Secure, Swift, Seamless: Why Your Customers Love Digital Wallets

Consumers want fast, convenient ways to pay for their purchase—without digging through their wallet for their card payment details. Shoppers increasingly say they choose where to shop based on how convenient the online payments process is. One way to enhance your customer experience (CX) and streamline the online transaction process is by offering your customers digital wallets as a payment option.

Digital wallets are gaining popularity—with an expected 5.3 billion users by 2026. They’re becoming increasingly important not just for the benefits they provide customers; businesses that take advantage of this evolving technology soon will be ahead of the game—digital wallet adoption still lags among some types of merchants, despite continued increase in consumer usage.

It’s those ongoing advancements in digital wallets that are exactly why collaborating with a knowledgeable payments provider is essential for organizations that want to attract and keep customers in a dynamic online payment environment.

 

The Rise of Digital Wallets

Digital wallets are becoming mainstream. They’ve transcended novelty status and become an integral part of everyday life. Consider this: 79% of Gen Z consumers use digital wallets at least once a month. They’re also growing in popularity with Millennials and Gen Xers, half of whom reported using digital wallets more often than traditional payment methods in a recent Forbes survey.

So, we know digital wallets are increasingly popular. But, why?

 

Customers Expect Fast, Secure, Streamlined Service

Customers crave simplicity. They want transactions to be swift and secure, and they don’t want to take any unnecessary steps. Digital wallets fulfill these expectations by offering:

  • Fast Processing: With a few simple steps, payments are completed in seconds.
  • Security: Digital wallets employ robust encryption and authentication methods, providing peace of mind for users.
  • Reduced Redundancy: Say goodbye to repeatedly entering card details—digital wallets store payment information securely.

 

Why Offer Digital Wallets?

 

Meet Customer Expectations

Customers expect to see familiar payment options when they visit your website. Digital wallets have become a standard feature for most consumers, akin to credit cards and bank transfers. By offering a digital wallet option, you signal that your company is attuned to consumer preferences and up to date on the latest technology.

 

Increase Trust and Security

Trust is the bedrock of any successful business relationship. Customers recognize digital wallets as secure payment methods. Whether it’s PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay or Google Pay, these platforms have earned their reputation for safeguarding sensitive data. By integrating them into your payment ecosystem, you reinforce trust with your audience.

 

Streamline the Checkout Process

Offer a frictionless checkout experience: no fumbling for credit cards, no manual data entry. Digital wallets eliminate these pain points. Customers appreciate simplicity—they can complete purchases swiftly, especially on mobile devices. This simplicity also helps your company’s bottom line; consumers who use digital wallets spend 31% more than non-users, according to recent survey data.

 

Choosing the Right Payment Methods

 

Quality Over Quantity

While variety is enticing, overwhelming customers with too many payment options can backfire. Instead, focus on quality. Prioritize widely used digital wallets that resonate with your audience. Remember, simplicity is best.

 

Understanding Customer Preferences

Knowledge is power. By analyzing transaction data, you can discern which payment methods your customers prefer. Do they browse from Apple devices? Then consider offering Apple Pay. Are they connecting using Google Chrome? Google Pay may help you speed up transactions. Armed with this type of insight, you can tailor your offerings and enhance the user experience.

 

Collaborating with Payment Providers

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room: managing separate accounts with various digital wallet providers. It’s time-consuming and inefficient. Here’s where a payment provider comes to the rescue:

  • Centralized integration: Partnering with a payment provider allows you to consolidate digital wallet options. Instead of juggling multiple accounts, you have a unified interface.
  • Seamless updates: When a new digital wallet emerges or an existing one evolves, your payment provider handles the integration and is there to guide you through the process.
  • Efficiency: Focus on your core business while the payment provider manages the technical intricacies.

Remember, the goal is to enhance your customers’ experience. By offering digital wallets and collaborating with a reliable payment provider, you’re not just streamlining payments—you’re building trust and loyalty.

The future of wallets is digital, and now is the time to claim your spot—ahead of the competition. Incorporating digital wallets isn’t a trend, it’s a necessity to stay relevant and keep customers coming back. Your customers demand speed and convenience; meet their needs by adopting digital wallet technology today. Contact our experts at CSG today.

Think Outside the Square: How QR Codes reshape payments

From telemedicine to bread baking, there’s a list of things that enjoyed a surge in adoption during the pandemic. For businesses, that includes the use of contactless payments and QR codes—which turned out to be no passing trend.

More than half of U.S. consumers now use some form of contactless payment, according to a Mastercard poll. In 2022, QR code payments accounted for $2.4 trillion in global spend, and that number is projected to keep growing past $3 trillion by 2025.

Previously, QR codes were used mainly for marketing purposes. Now they have found mainstream adoption beyond the pandemic as a tool to facilitate contactless payments. With convenience being a top priority among consumers, QR codes have proven to be a seamless and secure payment method for both businesses and customers alike.

We’ll delve into the benefits of incorporating QR codes into your multichannel payment processes and offer examples on how to effectively implement them, enhancing the payment experience for your customers.

 

WHAT ARE QR CODES?

QR (short for “quick response”) codes are two-dimensional barcodes that store information in a readable pattern. Traditional barcodes can only hold limited data like product numbers. QR codes, with their added dimension, can store various types of information including URLs, contact information and payment details (e.g., an invoice).

QR codes encode data into a grid of black squares on a white background, which can then be scanned by a smartphone or QR code reader. The scanning device then instantly accesses the encoded information, letting users quickly access websites, make payments or retrieve other information automatically.

You can think of QR codes as a bridge between physical and digital commerce. They offer a quick way to interact with content and perform tasks using a smartphone camera.

 

TYPES OF QR CODES

The QR codes that businesses use can be split into two types: static and dynamic. Each type differs in content and function.

STATIC QR CODES

These QR codes contain fixed data—the data can’t be changed once the code is generated. You often see these used to contain simple, unchanging information like website URLs, business card details or product information.

