Working with a Payment Gateway

A payment gateway is a system that merchants use to accept credit and debit payments. The gateway creates a juncture between two important channels where money travels—one end of the gateway is the merchant, while the consumer’s bank awaits on the other side. The various elements that comprise a gateway are there to ensure the transaction’s security.

At CSG Forte, we develop payment processing platforms that operate as a robust gateway. Our custom payment processing solutions protect businesses across multiple industries while facilitating efficient transactions.

Payment Processors vs. Payment Gateways

A payment gateway exists in front of a payment processor, which is a financial institution or system that accepts the payments customers submit to your business. Your business’s payment processor may be a part of its merchant account, or you can outsource payment processing.

Financial information travels through the payment gateway before it reaches the payment processor. The gateway verifies and encrypts the information before it travels to your merchant account. It will deny fraudulent or invalid payment information. Payment gateways are especially important when processing e-commerce transactions because they offer powerful identification and verification capabilities.

Key Components of a Payment Gateway

A payment gateway should include these functionalities:

  • Payment data authentication: The gateway analyzes incoming data to verify its legitimacy.
  • Encryption: The gateway encrypts the customer’s payment information for processing.
  • Payment processor integration: The gateway allows the seamless transfer of encrypted financial data to the payment processor.
  • Financial settlement: The gateway also delivers encrypted data to the business’s bank for settlement.

Developing a payment gateway is a complex process. It must integrate numerous capabilities and security measures, including the following.

Infrastructure Development

The gateway’s infrastructure lays the groundwork for its immediate functionality and its longevity. The infrastructure begins with a server, which must be capable of withstanding your business’s traffic. Choosing a third-party gateway server can help you meet current needs and scale as traffic changes.

Data Security Measures

Your gateway must contain robust security measures, beginning with encryption protocols. Encryption is the process of converting financial data into a unique code that only devices on your server are authorized to decipher.

Tokenization is another form of data security. Under tokenization, the security system replaces each piece of financial data—such as a credit card number—with a discrete, secure token. Your gateway’s security system will be able to convert each token back into its original format.

Payment gateways also include fraud detection measures to protect your customers and reduce the risk of your business losing money to chargebacks. Your gateway will analyze data and user behavior to detect fraudulent purchases.

All gateway data security measures must meet Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) standards.

Integration With a Payment Processor

Your gateway must integrate with your current payment processor—or you must choose a processor compatible with your gateway. After selecting a processor, you can integrate it with your gateway by obtaining the processor’s Application Programming Interface (API) key. Your gateway will also need a separate API key that catalyzes the transfer of customer data.

Compliance and Regulatory Considerations

As you integrate payment gateways, it’s important to remain aware of certain regulatory considerations. Follow global, national and regional laws along with PCI DSS standards.

PCI DSS establishes 12 security standards for merchants to follow when collecting credit card or debit card information. Compliance requires diligence and constant effort, as it is ongoing and varies with your business’s size. PCI DSS compliance is key when reducing risks derived from cyber threats that can impact your company’s financials and reputation.

The following steps are part of PCI DSS requirements:

  1. Use and maintain a firewall
  2. Protect stored cardholder data
  3. Update default passwords and security measures
  4. Use and update antivirus software
  5. Encrypt cardholder data when transmitting it
  6. Keep data on a need-to-use basis
  7. Develop and implement security processes and systems
  8. Routinely check security systems
  9. Create and maintain an information security policy
  10. Implement user IDs for everyone with computer access
  11. Monitor and restrict access to cardholder data
  12. Track who accesses cardholder data and networks

References to PCI DSS are included as a general guide. Complying with PCI DSS would require due diligence and analysis about your scope and specific requirements. Find additional information here.

The Benefits of Using a Payment Gateway

A payment gateway can offer numerous advantages for your business, especially when you partner with an experienced developer. Core advantages include:

  • Improved user experience: Payment gateways provide security alongside seamless payments. Consumers will appreciate the ease of using your online store and peace of mind knowing their data is safe.
  • Bolstered security: A payment gateway offers the strong security that comes with fraud detection and data encryption or tokenization. Your customers’ data will remain secure, and your business will mitigate chargebacks.
  • Expedited payment processing: Payment gateways automate processes for peak efficiency. Customers will enjoy faster checkouts while your business receives its revenue sooner.
  • Enhanced scalability: Implementing a payment gateway will back your business with the security infrastructure it needs to expand into new territories domestically and abroad.

CSG Forte’s Payment Gateway Solution

At CSG Forte, we offer a versatile payment system that facilitates the efficient, secure transfer of financial data from your customer to your merchant account. Our system features a payment gateway with the full range of features your business needs to maximize data security. It offers:

  • Robust security protocols
  • Seamless integration with leading payment processors
  • Compliance assurance
  • User-friendly dashboard and reporting

Why Choose CSG Forte Over Building Your Own Payment Gateway?

Our experience and diligence set us apart as a reliable source of payment gateway solutions. We distinguish ourselves through our:

  • Time and resource efficiency
  • Proven track record and expertise
  • Ongoing support and maintenance
  • Competitive pricing models

At CSG Forte, we have a broad range of experience tailoring payment gateways to businesses’ unique needs. We can develop a gateway that integrates with your processes and facilitates a smooth customer experience. Feel free to contact us online for more on our payment gateway solutions.

Understanding Multichannel Payments

Today, customers use multiple channels to engage, transact, and pay bills. A McKinsey study found that 82% of Americans use digital payments. These digital payments encompass browser-based or in-app payments, in-store checkouts using mobile devices or QR codes, and person-to-person payments (P2Ps).

Customers appreciate the convenience and ability to make payments in multiple ways when transacting. They also expect seamless, personalized experiences from your business. Providing multichannel payment options is one way you can meet their needs.

What Are Multichannel Payments?

Multichannel payment processing refers to the ability to accept customer payments across various channels. It offers your customers the freedom and flexibility to make payments using their preferred methods and platforms, whether that means paying in-store, on a mobile app, over the phone, or online. Multichannel payments provide your customers with a consistent, streamlined experience while making things easy for you to manage with one synergized vendor and solution.

