Bulk Payment Systems Guide: Features, Working & Benefits


Want to know all about bulk payment? Refer to this guide about bulk payment systems, their features & benefits to make error-free online payments in bulk for your business. Read on!


What is Bulk Payment? : Bulk Payment Meaning

A bulk payment is a system that allows a company/individual to make debit payments to multiple beneficiaries. For instance, payouts. Here, the bulk list is the list of beneficiaries that the creditor intends to pay from a single account. 

The creditor’s bank statement reflects this bulk transfer as a single payment. In India, bulk transfers can be done directly through corporate bank accounts. However, these solutions (like HDFC enet/ ICICI bank) are plagued with issues like working hour limitations. Moreover, they are tedious to use and have difficult reconciliation procedures. 

So, fintech players like Cashfree have come up with more user-friendly solutions for bulk payment processing. They are faster, highly scalable and offer higher security. 

Bulk Payment

In this blog, we will try to cover the different types of bulk payments and why they are needed. We will also try to understand the bulk payment facility in India and how new technologies are revolutionizing the same for businesses. Moreover, we will be diving deep into the reasons for bulk payment failures in India and how they can be resolved.

Needless to say, we have a lot of ground to cover.

So let’s start with our first topic of discussion.

Why is Bulk Payment Solution Needed?

Businesses need to do bulk payments on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Let’s take a look at some examples of bulk payment processing by businesses.

Bulk Payment

Payouts

Businesses need to pay their employees on time. For employee satisfaction, this payment must be done timely and without any glitches. You may need to ensure that your employees can withdraw earnings to their bank accounts instantaneously. 

Here’s a use case to help illustrate this point further.

Grab uses Cashfree to pay their delivery partners. The partners can request a payout on their daily earnings according to their need. This leads to partner satisfaction and high retention rates.

Dividends

You may also need to pay your vendors and ensure that the marketplace settlements run smoothly. 

Evidently, as businesses grow, so does the complexity of handling it.

You may need to automate vendor management. Moreover, you may need to split the payments in complex ways. 

These payments become all the more complex for eCommerce shop owners if COD orders are mixed with online payment orders. Here, the businesses may need to use API for settling payment with vendors.

Refunds

Refunds are a part and parcel of an eCommerce system. You may require to process refunds automatically and efficiently to ensure customer satisfaction. 

Of course, this is easier said than done. You may need partial or instant refunds services – a feature that is rather new in the payments space. Moreover, you might want to initiate the refunds from a dashboard where they can track their progress. 

The biggest issue with COD orders is the unavailability of payment details. In this context, you can consider refund orders through payout links

Contractors and Freelancers

Employees are a regular beneficiary of a company’s payout structure. However, things might get a little tricky when it comes to contractors and freelancers.

Freelancers may require instant payments. Here, businesses like yours cannot afford to be tied down to banks’ working hours. Moreover, you may require to disburse payouts in different payment modes like bank transfer, UPI or wallet transfer. 

Contest

Businesses and stores running contests need a bulk payment system to disburse the prize money. For instance, an online gaming company can disburse winnings to participants. Here, the payment disbursal needs to be seamless and fast.

A failure of this can result in distrust of users and thus damage to the company’s reputation. 

Now that we have covered the various use cases of a bulk payment system, let’s move on to the types of bulk payment. 

Different Types of Bulk Payments

Bulk Payment

The different types of bulk payments are listed as follows:

Standard Domestic Bulk Payment 

The Standard Domestic Bulk Payment allows you to make payments to multiple beneficiaries from a single account. Within this, there are certain classifications: 

  • Future Dated Bulk Payments (FBULK) 
  • Next-Day Bulk Payments (NBULK)
  • Immediate Bulk Payments (IBULK)

Bulk Inter Account Transfer (IAT) 

Bulk Inter Account Transfer (IAT) allows you to credit funds to funds to multiple accounts from a single debit account. More often than not, Bulk IAT is used to make international payment transfers. This is because the Bulk IAT process is more reliable and secure.

Bulk transfers are a complicated procedure. More importantly, it may be done through different technologies depending on the business’s geographic location and target demographics.

The next section will inform you about the process of bulk payment transfers and how they are carried out in India.

How To Do Bulk Payments: Bulk Payment In India

As a business in India, you can do bulk payments in various ways. Some of them are listed below.

Bulk Payment

Bank Transfers 

For a bulk transfer, you need a platform that can handle a large number of transactions, simultaneously. In today’s time, API is considered to be the most efficient technology for the task. Most banks offer corporate bulk transfers. However, these bank portals come with huge limitations. Let us have a look at some of these shortcomings. 

