I get asked regularly what the deal is with Amazon disbursements. Many, perhaps most, sellers have to wait 14 days to get paid. After Amazon takes 2-5 days to actually transfer the money to your account, sometimes it takes as much as 3 weeks after you make a sale to get paid for it. Naturally, this upsets a lot of sellers who would love to have that money now, particularly if they are choosing to reinvest that money in new inventory.
Some people get a fancy little Request Transfer buttons that they can click on once a day (to check if you have it, go to Reports > Payments > and check to see if you have a request transfer button next to where it tells you when the next transfer is scheduled). It seems that many people with older accounts have this option, although I know of some people who used to have this option and were forced to convert and now only get paid bi-weekly. I’ve also heard that some brand new sellers were able to get it, but they had a seven-day reserve period. Honestly, like most things with Amazon, I have no idea how they decide what they do. Sometimes it’s easier to just accept that we don’t know why they do what they do and just look to find the best way to deal with it.
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This is a problem that many businesses face. When I managed a restaurant, we had net 30, net 60, and even net 90 day terms with a lot of our vendors. What this means is that we would get a truckload of produce with an invoice today but we wouldn’t have to pay for that until 30, 60, or 90 days later. This was great because it meant I could have our meat company deliver me a steak on Monday, sell it to a customer on Tuesday and get that money today, but then not pay the vendor for another 3 months. This was great for us. But, imagine being that produce company or the meat company. If you thought cash-flow was difficult when Amazon holds your money for two weeks, imagine two or three months. Many companies in this position decide to use factoring. The basic idea is that a company will discount the amount owed by a small percent (say 3-3.5%) and then pay most of that money immediately (factoring companies will usually only pay 70-90% of the cash receivable to protect themselves). The meat and produce companies decided that having 97% of their money today was better than having 100% of that money three months down the road.
A company called Payability began an Amazon version of factoring about 6 months ago.
I post the screenshot so that you can see the date we were approached: September 1, 2016. We could have said, “ooo nice, lemme make some $$$ and post an affiliate link.” But, we truly believe that one of the reasons FBAMaster has grown so much is that, while we do make money from affiliates, we don’t advertise products that we don’t use ourselves. This could be a book, software, a course, anything. To be honest, this costs us money on a regular basis. Sometimes people will offer us an affiliate account for a course that we’ve never used and pay huge commissions on it and we have to turn them down because we’re unfamiliar with the product. We feel like it’s better to “miss out” on commission money today if it means that we get to stand by confidently with every product we recommend.
So, since we hadn’t even heard of Payability at the time, much less use it, we sent John Cyscon III in as a guinea pig. Chris Wilkey and I had very clear logic on this decision: if someone got screwed, we’d prefer it be John than either of us. Okay, that’s mostly a joke 🙂 But, we did send John in as a test dummy. He’s now used the service for months and we can confirm that everything is on the up-and-up. Here’s a review that somebody left on the FBAMaster Facebook page:
First, here are the details of how Payability works:
Let’s say that after Amazon takes their fees you have $1000 in your account in Seller Central. Normally this would grow each day until finally you reached your transfer date and then Amazon would initiate an ACH transfer to your bank. Payability gives you the option of having 80% ($800) transferred today. They hold on to 20% like most factoring companies do. Once the 14 days come, Payability would get the full payment from Amazon ($1000) and they’d pay you the final 20% ($200) less the 2% fee that Payability charges ($20). So to summarize:
Account Balance today: $1000
Payability transfer $800 today.
When AZ transaction takes place Payability takes $20 and transfers you the remaining $180.
That’s really all there is to it.
Second, is the fee worth it?
This is really a question that is going to be heavily dependent on each individual seller. Would your business be better off if you had $980 today or $1000 in two weeks? Some people want to reinvest all of the money as quickly as possible and they’re sure that they can make more than 2% by converting that money into inventory, so they’re happy to pay the fee. Other people don’t spend nearly all of their money and always have sufficient funds in their account to buy whatever they need, so it might be wasteful for them to pay a 2% fee to just have that money sit in their account instead of Amazon’s.
However, there is a third option. You can nearly eliminate the fee.
Payability offers a 2% cash back option if you choose to have the money loaded onto a Mastercard that they’ll give you. So, in this case, instead of them sending the money to your bank account, they’ll just load it onto a card that you have and you can spend it whenever you want and get 2% back on everything you spend.
The former math tutor in me feels compelled to remind people that this is NOT the same as no fee. Example below with our $1000 again.
Receive $ 800 + $180 on card
Get $19.60 in cash back.
So, at the end of everything you would have received $980 + $19.60, which is $999.60 instead of $1000.
Now, you might be thinking, “Hold on, I only have to effectively pay 40 cents for every $1000 and I get to have my money immediately instead of on Amazon’s timetable?” And, the answer to your question is yes. If you have the money transferred to your account, you end up paying a 2% fee and if you have money transferred onto the card you pay an effective 0.04% fee (or $0.40 per $1000). In my mind this is a really great deal. John, having used it, loves it.
So, now that it is some 6 months later of testing and asking them questions, we now feel fully confident to recommend Payability to anyone who wishes that they could get their Amazon payouts faster. As an added bonus, you get your first week for free — no fees. You aren’t locked into any long term contract with them or anything. If you decide you don’t need it anymore, cancel and you’re done. Only requirements are that you need to have a US, UK, or CA Amazon account that has been open for 90 days.
Until Next time, Best Wishes