What are the billing features in Zen Planner?

Zen Planner is a complete financial record for all of your customers, tracking how much they owe and how much they have already paid. You can maintain detailed records of each payment and can manage how payments are applied to each bill for a person or for an entire family.

Zen Planner can also collect your payments electronically when you sign up for a merchant account with one of our merchant account partners.  Every payment is passed from Zen Planner to your merchant account, which processes the payments and deposits the funds into your studio's bank account. Your merchant account also returns a confirmation code for every transaction, which allows you to maintain an accurate and current record of each customer's transaction history.

Tracking Payment Methods 

The forms or methods of payment you can accept with Zen Planner depend on what your merchant account provider approves for you to offer. Most Zen Planner customers using our preferred merchant account providers are able to accept payments using credit cards, debit cards, and electronic funds transfer (EFT/ACH). You can also record that a payment was made using cash, check, or any other payment method you wish.

Tracking Payment Types

In addition to recording how a payment was made, Zen Planner can also track where the payment was submitted using Payment Types. Zen Planner allows your staff and your customers to record payments from various areas in the system and Payment Types are helpful for keeping track of where your payments are being submitted. The different payment types are:

Automated - Automated payments are payments that have been submitted using our automated system. This process runs every night around 2 am U.S. Eastern Standard Time and it checks for any bills that are scheduled for automatic payment that are due from the last two days and submits them to your merchant account electronically. Most recurring memberships are paid using this feature.

Online - Online payments are payments that have been submitted manually by a staff member from within your Zen Planner account. When you make a payment in Zen Planner at any point during the day while you're at the studio, the system will record that payment as an Online payment and who was the staff member making the payment. Most retail transactions or drop-in fee purchases are recorded as online payments.

Self-Pay - Self-pay payments are payments that your members submit from the member website. Your member website has the ability to display all current and upcoming bills in the next 30 days and allow your members to enter a payment account to pay their bills online. Once their payment has been processed, you have the option of saving that account information in the member's profile and using it for future billing. Most event registrations are paid using this feature.

Offline - Offline payments are payments that you handle outside of Zen Planner. You can use this to record cash and check payments collected within the studio. Bills that have been previously paid in another software program can be marked paid using an Offline payment type.

Discounts and Surcharges

Every bill can be modified with a discount or surcharge.  This serves two purposes:  1) it makes it easy for you to apply the same rules to many different kinds of bills.  For instance, Zen Planner can automatically calculate a 10% discount for every bill.  And 2) this gives you complete reporting on the total amounts that you're discounting for each different discount type.  By using discounts, you can simplify your billing and get better reporting all in one step.

Refunds and Voided Payments

If you need to refund a payment for some reason, Zen Planner helps you track this using either a refund or a void.  Refunds let you return a part of the payment and track the refund reason, while voids simply remove the payment altogether.  Each of these operations will record the transaction in your Zen Planner database, but they do not move any money from your bank account back to your customer. 

In general, you will use refunds most often to credit a person's account. When you enter the refund, the payment amount will be changed to $0.00 and the associated bills will be returned to Unpaid status. You will then be able to make a new payment to the bill or delete the bill. Bills that have payments cannot be deleted from the system. Refunds, Voided Payments and Failed Payments are all automatically maintained in the person's transaction history to provide an accurate record of all transaction for that person's account.

Refunds and Voids are not automatically sent to your merchant account, and do not send any money from your bank account back to your customer.  Because refunds and voids to not contact your merchant account, it is important that you log in to your merchant account separately to process the refund.  This is done to create a separation of responsibilities, and ensure that only the account owner or authorized staff member with access to your merchant account is allowed to send money out of your bank account. 

Allocating and Splitting Payments

With Zen Planner, you can allocate and split payment across multiple bills. This feature gives you the ability to accept a payment from a person and then manually assign parts of that payment to any bill within the person's bill history or the family's bill history. For example, you can apply $50 of a $100 payment from today towards next month's bill.

You can also allow a person to pay the same bill using more than one form of payment. For example, a person could pay their $50 of their current bill in cash and pay the remaining $50 of their bill with a credit card.

Automated Emails and Alerts

Your Zen Planner account automatically includes customizable emails that you can activate and use to communicate with your customers about their bills and payments. Examples of some of these automated emails include automated payment receipt emails, overdue bill notices, and payment invoices. You can also use these emails to direct customers to your member website, where can view and pay their current bills and view their payment history.

In addition, you can add alerts, notes, and tasks to a person's profile regarding their bills and payments automatically. Alerts can be used to prevent customers from being able to check into class using the Attendance Kiosk without seeing the instructors. Notes and tasks can be assigned automatically to your staff when a person's payment is overdue or has an error. Staff have a wide variety of aging reports and accounting reports to help them keep track of your revenue and expenses.

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