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.

CSG Forte Earns Best API Set by The Strawhecker Group in 2023 Best of Breed API Awards

ALLEN, TX, July 13, 2023 – CSG Forte, a CSG® (NASDAQ: CSGS) company and the leader in complete and customizable digital payments, was recognized by The Strawhecker Group (TSG) as the Best API Set in the 2023 Best of Breed API Awards. The awards are based on TSG’s Global Experience Monitoring (GEM) platform, which ranks the overall API experience of payment gateways across functionality, documentation and integration and development. CSG Forte was highlighted for its user-friendly experience for developers and additionally named a runner-up for Overall API Assessment, API Set: Specifications and Developer Roadmap.

“To attract, retain and forge strong relationships with merchants, gateway and payment technology providers like CSG Forte rely on technology, open-source platforms and the development communities of the future to continuously improve our offerings,” said Jeff Kump, President, CSG Forte. “Our unwavering commitment to adaptability, innovation and investment in our platform allows us to deliver unparalleled payment experiences to our customers. This recognition is a testament to the creative minds and dedication of the entire CSG Forte team, and we are honored to be named a leader by The Strawhecker Group for the third year in a row.”

“We are excited to recognize CSG Forte for its exceptional API Set, which surpassed the average API Set total score by over 13 points,” said Mike Strawhecker, President, TSG. “Our annual awards give payment platforms the data to make impactful adjustments, and the CSG Forte team consistently uses our GEM Suite to improve and set new standards for the industry.”

CSG Forte delivers a single, end-to-end cloud-based payments platform that helps merchants grow their business quickly, scale payments smarter and mitigate fraud risks. With CSG Forte’s award-winning technology, organizations can modernize and simplify how customers pay bills, drive more on-time payments and improve customer satisfaction with a low-code, single unified digital platform. With experience in payment processing across ACH and card payments, acceptance, authorization and management, CSG Forte handles tens of billions of dollars in payments for nearly 100,000 merchants annually.

For more information about CSG Forte, please visit: www.forte.net.

CSG Forte Team

CSG Forte Team


Categories: News,

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

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

 

What Are Electronic Payment Systems?

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

 

The Benefits of E-Payments

With e-payments, users can enjoy:

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

 

Types of Electronic Payments Systems and Their Advantages

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

ACH Debit Pull

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

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

ACH Credit Push

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

Credit Cards

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

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

Mobile Pay

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

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

 

The History of Electronic Payment Systems

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

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

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

 

The (Wide, Wide) World Wide Web

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

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

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

 

Keeping Your Private Data Safe

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

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

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

 

What’s Next For Electronic Payment Systems?

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

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

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

 

The Benefits of E-Payments for Your Business

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

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

 

How Can CSG Forte Help Optimize Your Electronic Payment Systems

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

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

The Future of Digital Payments for Governments

Today, you would be hard-pressed to find a retailer that did not offer a form of digital payment. The digital payments sector is well-established and expected to explode in the coming years. A study from Juniper Research has found that the number of unique digital wallet users will exceed 4.4 billion globally in 2025, rising from 2.6 billion in 2020. Not only is this the customer expectation, but it also helps the merchant provide and track customer purchasing patterns and can help mitigate the risk of fraud and cyberattacks. It’s a win-win.

On the other hand, public entities have been slower on the uptake. Between concerns with personnel resources, budget, compliance, and cybersecurity, governments, for example, have historically been skeptical of the value that digital payment options would bring to their municipality.

 

Digital Payment Solutions

Fast forward to this year, government leaders are more excited to explore digital payment options. Most cities have either begun to dip their toe in the digital payments waters or have dived headfirst and are exploring options for expansion. Let’s take a closer look at the roadblocks to adoption and what’s at stake for elected officials and constituents.

For a while, concerns about credit card fees and older processing infrastructure might have slowed a government’s embrace of digital payment options. But that landscape is changing fast. Increased constituent demand for a more seamless online experience and capable tech stacks helps government agencies accelerate the move toward digital payments.