Efficient multichannel payment processing also makes it easy to track customer behavior, preferences, and purchase history across various channels. With that info, you can deliver better customer service, marketing, and overall experiences.

How Do Multichannel Payments Work?

Multichannel payments offer a convenient experience no matter the path your customers choose. A customer may use your services or purchase your products and want to transact in a unique way. With a multichannel payment solution, you can make the switch between channels seamless.

Your customers can pay on their preferred channel—email, text, interactive voice response (IVR) or via a live agent—and switch at any point. You can simplify the payment process for your customers and merchants while keeping interactions personalized.

Multichannel payments link all your touchpoints through an integrated platform, making payments highly personalized and focused on your customer’s preferences.

What Are Multichannel Payment Processing Channels?

Typical multichannel payment processing channels include phone, in-person, email, and text.

1. Phone Payments

Pay-by-phone IVR solutions enable you to accept payments 24/7. Leverage innovative speech-recognition and touch-tone technology to empower customers to make rapid payments using self-service capabilities.

Your customers can connect to your system at any time from any phone, following prompts to complete transactions. IVR payment methods provide frictionless payments and shorten your collection time. The self-service functionality will free your staff to focus on more urgent matters.

2. In-Person Payments

Speed up in-person payment processing with advanced contactless payment technology that makes point-of-sale (POS) purchases a breeze. Digital bill payment methods will continue to grow, but in-person transactions are still the preferred pay point for many consumers.

A contactless system enhances the offline payment experience, helping customers pay bills securely and efficiently while on the go. You can opt to integrate award-winning POS solutions with your current system or use the enterprise-grade POS terminals as standalone devices.

3. Email Payments

Leverage email payment link technology to streamline billing for your customers. To accept payments through this channel, you need a trusted payment services provider (PSP) to set up a secure system that enables you to send customers a safe email link. This email link will take customers to an encrypted hosted page or NanoSite where they can make payments online. The link will also work when sent via text or through social media.

You can accept email payments even if your business doesn’t have a website. Email payment processing is versatile and quick. It removes barriers to sale and reduces late payments by supporting them via multiple methods, including:

  • E-wallets
  • Credit cards
  • Debit cards

4. Text Payments

Pay-by-text capabilities enable customers to make payments via SMS and MMS. When a customer initiates a bill payment, they’ll receive a message with a secure link. This encrypted link will take the customer to a secure gateway or NanoSite to complete the transaction, offering a seamless payment solution.

Text payments are opt-in services that help customers conveniently pay when you message them, reducing your past-due payments.

What Is a Multichannel Payment Platform?

A multichannel payment platform helps you manage multiple types of payments in one place. CSG Forte Engage provides secure, frictionless payment methods, allowing your customers to pay using their preferred channel anytime. This integrated platform offers:

  • Multichannel payments: Give your customers the power to pay at multiple touchpoints and via email, text, IVR, or live agents—with the option to switch throughout the payment process seamlessly. Enable customers to select payment options like autopay for recurring fees or installment payments.
  • Secure payment options: The live agent assist feature allows your contact center staff to create online invoices and send them directly to customers. With cutting-edge NanoSite technology, clients can securely complete transactions without sharing banking details or credit card information across multiple channels. This approach reduces the risk of sensitive information leaking.
  • Customized payment journeys: Rapidly deploy personalized payment journeys for your customers. Branded payment journeys can be activated for one-time, recurring, or future-date payments. You can send invoices with payment prompts, confirmations, or late payment notifications to a customer’s channel of choice.

The Benefits of Our Multichannel Payment Platform

Innovative multichannel payments offer your business several advantages. When you leverage our platform for multichannel payments, you can benefit from:

  • Fast implementation: Advanced solutions enable low-to-no coding, meaning integration takes days, not months.
  • Convenient automation: Multichannel payments reduce repetitive tasks through automation while still providing highly personalized customer experiences.
  • Secure transactions: Custom payment pages or NanoSites allow customers to transact with your business quickly and securely, reducing late payments.
  • High adoption rates: Multichannel payments increase self-service capabilities and encourage the adoption of digital payments, minimizing the costs associated with some offline payments.
  • Seamless testing: Your business can leverage multichannel payment capabilities to split-test elements of the payment journey. See what best works for your customers and use it to enhance their experience.

Partner With CSG Forte for Secure Multichannel Payments

At CSG Forte, we leverage decades of experience to help your business scale payments and grow with smart, unified payment solutions. Our payment platform is designed to meet your ever-changing needs and customer preferences.

Want to learn more about how we can help you simplify and scale your multichannel payment capabilities? Get started by connecting with our team online.

Optimize the Payment Journey for Your Customers

Customer payment experiences have evolved in recent years. Digital payments are leading the pack, providing multiple ways for users to transact with businesses. By optimizing the payment journey for your customers, you can enhance their experiences and reduce late payments.

What Is the Payment Journey?

The payment journey is the path customers take when buying a product or service from your organization. The journey extends from the consumer engaging with your company about what they want to the steps they take to pay for the solutions you deliver. You want billing, invoicing, and transactions to be hassle-free from start to finish, removing barriers and making payments seamless and personalized for your customers and merchants.

The goal of a streamlined payment journey is to replace any friction in the process with solutions that provide convenience and choice.

How to Improve the Payment Journey

Enhancing the payment journey leads to better user experiences and increased customer satisfaction. A happy customer is likely to return and advocate for your brand. Here are four ways you can improve the payment journey.

1. Accept Multiple Forms of Payment

You can optimize the payment journey and meet customers where they are by allowing multiple payment methods, including credit cards, digital wallets, or bank transfers. The more options you provide, the fewer reasons customers will have to postpone payment.

