Why EFT?Electronic Funds Transfer is a far superior process to paying people by cheque for several reasons.
- It's cheaper, Approximately $0.10 per transaction while cheques can be from $0.50 to $2.00 per cheque to process and you don't have to buy envelopes or postage stamps.
- It's quicker as you don't have to write out or print the cheques, you don't have to address the envelopes and insert the cheques into the correct envelopes and you don't have to mail the envelopes.
- Currently no stamp duty on EFT ($0.10 stamp duty on cheques)
- Funds are cleared immediately upon receipt into the payee's account while cheques take 5 days or more to clear
- You can't make transcription errors using EFT. With a cheque you can write one figure on the cheque (eg $120) and enter another figure into your accounting software (eg $210) which will result in your bank reconciliation being out of balance. With EFT the accounting software produces the EFT file using the figure that you entered into the accounting software so the amounts must agree (but they still may not be the correct figure though!)
In order to generate transfer files for electronic funds transfer (EFT) you need to find out the following information from your bank.
|Banking Information Required|
|Bank BSB Code||__ __ __ - __ __ __||Always 6 digits|
|Bank Account Number||__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __||6 to 9 digits|
|CEMTEC User Number||__ __ __ __ __ __||Always 6 digits|
|Balancing Record Required?||__||(Yes/No)|
|Trace BSB Code||__ __ __ - __ __ __||Always 6 digits|
|Trace Account Number||__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __||6 to 9 digits|
|Daily EFT Limit||$ __ __,__ __ __||Max Transfer Amount|
Note that the BSB is ALWAYS 6 digits long and for the major banks it's structure is such that the first two digits denote the bank (eg 03=WBC, 06=CBA, 08=NAB, 80=Credit Union), the next digit denotes the state (eg 2=NSW, 3=VIC, 5=SA) and the last three digits denote the branch number. Recent additions to the banking system (eg credit unions, building societies and foreign owned banks) may not follow the same system as all credit unions is SA have BSB codes which start with 805 and the last three digits determine the actual Credit Union. Credit Unions usually have the same BSB code for all of their branches unlike the banks.
You bank account number is normally between 6 and 9 digits long, some VERY old account numbers may be less than 6 digits but it's rare. You can ignore any slashes and dashes in the account number as they are stripped from the number when producing an EFT file (eg 123-456/789 becomes just 123456789).
If you are given an account number which contains more than 9 digits it is incorrect and will not work. Many credit unions have membership numbers longer than 9 digits but they will also have another number (sometimes called a link number) which is ALWAYS no more than 9 digits long. You cannot process credit card payments using EFT as the banks do not provide this function at this time.
If you have a limit on how much money you can transfer each day (eg max $15,000 per day) then you need to enter that amount into the maximum daily limit section on the bank diskette screen. If your payments exceed this amount then the system will split the payments up into multiple daily files where the transfer amount for each file is less than the daily limit. You then send each of these files to your bank on consecutive days until you have sent all of the files. In this way you will be able to process the payments in stages and, hopefully, only over two or three days. When the system exports the multiple files it also prints a report telling you the name of each file and the contents on each file.
The CEMTEC user number (also called a DIRECT ENTRY USER ID) is a six digit number used to identify you for the electronic funds transfer process.
It is NOT your internet banking user name OR your internet banking password! It is a totally separate number and is required for the process to work.
Many bank staff are ignorant about this number as it is not required if you just manually enter individual transfers through the internet banking software.
It is only required if you want to process a bulk EFT transfer using a data file produced by payroll or other accounting software.
The CEMTEC number is required in positions 57-62 in record type "1" of the EFT transfer file. You may need to bypass your bank branch's staff (as most of them have no idea as they don't deal with this area of banking) and ask this question of the bank's EFT and/or internet banking staff. (As an example - GO Software's CEMTEC number is )
If you are using National Online banking software you can find your DE User ID from this software by following this process....
- Click on DIRECT PAYMENTS
- Click on NEW
- Create Model=NO
- Import Data=NO
- Click on OK
- Look for DE User ID: field which should be your direct entry User ID (a six digit number) followed by your company name
- Write this user ID down and then cancel the direct payment.
