intelligent Learning to simplify the processing of these complex payments.
Today’s increased automation in payment processing has allowed banks to reduce the cost of their lockbox banking services enough to make it economical for businesses of any size. Since most banks will customize their lockbox banking services and costs to fit your specific needs, contact your bank for more information.
Banks offer lockbox services to small business customers as a way to assist with check processing and daily deposits. Lockbox banking is typically used by businesses that receive payments from numerous customers. Your utility companies and local cable TV franchises are two examples of businesses that are likely to be using lockbox banking. Even city and county governments are using Lockbox banking in the collections of taxes. Don’t shy away from lockbox banking just because your business isn’t as large as your local utility or cable TV franchise.
Checks are deposited at a designated financial institution and data files are created to automatically update accounts receivable systems. For small businesses that receive a relatively large amount of mailed payments, a lockbox system can increase the efficiency and accuracy of check processing and potentially save in-house administrative and accounting costs. Checks received in a lockbox are processed and deposited by the bank, usually on the date received. By separating the receipt and processing of payments with the preparation of company financial records, lockboxes can also serve as an effective form of internal control. Instead of checks sitting in your office while an employee matches the payment to a bill and logs the payment into your system, then takes the payments to the bank, the payments go directly to the bank.
Your employees post the checks after the fact, based on the reports you receive from the bank. Companies that have branches in different parts of the country may set up lockboxes near those branches. Depending on where they’re located, customers send payments to the closest lockbox. This shortens mailing time and further speeds up access to funds for the company. As with most payment processing services, there are both pros and cons to lockbox banking.
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A lockbox reduces time between the receipt and processing of payments, which can be beneficial for the company using the service. On the other hand, it opens the possibility of fraud by bank employees, who could theoretically steal the payments by taking the funds from the payments and not depositing them. Monthly fees can sometimes outweigh the benefits, especially for companies receiving relatively few mail-in payments per month. Lockbox services are often charged with one monthly maintenance fee, plus additional charges on a per-item basis for check processing, check imaging, and handling non-typical items like letters from customers. Thus, lockboxes may not make economic sense for companies with lower transaction volumes.
Your bank can now use the Automate Lockbox to deliver a real-time lockbox solution, with high data accuracy and quality, at a fraction of the cost of traditional lockbox processing. Lockboxes work best for companies that receive large payments from customers, such as mortgage firms, but utility companies and others who receive smaller payments also successfully use them. Compare the cost of using your bank’s lockbox to the interest you’ll earn by having payments in your account one, two or more days earlier. A study of the time it takes you to process payments in-house will help you to accurately estimate the money you’ll gain from earlier deposits. Lockbox systems also work well if you have several branches of your business in different locations, or if you have a number of customers in one distant location.
While they do speed up processing time, reduce mail float, and provide quicker access to funds, there are still some disadvantages to lockbox payments. For one, though they’re faster than accepting checks at the office, they’re still slow— slower than other electronic means of transfer. Payments must still travel through the mail and be processed before they’re available to accounts receivable. A service that a bank provides in which is processes payments for a company. The company directs its customers to send payments to a lockbox at the bank, whose employees then collect the payments and deposit them directly into the company’s account.
Lockbox banking accelerates the payment and deposit portion of your cash conversion period in two different ways. First, lockbox banking cuts down on any postal delays caused by having your customers’ payments delivered to your business address. Mail delivered to your place of business entails some extra sorting so that your mail gets into the hands of the correct carrier, not to mention the added time it takes the carrier to actually deliver it to your address. Second, using a lockbox shortens the amount of time necessary to process your customers’ payments, by having your bank open the payment envelopes and deposit them directly into your bank account. Since the payment processing is done at the bank, your customers’ payments are received and deposited all within the same day.