2. Provide Recurring Billing Options

Subscription or recurring billing provides:

  • Consistent revenue: Recurring billing gives your business a predictable revenue stream. Regular payments increase business stability and cash flow. Using systems like CSG Forte Account Updater automatically updates account info so you rarely miss payments and can focus on steady revenue recognition.
  • Convenience for customers: Subscription services streamline payment for customers. Your customers won’t have to complete payments manually, saving them time and effort. Convenience enhances the customer experience and increases brand loyalty.
  • Efficient operations: Recurring billing reduces your team’s administrative workload. Instead of manual interventions, you get automated solutions that optimize your processes and enable you to focus on more impactful tasks.

Securely gathering and storing sensitive information is key to benefit from recurring billing. Using an encrypted platform will help you manage data effectively and make cancellation easy for customers.

3. Offer Multiple Channels to Pay

To improve your payment journey, you must allow customers to select their preferred channels to pay. The seamless transition between channels makes for frictionless payments. It also lets customers choose how they interact with your business. A multichannel payment platform will allow your customers and merchants to use email, phone, in-person, text, or live agent channels to pay bills and complete transactions.

4. Let Customers Buy Now and Pay Later

Merchants are increasingly adopting buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) models. Offering the option to pay in installments may:

  • Improve conversion rates: BNPL lets your customers bypass full upfront costs. Smaller installment payments lower the financial barrier to transactions, leaving customers more likely to make impulse purchases that raise your conversion rates.
  • Attract new customers: The ability to pay in installments can make purchasing an easier choice for new customers who might be put off by prices initially. BNPL also offers an alternative method to credit cards, which may be a plus for some consumers.
  • Increase customer loyalty and repeat purchases: Customers with a positive experience of your BNPL services are more likely to make repeat purchases and advocate for your business, driving word-of-mouth referrals.
  • Reduce cart abandonment: Customers abandoning their carts is a serious problem e-commerce businesses face. BNPL alleviates cart abandonment due to financial barriers, giving shoppers more time to complete their purchases.

The Benefits of Frictionless Payments

An integrated payment system is an investment in your business. Modern customers expect seamless payment experiences, and they might turn to a competitor if they find paying bills or completing transactions out of sync with their preferences.

A seamless payment journey and system has several benefits, including:

  • Saving your business money and time in the long run
  • Increasing customer loyalty and confidence
  • Reducing risks associated with payments
  • Maximizing the probability of repeat purchases and on-time payments
  • Offering flexibility in terms of payment channels
  • Enhancing your payment security features
  • Giving your business a competitive edge in the market

How CSG Forte Will Help You

CSG Forte has decades of experience helping businesses like yours optimize the payment journey. We know how to do payments right, and we’ll come alongside your business to streamline the process for your customers.

Take advantage of multichannel payments, customized journeys and secure solutions to help your business succeed.

Multichannel Payments

CSG Forte Engage enables your customers to choose their preferred channels during the payment journey. Customers can pay by text, phone, email or through a live agent and change their method seamlessly as needed.

Customized Payment Journeys

Forte Engage assists your business in deploying branded customer payment journeys for recurring, future-dated and one-time payments.

You can easily send customers invoices with confirmations, late notifications and payment-due prompts via their preferred channels. These highly personalized interactions can help reduce outstanding amounts that are past due.

Secure Payments

Through the call center payment processing feature of the Forte Engage solution, live agents can rapidly generate personalized invoices and send them to customers online.

The agents leverage innovative NanoSite technology to complete transactions without your customers needing to provide their credit card or bank account info. These secure NanoSites mean you won’t have to worry about data leaking. You’ll also benefit from a solution that offers prompt payments—a win-win.

Enhance Your Payment Customer Experience With CSG Forte

At CSG Forte, we partner with businesses to help them scale while offering superior customer experiences. We use an intuitive, unified payment platform that adapts to your evolving needs. Our payment solutions will reduce operational costs, simplify processes and help your business build a solid reputation for secure transactions.

With our decades of experience, award-winning technology and vast network of partners, you can count on us to streamline your payment journeys and enhance your interactions with customers.

Contact our team for frictionless payments, optimized journeys and first-rate customer experiences.

Transact With Customers Using Email Payments

When you want to grow your business and streamline operations, eliminating barriers in the payment experience is key. That means opening new and convenient avenues for payment. Email payments are an option that makes purchases easy for customers while relieving your team of the labor-intensive admin of manual invoicing.

What Is an Email Payment Link?

An email payment link is a clickable button or text-based link embedded in an email you send to customers. The link directs your customers to a secure payment page or portal hosted by a trusted payment service provider (PSP).

A payment email typically contains order details or an invoice, a personalized message and a link to make the payment. Once the user opens the payment link and navigates to the secure page, they can pay using their preferred method.

Sending email payment links is ideal if you want to accept payments from anywhere, even when you don’t have a point-of-sale device on hand.

Can Your Business Benefit From Payment Notifications Through Email?

Any business can benefit from invoicing customers using email payment links—including small businesses. Email links are especially convenient for e-commerce stores and wholesalers that accept frequent B2B payments. Email is often the preferred method of communication between businesses, so leveraging this platform is ideal for prompt payment.

Other businesses that can benefit from leveraging email technology to request payments include:

  • Legal offices
  • Restaurants
  • Taxi services
  • Gyms
  • Hairdressers
  • Salons

You can set expiration dates and hold funds for a future date, so email links are suitable for reservations. You don’t even need a website to offer payment via email, making it a truly accessible option for any business.

What Are the Advantages of the Email Payment Method?