Digital payments also give governments more data that can help them form a holistic view of all customer transactions and enable them to create a more seamless experience. This, e.g., means that constituents can log in to one portal and see all due payments. They can also choose to opt-in for automated text reminders about payment dates.

While digital payments might promise a seamless experience and a path to modernization, there is one obstacle government agencies need to overcome: security of personal information.

 

Overcoming Security Issues With Digital Government Payments

Governments hold some of the country’s most sensitive data and it’s easily their top priority to ensure this information is kept safe. Many local governments have been cautious about adopting digital payment options due to concerns about cybersecurity and damaging data leaks. Despite these challenges, government agencies must find a solution.

Most importantly, they need to pay attention to security to:

  • Ensure adherence to compliance measures. Payment Card Industry (PCI) and National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA) standards dictate how businesses collect, store, and work with sensitive constituent information. Any digital payment solution will have to check off these boxes.
  • Uphold the public’s trust. Constituent confidence is directly related to the feeling of safety when making digital payment transactions. Attention to security will fortify defenses and help to develop and retain constituents’ confidence.

To navigate this concern with caution, government entities should register a trusted payments partner who can protect constituent data while ensuring seamless digital payment offerings.

Fortunately, there are many technologies available to prevent hacks and provide secure payments. Governments should ensure the digital solutions they adopt include cybersecurity protections like end-to-end encryption, multifactor authentication, and tokenization.

From there, they’d also need to establish clear lines of communication with constituents to help them understand the measures in place and the security of their data. Not only does this bolster constituent trust, but two-way communication can allow constituents to flag phishing schemes and scams they receive from fraudsters. Scammers that pose as government entities to gather payments are unfortunately common. With an open line of communication and these security must-haves in mind, governments can act against fraudsters and stop them from doing more damage.

 

Resource Allocation: Digital Payments Pay Off

Resource allocation is a significant concern for most government agencies. The adoption of cutting-edge technologies to prevent hacks may be an obvious expense for a large e-commerce brand, but government purchases are under more extreme scrutiny and necessitate a longer approval process. However, there are clear benefits to the adoption of digital payments. In many cases, the technology, e.g., pays for itself in the long term.

With more digital integrations, like a user-friendly customer portal and automated text messages to remind residents of upcoming payments, constituents are more likely to pay their bills on time. As a result, your town can limit resident frustration around late fee charges and save resources on resolving complaints and issuing late notices.

The pandemic made digital and touchless experiences vital for immunocompromised residents and critical for the health of all. It’s important to note, however, that maintaining traditional payment methods is also crucial to accommodating all demographics and needs. With more tech-savvy consumers and a younger, digitally fluent population, the option of digital payments helps create a more seamless and positive experience for more people.

The increased digitalization also lessens the need for personnel to manage payments, allowing governments to reallocate staff to more strategic and impactful departments and missions. What’s more, the move to digital means that tracking constituent payment and behavior will become significantly easier. Government leaders can even leverage the data to further improve the constituent experience and bridge a closer and more fluid connection with residents.

All said, elected officials have a real motive to meet this demand from constituents, and the reasons for government entities to hesitate to adopt the latest and greatest in digital payments solutions are quickly vaporizing. The ability to implement and carefully manage these solutions will be important to maintain constituent goodwill, generate revenue, and provide greater accessibility now and into the future.

Sukanya Madhavan

Sukanya Madhavan

VP Product Management, CSG Forte

Categories: News,

4 Digital Payments Trends Making Businesses Future Ready in 2023

This year, we’re looking at a different world in digital payments. Businesses are facing down recession fears and tighter margins. Consumer spending habits are shifting as they contend with inflation.

What hasn’t changed? The payments experience is still key to maintaining healthy cashflow and loyal customers. And innovation will still pay off down the road in cost-reducing efficiency and better customer experience (CX). It’s just that businesses must adjust their priorities to navigate 2023’s economic headwinds.