The CEMTEC Number may NOT be required?
We have had one bank (the National) now say that they no longer use or require the CEMTEC number. If your bank tells you this then just enter "123456" as your CEMTEC number and try to process a payment through the bank.
If it works successfully then the results of the EFT transfer will appear on your internet banking statement not long after you upload the payment details to the bank.
If it doesn't work then it won't appear on the statement but you should get some sort of error message back from the bank to tell you WHY it was rejected. Then you can use this information to find out what your number ACTUALLY is using your bank's own (current) terminology.
You can use the same method to determine whether the transfer file has to be self balancing or not. As long as you don't CLEAR the EFT file you can keep making changes to the settings, export it and send it to the bank over and over again until the bank accepts the data.
Processing via EFT
Your software will produce an EFT file in the correct format (provided that you enter the correct answers to the questions at the start of this page). Your software will tell you the name of the file that it exports (or ask you to tell it the name that you require). You also need to tell the software whether to export the data to a floppy diskette (drive A: or drive B:) or to your hard disk (drive C: or drive D: normally). You would only export it to a floppy diskette if the computer that you are producing the EFT transfer file on is NOT the computer that will be used to send the data to your bank. Otherwise it is much safer to export the data to your hard disk. (Note that a 3.5" diskette is NOT a hard disk - It is a floppy disk inside a rigid plastic shell.) If the two computers are networked you could export the data to the hard disk in either computer and thus use the network to transfer the data between your two computers.
Once you have exported the data to a disk or diskette file you can click on the PRINT button on the EFT form to print a report of the funds to be transferred. Note that this report reads the data directly from the exported file and not from data stored in your database. Hence you can reload an old diskette and print the report from this diskette to show a historical transfer.
You need to also CLEAR the EFT data from your database - but don't do this until you have received notification from your bank that the transfer went through correctly. If the transfer was unsuccessful you can then make the corrections via your program and then export the data and send it to the bank again. If you don't clear the data before you do the next EFT export then the same data will be exported again plus any new data and so you will be sending the funds out TWICE and this could cause you some problems - especially if you have insufficient funds to pay the amounts the second time.
Once you have exported the EFT file you need to use your bank's on-line or internet banking software to transfer the information to the bank and process it. Each bank has their own methods of doing this and you will have to ask your bank how to do this part of the process. Even though the banks all use different software and different methods to transfer the data from your computer to their computer - the internal format of the data file transferred is ALWAYS the same format. This format was agreed on by all of the Australian banks many years ago (the CEMTEC format).
Notes for Rent Master Users
You basically need to make sure that all of your landlords and creditors (and possibly tenants) have a Bank BSB and account number entered against them.
You do this on the PAYMENTS tab of the EDIT LANDLORD screen - make sure that you also set the payment type to E:EFT Direct in that screen.
You do this on the PAYMENTS section of the EDIT CREDITOR screen - make sure that you also set the payment type to E:EFT Direct in that screen.
It's a good idea to do it for tenants too so that if you need to refund to (or reimburse) a tenant you can do that via EFT as well. You do this on the BANKING tab of the EDIT TENANT screen - there is no payment type of E:EFT Direct to set in that screen - if there are bank details then the tenant will be paid via EFT and if there aren't then they will be paid by cheque.
Also, from the main screen in Rent Master ...
- click on the EDIT menu,
- then OTHER MASTER FILES,
- then CONTROL Details
- then click on the OPTIONS button in the bottom right hand corner
- Click on the EFT/CHEQUE tab at the top
- Make sure the USE EFT is ticked when you want to start using EFT
If this is NOT ticked then all of the other settings will be ignored so you can set it up without it taking effect and then when you're ready you can turn it on.
Also, from the main screen in Rent Master ...
- click on the MONTH END menu,
- Click on BANK DISKETTE
- Make sure that your general account and trust account bank details are correct.
Then when you process the month end ...
- make sure that you go into the Bank Diskette screen
- Click on the EXPORT button to create a bank transfer file
- Click on the PRINT button to print a report of what was exported
- Once you have sent the file to your bank and have verified that it has appeared on your internet bank statements then ...
go back into the BANK DISKETTE screen and click on the CLEAR button otherwise the next time you go to export you will double up on your payments.
