Melio vs. QuickBooks Bill Pay: The best AP tool for SMBs
- What’s accounts payable?
- Why do I need a digital AP tool in the first place?
- How do Melio and QuickBooks Bill Pay differ?
- Side-by-side comparison between Melio and QuickBooks Bill Pay
- Get started with Melio
Owning a business means taking on additional responsibilities you may not have had in mind when deciding to pursue your dreams. Accounts payable (AP) is among the most challenging of such responsibilities. The bad news is no business can operate without properly managing AP but the good news is there are digital tools out there that can help.
In this article, we’ll compare two accounts payable tools—Melio and Intuit’s recently launched QuickBooks Bill Pay—to help you choose the service that works best for your small or medium-sized business (SMB), in terms of convenience, efficiency, and price.
Before we delve into the different services, how they differ, and what they have to offer, let’s quickly discuss what AP means and how digital tools fit in.
What’s accounts payable?
Accounts payable is an accounting term that refers to all the open and unpaid bills and invoices you receive from vendors for goods and services already rendered. These can include, for example, bills for rent, supplies, merchandise, and cleaning services. Anything that comes with a future due date.
Until the bill is paid in full, it is considered AP. As it’s a form of short-term debt, accounts payable is listed under current liabilities in your balance sheet.
Why do I need a digital AP tool in the first place?
You probably use a washing machine to do your laundry and handle your correspondence via email or texting and not stamped envelopes. Managing accounts payable is no different. It’s just one more task that is easier done with the help of technology.
A digital accounts payable system allows you to:
- Track the status of all outgoing payments on a single platform.
- Schedule payments in advance so they go out just in time, not a minute too late or too soon.
- Save money on bank fees and physical checks.
- Be more efficient by eliminating manual processes and dual input.
- Improve security with cyber tools including encryption to ensure your payment details remain private and your money reaches its destination.
- Reduce human error resulting in late, misdirected, or dual payments.
- Send payments on the go using any device with an internet connection.
- Sync your payments with your accounting software so your books are always up to date.
How do Melio and QuickBooks Bill Pay differ?
Melio and QuickBooks Bill Pay are both online accounts payable tools. While QuickBooks Bill Pay is built into the QuickBooks Online interface, Melio offers a robust accounts payable system that can sync with various accounting software, including QuickBooks Online. This means your data is synced across both systems, and there’s no need for dual entry and less risk of manual errors.
With the sync on, bills you add to your accounting software will automatically appear in Melio so you can go ahead and schedule your payments. Once you send a payment through Melio, the status will be updated in your accounting software as well.
Below are some of the things that work differently on Melio and QuickBooks Bill Pay.
Melio is free and charges no subscription fees whatsoever. You can use it for as long as you like and you’ll only be charged for advanced payment options.
QuickBooks Bill Pay* is only available to paying QuickBooks Online users, with subscriptions ranging from $30 to $200 a month. A basic QuickBooks Bill Pay plan is free for QuickBooks Online users while Premium and Elite plans cost an additional $15 or $90 a month, respectively.
Melio only charges for advanced payment options. This means that you can send as many ACH-to-ACH bank transfers as you need for free. If your vendor insists on a paper check, you can also send up to two checks a month at no additional cost. If you sync Melio with your accounting software, you’ll receive three additional free checks a month (valid until April 15, 2024).
Melio’s pricing is as follows:
- ACH-to-ACH bank transfer: $0 (aka FREE)
- Paper check: $1.5, first two checks each month are free. For a limited time, users who sync with accounting software will receive up to five checks for free monthly.
- Fast payments:
- Same-day ACH bank transfer: 1% of the transaction, up to a $30 ceiling.
- Fast checks (delivery within three business days): $20 per check.
- International payments: $20 per transaction.
- Credit card payments: 2.9% of the transaction.
QuickBooks Bill Pay charges a transaction fee for all payment methods. Depending on their plan, users are eligible for a varying number of free ACH transfers.
Here’s how QuickBooks Bill Pay fees are calculated:
- ACH-to-ACH bank transfers: Basic and Premium subscribers are charged $0.5 per transaction. Basic users get five ACH transfers a month for free while Premium users can send up to 40 ACH payments monthly at no additional cost. Elite subscribers can send unlimited ACH bank transfers for free.
