How have they accomplished it? What is the secret behind ACH Direct's success? The answer lies in the unique and unequaled products and services this company offers the industry. Through its innovative use of technology and its market savvy, ACH Direct has slowly revolutionized the ACH industry.
"These last five years have been a rocket ride," says Jeff Thorness, President/CEO of ACH Direct, Inc. "We've witnessed a lot of growth, new products and a fantastic increase in revenue. Already this year we've added new contracts with Fortune 500 companies and government agencies. And our terrific relationships with our reseller channel are more dynamic than ever."
ACH Direct has definite plans for its product line as well. "Our products are already mature in stable environments, but we will continue to enhance them and build on their strengths," says Thorness. "Ours is a continuing evolution. Our products are not first generation. They are proven, leading edge, especially our real-time solutions, which we will continue to refine and develop. And because of the modular design of all of our products and services, we're able to easily add new technologies as they evolve - in a manner which our customers can leverage immediately with their existing infrastructure."
ACH Direct's philosophy is about providing solutions to its customers. "We want to find out what our customer's needs are and then create solutions to help them," says Thorness. "Our size allows us to do what similar processors cannot--customize and build solutions for our customers. We're small enough and nimble enough to be able to create these solutions with a minimal amount of red tape, yet big enough to handle the volume requirements of even the largest of customers."
Payments Gateway Is Cornerstone
The cornerstone of ACH Direct is its extraordinary payment gateway. This third-generation payment processing platform-www.paymentsgateway.com-channels payments that are originated by all of our front-end software and tools to any number of payment processors in addition to ACH Direct's own ACH and real-time check processing services.
"It is the definitive gateway for ACH and credit card processing as well as real-time debit solutions and verification and authentication services," says Thorness. "We currently offer credit card processing on this platform through Global, EXS and Nova. First Data and Vital will also be part of our platform by the end of Q3-04, which will further enhance the flexibility of our Payments Gateway."
ACH Direct's premier products and services, such as ATM Verify and ACH Direct's negative verification, as well as real-time verification and settlement processes, all "plug into" the highly modular Payments Gateway platform.
Exciting New Offering in Production
ACH Direct's real-time debit and verification product, ATM Check, currently in production, is poised to be the hot new topic in the industry. Used in multiple channels, including point-of-sale, telephone payments, and certain web-based transactions, ATM Check is a real-time electronic check settlement service. It enables instantaneous funds verification and subsequent funds debit, similar to a debit card but check based. Through its partnership with various networks, ACH Direct will be able to access a significant percentage of the known DDA accounts nationwide that will confirm whether an account is valid and if there are sufficient funds in that account to cover the transaction.
"'Real time.' That phrase is so overused in our industry today," says Thorness, "But when we say 'real time,' we mean it. At ACH Direct, it truly happens in real time."
Enhanced Products and Services
To maintain ACH Direct's leading-edge position, the company has enhanced its premier products and services. "Our Virtual Terminal will be extremely powerful," says Thorness. "This product is amazing and has more capabilities than any other terminal out there. It will handle recurring payments for both credit cards and ACH transactions and will offer real-time debit and verification services. In addition, it will handle the re-presentment of items returned unpaid using numerous methods including the use of a back-up payment type - such as using a credit card to be automatically charged should an ACH transaction become un-collectable.
Direct Recovery, ACH Direct's returned electronic check collection service, is not your typical RCK service. ACH Direct utilizes its EAMS (Electronic Account Monitoring System) service to electronically monitor the check writer's account. When EAMS determines the account is in a positive balance, the system automatically presents the check for payment, thus increasing the likelihood that the check will be collected. ACH Direct was the first company to employ this capability, and as our verification capabilities continue to expand, our collection ratios will continue to improve.
For larger merchants who need completed automation, ACH Direct's API allows merchants to totally integrate ACH Direct's payment system within their internal systems.
Real-time products include ATM Check and ATM Verify. Direct Billing is a Windows-based ACH and credit card processing solution that has set the industry standard for this type of software. Direct Billing allows for recurring and non-recurring ACH and credit card transactions, both debits and credits. It also allows for real-time transactions so merchants can achieve swipe rates for credit card payments, real-time check verification and soon, check conversion.
SoftTerminal is another Windows-based application for point-of-sale or non-face-to-face transaction processing with credit cards. It replaces hardware and hooks up a merchant's PC with MagTek equipment. Online Check; Transporter, a batch service product; and credit card processing round out the list of ACH Direct's most popular products and services.
To support all its innovations, ACH Direct relies on a phenomenal infrastructure. Its Research & Development is in-house. All support systems are in-house. Customer service is in-house. There's even a special group dedicated exclusively to ACH Direct's reseller channel.
Invitation to Resellers
"Our reseller channel is paramount to us," says Thorness. "Because of that, education on our products is vital not only to our success but to the success of our sales partners. We invite MLS and ISOs to come to our offices to learn all they can about us and our products."
Every product that ACH Direct offers comes with a training video. The company also hosts quarterly training sessions at its spectacular location in Palm Springs. Web-based training is also a regular part of the education process.
"Come talk to us," says Thorness. "We have exciting products and services to add to your suite of services."
This California-based ACH/EFT processor facilitated billions in transactions in 2003, servicing thousands of customers in North America, the United Kingdom and Latin America--impressive credentials for a company that the payment processing industry first met in 1998. The ACH Direct client list includes many Fortune 500 companies, a number of state governments, well-known universities, and hundreds of resellers.
What does Thorness see in ACH Direct's future? He predicts 2004 will be a year of explosive growth and looks forward to the stimulating challenge of managing that growth.
"Our goal today is the same as was our vision when we first opened our doors," says Thorness. "We wanted to provide efficient payment processing, automation and give companies the power to leverage electronic transaction processing, streamline operations, reduce errors and increase efficiency."
It appears that ACH Direct has done that...and more.