DO NOT Clear the bank diskette information until AFTER you have verified that it has been processed by your bank!!!
EFT Transfer File Format
(Just in case you are interested - you don't need to know this).
You don't need to know this as it is handled by the software producing the file but it is useful to know so that you can see what information it is possible to transfer to the bank and to your payee. The data format consists of a header record, one or more data records and a totals record.
|Header Record (first record only)|
|21||10||Your Bank Code (eg NAB, WBC, CBA)|
|31||26||Your Company Name|
|57||6||CEMTEC User Number|
|63||12||Purpose of Transfer (eg Pay Wages)|
|75||6||Date to Process (ddmmyy format)|
|Data Records (one per individual payment)|
|2||7||Their BSB (including the dash)|
|9||9||Their Account No (No dashes)|
|19||2||DR/CR Code (53=pay or 50=other)|
|21||10||Total to Credit (in cents, no decimal)|
|31||32||Their Account Name|
|81||7||Your BSB (including the dash)|
|88||9||Trace Account No (No dashes)|
|97||16||Trace Company Name|
|113||8||Withholding Tax (in cents, no decimal)|
|Self Balancing Record (if required)|
|2||7||Your BSB (including the dash)|
|9||9||Your Account No (No dashes)|
|19||2||="13" DR/CR Code (always)|
|21||10||Total to Debit (in cents, no decimal)|
|31||32||Your Company Name|
|81||7||Trace BSB (including the dash)|
|88||9||Trace Account No (No dashes)|
|97||16||Your Company Name|
|113||8||Withholding Tax (in cents, no decimal)|
|Totals Record (Last Record Only)|
|21||10||Net Total (in cents, no decimal)|
|31||10||Total Credits (in cents, no decimal)|
|41||10||Total Debits (in cents, no decimal)|
|75||6||No of Records|
Note that there are two places where you can put identifying information about the purpose of the payment. These should appear on both your bank statement and your payee's bank statement. The first is in the header record (Purpose of Transfer) and it will appear on ALL transfers so it should be something like "Payroll" or "March Payment" or "Dividend" etc. The second is the Lodgment reference which appears in each data record. This could be the payee's pay number, membership number, superannuation ID or other identifying information and will thus normally be different for each payment record.
You can put a future dated process date into the file, send the file to your bank today and it will not be processed until the process date. If the process date falls on a public holiday or weekend then the payments may not be processed until the next business day. Normally the payments will appear in the payee's account the day AFTER the process date unless they bank with the same bank that you do in which case they may appear the same day. EFT transfers are cleared immediately as the transfer won't take place unless there are sufficient cleared funds in your own account.
Note that all BSB codes are stored WITH the dash in the middle (eg 085-031) while account numbers will have NO dashes or slashes stored (eg 123-456/789 is stored as 123456789).
The TRACE BSB and account are normally your BSB and account numbers. These are used if the funds cannot be credited to the nominated account because you have an incorrect BSB and/or account number. Under these circumstances these funds are returned back to the trace account. You may set the system up so that the trace account is NOT your normal bank account so that you know that any funds in the trace account belong to someone where the transfer did not proceed. It may take several days for the funds to appear back into the trace account.
If the file is required (by your bank) to be self balancing then there will be one self balancing record at the end of the file which will show the total amount credited to all other accounts as the amount to debit from your account. You can have multiple credit records with either one or no debit record in a file. You can also have multiple debit records with one or no credit record in a file (eg if you are drawing rent, loan or insurance payments directly from your customer's bank accounts). You CANNOT have BOTH multiple debit records AND multiple credit records in the same file.
If the file is a normal credit file with multiple credits and NO self balancing debit record then the total record contains the total amount credited in the NET TOTAL and the CREDIT TOTAL entries with zero in the DEBIT TOTAL entry. However if the file is a normal credit file with multiple credits AND a self balancing debit record then the total record contains the total amount credited in the CREDIT TOTAL and the DEBIT TOTAL entries with zero in the NET TOTAL entry.