DYNAMIC QR CODES

Dynamic QR codes can be modified after creation. They’re often used in conjunction with a web service or platform that lets a user update the content linked to the code. This means the QR code can be personalized to specific users—linking to different URLs or displaying different text. This is why dynamic QR codes are often used in situations that require real-time updating, like marketing campaigns, inventory management and—as concerns us here—payments.

 

HOW QR CODES WORK IN PAYMENTS

Here, we’ll focus on one of those tasks that QR codes facilitate—initiating transactions—which merchants can use to offer contactless payment at a store or settle an invoice remotely.

Take retail transactions, for example. Merchants can generate QR codes to represent a specific payment amount. At the point of sale, a customer can simply scan a displayed QR code using their smartphone. This usually directs them to a secure payment portal where they can confirm the transaction and choose their preferred payment method—credit/debit card, mobile wallet, bank transfer, etc. The process makes it easy for customers to pay on the go, and merchants don’t need to have a cash register or payment terminal to accept payment.

Beyond retail transactions, QR codes can also facilitate invoicing with reduced friction. Businesses can generate a QR code for each invoice, embedding payment details such as the invoice number and amount due. When recipients receive the invoice, they can simply scan the QR code to access the payment portal, where they can review the details and complete the transaction with a few taps on their device. This streamlines the payment process by eliminating manual entry of payment information and reduces the risk of errors.

Essentially, QR codes are digital keys that unlock seamless payment journeys, whether they involve in-store purchases, ecommerce or invoice payments. They’re versatile and easy to use, making them an appealing tool for businesses looking to simplify their payment processes and improve the payment experience.

 

EXAMPLES OF QR CODE USE CASES FOR PAYMENTS

As mentioned, QR codes are versatile, and they help customers make quick, secure payments in a variety of ways. Here are just a few examples.

STREAMLINING PAYMENT VIA MONTHLY BILLING STATEMENTS

If your company sends out monthly billing statements, chances are you encourage customers to make payment online or through your app. You can take them straight to a payment portal by printing a QR code on the bill encoded with that URL. This saves the customer time in having to navigate to that portal through several clicks or even having to enter the URL. Not only that, but you can also encode the QR code to include the account number and amount due, which pre-fills the payment information for a faster checkout. It’s a great way to combine a traditional communication channel—the paper statement—with an easy digital payment experience.

ACCEPTING IN-PERSON PAYMENT MORE EASILY

Imagine you’re a field technician installing a new internet router in a customer’s home. As you’re setting it up, the customer shows interest in upgrading to a better router on the spot. With a few taps on your tablet, you quickly generate a personalized invoice reflecting the upgrade cost. Instead of fumbling with cash or card readers, you simply present the QR code on your device screen. The customer scans the code with their smartphone, and just like that, the payment is processed. You install the upgrade then and there, leaving the customer satisfied with faster internet connection. The best part is the QR code ensured payment right away—you didn’t have to invoice them and wait for the payment via the monthly bill.

REPLACING PAPER INVOICES

Suppose you’re a home repair service worker who has just completed a job for a customer. Instead of the traditional route of handing over a paper invoice and waiting for a check, you offer a more secure and efficient payment option: a QR code. The customer scans the code with their smartphone, securely processing the payment electronically. This not only saves time and reduces the risk of errors associated with manual payments, but it also provides a better payment experience by using a modern payment solution.

 

ADD QR CODES TO YOUR PAYMENT CHANNELS

Incorporating QR codes as a payment channel offers businesses a practical and efficient way to interact with customers. With CSG Forte Engage, our intuitive payments solution, organizations can seamlessly integrate QR codes into their operations, providing customers with personalized and secure invoices for hassle-free transactions. By leveraging QR codes, businesses can streamline their payment processes and enhance customer satisfaction with a secure and convenient digital payment channel.

Take the next step in offering this convenient, secure method and contact us today.

Cut Costs and Reduce Friction With IVR Payments

Today’s customers expect your business to accept multiple payment methods and make billing processes hassle-free. That means your business needs a streamlined solution that eliminates billing issues and complex payment options. With interactive voice response (IVR) payments, you can enhance the customer payment experience and get paid on time more often.

What Are IVR Payments?

IVR payment processing is a voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) payment system that guides your customers through prompts to complete transactions. There are two typical kinds of IVR transactions:

  • Self-service IVR payments: This solution allows customers to pay bills without agent intervention. Self-service IVR payments minimize the costs associated with human resources and give customers the convenience of handling their bills 24/7.
  • Agent-assisted IVR payments: These transactions require your team’s assistance. The IVR system collects relevant customer information and directs calls to one of your authorized agents, who completes the transaction.

Many organizations leverage digital payment methods with IVR systems to offer customers multiple ways to pay.

How IVR Payments Work

IVR payment systems work seamlessly to complete payments in a few steps:

  • Customers call: To initiate an IVR payment, a customer calls a specific number on their bill or calls your contact center and follows the automated responses. Customers can make payments, check account balances and track any billing issues over the phone—all without human interaction.
  • Customers follow the IVR process: IVR payment processing is similar to other IVR technologies with additional security features to align with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and other regulatory requirements. Automated scripts prompt users to provide payment information securely. Customers key in information or speak it into the system. The system leverages natural language processing (NLP), speech recognition, machine learning (ML) and other technologies to analyze customer responses.
  • The IVR system authorizes payment or routes customers: The IVR software uses technology to determine whether agent intervention is necessary or whether the customer can complete the transaction using self-service features. If customers are routed to pay by self-service, the system will automatically deliver payment confirmation via phone, SMS or email. If the IVR transfer requires agent assistance, the customer can hold while the system routes them. Alternatively, the customer can schedule an automated callback when it suits their schedule.

IVR transactions typically take less than five minutes to complete.

Industries Leveraging IVR Payments

Various industries and sectors leverage IVR payments to streamline bill paying:

  • Finance and banking: Financial institutions use IVR payments for installment payments, balance monitoring, settlement payouts, debt collection, and credit card and loan payments.
  • E-commerce: E-commerce and retail businesses leverage IVR payment systems to manage customer payment information, handle one-time payments, and run royalty program payouts and other transactions.
  • Healthcare: Medical service providers use IVR payments to collect bills, manage prescription billing and process insurance claims.
  • Utilities: Utility companies use the systems to manage accounts and payment information and seamlessly set up recurring or one-time payments.
  • Ticketing and reservations: With IVR technology, customers can easily book and pay for tickets over the phone. They can process cancellations or complete transactions without speaking to a representative.