Sending links to personalized payment pages via email is beneficial for multiple reasons:

  • Optimizing workflow: Email payments remove manual processes and errors by instantly generating and sending customer invoices. You can request payment rapidly and focus your energy on other aspects of business.
  • Improving customer experience (CX): Email payment links enhance CX through customized messaging and ease of use. Customers also appreciate having multiple payment options from their preferred device. Your customers can access links via their PC or smartphone, navigate to the secure page, and choose whether to pay by credit card, bank transfer or digital wallet.
  • Building trust and loyalty: By staying up to date with the latest technologies, enhancing payment security features and offering clients the gift of choice, you can build customer loyalty and trust.
  • Customizing payment journeys: With email links, you can quickly deploy personalized and branded payment journeys for recurring, future-dated or one-time payments. You can leverage your payments platform to send custom invoices with confirmations, late notifications and payment reminders directly to your customers’ inboxes.
  • Reducing operational costs: With email payment links, you don’t need point of sale (POS) systems—and you don’t need to pay the costs associated with them.
  • Protecting sensitive data: By using a secure payment platform, like CSG Forte Engage, you are safeguarding customer data and protecting against data leaks.
  • Supporting multiple methods: Your business is not restricted to a specific payment method. Email payment links support credit and debit cards, ACH payments and digital wallets like Google Pay and Apple Pay.
  • Increasing conversion rates: Email links make paying simple for customers. That convenience translates to a boost in conversion rates, overall revenue and customer satisfaction.

Choosing a Trusted Payment Email Provider

Many payment service providers (PSPs) offer payment link services enabling you to request payment via email, text or social media. Not all service providers are equal in the level of service, security and personalization they offer your business. You need a partner that comes alongside you to enhance your customer payment experience and increase on-time payments.

Here are a few questions to keep in mind to ensure you select a trusted provider:

  • Can you support multiple payment methods?
  • Can you use the payment link feature even if you don’t have a website?
  • Can you customize your payment landing page with your branding and colors?
  • Can you manually capture and adjust payments at a future date?
  • Is the PSP Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant?
  • Is the PSP team willing to help you and answer questions?

Leverage the Benefits of Email Payments With CSG Forte

CSG Forte is a trusted partner with decades of experience. You and your customers can benefit from frictionless payment processes through our CSG Forte Engage solution.

Our platform supports customized, secure, flexible payments through multiple channels, so you can give customers a first-rate experience.

Streamline your payment processes by connecting with our team today.

Payment Experience

Customers today have more options than ever before when making payments. They can use cash, paper checks, credit cards or digital payment methods. One way to set your company apart is to provide an exceptional payment experience.

What Is a Payment Experience?

The payment experience is part of the customer’s journey. It refers to the process of paying for a purchase and the ease or difficulty a customer experiences while paying.

Payment experience consists of several components:

  • Payment methods your company accepts
  • Option of storing payment preferences and information for future purchases
  • Ability to automate payments
  • Security and trustworthiness of payments
  • Notifying users of due dates and completed payments

Why Optimize the Payment Experience?

You’re shopping online, adding products to your cart. You hit checkout and are taken to the screen where you put in your payment information and other details.

You scroll to the list of payment options, looking for the one that suits you best. The merchant only accepts credit card payments, but you’ve left your physical wallet in another room. You have your payment information stored on your digital wallet, but that’s not an option now.

You could walk into the other room and grab your credit card. But, if you’re like many people, you probably just abandon your cart, figuring you’ll finish your purchase later.

Similar situations happen frequently, so it’s critical for merchants to create a frictionless payment experience. Other reasons to optimize the payment experience include:

  • Increased security and trust: Today’s shoppers are usually wary about who they give their payment information to. Security and trust are essential components of the payment experience. Your online store should explain security measures in place to keep that information secret.
  • Higher customer satisfaction: If people look back on their shopping experience and remember having to scramble to find a card or having difficulty inputting their information, they will be less satisfied with their overall experience. If they have a smooth payment experience, they’ll feel happier overall and more likely to make another future purchase.
  • Fewer late payments or abandoned carts: People abandon their carts or make payments late when it’s difficult to pay. Accepting automatic payments and storing payment information for repeat shopping trips makes people more likely to pay on time or complete their purchases.
  • Faster payments: A smooth payment experience is good news for merchants, as it can mean your company receives payments for products or services faster.
  • More repeat customers: The more payment methods your company accepts and the more streamlined the checkout process is, the more likely your customers will be to return and reuse your services.

How to Create a Seamless Payment Experience

Follow these steps to create a seamless payment experience for your customers:

  • Accept multiple payment options: Don’t turn customers away at the door. Accept the payment options your customers are looking for.
  • Allow for autopay: Give customers the option of setting it and forgetting it, particularly for recurring charges or bills due each month. It’s more convenient and can reduce late or completely missed payments.
  • Enable customer choice: Credit cards can expire, and accounts can get closed. A card may be near its limit one month but not the next. Give your customers the option of switching between payment methods as needed.
  • Multichannel payment options: Choose a payment solution that lets you accept multiple forms of payment across channels. CSG Forte Engage accepts payments through SMS, phone, online and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) to ensure ease of service for every user.

Payment Experience Case Studies

Companies that have switched to an all-in-one payment solution have seen the benefit of a frictionless payment experience. For example:

  • After adopting text and email messaging for past-due payments, a financial firm saw an $8 million boost in revenue.
  • After adding digital payment options, a security firm saw an 85% drop in payment arrears in one month.

Choose CSG Forte

Modernize the payment experience for every customer with CSG Forte Engage, our payer engagement platform. A seamless payment experience will encourage your customers to shop more often and make an impeccable first impression on new users. Contact us to streamline your payment processes today.

What Is a Payment Link?

Today, every business needs to offer a variety of payment options for their products, services and invoices. Furthermore, these offerings need to be fast and secure to meet your customers’ ever-expanding needs. Personalized payment links meet all of the above requirements, and CSG Forte’s payer engagement platform also integrates seamlessly into your existing website setup, messaging platforms and social accounts.

A secure payment link allows you to expedite payments through an easily accessible code or link. Often, these are in the form of “buy now” or “pay now” buttons, QR codes and in-text links. When a customer follows the link, they bypass all the searching, add-to-cart and information-adding steps. Instead, they go straight to a customized invoice that is ready for payment, shortening the conversion process and increasing the chances of them making payment.