Challenges with Corporate Bulk Bank Transfers

  • Corporate Internet Banking portals work according to the banks’ working hours. This is a serious limitation as most businesses require access to 24×7 payment/payout services.
  • Limited payment modes is also a problem. For instance, most of them do not support IMPS or UPI on bulk transfers.
  • Incompatibility with latest versions of modern browsers like Chrome. In fact, some corporate banking portals are incompatible with Mac-OS.
  • Tedious and complicated file upload formats. Creditors have to arrange the bulk list in a certain format and then upload it. More often than not, this is not possible without assistance. For instance, Enet HDFC net banking exclusively supports only text files (ASCII). So, if your bulk list is in Excel or CSV format, you will need to convert it to the specified format. Thereafter, you have to upload it on Enet HDFC for processing.
  • If you want to add multiple beneficiaries to your account, you will need to wait for a certain amount of time. This is known as the “cooling period” for adding beneficiaries
  • Most corporate portals do not provide the option to verify bank accounts prior to transferring.
  • Most importantly, they have a relatively higher chance of errors in case of failed transfers. Moreover, the reconciliation process is extremely tedious.

Payouts: Alternative To Bank Bulk Transfers

Payout is the top alternative to corporate banking solutions- especially when it comes to bulk transfers. A lot of fintech players are offering simplified, more efficient solutions tailored to every industry.

Cashfree Payouts offers you the widest range of payment options (RTGS, NEFT, bank fund transfers, UPI, Wallet etc.) Moreover, it allows you to make bulk transfers 24×7 without being tied down to a bank’s working hours. 

Additional Features of Payouts: 

  • Clean workflows with dashboards: This is user-friendly and allows easy reconciliation.
  • Completely automated:  You can use APIs or excel for uploading bulk lists and payment files.
  • Bank Account Verification: Verify if your beneficiary’s bank account is valid or not. This reduced the chances of transaction failure.
  • No Cooling period: Add your beneficiary instantly and start transacting right away.
  • Seamless System Configurations: Compatible with all modern browsers and operating systems.

Bulk Payments Through UPI 

Nowadays, businesses are also making UPI transfers in bulk to other businesses or individuals. 

A simpler way to do payouts is by sending money directly to any number of virtual UPI ID, in real-time. Virtual UPI IDs make it easier to reconcile payments as one particular account is mapped to every beneficiary. 

With Cashfree Payouts, you can make 1000+ transactions at a time, much higher than the UPI transaction limit.

Credit card and debit card payments (mainly for refunds)

Refunds in themselves are a huge part of the bulk payment transactions for businesses. Generally, businesses use cards to collect money from a customer instead of sending. However, some merchants use debit/credit card payments for refund purposes. 

Unfortunately, this comes with its own set of problems.

Let’s say a customer purchases a product/service through their debit card. The money is transferred from their bank account to yours. Hence, an immediate refund is impossible in this scenario. 

So, in case the customer asks for a refund, you need to issue a refund to the same card used by the customer. Then, the bank will verify the bank account for the availability of funds and issue the same in 3-7 business days.

Moreover, this process comes with a limitation – you cannot send an amount greater than the amount previously paid by the customer.

Evidently, this can lead to poor customer experience and decrease customer loyalty.

A payout link can be the answer to this issue. 

5) Payout Links For Refunds

A payout link is a web link that you can use to send or receive money on the preferred payment mode. This can be the customer’s bank account, debit card, wallet or UPI app.

How Does Payout Link Work?

  • Set up an account with a payment service provider like Cashfree.
  • Create a payout link and send it to the beneficiary’s email and phone.
  • The recipient will enter their preferred payment mode (UPI VPA/Paytm no./bank account/Debit Card)
  • The recipient receives the payment. 

To keep up with the needs of our customers, Cashfree offers a payout links solution called Cashgram.

Cashfree’s Cashgram is used by businesses to make bulk payments like:

  • Paying marketing affiliates
  • Process reimbursement
  • Process refunds
  • Distributing prize money
  • Sending money to users

Benefits of Bulk Payment System

Bulk Payment

Faster Speed

Bulk payment systems are a faster, more efficient way of sending money to multiple recipients. These payments are timely, automated and error-free. 

Increased Security

Payments is an extremely regulated industry. And for good reason.

After all, 88% of organizations worldwide experienced phishing attempts in 2019. Hence, bulk payments require high-security protocols like the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). This technology encrypts the data as soon as it is submitted so that it cannot be read during processing. 

Banks and payment gateways in India comply with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS). 

High Scalability

As the organization increases in size, it will need to process larger transactions more frequently. Evidently, manual uploading of bulk transfer files cannot sustain in the long run. In fact, as the organization scales, automatic reconciliation becomes necessary. 

Cost-Effective

The finance team cannot be engaged in calculating individual employee wage or vendor commission. 

A bulk payment system can save the time and resources of the organization by automating these tasks. This frees up the team to focus on tasks that actually require their attention. 

Moreover, automation decreases the chance of human error. This, in turn, is cost-effective as well. 

These advantages were applicable to bulk payments in general. But what about the advantages of using cutting-edge bulk payment transfer systems. What edge do they give to the businesses? 