The Benefits of IVR Payments

IVR payment systems deliver various benefits:

  • Convenience for customers: IVR systems boost customer satisfaction by offering hassle-free bill payments. Self-service capabilities eliminate the need to communicate with agents. IVR systems can also provide multilingual support and automate recurring payments, enabling absolute flexibility and convenience.
  • 24/7 availability: IVR payment solutions enable customers to pay bills 24/7 without an internet connection. These round-the-clock capabilities allow customers to pay when it suits their schedules, increasing the likelihood of bills being paid on time.
  • Reduction in operational costs: Leveraging IVR systems can significantly reduce your operating costs. These systems increase efficiency and decrease labor costs associated with payment-related issues that require contact center involvement. IVR-enabled ACH bank transfers also have lower transaction costs than conventional credit card transactions.
  • Enhanced security features: Trusted service providers deliver IVR solutions that minimize the risk of exposing payment information data. Customers can key in credit card details even when speaking to an agent. Reputable providers also adhere to stringent rules to comply with PCI DSS, safeguarding sensitive information in the most robust ways.

Challenges and Solutions

The right IVR systems help solve two challenges across multiple industries:

  • Addressing potential security concerns: Transactions contain sensitive data, so your organization should ensure the appropriate security measures are in place. The right IVR solutions provider will help you by offering adequate security defenses, firewalls, regular process testing, encryptions and control measures.
  • Improving user experience: You want customers to have positive experiences when paying bills. With the right IVR system, you can enhance the customer experience by offering multiple payment options. You can deliver self-service functionality in various languages, offer several ways to connect to your IVR system and provide intuitive navigation, making payment frictionless.

Partner With CSG Forte for IVR Payment Processing

CSG Forte offers complete IVR payment solutions. We help businesses worldwide to scale and meet growing consumer needs. Our platform processes over $84 billion in transactions each year. CSG Forte’s award-winning payment solutions provide:

  • Specialized features for IVR payment processing: Our flexible solutions allow customers to pay at any time, using any method and language they choose. We implement enhanced safety features, advanced automation and robust analytics for valuable insights.
  • Integration capabilities within various industries: CSG Forte delivers payment solutions for all sectors.

Streamline Your Payment Experience With CSG Forte

CSG Forte’s IVR payment processing solution will enhance your customer payment experience and help you boost your revenue. Our one-platform solution makes it easy for you to scale services as your business grows.

Learn why thousands of organizations trust us. Contact us to optimize your bill payment capabilities with a trusted service provider and award-winning IVR payment solutions.

CSG Forte Team

CSG Forte Team


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Frequently Asked Questions About Payment Processing

The digital payments market is projected to reach $16.62 trillion by 2028. All businesses should be familiar with the basics of payment processing to remain agile in a competitive industry and ever-expanding landscape. We’ve answered some frequently asked questions (FAQ) about payments and their processing to help you get started.

Payment Methods

Understanding the terms and systems that go into payment processing gives you the edge to offer your customers frictionless, secure and simple ways to pay. Here are answers to some common questions about payment methods.

1. What Goes Into a Transaction Flow?

The transaction flow consists of various participants and components, including:

  • Customer: The customer is the individual or organization paying for services or products.
  • Merchant: The merchant is the service provider or business receiving payment from the customer.
  • Payment method: The payment method is how the customer pays—via check, credit or debit card, cryptocurrency, or electronic wallet.
  • POS system: The point-of-sale (POS) system is a digital platform or physical device used for the transaction. The POS system can be on an e-commerce website, app or terminal point at a store.
  • Payment gateway: The payment gateway safely captures and sends information from the POS system to the acquiring bank or payment processor. This gateway encrypts and secures the data during the transaction.
  • Payment processors: The payment processor is a third-party company managing the technicalities of the transaction. These technicalities include validating information, receiving authorization, and facilitating communication between the acquirer and issuer.
  • Acquirer: The acquiring bank, or the acquirer, is the financial institution where the merchant’s account is. The acquirer receives payments on behalf of the merchant, processes transactions for the merchant and settles the funds in the account.
  • Issuer: The issuer or issuing bank is the financial institution that authorizes or declines the transaction on behalf of the customer. Issuers consider customer account status, the validity of the transaction and available funds.
  • Card network: The card network includes organizations like Mastercard, Visa and American Express. These organizations provide the infrastructure, rules and standards for processing transactions.
  • ACH network: The Automated Clearing House (ACH) network is used to move money between bank accounts in the United States electronically. Nacha, previously called the National Automated Clearinghouse Association, runs the ACH network and ensures the payment system is safe and efficient. Transaction types include business-to-business, consumer and government transactions.
  • Payment security: Payment security consists of a range of technologies and standards to ensure transactions are secure from breaches and unauthorized access. Security involves encryption, tokenization and compliance with the regulations set by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) Council or the ACH network for bank-based payments.
  • Settlement: Settlement and reconciliation are the processes of transferring funds from the issuer to the acquirer and updating the transaction records to reflect the funds transferred.

2. What Is Payment Authorization?

Payment authorization is when the issuer verifies that the customer has the available funds and confirms that money can be released from the customer’s account. The issuing bank conducts thorough checks before authorizing transactions.

3. What Are Payment Settlement and Operations?

Payment settlement starts with customer payment initiation and ends once the funds are deducted from the customer’s account and paid to the merchant.

During settlement, the issuing bank verifies the transaction details and authorizes money to be debited from the customer’s account and credited to the merchant’s account. This settlement communication operates through the payment network.

