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


Categories: News,

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.

Tips to Reduce Late Payments by Engaging Payers

Suman Chaudhuri

Suman Chaudhuri, VP, Sales & Revenue, CSG Forte

 

Late payments are on the rise, and they can weigh down your organization’s growth if they go unaddressed.

Auto loan and credit card delinquencies have bounced back to their pre-COVID rates, and late payments on consumer loans aren’t far behind. With these indicators, merchants in other industries might be right to wonder if they’ll see more missed or late payments—assuming they haven’t already.

Organizations are well aware how late payments can disrupt cash flow. As they add up, they can limit the ability to make the investments needed for growth, from purchasing new equipment, to hiring talent, to ordering inventory. Then there’s the cost of collecting late payments: sending out notices, attempting to call customers, engaging collection agencies, and so on.

Consumers often miss payments due to a lack of funds, but a large chunk of late payments are highly preventable. Among consumers who missed a payment in the previous six months, nearly half said either forgetting about the bill or mixing up the due date were factors, according to a recent survey.

So what can organizations do to help customers pay on time? By keeping them engaged with these approaches.

Make the payment experience as easy as possible

Many late payments result from transaction abandonment, which is a usually fixable problem in the customer’s payment journey. Sometimes the abandonment is accidental: think of how easy it is to get distracted in the process of paying a bill online or over the phone if it requires multiple steps. Other transaction abandonment is deliberate: perhaps the customer became frustrated to learn that they can’t make their payment online, and they put off the task for later.

To reduce transaction abandonment—accidental or otherwise—it’s important to make the payment experience as simple as possible.

Accept multiple payment methods.

You want to ensure most of your customers can use the payment method they most prefer, whether that’s credit/debit card, ACH, digital wallets, and yes, paper checks (55% of U.S. consumers wrote checks in 2022).

Offer auto-pay.

Automating regular payments is a win-win for you and your customers. Customers get to put the recurring payment out of mind, and your organization sees fewer late or declined payments. Offering and encouraging auto-pay makes a huge difference. Between April and July 2020, renters failed to make timely rent payments approximately 22% of the time. However, renters who used Rentec’s recurring payment system, powered by CSG Forte, only made late payments 1% of the time.

Allow payments in installments.

Making the payment experience easier can also involve offering a payment plan if your organization can provide that flexibility. Accepting partial or installment payments can be preferable to delinquent payments, and offering installments keeps the customer engaged. The key here is to use a payment solution that enables customers to set up their own alternative payment arrangements easily, without having to call into your call center. The payment terms, installment amounts and due dates also need to be clearly communicated to the customer through the user interface.

Send payment reminders on the customer’s preferred communication channels

The modern consumer has plenty of notifications and due dates competing for their attention. It’s easy for even your most organized customers to forget a payment unless they receive regular reminders. But reminders only matter if customers receive them on communication channels they use. Make sure you can send these automated messages by multiple methods, including email, text and outbound interactive voice response (IVR).

Also consider payment reminders that can integrate with customers’ calendar applications, increasing their visibility as part of your customer’s recurring to-dos. If you can enable seamless payments through your reminder communications, such as offering text to pay, then you’ve not only made it easier for customers to remember their bill, but also pay it in seconds.

CSG Forte Engage, a payer engagement platform, can help simplify your customers’ payment journey in these ways and more, enabling you to minimize late payments and protect your bottom line. Learn more about CSG Forte Engage and start increasing on-time payments today.

CSG Forte Engage Enables Customers to Pay Bills the Way They Want

FORT WORTH, TX, Sept. 12, CSG Forte, a CSG® (NASDAQ: CSGS) company and a leader in complete and customizable digital payments, today launched CSG Forte Engage. A multi-channel, no-code payment solution, CSG Forte Engage puts the power into the hands of the customer to pay when they want, how they want. With CSG Forte Engage, organizations can leverage NanoSite technology to create customized, secure statements and send them to customers for payment via SMS, email, 2-way interactive voice response (IVR) or the contact center. By making it easy for organizations to send branded and personalized statements, they can securely accept payment in real time, remove their exposure to sensitive data and modernize the customer experience. Recently, CSG Forte Engage helped one company reduce uncollected payments by 85% and another to increase customer engagement by 660% leading to $8M in incremental revenue.

“The payments landscape and payer behavior are quickly changing, and customers want more flexibility in the way they pay,” said Jeff Kump, President, CSG Forte. “CSG Forte Engage offers flexibility in every form to elevate both the simplicity of the payment journey and overall customer experience. By empowering customers to pay how they want, this solution will forge the path for the next generation of secure and simple payments processing.”

