Depending on your billing software, our system can record payments to your Pending Payments queue or directly post to the customers account.
We often encourage our customers to start on Pending mode so that you can "see" the payments flowing in. It gives you a pulse of what's going on. Once familiar with the system and/or payment flow there's not a lot of drawback to switching to Direct mode but let's discuss a couple of differences.
Direct is awesome for the simple fact that the system entirely runs itself for the most part. With Direct you will no longer see the payments showing up on the Pending Payments queue because they will post directly to the customer's account. If you accept eChecks this also comes with a caveat: those that submit bad eCheck information, both with and without ill intent, will have those payments post directly to the account. When that eCheck bounces you will have to reverse the payment.
Also troublesome at times, and again depending on your billing software, is the application of payments to the charges (also known as "payment priority"). This is specifically troublesome when it comes to Automatic Payments. It may help to separately read how Automatic Payments works. Take for example a customer that has a current balance of $50 due "today" but also has unbilled charges in the amount of $300 (adjustment without a due date, meter reading prior to bill date, etc.). Depending on your payment priority configuration, your billing software will instruct our system to pay the $50 that is due and so our system does that. However when we record the payment back to your billing system, your payment priority applies that payment to those unbilled charges therefore leaving the $50 balance still due. Because our Automatic Payment system runs 4 times in the hour of your selection, you could see our system repeatedly charge a customer while your billing system applies the payment to the "wrong" balance. So you have to make sure your payment priority configuration is consistent with automatic payments, that the balance due is paid BEFORE unbilled balances are paid.
Another thing to remember is customer sneaking their payments in after a due date or some other penalty-related date. Utilities using Direct will often switch temporarily to Pending when it is time to run penalties so that a customer doesn't sneak their payment in while your billing system is calculating penalties. So if your due date is the 15th of the month you may want to come in the morning of the 16th and switch to Pending while you run your penalties and then switch back to Direct when you have completed that process. Just remember to go back to the Pending Payments queue to save any payments that may have come in during that time.
With that said, most of our customers that are using Direct enjoy the benefits of allowing the system to run more on auto pilot. If you've found yourself opening up the Pending Payments queue only to select them all and save them (no actual "checking" over the payments) then you might want to consider switching to Direct and no longer having to perform that task.
You can switch from Pending to Direct yourself by logging in as an admin, clicking on Settings at the top and then looking for "Payment Notification Delivery."
As always, contact us if you have any questions about this topic.