4. What Are the Needs and Considerations of E-Check and Credit Card Payments?

E-checks and credit card payments have a few key differences:

  • E-check payments: The Automated Clearing House (ACH) merchant network processes e-check payments between participating financial institutions. E-checks are categorized as electronic funds transfers (EFTs). They work like ACH transfers with routing and account numbers, facilitating funds transfer between accounts. Electronic checks can save your business on payment processing costs—they’re typically more affordable than card transactions.
  • Credit card payments: Card authorization occurs when the merchant accepts a card payment and the payment processor reaches the card issuer. The issuing bank ensures the credit card is valid, verifies the transaction amount and available funds, and does security checks. The issuer will deliver a two-digit code approving or declining the transaction. Credit card transactions are convenient for customers, especially those who prefer to have a range of payment options.

5. What Are the Top Digital Wallets and How Do They Work?

The top digital wallets in North America include:

  • Apple Pay
  • Google Pay
  • PayPal
  • Venmo

Digital payment wallets use software that links your payment details from your bank account to the vendor you’re paying. Some apps offer open wallets that allow contactless online and in-store payments.

Electronic wallets make payments easy for customers—there’s no need to keep card details on hand to pay, and the information is stored in one central, protected location.

6. What Does Accepting On-Site Payments With Devices and POS Entail?

If you want to accept on-site payment with POS systems and devices, you need the associated hardware and software. You’ll also need a payment solutions provider.

The necessary hardware includes a card acceptance machine, like a POS terminal. The hardware connects to software that processes transactions via the provider’s solution. POS terminals can accept several types of payments, including contactless payments, credit and debit cards. Customers can tap, swipe and insert cards depending on their preferences.

Processing Models

Processing models allow transactions to happen between the issuer and the acquirer. Here are the related questions answered.

1. What Is a Payment Gateway?

A payment gateway links all entities involved in a transaction and helps systems communicate with each other. Payment gateways establish secure connections to transmit data and process the transfer of funds from the customer’s account to the merchant’s to complete payment.

2. What Is an Enhanced Payment Gateway?

An enhanced payment gateway is a robust version of a standard payment gateway. This solution goes beyond processing payments, leveraging advanced fraud detection capabilities. Enhanced payment gateways may also feature subscription billing and customizable checkout options.

3. What Is an Acquired Payment Gateway?

An acquired payment gateway is a payment processing solution offered by a payment service provider. This solution lets you securely receive customer payments using online wallets, debit cards and credit cards. The gateway handles authorization, transaction processes and the transfer of secure funds into your account.

4. What Is a Payment Facilitator?

A payment facilitator (PayFac) simplifies the setup of payment processing for your business, allowing you to accept in-person and online payments. The PayFac has a master merchant account. Your business becomes a sub-merchant under the PayFac, eliminating the lengthy underwriting process. The PayFac enters a contract with the acquiring bank and manages the approval process on your behalf.

5. What Does It Mean to Be a Third-Party Sender?

A third-party sender (TPS) facilitates ACH transactions by having funds flow through its account. Third-party senders act as intermediaries, making payments on behalf of customers. This approach provides little protection in terms of risk management and adherence to safety standards. A TPS typically comes with higher transaction fees because of the higher involvement in the flow of funds.

6. What Is the Difference Between a Third-Party Sender and a Third-Party Service Provider?

A third-party sender directly receives and transmits funds through its bank account on behalf of a company. A third-party service provider does not hold funds and transfers funds to ACH network users.

When third-party senders pay on behalf of a client, the risk involved tends to raise the price. A TPS solution can also cause customer onboarding friction.

Leveraging a third-party service provider (TPSP) offers greater security, as these entities strictly adhere to regulations and don’t automatically move money. You’ll also benefit from faster processing times, better customer onboarding, flexible transaction limits and lower transaction fees.

Pricing

Payment processing pricing is also an essential consideration for your business.

1. What Is an Interchange Fee?

Interchange fees make up the majority of payment processing fees. You pay interchange fees to financial institutions that manage the customer’s card payments. These are standard charges that come with the convenience of using a specific payment method.

2. What Is Pass-Through Pricing?

Pass-through pricing includes interchange, assessment and payment processor fees. These fees are typically itemized or combined monthly on a statement for a merchant to pay. Pricing structures differ, so it’s important that your business partners with a competitively priced payment solutions provider.

3. What Is a Flat- or Fixed-Rate Model?

A flat- or fixed-rate model charges your business the same processing fee percentage regardless of the card used. The flat-rate percentage is typically based on the cards with the highest interchange rates.

4. What Is a Convenience Fee?

A convenience fee is an additional credit card or online payment charge. It’s sometimes charged by a payment processor when a customer does not pay by cash, check or ACH. It can be applied as a split charge or split fund.

5. What Is a Split Charge?

With a split charge, the payer sees two entries on their statement—one for principal and another for convenience.

6. What Is a Split Fund?

Merchants can set up predefined splits to go to different bank accounts. Split funds come in handy when your business charges convenience fees that need to go to a separate account from the transaction amount. Debit and credit funding bank accounts are usually set up this way for merchants.

CSG Forte offers split funds and handles the setup to ensure hassle-free allocation.

Integrations

Integrated payments connect your POS system to a payment processor, offering streamlined transactions.

How Does Integration Impact the Payment Experience?

Integrated solutions enable you to offer a better payment experience. Customers can pay using various methods without the need for different payment terminals or manual processes, making transactions frictionless.

With CSG Forte, integrated payments are an all-in-one solution that benefits your business and customers.

 Payment Security

No payment processing FAQ would be complete without info about payment security.

1. What Is Tokenization?

Payment tokenization is a security measure that uses unique tokens instead of transmitting sensitive payment data during transactions. These tokens protect information like banking details, primary account numbers (PANs) and credit card numbers.

2. What Is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard?

PCI DSS is a set of standards requiring all businesses that handle credit card or payment information to maintain a secure environment. These compliance standards apply to all organizations, no matter the size of your business or the amount of transactions it handles.

3. What Are the Top Considerations for Nacha Compliance?

Nacha offers rules and requirements for any organization leveraging ACH payments. Here’s a brief overview of what Nacha expects your business to do:

  • Secure payment transmission and storage of sensitive information.
  • Store hard copies of documents with customer information safely.
  • Validate customer routing numbers.
  • Guard against possible fraud.
  • Verify customer identities.
  • Outline and enforce an official security policy.