With CSG Forte Engage, organizations can:

  • Increase customer satisfaction and successful payment completion by providing simple payment journeys that are configured for each customer. Multiple payment options give every customer the choice on how to be communicated with and how to pay.
  • Meet customers where they are by allowing them to securely switch between channels throughout the journey from text, email, inbound or outbound IVR or live agent.
  • Maximize revenue and see immediate ROI with a no-code, quick integration that modernizes the payer experience while leveraging existing payment processing forms including ACH.
  • Have peace of mind with automated, PCI-compliant payment processes that safeguard customer data and prevent fraud.

“In order to meet consumer expectations and create positive payment experiences, organizations need to be prepared to meet consumers where they are and give them the ability to pay in whatever ways they prefer,” said Daniel Keyes, Senior Analyst at Javelin Strategy & Research. “Organizations that can offer a variety of payment methods across multiple channels, while minimizing friction for consumers no matter how they’re paying, will be able to complete more payments and drive customer satisfaction.”

CSG Forte was recently named Best API Set in The Strawhecker Group’s annual Best of Breed Awards. With the launch of CSG Forte Engage, CSG continues to be a leader in payment technology, empowering organizations to be future-forward and customer-obsessed. For more information about CSG Forte Engage, view this short video or visit our website.

7 Essential Features for a Better IVR Payment System

While no one likes paying bills, reducing consumer friction points during the bill-paying process can get your invoices paid faster. Millennials are more likely to prioritize paying bills that are easy to pay before tackling (or ignoring) bills that are more inconvenient. More than half (52%) of consumers report experiencing at least one pain point when paying bills, and 29% encountered multiple issues. Top bill-paying complaints include log-in frustration, authentication issues and a lack of autopay options. Creating convenient payment options improves the customer experience and can lead to more on-time payments.

Thoughtfully designed interactive voice response (IVR) payment systems are convenient, efficient and secure, which benefits both customers and merchants. IVR payment systems use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology to guide customers through the payment process over the phone. However, poorly designed IVR payment solutions increase customer frustrations instead of reducing them. The best IVR systems include seven key features that improve the payment experience for customers.

Benefits of Offering IVR for Payments

Customers expect the payment experience to be quick, convenient and secure. Quality IVR services meet all three of these expectations. Customers may also expect merchants to offer an IVR payment option; according to a 2022 survey of more than 2,100 online bill payers, 26% had paid a bill via an automated phone system within the past year.

The IVR payment process is:

  • Fast. By using an automated IVR payment system, customers don’t have to wait to speak with a live agent. The average IVR payment call takes about three minutes. This can be significantly faster than other payment processing options, such as finding the merchant’s payment portal, logging in and resetting a password after multiple failed login attempts or waiting on hold to speak to an agent to complete a payment.
  • Convenient. IVR payment solutions allow customers to pay their bills 24/7—without an internet connection. Customers are also able to enter their payment reference number (e.g., invoice/account/policy number) so they don’t have to remember a password.
  • Secure. IVR payment platforms securely process transactions and reduce the risk that sensitive payment data is exposed either via unauthorized access to internal systems or through call center agents manually accepting payment details over the phone.
    • When using an IVR system, customers can enter credit card information via their phone keypad instead of reading out the information to a contact center agent. This prevents someone from overhearing the conversation and jotting down the information.
    • Merchants should select an IVR system that complies with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).
  • Affordable. IVR payment systems benefit merchants by increasing efficiency and decreasing labor costs by reducing payment-related calls to contact center agents, whichcost around $5 or more per call. While a few dollars per call may not sound like much, it adds up quickly. In contrast, IVR payment calls cost merchants about 50 cents each.

7 Must-Have IVR Payment System Features

IVR payment systems should provide:

  1. Multiple payment options (credit card and ACH) for full or partial payments
  2. Automated voice services offered in multiple languages
  3. Several ways for customers to connect to the IVR system
    • Call a direct number (printed on statements or included in an email or text notification)
    • Access via the IVR menu (e.g., press 1 to pay your bill)
    • Agent transfers callers to the payment IVR
  4. A variety menu options after the customer completes payment
    • Make another payment
    • Receive an email/text receipt
    • Speak with an agent
    • Store (or update) payment method(s) for future transactions
  5. An outbound IVR system that
    • Delivers payment reminders
    • Allows customers to schedule a convenient time to receive an automated call to make their payment
  6. The ability to easily make changes to your IVR system based on your business’ needs
  7. Integration with billing and accounting systems, allowing payments to be posted directly to your business in real time

CSG Forte offers an IVR payment system with inbound and outbound options for fast, convenient and secure payment processing. With CSG Forte Engage’s IVR solution, live agent calls have been reduced by up to 70% for payments, on average.