Benefits of Using Payment Links

Setting up a payment link can take just minutes—from there, you have an easy-to-use, secure link that you can share with your customer on their preferred communication channel.  A payment link can:

  • Offer a range of payment options: Almost half of all online payments are made through a mobile wallet. An additional 30% of payments use debit or credit cards. Payment links ensure you can work with the digital payment methods your customers prefer.
  • Provide expedited payment capability: Payment links let people complete purchases in as little as one click. That means fewer late payments.
  • Customize the sales experience: Your normal sales platform may be one-size-fits-all, but your payment links can be as unique as the people viewing them. Customize the URL of your payment links with your branding and link customers to a personalized invoice.

Where to Use Payment Links

Perhaps the top benefit of payment links is that you can use them anywhere, online and in person. Consider how a payment link can affect conversions from these avenues:

  • Emails: Getting your customers to open your email is half the battle—the other half is keeping them interested long enough to take action. A payment link at the beginning of your email that takes them straight to a personalized invoice ensures you’re making the payment experience quick and convenient.
  • Text messages: SMS messages are a fast-paced way to streamline reaching potential buyers. Sending a text message requests immediate action, and when you pitch it just right, your customers will be eager to reply.
  • Phone calls: Whether you make calls through a call center or by using interactive voice response (IVR), you can opt to send callers a link for payment via email or text message.
  • In-person connections: New technologies have more and more people paying for services online, even when they visit a physical location. Pay links and generated QR codes allow anyone to make a payment from their mobile device right in front of you, whether you’re in-store, at a pop-up event or even on a home sales call.

Use Cases

From making payments on a product to resolving billing concerns, every business in any industry can find uses for payment links in front-end and back-end operations. At CSG Forte, many of our clients use this versatile tool to:

  • Collect mobile, online and card payments in person
  • Send invoices and collect bill payments
  • Target multiple consumer demographics simultaneously
  • Set up donation accounts or host fundraisers

Why Should You Choose CSG Forte Engage?

When you create payment links for invoicing, online checkouts and donations, you essentially establish a new website that integrates with your existing technology. Your clients’ payment information goes through this secure nanosite and communicates the sales with your platform immediately, simplifying the process for both you and your customers. CSG Forte’s low-code platform allows you to:

  • Automate payments and collections: After customers use your payer engagement platform once, they’ll be able to make automatic payments on future purchases and bills. A faster, easier payment cycle means more business for you and greater satisfaction for your customers.
  • Switch payment channels as needed: Users can choose which channel they’d like to use to make a payment, whether that’s over the phone with your support or completely online. They can also switch between channels throughout the process as their needs evolve.
  • Maintain security and flexibility: Customers can make full payments today or schedule recurring payments for the future based on their preferences. Whenever they pay, the nanosite will maintain their privacy—our site is fully PCI compliant—to a degree that even your staff does not have access to payment information.
  • Orchestrate the payment journey: A/B testing is an excellent method of discovering new ways to market to a range of target audiences. Our platform’s customization options allow you to offer different sites to different people and see which ones yield the best results.
  • Provide fast, on-brand service: Even when you work with CSG Forte’s payer engagement platform, everything is branded for your business. Set up your system in weeks or even days and start collecting immediate, automatic payments using payment links of your own creation.

Take Control of Your Payments With CSG Forte

CSG Forte strives to be your partner in all business payments. Our solutions are award-winning, and we know how to process all types of payments with professionalism and safety—our team has handled billions of dollars for the world’s leading merchants. The CSG platform offers a holistic, customizable approach to everyday payments, and our payment link services are just the next step in making your business a leader in your industry.

Get started with a demo from our experts or take the plunge and open an account with us today. Our sales team will answer all your questions and guide you through everything you need to know.

What Are Electronic Payments and How Can They Help Your Business?

Imagine. You want to purchase a doughnut at the local bakery, but instead of handing over your credit card, you reach into your pocket and pull out a few grains you picked on your farm earlier that day. After all, the baker can use the grains to make more dough. Seems crazy, right? However, the barter system was a cornerstone of transactions in our early history. Lucky for us, advances in payment acceptance mean you no longer are tied to your farm (in fact, you don’t even need to have a farm nowadays). But the biggest advance in payment acceptance isn’t particularly tangible. Why? Electronic payments. The invention of electronic payments makes receiving and making payments online, via mobile and at the point of sale a whole lot simpler.


What Are Electronic Payment Systems?

Electronic payments are any payment completed through an electronic medium. These methods include credit and debit cards, ACH payments and virtual cards. These electronic methods replace physical checks or cash, and they can occur at the point of sale or online. For example, consumers can use their virtual rewards card to pay for their coffee at the drive-through.


The Benefits of E-Payments

With e-payments, users can enjoy:

  • Payment ease: Many forms of e-payment allow users to pay with as little as a tap. With an easier payment process, you improve the user experience for payers and payees.
  • Reduced processing costs: Processing checks involves printing, signing and mailing, requiring manual labor and material expenses. Electronic payments eliminate these processes, saving you money on payment processing.
  • Greater visibility: With electronic payments, you can track transaction status, access financial metrics and follow audit trails for compliance needs. These tracking capabilities are often integrated into e-payment platforms, so following the status of your financials is much easier than when manually processing physical payments.
  • Improved security: Handling cash or checks can easily lead to theft or fraud. With electronic payments, you eliminate passing physical money between hands, and you can enjoy built-in encryption that protects user data during transactions.


Types of Electronic Payments Systems and Their Advantages

There are various types of e-payments, and they all offer unique advantages.

ACH Debit Pull

The Automated Clearing House (ACH) processes electronic transactions between bank accounts. In the case of an ACH debit pull, a payee initiates a pull of funds from a payer’s account. One of the most common examples of a debit pull is direct deposit for employees.

These debit pulls are typically low-cost, and sometimes they’re completely free. The most significant advantage of this electronic payment is it eliminates the need to collect and process checks or deposit cash.

ACH Credit Push

An ACH credit push is the opposite of a debit pull. Rather than the payee pulling the funds from the payer’s account, the payer pushes the amount out of their account and to the payee. Credit pushes are common for a range of online payments where the vendor is an established company. ACH payments often come with lower processing fees than credit cards, making them a practical option for some businesses.

