ACH Myths Busted: Clearing Up the Confusion on Clearing Houses

What’s the most valuable non-cash payment channel in the United States?

Most people would say credit cards—and most people would be wrong.

Continue reading “ACH Myths Busted: Clearing Up the Confusion on Clearing Houses”

What’s a payment channel?

Since all of our recent chatter about omni-channel is centered on multiple channels, here’s a quick breakdown on payment channels and what we offer.

A payment channel is basically any way that a customer might make a payment or anywhere that you (as a merchant) might accept a payment. This is slightly different from retail channels, which might include bricks-and-mortar, catalogs, and online shopping/eCommerce sites. Payment channels are generally related to these retail channels, but are more specifically how the payment might be made: physical POS systems, phone/IVR payments, online checkout solutions, and mobile payment options, for example.

So these correlate to retail channels, but leave some room for overlap. For example, at a bricks-and-mortar retail channel, you might process payments on a physical POS system (ie the cash register), as well as on smartphones or tablets within the store. Your catalog might accept payments by phone, but also integrate nicely into the omni-channel concept so that customers could walk into your bricks-and-mortar store to pay at the POS, or they could shop the catalog online and pay via online checkout. There is a relationship between payment channels and retail channels, and since you definitely want to start creating a cohesive experience via omni-channel, it’s important to consider what payment channels you might implement.

CSG Forte offers full payment processing support for the following channels:

Physical POS

We can supply card readers, help build a solution with our Virtual Terminal that turns existing computers into instant workstations, and more.

Phone/IVR

Comes with your own toll-free number and script-building assistance.

Mobile payments

Use the iDynamo and our mobile app to instantly take payments on smartphones and tablets.

Online payments

Our new Checkout is smart, speedy, and stocked with options.

You can accept both credit cards and electronic checks on any of these channels, and each channel comes with our cloud-based Virtual Terminal for transaction management and our powerful payment gateway services. All of the reports funnel into the Virtual Terminal, so you don’t have to worry about piecing things together on your own.

These payment channels don’t necessarily have to correlate only to retail, as well. Government agencies could implement online payments to accept taxes on the web and build a smart physical POS system for in-office payments. Veterinary clinics, dance studios, and other businesses can all benefit from considering an omni-channel approach.

And what’s easier than setting up all of your channels with one company? Get started with CSG Forte today. Give us a call at 866.290.5400 to see what we can do for you.

 

SEC Code Glossary: A Quick Guide to Entry Class Codes

In the world of electronic payments, NACHA (National Automated Clearing House Association) governs and dictates the regulations for processing electronic transactions through the Federal Reserve. The regulations are very serious, utilized in legal proceedings regarding transactions and relied upon by banks, payment processors, and both federal and state governments. NACHA keeps the order for the industry, and it’s important to abide by every one of their regulations.

Whenever a transaction is submitted, NACHA needs an SEC code along with it.

What is an SEC code?

SEC stands for “Standard Entry Class,” and is basically a code that denotes the way a customer authorized a payment. When you apply for payment processing, sometimes you will find that certain types of payment methods are associated with lower costs.

For now, we’re going to give you a quick glossary of SEC codes for easy reference.

POS/POP

POS (Point-of-Sale) and POP (Point-of-Purchase) entries refer to single debit payments made in-person via credit/debit card (POS) or converted check (POP). Both the card and/or the check are used to record the account information in association with the payment, and the original method of payment is then returned to the customer.

PPD

PPD (Prearranged Payment and Deposit Entry) refers to Direct Deposit entries and any Preauthorized Bill Payment applications. In this way, these payments can be both debits or credits (meaning funds can be removed or deposited into an account) and either single or recurring (occurring as a one-time payment or scheduled multiple payments).

WEB

A WEB (Internet Initiated Entry) is simply any debit via the Internet. These entries may be single or recurring.

These debits must be authorized by the receiver via the Internet. In other words, if the authorization itself was actually received in person, via U.S. Mail or by phone, for example, even to actually suffice for a payment from the Internet – it’s not really a WEB entry. However the authorization was received is how the transaction must be classified via the SEC code.

Also bear in mind you may only initiate a credit here as a reversal of a WEB debit. You can’t submit a credit using the WEB entry code.

TEL

TEL (Telephone Initiated Entry) entries are single debit entries authorized via the telephone. In this oral authorization entry there must be a pre-existing relationship between the receiver (person authorizing the payment) and originator (person/entity receiving the payment). If there is no relationship already in place, then the receiver has to make the phone call.

Additionally, all TEL transactions have to be recorded and kept on file for a minimum of two years from the date of the transaction. If the transaction is not recorded, then the originator needs to provide the receiver with a written notice that confirms the oral authorization before the payment settles.

CCD

A CCD (Corporate Credit or Debit) is also known as “Cash Concentration or Disbursement.” These entries can be either a credit or debit – and occur specifically between corporate entities. It can be a single entry or recurring.