4. What Is End-to-End Encryption?

End-to-end encryption (E2EE) is a way to safeguard your customers’ data during transactions. This encryption prevents data breaches and unauthorized access to sensitive information like credit card or bank account details. Sensitive information is encrypted and securely transmitted from one point to the next, allowing your customers to pay you safely.

The payment gateway performs the encryption when the customer initiates the payment, and it decrypts the information when it reaches the acquirer.

5. What Is Point-to-Point Encryption?

Point-to-point encryption (P2PE) is an encryption method established by the PCI DSS Council. It offers excellent protection, using an algorithm to encrypt card information when the customer initiates payment. The unreadable code is transmitted to the payment processor with a decryption key. The decryption happens virtually, so your business never comes in contact with customer payment information.

While P2PE and E2EE are similar, the PCI DSS Council only accepts point-to-point encryption.

Ready to Streamline Your Payment Solutions?

CSG Forte will help you scale your business rapidly and make payments frictionless for you and your customers. Each year, we help process over $84 billion of payment transactions.

Contact us online to simplify and secure your payments.

ACH Fraud

The Automated Clearing House (ACH) is a network that clears funds moving from one bank account to another. When a payer transfers money via debit, credit card or EFT, the funds await authorization. Once clear, the ACH system moves the funds into the payee’s account.

The National Automated Clearinghouse Association (Nacha) oversees this network in the United States. Nacha employs rigorous security measures to guard users’ accounts. Outside its security nexus, bad actors who gain access to pertinent information can commit ACH fraud. This type of fraud is relatively common—a criminal only needs access to a few details to open the door to several opportunities for theft. Preventing access at the start is better than remedying a security breach.

What Is ACH Fraud?

ACH fraud occurs when criminals use account and routing numbers to impersonate victims and manipulate the movement of funds. Criminals can obtain routing numbers at the bottom of their targets’ checks. They might use this information to impersonate someone and steal funds through various methods:

  • Internal fraud: When an employee of a company uses legitimate credentials to make unauthorized ACH withdrawals and payments, the fraud is considered internal.
  • ACH kiting: Kiting occurs when fraudsters move funds from one company account or financial institution to another.
  • Fraudulent authorized push payments (APPs): When a customer attempts to pay you, criminals trick them into making ACH transactions prompted by scams, and the funds never reach your account.
  • Unauthorized access to personal accounts: ACH transactions render you and your clients vulnerable to unauthorized persons having access to sensitive accounts.
  • Unauthorized ACH withdrawals: Merchants and clients risk having funds withdrawn from bank accounts without authorization.

Within the ACH network, there are several steps between a payer sending funds to an account and the payee receiving the funds. This process is not impenetrable to criminals, who are using more sophisticated means of defrauding unsuspecting users. Traditional ACH systems lack proper security mechanisms, leaving you and your end users vulnerable.

ACH Fraud and Concerns

Concern is mounting over the rate at which ACH fraud is increasing, highlighting the need for more vigorous security methods. Criminals only need two data sets to successfully steal money through the ACH network—a bank account number and a bank routing number. Businesses and enterprises accepting payments need to address increasing ACH fraud to protect themselves and end users.

ACH fraud can occur from external means or inside a company. Employees don’t need to know complicated data sets or complex codes to hack a business or another person. Staff are also at risk of social engineering and phishing attacks.

How ACH Fraud Can Effect Your Business

A U.S. District Court recently found a credit union liable for not acting on several suspicious ACH transactions. If you’re a business accepting payments or overseeing financial transactions, it’s critical to be proactive in preventing ACH fraud. Nacha and the Federal Reserve Regulation E have policies that state the consumer is not responsible for ACH fraud unless they fail to report an incident within 60 days.

Financial institutions can be held liable, with the bank returning the funds to the consumer and claiming them back from the original enterprise. Successful fraud protection can keep your end users safe and protect you from the costs of fraudulent ACH activity.

CSG Forte’s Approach to ACH Fraud Prevention

CSG Forte has extensive experience in ACH fraud prevention and detection, and our robust payment platform provides reliable, secure solutions. For your convenience and safety, we adapt to the evolving digital economy to provide a unified payment solution with built-in fraud-prevention protocols using the latest technology.

Furthering your peace of mind that your funds are handled safely, we’ve partnered with Nacha, the body overseeing all ACH transactions. You’ll also benefit from:

  • Advanced security protocols: Your data stays protected with our advanced security solutions, such as Forte.js and compliance with major card brands.
  • Real-time alerts: You can remain in control of your funds by monitoring transactions in real time and receiving alerts for every activity connected to your funds.
  • Comprehensive evaluation: We thoroughly evaluate merchant accounts to prevent delays down the line and help you accept payments seamlessly. Evaluation helps ensure your payment system will have adequate ACH fraud protection, mitigating loss in the long run.

We bring you reliable, safe payment processing solutions. Our approach to fraud prevention is comprehensive, as we’ve partnered with several leading software providers to prevent money laundering and several types of sophisticated financial crimes.

Key Features of Our ACH Fraud Prevention

To secure every payment and keep your data safe, CSG Forte develops every software platform and application tool with security as the cornerstone. The key features of our ACH fraud prevention include:

  • Multifactor authentication: For your safety and privacy, we protect your data with layers of security.
  • Software to detect behavioral anomalies: You can have peace of mind knowing our behavioral analytics software detects discrepancies from your usual activity and alerts you in case of an anomaly.
  • End-to-end encryption: We use end-to-end encryption technology to safeguard all data and prevent your information from leaking to a third party.
  • Tokenization: We limit the exposure of your sensitive information through tokenization, ensuring your data remains hidden in the system throughout the payment process.

We are committed to providing you with rigorous, up-to-date security systems for your enterprise, as evidenced by our compliance with several security programs. You can rest assured your funds are protected during every transaction.

Protect Against ACH Fraud With CSG Forte

ACH is a vital payment method to offer your customers. However, its attainability makes it vulnerable to breaches. Protecting your funds and your customers takes a proactive stance. Take action by integrating an advanced, robust platform from CSG Forte.