Let’s have a look.

International Transfers

Smarter bulk payment systems like Cashfree Payouts support mass transfers from India to other countries. However, the purpose of the transfer must be declared prior to setting up the account.

Bank Account Verification: Lower Payment Failures

Bank account verification before the actual bulk transfer allows you to validate the beneficiary’s bank account. This helps in lower payment failures.

Cashfree uses API to validate the bank account as well as the account holder’s name. API can help in bulk verification. It can be integrated into the organization’s ERP software or internal system and the verification requests can be pushed directly using API.

Increased Payment Options

One of the biggest advantages of smart bulk payment systems is that it offers various payment options.

For instance, Cashfree offers bulk payments to any bank, UPI-BHIM ID, Paytm wallet, Amazon Pay or debit card.

Business and Merchant Friendly

Finally, modern bulk payment systems are merchant-friendly.

The dashboard can be used to keep tracks of all individual transfers from the bulk payment batch. This makes reconciliation easier.

These systems gave no cooling period and are compatible with all modern browsers. They require no special configurations. 

Till now we have covered a lot of ground on the topic of bulk payments.

However, every technology comes with its issues. Now, these issues might change depending on your organization, the bulk payment system you use as well as your industry. 

So, what are the issues that you can face while initiating bulk payments?

Reasons For Bulk Payment Failures and Solutions

Bulk Payment

Wrong Bank Account Details

6% of payments fail because of invalid recipient data out of date payment details. 35% of data goes out of date each year so it is unsurprising that businesses often receive incorrect account details for transactions. 

However, payment failures can have a negative impact on a bank’s reputation and transaction history.

Solution

The solution here is verifying bank account validity before initiating the bulk payment transfer. Cashfree’s Bank Account verification shows the account holder’s name as written in the bank records. This decreases the risk of identity theft. Moreover, incomplete or incorrect data is reduced. 

Moreover, the Cashfree bank account verification feature is integrated with the company ERP/internal system. This decreases exposure to any third party. 

Downtime

Online payment processing requires a lot of players. These are the issuer, acquirer, payment gateway and payment processor. When it comes to UPI payment processing, NPCI and payment switch is involved. Now, any of these systems can have scheduled or unscheduled downtimes.

In such a situation, the server cannot be reached for processing the bulk payment. This can cause payment failure or delay.

Solution

A lot of companies choose to have multiple payment gateways on their sites. Merchants can choose to use another payment gateway if one is facing downtime. 

Another solution boils down to the bulk payment facility you are using. Merchants can choose to route specific transactions to different payment gateways. This routing can be decided on the basis of success rate, payment gateway health score or business needs. 

Moreover, smart payment gateways provide merchants with a dashboard to help keep track of every individual transaction. For instance, the Cashfree dashboard gives information about the transaction’s status- whether it is complete, pending or failed.

Inefficient Routing

Legacy payment systems like Corporate banking solutions rely on inefficient routing. Essentially, routing is the process of connecting to the bank server in the most optimized way possible. Inefficient routing can lead to a high number of failed transactions. 

Solution

To eliminate this problem, merchants can choose a payment gateway or bulk payment software that does dynamic routing. Dynamic routing ensures that the PG can connect to the server based on the current conditions of the communication circuits. 

For instance, Cashfree uses dynamic routing to reduce transaction latency. This helps in providing a great customer experience. Moreover, Cashfree has direct integrations with all major card networks and all major banks of India. Resultantly, the success rate of a merchant’s transaction is higher. 

4. Excel File Uploads

Like we mentioned above, a lot of legacy payment systems require manual uploading of payment fields. Moreover, some of them only accept specific formats. 

In such a scenario, human error can result in payment failure. 

Solution

The solution to this issue is to use a payment gateway or bulk payment facility that offers a simplified user interface.

For instance, Cashfree Payouts had a 4 column excel sheet Dashboard. The merchant can also choose to use API for 100% automation and easy reconciliation. 

FAQs On Bulk Payment 

What is the difference between a bulk payment and a bulk list?

Bulk payment is the transfer of funds from one bank account to multiple beneficiaries. 

On the other hand, the bulk list is the list of recipients or beneficiaries receiving the payment.

How can I do recurring bulk payments?

Businesses can choose to do recurring bulk payments through Nach mandate or E-mandate. Furthermore, recurring payments can also be enabled on a credit card, debit card and through UPI Autopay.

Read more information on Cashfree Subscriptions recurring payment solution by Cashfree.

What is the future of bulk payment?

Bulk payment is an inextricable part of running a business. As a business becomes large scale, their requirement from a bulk payment system becomes more and more complex. 

For instance, ride sharing companies have to collect and disburse large amounts of payments on a daily basis. With technologies like Cashfree Payouts, instant withdrawal of bulk payments is possible.

It will be interesting to see how bulk payment systems will evolve according to new age business needs.