All business bank account transactions are listed under this SEC code. A signed authorization has to be obtained either separately or included in the contract between the businesses prior to the transaction date.

ARC

An ARC (Accounts Receivable Entry) is defined as a check conversion that is originally received via the U.S. Mail. This includes the USPS (United States Postal Service), as well as courier services like FedEx and UPS. According to NACHA, this does not include personally delivered or night drop-box items. Corporate checks are also not included.

There’s also a slight change you’ll run into these less common SEC codes:

CTX

CTX (Corporate Trade Exchange) entries are initiated by originators to pay or collect their obligations. The funds are transferred to other organizations and so mirror the same business entity requirements as the CCD entry code. Both credits and debits are allowed.

RCK

The RCK (Represented Check Entry) entry refers specifically to single debits that occur as a result of check representment. Check representment occurs after an item is returned NSF (Non-Sufficient Funds), or is bounced. The service will simply represent the check at a later, scheduled date after it is returned. Some businesses choose to initiate check representment in order to attempt to recollect their funds. For merchants that use RCK entries, a notice must be displayed visibly at the POS.

BOC

BOC (Back Office Conversion Entry) entries are single debit entries that are initiated by source documents (checks) received at POP or manned bill payment locations (in-person). These checks are collected first then converted to ACH during back office processing.

CIE

A CIE (Customer Initiated Entry) is a credit initiated usually through a bill payment service by an individual. These are meant to pay an obligation.

XCK

The XCK (Destroyed Check Entry) refers to a replacement entry that is initiated when an original check is unreadable, lost or destroyed and cannot be processed.

 

5 Payment Trends To Watch For In 2021—And Beyond

If we’ve learned anything in the last year, it’s that human beings have a remarkable capacity to adapt to rapidly changing and challenging circumstances. Some of the changes introduced in the last year will likely go by the wayside (sorry, elbow bump). But other changes, like digital payments, will become part of the post-COVID normal.

While the adoption of digital payments was on the rise before the pandemic, COVID-19 has acted as a major accelerator. Accenture estimates that approximately 420 billion transactions worth $7 trillion are expected to shift to digital by 2023.

Let’s look at some of the payment trends we anticipate in 2021 and beyond.

  1. Old-School Habits Will Turn Into New Payment Preferences

We all have stories about someone we know changing a long-held habit during the pandemic—an uncle using online banking for the first time or a grandparent ordering groceries online. While digital payment options aren’t new, their adoption has surged over the past year—digital wallet adoption jumped from 38 to 55 percent during the pandemic. As consumers get used to the speed and convenience of digital payments, options like digital wallets and contactless payments will become the new normal.

  1. Tokenization Takes Off

Tokenization, or the use of non-decryptable data that acts as a substitute of a sensitive data element, plays a major role in ensuring that payments are secure. It helps reduce risk from data breaches and provides customers with a sense of confidence in the safety of their financial information and property. As more payments are made online, the use of tokenization will become more of a focal point for merchants and processers. The future of tokenization is bright—one forecast believes that the worldwide tokenization industry will reach $4.8 billion by 2025.

  1. No Contact, No Problem

Many individuals, merchants and government agencies used contactless payments for the first time during the pandemic and found them to be efficient and intuitive. In fact, the usage of tap payments in the United States rose by approximately 150 percent in March relative to the prior year. Today, more than half of Americans are using at least one form of contactless payments. Not only are contactless compliant with social distancing guidelines, but they are also secure and flexible. Even as restrictions associated with the pandemic subside, consumers will continue to expect contactless payment options.

  1. More Governments Modernize the Citizen Experience

The pandemic upended workflows for not only the private sector, but for government agencies as well. When the pandemic hit, state and local governments rushed to keep government business progressing and revenue coming in. Governments have accelerated their adoption of new, flexible ways of operating, including accepting online and ACH payments for the first time and supporting bill payment through interactive voice response (IVR). Now that these stop-gap measures have been widely implemented, governments will need to keep moving forward with more digital offerings.

  1. Fraud Prevention Measures Will Be Tested

An unfortunate byproduct of the pandemic has been an increase in fraudulent activity. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), 79 percent of respondents had observed an increase in fraud since the start of the pandemic. As a full economic recovery is expected to take years, we are likely to see an increase in fraudulent payments in the short to medium term. E-commerce businesses are particularly vulnerable to fraud. Payment processors will be tested by bad actors looking for vulnerabilities and will need end-to-end encryption and a secure token data vault to reduce risk.

This past year’s disruption has conditioned us to expect the unexpected. If there is anything positive to be found when looking back at 2020, it’s individuals’ and companies’ ability to adapt amidst adversity. Absent having a crystal ball, it’s impossible to know exactly where the payments industry is headed moving forward. But we can expect that payments will be more flexible, modern and digital.

 

This post originally appeared on csgi.com.