Digital marketing agencies need to accept digital payments. Collecting cash or checks from clients who pay for your digital expertise and savviness does not make a great impression (especially when there are so many digital payment options available). More than that, digital marketing agencies often need to accept recurring, automated payments. This is because the relationship between digital marketing firms and their clients is often ongoing over the period of several months – or even years! Digital marketing agencies often have clients on retainer or paying in segments according to project milestones. This is where ACH debit comes into play. As a payment solution for digital agency owners, ACH payments provide consistency, reliability, serious savings, and an even better client experience.

What is ACH?

An ACH debit transaction involves pulling funds out of a bank account as payment for goods provided or services rendered (like marketing). An ACH credit transaction involves depositing funds into a bank account, like a paycheck. Both types of transactions – debits and credits – take place across the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network. This network is manned by operators who send payments across the network several times each business day. Payments can be one-off affairs or set to occur repeatedly on a specific day agreed upon by the client and the merchant; this payment type is often called a PAD (pre-authorized debit) payment.

ACH payments go directly from bank to bank. There is no middleman between like there is when clients pay with a credit card (the middleman, in that case, being Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express). Generally speaking, ACH payments take 3 business days to process and settle, and sometimes up to 5. By contrast, credit card payments take around 48 hours (on business days). This means that to collect ACH payments you will need to wait a little longer. But patience is sweet because in return you’re getting a number of benefits card payments just can’t provide.

Why should digital marketing agencies use ACH?

Client experience

First off, ACH payments create a better client experience. If you don’t offer automated payments and your clients need to pay a monthly subscription fee for your marketing services, or periodically settle invoices of varying amounts, they’ll have to log on to a payment portal and take out a credit card. Alternatively, if you’re set up to collect ACH payments, they won’t have to do anything, because it will happen automatically. This can take something off their plate, and off yours as well.

Reduce the number of late payments

ACH payments reduce the number of late payments you have to deal with. Since the payments are automated and pre-authorized, you won’t need to rely on your clients to log on to a payment portal or send in a check. Some of your clients may be exceptionally busy (which is why they’ve outsourced business elements like marketing to firms such as yours). They may forget to make their payments on time – or forget about them entirely – which means more calling, emailing, and texting on your part. Unless of course, you’re collecting ACH payments and everything is automated. Of course, it goes without saying that cash and check payments can be even more frustratingly late, because they have to travel through snail mail to get to you. By contrast, ACH payments are sent electronically, right over the ACH network.

Savings over credit card

Perhaps the greatest benefit to ACH payments is the money you can save. The average ACH payment costs businesses around $0.29 per transaction, according to NACHA (National Automated Clearing House Association), which manages the ACH network. Compare this to the fees collected by Discover (up to 2.53%), Visa (up to 2.54%), Mastercard (up to 2.64%), and American Express (up to 3.45%). Some digital marketing firms charge around $5,000 per month to manage social media accounts. Imagine having to pay up to $177 of that to American Express just to get paid!

With numbers like that, it’s easy to see that collecting ACH payments makes the most sense. You’ll get paid on time, instead of late (or not at all). The payment experience will also be smoother for your clients and you’ll save lots of money. So then, how exactly do you go about collecting ACH payments to your marketing firm?

How to accept ACH payments as a digital marketing agency

The first step to collect ACH payments is to just make it a standard part of your onboarding process with new clients. You can attach an ACH authorization form to the marketing agreement you provide each client. This form will help you collect relevant details like name, bank account number, and bank routing number, along with specifying (if applicable) the date of a periodic withdrawal and the amount withdrawn. You will need to retain this paper in a secure location for at least two years, and forward this information to your merchant bank so that they can debit your client’s account every month. Alternatively, if payments are to be made on periodic invoices upon receipt, you can retain the banking info and run the charge when it’s due; you’ll have the information ahead of time, and client approval to take the payment.

Third-party processing services

Instead of working with your bank, it is actually easier for you to use a third-party payment processor (TPPP) to manage and process these transactions for you – whether these payments are recurring or one-offs. A TPPP can provide an online ACH authorization form that seamlessly integrates with your website, along with integrating into your accounting software, like the way Rotessa does with Quickbooks and Xero. In the same way that ACH payments created a great, seamless, automated payment experience for your clients, using a TPPP will take away all the manual labor of running an ACH payment on your end. Moreover, a TPPP will take on the burden of security and fraud screening, drastically reducing your liability.

All businesses want to present a seamless facade to their clients and customers and this is especially true with digital marketing agencies, which are selling the service of making a business look good. Everything about the way your online marketing firm presents itself to potential and current clients needs to look great if you want to retain your clients and grow with customer referrals. That’s where things like setting up ACH debit authorization with a TPPP come into play. They help your business run like clockwork by taking away some of the manual processing that can slow it down.


ACH payments and automation will free you up to have more time building your business, whether that means deepening the relationship with current clients, searching for new ones, or expanding into new digital marketing frontiers. Take a look at the 2,000+ businesses that are happily using Rotessa to automate the payment process, so they can focus on running their business. There’s no setup fee to get started, no monthly minimums, and no cancellation fee. If you want to try out our ACH authorization tool, it’s free too! We’re positive that once you’ve seen the testimonials and tried it out for yourself, you’ll want to learn more from one of our dedicated account managers.

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