- Paper checks: $1.5 per check.
QuickBooks Bill Pay offers no international wires, credit card payments, or fast payment options.
Your business has its own pace but sometimes speed is of the essence. Knowing how long it takes your payments to arrive is crucial in planning your spending and maintaining healthy cash flow.
When you send an ACH transfer through Melio you can expect it to arrive in up to three business days.** QuickBooks Bill Pay commits to five to seven business days.
A standard paper check sent through Melio will arrive within five to seven business days, as opposed to 10-12 business days on QuickBooks Bill Pay.
In a hurry? For a fee, Melio also offers additional fast payment options (we’ll delve into that a bit later).
Bill due? Melio offers an array of fast payment options so your vendor gets their money as early as today!Sign up now
Having multiple users with access to your business’s AP tool means you can delegate and collaborate with accountants and team members without compromising your personal password or login details.
Both Melio and QuickBooks Bill Pay let you collaborate with others but there are some distinctions in how and to what extent.
Number of users
Melio allows an unlimited number of users to handle payments for a specific business. They each need to receive permission from an admin or owner, who can also revoke access, as needed.
The number of users with access to a QuickBooks Bill Pay account depends on the business’s QuickBooks Online plan. The most robust plan ($200 a month) allows up to 25 users with the number varying for cheaper plans.
The most basic QuickBooks Online plan ($30 a month), doesn’t support collaborators. This means that if you want to delegate payments to someone on your team, you’ll have to provide them with your login information, which can potentially become a security risk.
Melio allows you to assign four different roles to users according to the level of access you want them to have: owner, admin, accountant, and contributor.
Check out our help center for a full breakdown of each user role’s permissions.
In QuickBooks Bill Pay, only Elite users can assign different roles to collaborators.
Payment approval workflows
How do you delegate your accounts payable process without losing control over funds coming out of your business? In three words: payment approval workflows. Once you implement these workflows, your team can handle and schedule a payment for you, but it won’t go out without being approved by the owner or an admin.
This feature is available to all Melio users. If you don’t want to be bothered with every little payment, you can set up a threshold so that only payments over a certain amount will require approval.
QuickBooks Bill Pay only offers approval workflows to Elite users.
With a digital accounts payable tool you can handle all of your payments in one sitting, scheduling them in advance. This way, you don’t risk paying too early and hurting your cash flow or putting them off for too long and forgetting to pay.
Melio lets you schedule payments for any time in the future.
QuickBooks Bill Pay supports scheduling up to 90 days in advance.
Unique Melio capabilities
Melio’s not only more cost-effective, it also offers unique features you won’t find in QuickBooks Bill Pay.
- Fast payments: Melio lets you send same-day ACH bank transfers*** or a fast check via courier, which arrives in up to three business days.* Real-time payment (RTP) options are coming soon. If you send a regular payment, your vendor may still be eligible to opt-in to receive the funds faster or even instantly.
- Credit card payments: You can use Melio to pay your bills with a credit card, even if your vendor doesn’t accept cards.****
- International payments: With Melio, you can pay vendors and suppliers around the world.
- Combined payment: If you have multiple bills to the same vendor, you can combine all of them into one payment in Melio, saving on fees.
- Recurring payments: You can set up a recurring payment to go out on a specific day each month, for example for rent and utilities.
- Batch payments: Send multiple payments to different vendors at once without going through the whole flow for each of them.
Side-by-side comparison between Melio and QuickBooks Bill Pay
To figure out which accounts payable tool is better for your business, it’s important to consider the price, speed, and features available in each of the tools.
If your SMB is looking for a fast and cost-effective solution to both domestic and international payments, you may find Melio’s offering to be a better fit.
Below is a detailed breakdown of the differences between Melio and QuickBooks Bill Pay’s basic plan.
Get started with Melio
Melio is free to use and is built specifically to suit the needs of small businesses. It’s also loaded with helpful features that make managing AP a breeze.
Sign up for Melio now to get started.
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