uCollect is a Xero Add-on in the payment services category. Actually it’s really a hybrid between payment services, and cashflow/debtor management. uCollect works on the premise of getting clients to pay by setting up automated direct debits. It creates a seamless interaction between you and the customer.
By utilising direct debits uCollect aims to achieve cash flow by automating the payment process via a credit card or a direct debit straight out of your respective customer’s bank account.
It does this via an approved payment gateway that you get your customer to liaise with, in Australia the main third-party payment gateways for example are:
- Australian ABA File
- Payment Express
The UK uses SEPA Direct Debits and the US uses FORTE in addition to the above options.
Let’s go through the Xero Add-on uCollect integration in more detail and get more of an understanding of the software.
How does it work?
It works on a relatively straightforward basis. According to the uCollect web site, it takes 3 simple steps.
- Connect your uCollect account to your Xero Ledger
- Connect your uCollect account to your approved payment processor and set some initial settings (see Set up demo)
- Tell uCollect what clients to collect payments from (and provide their relevant details)
Quite straightforward really? Yes and no, the devil’s in the details as they say, and there is a bit more to it all, but still way easier than doing it manually.
After that, you can tell uCollect when to initiate the direct debit to come out of your customer’s account. Every day at a time specified by you, uCollect will connect to your Xero ledger and load up a list of unpaid invoices and initiate payment from only those customers you have specified to make collections from.
The interface is not the fanciest but it gets the job done, which is the main thing really. At the end of the day, it has one core function, and that is to systematise the process of automatic direct debits.
So how much does it cost?
$25AUD/Month for up to 99 Transactions per month
$40AUD/Month for up to 100 or more transactions
With options to prepay for the entire year and get additional savings.
I used to own a business in mobile marketing, where I had clients on a subscription based on whatever package they chose. I believe for those businesses that are subscription based, i.e. gyms, personal trainers, professional services, etc, this would be a really awesome add-n, that would save the administration time it takes to set up new subscribers and ensure it all gets managed and paid on time.
I struggle to envision how larger clients would take to having direct debits forced on them, but uCollect does give you the option to specify which customers are to go on a direct debit.
I think another application for uCollect is managing those high-risk clients every business has. By getting them to commit to a payment plan, and locking them into a weekly direct debit as part of your management of high-risk debtors.
Despite it not being a complete fit for every business, for those industries that generally are subscription based, this would be an invaluable tool, saving you administration time and also making it very easy to set up direct debits on a customer by customer basis for businesses that don’t traditionally use subscription based payments.