To take the next steps with our secure platform, fill out the online form and a payment expert will be in touch. You can also contact our team if you have any questions before you get started.

Layering Login Security: The Power of Multifactor Authentication

It used to be that passwords were enough to protect your accounts. Those days are gone, and you can blame the ever-growing sophistication of cybercriminals. Organizations now need an extra layer of defense against unauthorized access and fraud. That’s where multifactor authentication comes in.

It’s a good idea to require multifactor authentication in many of the systems your organization uses every day—especially critical systems like payments operations. Read on to learn what it is, how it works and why it matters.

What is multifactor authentication?

Multifactor authentication (MFA) is a security measure that requires users to provide two or more pieces of evidence to verify their identity before they can access their account or perform a transaction. Single-factor authentication methods often rely on the traditional username-plus-password combination. MFA goes further and requires additional factors—often something the user knows (e.g., the answer to a security question), something they have (e.g., a smartphone) or something they are (e.g., biometric data like a fingerprint).

How does MFA work in payment solutions?

Payment solutions can apply MFA in various ways depending on the level of security and convenience they offer users. Common examples of MFA in payment solutions include:

  • One-time password (OTP): The user gets a code via text, email or an automated phone call, and they have to enter it along with their username and password to access their account or perform a transaction. The code expires after a short period of time and can be used only once.
  • Push notification: The user receives a notification on their smartphone or a similar device though a secure app that’s linked to their account. With that device, they have to either approve or decline the transaction or account access.
  • Biometric authentication: The user must have their fingerprint, face or iris scanned. This biometric data is usually stored on the user’s device or on a secure server, and it’s matched with the user’s account.

When might payment solutions require MFA? Those scenarios can include when you or other users in your organization log in to their accounts, add a new payment method or change settings. MFA can also be complemented with other security features such as encryption, tokenization or fraud detection to create a more robust risk management practice.

Why is multifactor authentication critical for payments operations security?

Payment fraud incidents are on the rise, increasing 88% since 2021, according to PYMNTS Intelligence research. It’s making organizations and consumers more wary about how payment accounts data is kept (the same study found that 30% of consumers don’t trust having their personal information stored on a connected platform).

Clearly, bolstering security to the systems that house consumers’ payment account data is a priority for any organization. Here’s how MFA in payments operations supports that:

  1. Better Protection: MFA makes it harder for hackers or fraudsters to access your customers’ data, even if they have your username and password. It adds an extra layer of security that deters or delays attackers, giving your organization more time to detect and respond to the breach.
  2. Fraud Risk Mitigation: MFA can decrease the likelihood of fraudulent transactions when the additional authentication requirements thwart bad actors.
  3. Brand Reputation Preservation: A data breach resulting in compromised payment accounts is a major blow to an organization’s reputation that erodes customer trust. Implementing MFA shows you’re committed to keeping customers’ information secure, and it helps safeguard your organization’s integrity.
  4. Satisfying Security Standards: MFA complies with the latest security standards and regulations, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) or the Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2). MFA helps you meet the requirements and expectations of your customers, partners and regulators, not to mention help you avoid penalties or fines.

The new standard in payments operations security

MFA is no longer just a security best practice—it’s an expectation. A growing share of SaaS platform users consider MFA a must-have capability of the SaaS platforms they use, regardless of segment or industry. In payments operations, it can make a big difference in safeguarding payment accounts and protecting your organization from the potentially devastating consequences of data breaches and payment fraud.

This is part of what’s known as the Zero Trust strategy for information security programs, based on the principle of ”never trust, always verify.” It’s aligned with the latest industry standards, such as PCI DSS version 4.0. And it’s part of CSG Forte’s commitment to the rigorous safeguarding and protection of all customer data.

Want to learn more about how CSG Forte incorporates MFA into its solutions? Just ask us.

Empowering SMBs With Embedded Financing

Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) play a crucial role in driving our economy through innovation, job creation and the contributions they make to their local communities. But SMBs can face obstacles when trying to access working capital through traditional financing sources, including high rejection rates, varying annual percentage rates (APRs) and lengthy application processes.

Enter: embedded financing, which has emerged as a powerful alternative for SMBs that may apply for capital through traditional lending methods. Embedded financing offers SMBs a streamlined approach to accessing capital by allowing them to bypass banks and other traditional lenders and instead receive needed funds through their software vendors. This fast and flexible financing option offers SMBs fair pricing on quickly available financing terms that can be seamlessly integrated into their existing business solutions.

Many SMBs are taking advantage of the ease of using embedded financing, as industry growth continues to rise. Current estimates suggest a 125% year-over-year increase, reaching $500 billion in annual originations by 2030.

An AI-Driven Solution Tailored for ISV Partners and Their Merchants

Traditional small business loans can be expensive, carrying APRs as high as 99%. But businesses may find significant savings via the reduced rates embedded finance programs offer. How? Embedded finance programs leverage private datasets and AI automation when assessing risk, facilitating more accurate and faster underwriting. Among other advantages, this innovative underwriting method cuts customer acquisition costs.

By leveraging technology, embedded finance can revolutionize the underwriting process and provide fair, affordable financing options for SMBs. The lower rates not only benefit merchants, but also foster a stronger sense of loyalty within the Independent Software Vendor’s (ISV) merchant base.

The power of artificial intelligence (AI) is at the forefront of most of today’s innovative technology, including embedded financing. AI-driven credit underwriting—which is fueled by rich, embedded datasets—offers a level of sophistication that’s unmatched.

Embedded AI lending leader Lendica and has partnered with CSG Forte to introduce a unique credit solution for SMBs: the iBranch. This innovative embedded financing offering allows merchants to connect to financing offers through their software vendors, opening a new avenue for SMBs to conveniently access credit for necessary capital investments in their business. CSG Forte and Lendica are extending this solution to ISV partners and their end-merchants.

