Pre-Approvals are the main autopayment option in Pinch. If you signed up to Pinch, chances are it's to use this feature.
What is a Pre-Approval?
A pre-approval is an agreement between you and your customer that you are permitted to automatically debit them from their nominated payment method. In practical terms, it's a Pinch form that you or your customer fills out to store their payment details so you can use Pinch to automatically deduct payments. This is generally done by creating invoices in your accounting system, which Pinch automatically detects.
In most cases, pre-approvals are the way that you should be collecting your Pinch payments, especially if you are a Xero user.
The Difference Between Pre-Approvals and Plans and Subscriptions
The Plans and Subscriptions feature of Pinch allows you to set up ongoing payment plans inside of Pinch, which is great for MYOB, QuickBooks and other Non-Xero users. It's also excellent for offering customers a way to break down their large invoices into easier to pay smaller amounts no matter which other system you use. In most cases you will want to use the pre-approvals feature to store a payment method, then keep invoicing inside of your accounting system. The main exceptions are:
- You need to allow your customer to pay off an existing invoice in smaller amounts.
- You want to set up an automated payment schedule and you are not a Xero user.
Xero users wanting to set up subscriptions and retainers should use pre-approvals to store payment methods, and then the Repeating Invoice feature of Xero to automate the creation of invoices.
Creating a Pre-Approval
- Find the customer you want to put onto a pre-approval inside of Pinch by navigating to the Customers section and searching for them.
- Click on Launch Pre-Approval page (pictured below) and complete the payment details, or send it to your customer to complete themselves by either copy/pasting the URL and sending it, or clicking Send Pre-Approval Email. The Pre-Approval Email is a system generated email that can be configured by visiting your Account Settings and clicking on the emails tab.
- Once you have a Pre-Approval in place, simply raise invoices from your existing Accounting System. Pinch will detect them and collect the payment on the due date.
Pre-Approvals for Xero Users vs. Non Xero Users
As a Xero user, the Pre-Approvals feature is all you need to manage most of your payments requirements. By using it in tandem with the Xero Repeating Invoices feature, you can set up subscriptions and retainer invoices inside of Xero, and use Pinch to automate the collection of payments. This means you can continue to use Xero for all of your invoicing, and strictly use Pinch for the management of pre-approvals.
For MYOB or QuickBooks customers it's a little different. Pinch isn't able to detect repeating invoices in those systems, only ad-hoc ones. This means that if you have subscription or retainer customers, you will need to use the Payment Plans feature of Pinch to automate the collection of these payments.
Using Pre-Approvals to Actually Collect Payments
- Create or find the customer you want to take a payment from.
- Set up a pre-approval, or have your customer do it (as above).
- If you are connected to an accounting system, create the invoice there and save it in a published form (you don't have to email them).
- It will automatically come out on the due date you have set on your invoice.