What Is a Payment Item and How Should I Use One?

A Payment Item is a type of Item maintained on the Item list, which is accessed on the Lists->Item List menu selection.

See our article on all of the Item types supported by QuickBooks for more information.

A Payment Item is used to record a partial payment on an Invoice or Statement made before the original sale. Payment Items shouldn’t be used on other sale documents, such as Sales Receipts or Credit Memos.

Payment Items are typically used by firms seeking the ability to create a single customer document (the Invoice) that reflects the net balance due on the grounds that a single document showing payments deducted reduces customer confusion and improves collections.

Typically, recording a customer payment via the Customers->Receive Payments window is used to record a full or partial payment received at or after the time of sale. Recording a Payment Item on an invoice is an alternate to this approach to reduce an invoice balance. One common use of a Payment Item is to record a deposit or retainer.

A Payment Item is designed to give you the flexibility to control the account to which it is deposited and to specify the associated Payment Method to enable the payment to be grouped with other similar items into a bank deposit. To specify the deposit account, either select Group with other undeposited funds or select Deposit To and pick an account from the pull-down list of accounts.

The screenshot below shows a Payment Item being recorded in the Create Invoices window. The Payment Item is recorded as a negative number and reduces the Balance Due on the invoice.

One downside to using a Payment Item is that any reference number information, such as a customer’s check number, is not recorded in the typical field for such information, the No. field. Instead, the No. field is populated with the Invoice number.

For those who favor using a Payment Item, the advantage of being able to produce a single document (the Invoice) that reflects a customer’s net balance outweighs these shortcomings.

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  1. So how do you actually make a payment item for a credit card? I assume a QB user would select new item and then point the item to something. Is the item one sided or two sided? What does it point to? Can you show some screen shots of making a payment item for a generic credit card (ie, MC or Visa)? There is nothing wrong with this article other than it doesn’t explain how to do what its title promises. Useless article as it is currently written.