Benefits Beyond Basics

The advantages of embedded financing extend beyond just the SMBs. ISV partners stand to gain significantly from this innovative financing model. By participating in embedded financing programs, ISVs create an additional revenue stream for their business that is often operations-free (meaning they don’t need to handle the customer support or marketing internally and can leverage an embedded financing partner). Moreover, the enhanced merchant loyalty resulting from fair and affordable financing options strengthens the bond between ISVs and their end-users.

Embedded financing also has the flexibility to cater to a diverse range of ISV partners and their merchants, spanning various industries such as field services and property management. For example, property management merchants can leverage this user-friendly solution to access capital for building repairs, procure necessary supplies, or invest in professional services to promote their business. Quick access to capital empowers merchants and fosters an environment that’s conducive to future growth and prosperity.

Game-Changing Potential

Embedded financing is proving to be a game-changing solution for ISVs and their merchants, providing fast, flexible and competitive financing options. This streamlined approach addresses some of the pain points of traditional lending, offering competitive rates and an enhanced end-user experience. The growth trajectory of embedded business financing suggests a transformative future for SMBs, fostering an ecosystem where businesses can thrive and achieve their full potential.

As we move to the future, the era of embedded financing is redefining the landscape of SMB financing, unlocking new possibilities and opportunities for growth.

Thanks to the recently established strategic partnership between CSG Forte and Lendica, an embedded AI-lending company, your software organization can provide merchants with quick access to capital, removing time delays and other barriers SMBs often encounter. Contact our team to start offering your merchants a competitive, embedded financing offering in as little as two weeks.

‘Tis the Season for Secure Payments: Protecting Your Business from Holiday Fraud

The holiday season is here, bringing with it the hustle and bustle of surging online transactions. Consumer spend is expected to rebound above pre-pandemic levels for the first time, even as 72% of shoppers anticipate higher prices.

Inflation dread isn’t enough to deter cash-strapped consumers. Credit options, such as Buy Now Pay Later short-term financing, will cover an estimated 13% of holiday purchases this year.

With the uptick of consumers embracing the holiday splurge, it’s essential to ensure that your store is safeguarded from the Grinches of the online world—fraudsters. Here are three tips to keep your e-commerce business merry and bright:

 

1. Hosted Payment Pages: A Trusted Haven for Transactions

Picture a secure fortress for your customers’ payment data—one that’s not on your servers. This is where securely hosted payment pages with a reliable payments provider come into play. By directing your online payments through these secure pages, you’re ensuring that sensitive payment data doesn’t linger in your system like a misplaced ornament.

The beauty of securely hosted payment pages lies in their ability to provide a seamless and secure transaction experience. Customers enter their payment details on a page hosted by the payments provider, keeping the crucial data away from your servers and reducing your PCI (Payment Card Industry) Data Security Standard scope. This ensures a worry-free experience for both you and your customers that leaves fraudsters out in the cold.

 

2. Digital Wallets: Security Wrapped in Convenience

‘Tis the season for giving, and what better gift to offer your customers than secure and convenient digital payment methods? Enter digital wallets. With enhanced security features, they provide a hassle-free and speedy checkout experience.

By offering popular digital wallets at your checkout, you’re not just embracing the holiday spirit—you’re also aligning with what consumers trust. Digital wallets safely store payment credentials and employ advanced encryption techniques to keep them protected. It’s a win-win—customers get a seamless payment experience, and you get the peace of mind that their data is protected.

 

3. Tokenization: Turning the Tables on Fraudsters

If you want to take your holiday defenses up a notch, consider the power of tokenization.

Tokenization involves replacing actual card and ACH payment data with generated tokens. These tokens have no intrinsic value and provide no value to fraudsters. It’s the equivalent of leaving fake presents under the tree for anyone attempting to snatch them. A reputable payments provider can assist you in implementing this robust layer of security, ensuring that even if a Grinch manages to sneak into your system, they leave empty-handed.

In the midst of the holiday season excitement, don’t let the fear of fraud steal your joy. By following these three tips—utilizing hosted payment pages, offering secure digital payment methods, and embracing tokenization—you can ensure your online business stays secure while shoppers stuff their carts.

 

CSG Forte is here to protect your payments this holiday season. Contact us to get started today.

Beat The Numbers Game: Guard Against Card Testing Fraud

Card not present (CNP) fraud has been on the rise: it’s projected to account for nearly 75% of all payments fraud by 2024, which is up from 57% in 2019. As merchants shift their focus to protect against this growing share of CNP fraud, they find themselves tackling a specific type: card testing attacks.

Payment solutions can play a major role in protecting businesses from card testing-related losses. But does yours have the right capabilities? Read on as we explain card testing and some fundamental ways to reduce its impact on your customers and your bottom line.

What Is Card Testing?

Card testing is a payment fraud technique where cybercriminals use automation or bots to guess valid credit card numbers. It’s literally a numbers game. Fraudsters submit a barrage of small transactions of just a few cents each, testing to see if a card number is valid. Once they’ve identified a set of card information that works, they then use it either to make larger unauthorized purchases or sell the card info on the dark web.

For merchants, falling victim to card testing can disrupt operations and generate costly chargebacks. But it means more than revenue loss: there’s also reputational damage to consider. According to a PYMNTS survey, 21% of consumers said that losing money due to fraud would be the most important factor that would erode their trust in a merchant.

4 Layers of Protection Against Card Testing Attacks

In the battle against card testing fraud, your strongest line of defense is a modern payment solution. It can safeguard your transactions and customer data in multiple ways. Here’s how:

1. ADVANCED FRAUD DETECTION

As we all know, the earlier fraud is spotted, the better. Payment solutions may employ machine learning algorithms that identify suspicious transaction patterns in real time. These fraud detection features can flag and report suspicious activity before bad actors “crack the code” and make a successful unauthorized charge, or before they can go on to do significant damage with the stolen card information.

2. TOKENIZATION TECHNOLOGY

Modern payment solutions typically replace sensitive card data with unique tokens—randomly generated values that are unrelated to the original card data. This adds an extra layer of security. Even if bad actors intercept the merchant’s card data, the tokens render that data useless for making unauthorized transactions.