Contact us to learn how CSG Forte Engage’s IVR solution can streamline your payment processes and reduce inbound calls to your call center. Get started today.

4 Best Practices for a Better Payment Experience

Providing a smooth experience is key if you want to make on-time payments easy for your customers. But meeting their expectations can be easier said than done.

The payment experience is often reported as a source of friction for customers. According to a survey of 400 billing and collections executives, 91% of customers cited the inconvenience of bill pay as a pain point. And 34% received customer feedback that there isn’t enough choice in payment methods.

Fortunately, there are simple solutions to facilitate a better payment experience. Follow these four best practices to deliver a secure and convenient digital payment experience that cuts down friction and meets customer expectations.

4 best practices to improve the customer payment experience

1. Seek seamless integration of payment methods

Simply making a multitude of payment options available to your customers won’t create a convenient experience. You need to integrate those channels if you want to encourage prompt payment.

When the payment process is comprised of disparate solutions, it creates friction for customers who are forced to leapfrog from one to another. A customer receiving an email payment reminder doesn’t want to get on the phone with a call center agent just to provide their credit card information. Imagine instead the convenience of being directed to an online payment platform directly within the reminder email.

By integrating your payment methods and eliminating cumbersome payment journeys, you’ll encourage prompt and repeatable payments.

2. Prioritize CX to limit late payments

Providing a positive customer experience doesn’t stop at the point of purchase. The payment portal is a brand touchpoint that deserves equal consideration.

For customers, the hassle of navigating a poorly designed platform can deter on-time payments. According to a 2022 survey of more than 1,500 bill payers, 14% of respondents prioritize convenience. Millennials go even further, with 23% citing payment ease as a reason to pay some bills before others.

A business that offers a user-friendly payment experience may encourage customers to first pay their bills before tackling—or even disregarding—those that involve more convoluted processes.

3. Gain trust with a secure payment platform

Many consumers are concerned about security, for good reason. Credit card fraud is widespread, and card-not-present fraud is expected to account for 74% of all credit card fraud losses by 2024. Up to 52% of U.S. bill payers rank security as a top feature in the digital payment process.

Here’s the takeaway: if customers don’t trust your payment system, they won’t use it.

It’s critical to demonstrate that cardholder data is protected on your payment platform. Follow these strategies to keep your customers secure:

  • Use payment IVR systems to securely take payments
    Asking customers to read out their credit card information to a call center agent increases the risk of fraud. Leverage Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology to add a level of security.

    • Inbound IVR allows customers to call in and manually enter their credit card information via keypad, reducing the risk that someone will overhear the details and jot them down.
    • Outbound IVR lets customers receive a scheduled payment call at their convenience and then enter their credit card details during the call.
  • Keep call center payments secure
    Use a payment platform that makes it simple for call center agents to quickly create custom invoices and send customers a link to securely complete transactions. Customers can pay directly without sharing their account data with anyone, all while removing the organization’s exposure to sensitive payment data.
  • Choose a payment platform that offers Payment Card Industry (PCI)-compliant processing
    PCI regulations change frequently, making it challenging to keep up with complex security requirements. You can spare your business the risk of inadvertent regulatory discrepancies by using a payment platform with built-in PCI compliance. Trusting your payment platform to securely store sensitive customer data lets you stay focused on growing your business.

4. Make it easy for customers to read your reminders

A quick way to increase the odds of late payment is sending a customer reminders on a communication channel they rarely use. Leverage multi-channel communications for reminders to make sure you’re reaching them where they are most likely to respond.

Relying on email won’t always get your message across. Short Message Service (SMS) is gaining popularity. A Statista survey found that U.S. Internet users opened and read 42% of commercial text messages, as opposed to 32% sent by email.

The CSG Forte Payer Engagement Platform allows customers to pay when and how they want

CSG Forte’s Payer Engagement Platform is a revolutionary payments solution that meets your customers where they are. It enables any-time, any-way payment completion on the channel of their choice. Our low-code solution manages invoice creation, payment processing, and payment notifications—all on one secure platform.

Contact us to learn how the CSG Payer Engagement Platform can simplify your customer’s bill payments, improve their experience, reduce fraud exposure and encourage on-time payments.

Invite customers to receive payment reminders, confirmations and late notices on their preferred channels. Then implement a platform with calendar integrations to easily send personalized links to a custom invoice where you know they’ll see it.