Credit Cards

With a credit card, a user borrows money from their card issuer up to a certain predetermined limit. The cardholder is then responsible for paying this borrowed money back and can be charged interest for outstanding balances.

In the case of e-payments, credit cards are fast and accessible. This secure payment method is easy to use at the point of sale. With the growing use of chip payments with credit cards, every transaction has a unique code that makes it challenging to steal sensitive information.

Mobile Pay

Mobile pay relies on a mobile device, such as a smartphone, smartwatch or tablet, to complete a transaction. Many of these devices are compatible with mobile wallets that allow users to upload their card information for use at point-of-sale terminals. These terminals must have near-field communication (NFC) to receive payment information from the mobile device and accept payment.

Mobile payments can also include mobile payment platforms that use ACH payments to complete transactions. This payment type offers convenience since most people carry some kind of mobile device. Additionally, these mobile payment methods typically require authentication before completing a transaction, making them a secure electronic payment option.


The History of Electronic Payment Systems

Electronic payments have their roots in the 1870s, when Western Union debuted the electronic fund transfer (EFT) in 1871. Since then, people have been enamored with the idea of sending money to pay for goods and services without necessarily having to be physically present at the point of sale. Technology has been a driving factor in the development of electronic payments. Today, making a purchase is as easy as tapping a button on your smartphone. Work with streamlining payment methods has been hard-won.

From the 1870s until the late 1960s, payments underwent a slow but gradual transformation. In the 1910s, the Federal Reserve of America began using the telegraph to transfer money. In the 1950s, Diner’s Club International established itself as the first independent credit card company, soon followed by American Express. In 1959, American Express introduced the world to the first plastic card for electronic payments.

Entering the 1970s, people became more reliant on computers as part of the buying process. In 1972, the Automated Clearing House was developed to batch process large volumes of transactions. NACHA established operating rules for ACH payments just two years later.


The (Wide, Wide) World Wide Web

Then along came the Internet. In the 1960s, ARPANET, a precursor to the modern Web, was built as a military network to improve communication. In the 1990s, online internet banking services were offered to bank customers. Those first online payment systems were anything but user-friendly—users had to have specific encryption knowledge and use data transfer protocols.

Soon, development across the Web, and the eventual invention of Web 2.0, set the stage for online sites to participate in what’s now known as e-commerce. In 1994, Amazon, one of the pioneers of eCommerce, was founded, along with a slew of other websites that we know and love to purchase on.

Payment acceptance and securing payments have been specific challenges for e-merchants and payment processors. In the early days of electronic payment processing, you needed special equipment and software to send a payment for goods. Now, payment acceptance can be integrated into websites, mobile platforms, and at the point of sale for scalability amongst merchants big and small.


Keeping Your Private Data Safe

As technology changes at an increasingly rapid pace, however, keeping your data safe has been at the forefront of most merchants’ minds. It’s easy to see why. Data breaches can have long-reaching financial and systematic impacts on businesses and can damage the reputation of long-standing organizations. What’s more, breaches can also spell financial ruin for companies without the financial, legal and logistical bandwidth to weather the storms of a hack.

Regulations by both NACHA and PCI standardize how payment data is received, stored, transmitted and processed for each transaction and help reduce the likelihood of an attack. However, it’s important that payment processors who offer PCI compliance programs stay ahead of those who wish to do harm to hardworking business owners by hacking their systems.

For point-of-sale transactions, EMV-enabled (also known as “chip card”) transactions add another level of encryption to your sales when performing card-present sales. End-to-end encryption, like what CSG Forte offers, provides a level of security to your entire payment processing system from terminal to payment acceptance and beyond. When accepting payments online, SSL webpages and other methods of data encryption help ease the worry of consumers and take some of the burden off merchants to remain PCI-compliant.


What’s Next For Electronic Payment Systems?

According to a McKinsey study from 2020, 78% of Americans currently use at least one form of digital payment. Offering consumers more ways to efficiently pay bills and purchase the things they want should be a key objective for all modern business owners.

Hot-button technologies like cryptocurrency and blockchain could be another way payment processing gets another technological push into a new era. After all, some cryptocurrency contenders aim to revolutionize the processing time for electronic payments, and if successful, can completely change the game for the payments industry. But in the interim, new trends like PIN on Glass acceptance to allow customers to use their PIN for mobile point-of-sale transactions, as well as contactless payments, same-day ACH and advancements in payment APIs all are geared towards making payment processing simpler, faster and more efficient.

For the last century and a half, the world of electronic payments has seen several notable technological shifts. As we speed through the industrial advances that the payment industry currently faces, we will only see a payment processing scheme that is safer, faster and operates how consumers and merchants need.


The Benefits of E-Payments for Your Business

Your business can benefit from e-payments with the help of:

  • Improved supplier relationships: When your vendors can enjoy the ease of e-payments, they know that you value their time, security and ease of payment processing. These e-payments also include remittance data for ease of reconciliation. Many modern suppliers may come to expect e-payment options and may even turn down relationships without this convenience factor.
  • Increased customer satisfaction: Your customers will enjoy the convenience and security of e-payments as much as your vendors. When paying for products or services is easy, consumers are more likely to follow through with a purchase.
  • Reduced costs: Processing cash and checks can require hours of physical labor and expenses dedicated to stamps and mailing. Enjoy the reduced administrative overhead of e-payments.
  • Enhanced security: With encryption and unique transaction codes, e-payments are far more secure than physical cash or checks. Plus, electronic payments eliminate the risk of losing cash or checks before they get deposited.
  • Greater flexibility: If you offer various types of e-payments, consumers can pay in a way that works for them. For example, a buyer who forgot their wallet can use their mobile wallet to cover costs. This flexibility encourages more sales.