3. 3D SECURE AUTHENTICATION

Modern payments solutions often integrate 3D Secure protocols, or “3DS,” which stands for 3 Domain Secure. This is an authentication method for online transactions that relies on three domains:

  • Issuer Domain — The bank or financial institution that issued the card
  • Acquirer Domain — The bank or financial institution processing the payment on the merchant’s behalf
  • Interoperability Domain (Card Scheme) — The payment card network (e.g., Visa, MasterCard) that connects the issuer and acquirer domains

If you’re using 3DS, a cardholder making an online purchase undergoes an additional authentication step. This typically involves redirecting them to a page hosted by their card issuer or having them provide a one-time authentication code that is sent to their phone. And it’s this extra step that adds another strong barrier against card testing attempts.

4. REGULAR UPDATES & MONITORING

Payment fraud techniques evolve, and so should your payments solution. Your SaaS provider should provide regular updates and enable round-the-clock monitoring, making sure your payment system is always equipped with the latest security features.

Take Action Today

Safeguarding your organization against card testing is a must. Do you know if your payment system has all these protections in place for you and your customers? Talk to us at CSG Forte, and we can help you ensure your payments security is up to task—even as fraudsters put it to the test.

Not Ready for Rising Card Fees? Try These 4 Payment Alternatives

Credit cards emerged from the pandemic stronger than ever. After bearing the brunt of decreased recreational spending in 2020, the industry is riding the wave of ecommerce growth to top an unprecedented $500 billion in online credit card usage. Resurgent travel spending, higher wages and generous rewards programs all bode well for credit card payments.

But as card spending stabilizes among consumers, their issuers must contend with the broader impact of economic downturn.

Credit Card Payments Under Pressure

The country is seeing record numbers of credit card debt and growing delinquency rates. Economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York report that credit cards are the most prevalent form of household debt and expect this trend to continue—particularly with student loan payments resuming.

Talk of congressional action to lower swipe fees and rumors swirling around rising interchange fees also loom large for merchants that rely on credit card payments. With so much uncertainty, how can businesses protect their bottom line?

Bolster Your Business Growth With More Ways to Pay

Prepare for volatility in the credit card space by diversifying your payment methods. Consider these alternatives to safeguard your cash flow and generate revenue in any economic conditions.

4 Alternative Payment Methods

1. ACH

Automated clearing house (ACH) payments are a strong solution for businesses seeking reliability. This payment method allows merchants to draw funds directly from the customer’s bank account, limiting risk and excess costs.

ACH processing expenses are generally low compared to other forms of payment. Unlike credit cards, which are subject to fluctuating fees, ACH doesn’t require merchants to make authorization requests to credit card networks or issuing banks. This means that not only does using ACH save businesses money—it also insulates them from rising interchange fees if Visa or Mastercard choose to schedule increases.

ACH is also a more secure payment option. Credit card fraud is on the rise, with global losses projected to surpass $43 billion in the next five years. What does that mean for merchants? More chargebacks, less revenue and greater overall risk.

ACH payments also come equipped with security features that protect businesses from fraud. With end-to-end encryption and tokenization, sensitive payment data is disguised during transmission. It’s one of the safest payment methods available to businesses today.

2. Same-day ACH

Businesses can further optimize their electronic payments by implementing same-day ACH transfers. This method carries the same benefits as standard ACH payments, but with the added promise of receiving funds within a single day.

Payment processors traditionally could expect to see direct transfers reach their accounts in around four business days. But those that partner with a same-day ACH provider are guaranteed usable funds much sooner, provided they initiate the transaction by the designated cutoff time.

By bypassing processing delays, businesses enjoy the following advantages:

  • Faster payments, with lower fees. The speed of same-day ACH processing is comparable to credit cards. But with lower costs involved, the former provides merchants the best elements of both.
  • Streamlined cash flow. Automated transfers and reduced cycling times simplify delivery and allow for better control of cash flow.
  • Optimized customer experience. When you enable customers to pay their bills closer to the due date, both sides benefit. Same-day ACH processing helps last-minute payers avoid penalties, while faster crediting is applied to late payments.
  • Expedited payroll disbursement. Same-day ACH can also be used to pay employees via direct deposit. Faster issuance reduces administrative burdens by providing quick resolution of late payments or emergency distribution.

3. RTP

Real-time payments (RTP) can also quickly provide your business with cash flow. Much like ACH, this method supports quick electronic transfers between banks. But the similarities stop there.

RTP transactions are instantaneous—faster even than same-day ACH. These payments are initiated, cleared and settled with virtually zero perceptible delay. The unrivaled speed of RTP is a contributing factor to its international appeal: one 2020 survey found that consumers across six different markets consider real-time payments at least as important as internet access.

Speed isn’t RTP’s only convenient feature. Year-round availability is another unique benefit. Unlike ACH, real-time payments are also available on weekends, holidays and after business hours. Because it’s processed by The Clearing House rather than banks, RTP isn’t subject to the same limitations and enables 24/7/365 payments.

However, he RTP system isn’t always the answer. Transactions are capped at $1 million, and only credit payments are supported. Its network is also smaller than that of ACH—not every bank covers RTP.

But RTP is gaining popularity, and as it does, these drawbacks are expected to shrink. The U.S. Federal Reserve recently rolled out an instant payments service of its own in FedNow. As banks push for faster fund processing, the government’s network will offer them additional high-speed coverage options, making RTP more broadly available.

By stimulating competition with this move, expect to see increased adoption of real-time payments in the U.S.

4. Alternative Methods of Payment

Non-traditional payments are also available to businesses seeking credit card alternatives. To capitalize on these options, connect your bank account to an e-wallet that is compatible with popular payment methods. These might include:

  • PayPal
  • Physical or digital gift cards
  • Loyalty points
  • Apple Pay
  • Google Pay
  • Direct carrier billing

Offering customers the capability to use their preferred method encourages on-time payments, increased revenue and a seamless CX.

Get A Consult: Find Your Payments Fit

Payment methods should be built for your business—not the other way around. Connect with CSG Forte to get expert advice on which payment processing options will work best for you. Get started.