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Electronic Ways for Small Businesses to Pay Employees

Who doesn’t love payday? For many employees, payday makes them feel better than Christmas. As a small business owner, you have the freedom to decide how to handle payroll at your organization. Talk about a huge responsibility. It’s important to get it right, as payroll done wrong can cost a small business owner time and money. 

There are a few different methods for distributing employee pay, but savvy business owners find that electronic payroll methods like direct deposit and payroll cards streamline the process and keep employees satisfied. We explored the different types of payment methods to help you determine the best payroll solution for your business.

 Small business owner determining employee pay.

Direct Deposit

Direct deposit lets you put your employees’ wages directly into their checking or savings account. Because everything is handled digitally, employees don’t need to be present to receive their pay. The convenience of direct deposit for both employers and employees has made it the most common payment method in the U.S., with 82 percent of employees receiving their pay this way, according to a survey by the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA)

Direct deposit can help save time since you don’t have to fill out and distribute checks each pay period. Online payroll software can further help streamline this process and save money. With software, payroll simply needs to be reviewed before submitting it to be deposited in your employees’ bank accounts. Without software, small business owners are responsible for paying fees for setup and for every transaction.

For direct deposit, you’ll need to gather your employees’ banking information at the time of hire. Of course, it only works if employees have bank accounts. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), nearly 20 percent of American households are “underbanked,” meaning they either don’t have or actively use a bank account. If you choose direct deposit as your primary payment method, you’ll need to provide an alternative option for those who don’t bank.

Payroll Card

Payroll cards are another form of electronic payment that lets you automatically load an employee’s wages directly onto a prepaid card at each pay period. Employees can then either use the card directly to make purchases or withdraw cash at ATMs.

With payroll cards, employees don’t need to have a banking account, making it a viable alternative to direct deposit. It also helps save businesses time and money compared to writing or printing paychecks. The benefits for both employers and employees are why payroll cards have become a growing trend, with the use of payroll cards expected to increase by about 43 percent by 2022, according to a study by Aite Group.

Other Types of Payment Methods

Paychecks and cash are two outdated forms of payment methods that simply aren’t worth the hassle or added costs. For employers, writing or printing paychecks can be an extremely time-consuming task, especially depending on the frequency of your payroll. 

Additionally, you’ll have to factor in the cost of purchasing blank checks, and/or printing supplies like check stock, ink, and a printer that has the capability to print with magnetic ink to read, process, and print bank account and routing numbers on the checks.  Switching to paperless can cut these costs. A report in Business News Daily states that “businesses save between $2.87 and $3.15 per pay run by paying employees electronically, such as via direct deposit, instead of via paper check.” The report also points out that online pay stubs save an additional $1.20.

The amount of recordkeeping that comes with paying in cash can also be a nightmare for small businesses. Cash payments could make the IRS suspicious that you aren’t taking out the correct tax amounts, making you susceptible to an audit. Even if you are in compliance, IRS audits cost significant time and money.

For both methods, employees need to be present in order to receive pay, which could be a problem if employees are out sick or on vacation. According to CareerBuilder, nearly 80 percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, so a delay in pay could really hurt your employees financially.

Save Time Through Payroll Services

While we’re thankful electronic payment methods have replaced checks and cash, managing payroll and tax filings can still be a time-consuming and challenging task for small business owners. 

Need assistance? Outsourcing payroll administration to a professional employer organization (PEO) like Group Management Services (GMS) can help save you time and give you peace of mind. From electronic payroll processing to software to taxes, GMS takes an active approach managing payroll, so you can spend the extra, time, money, and energy growing your business. In addition to payroll services, GMS offers a full suite of HR services that compliment payroll administration, including human resources, risk management, employee benefits, and more.

Contact GMS today to see how we can help manage payroll at your organization.

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