How Can CSG Forte Help Optimize Your Electronic Payment Systems

CSG Forte offers a comprehensive electronic payment solution that supports online, in-person and phone payments. Our payments platform supports secure, flexible payments with reliable reporting and a user-friendly interface. With recurring payment capabilities, intuitive bill presentation, point-of-sale support and trusted security practices, CSG Forte supports the success of modern businesses.

See what electronic payments can do for you, and get started with our platform today.

P2PE vs. E2EE: What’s the Best Payment Security Option?

If end-to-end encryption (E2EE) and point-to-point encryption (P2PE) sound like they could be the same thing, you’re not wrong. Technically speaking, P2PE is a specific type of E2EE, and the objective in both cases is to secure cardholder data from the time it’s captured until it reaches its intended destination.

However, only one of these methods offers significant time savings and cost benefits to merchants. Read on to understand the differences and why choosing P2PE could be in your company’s best interest.


What Is P2PE?

As the ongoing threat of data breaches continues to menace businesses (and government agencies) of all sizes, securing cardholder data remains a top priority for merchants. In recent years, P2PE has become the gold standard for credit card payment security compliance.

Here’s why. PCI-validated P2PE is a set of standards defined by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI-SSC) that outlines a comprehensive set of best practices spanning the device supply chain, encryption key loading, configuration, encryption and application security.

The P2PE process creates a secure connection between devices, or components within devices, which prevents possible sensitive data from being exposed at any point while moving across a network. It effectively removes cardholder data from a merchant’s environment, providing better protection for the cardholder.


How Does P2PE Work?

P2PE encrypts cardholder data immediately upon receiving a card payment. It sends this encrypted code directly from the payment terminal to the payment processing system, where the information gets decrypted using a secure key.

Since the decryption takes place entirely in the payment processor, the merchant never sees any of the cardholder’s information. If a hacker manages to intercept the data while it’s in transit, they will not be able to read it because only the processor possesses the key—there’s no chance someone can steal the key from the merchant or any other party.

PCI P2PE Compliance Requirements

P2PE reduces the likelihood of PCI compliance breaches by directly connecting the payment terminal to the processing system—and correspondingly drops the number of self-assessment questionnaire questions from over 300 to around 30. This function means you can raise the bar on security without also increasing the compliance audit burden.

Some other key compliance requirements include:

  • The data must be encrypted at the payment terminal.
  • The payment terminal may only use P2PE-approved applications.
  • The merchant must conduct annual inventory checks on payment terminals.
  • The merchant must install cameras with a clear view of the terminal.

Ultimately, these requirements are fairly easy for most businesses to manage. That leaves you more time and resources to spend on the purpose and passion at the forefront of your business rather than the processes behind your business.


The Benefits of P2PE With CSG Forte Protect

CSG Forte Protect is a PCI-validated P2PE solution securing the V400C terminal for in-person payments. CSG Forte Protect helps merchants:

  • Remove liability issues for your business: Forte Protect merges processes, applications, and payment devices to securely encrypt and protect data during transit from the POI terminal/device or POS system
  • Protect cardholder data: Our solution has three parts—validated hardware, validated software, and validated solution providers to cover payment terminals, terminal application, deployment, key management, and decryption environments.
  • Save time and money: With a minimal per transaction cost, Forte Protect saves you PCI-related costs by reducing PCI scope as the number of questions from the self-assessment questionnaire drops from SAQ D (329 questions) to SAQ P2P3 (33 questions).
  • Fully integrate existing payment channels: Supported card input methods include tap, dip, swipe, keyed, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay. Your customer payment experience will be seamless without you lifting a finger!

We put data security at the core of all our payment solutions, so you can rely on Forte Protect to keep your data safe through every payment—every time. In addition to meeting PCI standards, we’re certified for compliance with ISO 27001:2013, SSAE SOC 1 and HIPAA. Whatever your industry and payment needs, we can help you protect your customers from data breaches.


What Is E2EE?

Many merchants’ transactions rely on end-to-end encryption (E2EE), a process that involves an indirect link between the payment terminal and processing network. During this operation, the processor or a third party is expected to encrypt the cardholder’s data (CHD) during transit.

Unfortunately, the indirect link means card present transactions—where the customer swipes, dips or taps their card—are a constant area of concern. Preventing fraud at the terminal isn’t just a matter of checking who is presenting the card. You also have to ensure the payment terminals themselves are secure. By intercepting point of sale devices, or using insiders, malware loaded to a device can scrape and transfer cardholder data available in its RAM and virtual memory.

That’s why rather than finding new ways to protect cardholder data, businesses are looking for ways to eliminate cardholder data from their environments.

E2EE and PCI Compliance

Some E2EE vendors claim that using E2EE makes adhering to PCI guidelines easier because it encrypts data throughout the entire process, but this claim isn’t entirely the case.

While this method is compliant with Payment Card Industry (PCI) guidance, E2EE requires intensive documentation and additional ongoing costs associated with PCI compliance. Merchants often hold the encryption keys, so merchants relying on E2EE will typically need to complete an annual PCI-DSS self-assessment questionnaire (SAQ) with over 300 questions.

Even though small business owners are used to wearing many hats, assuming responsibility for PCI compliance may be more than they can handle. If they choose to have someone else manage it for them, like processors or outside consultants, then they’ll also incur the added expense of outside help.


What’s the Difference Between P2PE and E2EE?

While they are similar in nature, some of the most significant differences between P2PE and E2EE include:

  • Security rules: P2PE and E2EE require different security checks on and around the payment terminal. For example, P2PE requires merchants to perform annual terminal inventory checks to ensure everything works properly.
  • Control: Because the scope for PCI compliance is much smaller with P2PE, merchants have greater control over their ability to adhere to the standard. E2EE, on the other hand, contains more endpoints, making compliance more complicated.
  • Liability: P2PE providers take complete liability for data breaches because they hold the keys. With E2EE, though, the merchant has control over decryption keys and can be held liable for stolen cardholder data.

