What is an eCheck?
An eCheck is an online version of a paper check. Both contain the bank details of the account holder and an instruction to the bank to authorize a transfer of funds. These transfers are sometimes called a direct debit, ACH or EFT depending on the country.
Unlike a credit card that taps into the credit card network, an eCheck payment is a transfer between banks only. Since fewer institutions are involved, the payment processing cost is considerably less.
What is eCheck used for?
eCheck is a good way to be more inclusive when it comes to payment methods. Not everyone has access to a credit card and some clients may want to avoid using it for fear of debt. We recommend offering both credit card and eCheck as online payment methods, to ensure everyone who wants to pay can do so.
eCheck has a much lower payment processing charge when compared to a credit card payment, however, it comes with technical limitations. Until the money reaches the merchant account, it’s impossible to know whether an eCheck payment will come through (unlike credit cards that guarantee payment through the authorization process).
When using eCheck with recurring billing such as subscriptions or installments, funds are deposited regularly. Once the payment has gone through, subsequent payments are also likely to go through because the bank details have been validated by the first successful transaction.