Ultimately, these differences mean the best choice for most businesses planning to accept credit card payments is P2PE. It makes compliance more manageable and keeps cardholder data safer than E2EE—and it’s entirely possible with a reliable provider like CSG Forte. If you want to improve your payment processing technology, consider using our solutions to secure your card transactions.


Choose P2PE Payment Solutions From CSG Forte

The numerous controls and security implemented across this entire value chain make P2PE an extremely secure encryption method—but also a high bar for vendors to clear. Only a select few vendors offer PCI-validated P2PE today, and we’re proud to be one of those few.

At CSG Forte, we know securing a stable and safe merchant solution can relieve the security and compliance pressures from you and your business. For that reason, CSG Forte Protect was created with you in mind to give you peace of mind.

We know you didn’t open your business so you could worry about transactions and payments operations. But we did. Our team at CSG Forte has a passion for safe and secure payment processing solutions. Learn more about CSG Forte’s secure in-person payments processing solutions, or contact us to get started.

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 is WCAG and Why Does it Matter

Why should we talk about Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)? The present and future of engagement are online and web based. With the growth of the metaverse, ongoing drive towards digital transformation and meteoric rise in online purchases, the ability to deliver a great digital experience has become table stakes.

Trend trackers have pointed out how much more important the web experience has become since the start of the pandemic. But for the more than 1 in 5 people with a disability, these experiences might come with caveats. Worldwide, more than 220 million people have a vision impairment of some sort and over 2 billion have a disability of some kind. What implications does this have for web design? Quite a lot!

History of WCAG

The need for a set of web content accessibility guidelines was recognized decades ago. We’ll explore what those standards are, but how have they evolved over time, and when did they first come together?

To find the origins of WCAG we have to go back to before the Y2K crisis. Back to the previous millennium. The year 1999. On May 5th of that year, the HTML-focused WCAG 1.0 helped shaped the standards for web accessibility and digital experience. In 2008, those rules got an update in the form of WCAG 2.0.

Where the original had focused on HTML, the new guidelines (and the 2018 WCAG 2.1) expressed a technology-agnostic approach to accessibility for “web content on desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices.” The goal of WCAG overall has not changed from creating a more accessible web environment, but each update has given additional guidance on this critical topic.

What Does WCAG Require?

The standards set out in WCAG 2.1 cover four key factors for accessible design along with a series of conformance criteria to evaluate WCAG compliance. In particular, WCAG 2.1 indicates web content should be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. What do these mean?

1 Perceivable

“Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive.”

If a user cannot see, hear, or otherwise interact with web content, it is not accessible to them. This means, for example, that non-text content should have transcripts, alt-text, or other features meant to enable screen reading. Perceivable design isn’t limited to text accessibility, but WCAG 2.1 has additional guidelines on creating more perceivable content.

Example: Thanks to labels for all text fields in the screens of CSG Forte Checkout, users can understand what information each field is meant to include, allowing them to complete the form.

image of input form with text labels, making the form screen reader friendly to meet WCAG requirements



2 Operable

“User interface components and navigation must be operable.”

If a user cannot interact with the interface or navigation as designed, then the content therein is not accessible to them. One way to address this is to ensure that all interfaces have keyboard-based alternatives to mouse-based operation. Other types of operability blocks exist, but WCAG 2.1 provides several ways to ensure operable accessibility.

Example: Thanks to correct contrast ratios and keyboard controls to the date picker tool in various CSG Forte offerings, users can input the date they want to pay their bill using only the keyboard.

Image of a calendar feature within CSG Forte, making it easier for customers to select a date using a variety of navigation tools, including the keyboard or mouse.

3 Understandable

“Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable.”

If a user cannot understand the content or user interface, then it is not accessible to them. The most basic understandability feature is including language options and translation-friendly pages, but clear labeling and acronym explaining features are other techniques to make web content more understandable. Whatever web content you create, you want your readers and users to understand it. Following the WCAG guidelines makes this that much easier.

Example: Because CSG Forte error messages are described in text along with outlining for invalid input fields, users can parse error messages they might not otherwise understand.

Image demonstrates feature set that helps users identify areas for correction in forms, increasing understandability

4 Robust

“Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.

Where the other three factors are focused on making web content accessible to the user, the “robust” category of WCAG guidelines is focused on making content available to technologies used by those users. This means ensuring that pages are parse-friendly for text-to-speech and other technologies.

Accessibility Regulations

Where WCAG is a set of guidelines to create more accessible content online, there are other considerations for web content as well. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508 (508) contain standards for web accessibility. Unlike WCAG, ADA and 508 have legal ramifications.

Section 508

This regulation is meant to ensure that the federal government provides accessible services over all information technology communications channels. This extends from phone to web and beyond. Where WCAG provides wide reaching guidance on accessibility, 508 has specific requirements for federal offices and services. These include providing accessible computer, phone, and mobile services to employees and citizens.

Americans With Disabilities Act

ADA regulation is meant to prevent discrimination against Americans with disabilities by businesses, non-profits, and governments. While ADA regulations apply across more areas than web content, digital experiences should be made accessible as well. Although ADA has existed for over 30 years, many websites and digital products have no yet achieved ADA compliance.

OTHER READING: Did You Know CSG Forte is ADA Compliant?

Why WCAG Matters For Payments

With more than 2 billion disabled individuals around the world, creating an accessible experience isn’t just the right thing to do, it also means reaching a wider audience. Beyond compliance, accessible design allows consumers to do more online, including making purchases and using products.

For example, providing a secure way to validate payments inputs for blind customers can ensure that they enter the correct information. This then means that their transactions can processes correctly. Put in terms of WCAG 2.1, this means ensuring the input is perceivable by the user and that the validation option is operable for someone who cannot see.

As the world becomes ever more digital and with the continuing interest in the metaverse and other cross-platform digital content, being able to meet consumers, corporate clients, and users where they are will remain essential to business success. Providing accessible payment options does require a framework and WCAG provides a powerful starting point for better digital payments.

To learn more about how you can create exceptional accessible online payments, check out CSG Forte’s payment solutions.