CSG Forte President Jeff Kump, and Sukanya Madhavan, VP of Product Management, offer a glimpse of where merchants will make strides in the payment experience, from digital wallets to ACH to security.

Here’s what they see organizations doing to prepare not just for 2023, but for the years ahead in digital payments.

Jeff Kump

 

1)   Digital Payments Will Help Make Businesses Metaverse-Ready

Cash is phasing out as consumers embrace more digital avenues of retail shopping, like buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS). Even as the pandemic waned, U.S. coin shortages persisted because consumers weren’t inclined to use them to buy things (which stalled circulation).

Trending up are digital wallets, which have become more commonly used than even credit cards, according to a global survey. It’s not just because of consumer preferences—businesses are encouraging digital payment options, too. They’re already trying to streamline and digitize more processes, and that includes the payments they accept.

Where is this all headed? Possibly to the ultimate digital marketplace—i.e., the metaverse—which will eschew cash or plastic entirely. Businesses will need to accept digital wallet payments if and when they participate in those immersive experiences. Even if they join in metaverse commerce after 2023, this year they’ll lay the foundation for it on the payments side.

 

2)   Older Generation Consumers Will Ease into Next-Generation Payments

Spoiling the grandkids will look different in a cashless future. Picture Grandma slipping them a couple bucks on the sly using a peer-to-peer payment app instead of dollar bills.

But they’re not there yet. Baby boomers were the least likely generation to have tried a new payment method in the past year (only 29% compared with 79% of Gen Z). While we’re in this transition towards digital payment dominance, businesses need to accommodate consumers who remain reluctant (or unable) to pay online.

To keep serving those customers, businesses won’t shift to fully paperless and online payments just yet. In the meantime, we’ll see them encourage more customers toward digital adoption while continuing to offer traditional payment methods in the name of inclusion and accessibility. As late adopters receive a gentle education on newer payment methods, we’ll see the generation gap of digital payment adoption begin to close.

Sukanya Madhavan

 

3)   Organizations Will Offer Embedded Payments Everywhere

There’s no denying the connection between payment simplicity and revenue: the easier you make it for customers to buy, the easier it is to make sales. This year, we’ll see businesses speed up buying processes by using integrated payments to remove speed bumps.

In eCommerce, they’ll eliminate friction by embedding pay tools more smoothly in apps and websites. One example is Instagram, which links to your bank so you can purchase an advertised product straight from your feed with a single swipe.

Friction-free, integrated payments will transform in-person shopping, too. Seeing more consumers return to physical locations, retailers are working to streamline the brick-and-mortar buying experience. The Kroger grocery chain is testing shopping carts that track the items shoppers want to buy, allowing them to skip checkout entirely. Amazon Go stores, which already let customers purchase without checking out, continue to expand to more locations.

Whether we’re online or in-person, we’ll continue seeing businesses remove hurdles in the buying process we once thought were essential, simplifying the path to “Sold!”

 

4)   Authentication Tools Will Help Merchants Raise Their Game Against Fraud

ACH payments have increased in volume by over 50% within a decade. The downside of ACH’s growth is that more transactions create more opportunities for fraudsters using the payment method. Businesses have recognized the heightened security risk of their transactions and are poised to combat it. According to “The State of Retail Payments in 2022” from Forrester Research, Inc., September 2022, “improving security (fraud, management encryption) jumped to the top of the list of online initiatives, with a significant 42% of retailers including it on their list of priorities.”

In 2023, more businesses will act on their anti-fraud priorities by using stronger payment security solutions to process ACH transactions. In their efforts to reduce risk, they’ll leverage authentication to verify account status and ownership in a seamless process that keeps payments easy for customers. After all, the payment experiences of the future aren’t just about keeping payments simple, but also safe.

Learn more about how CSG Forte solutions can help your business prepare for the future.

CSG Forte Team

CSG Forte Team


Categories: News,

CSG Forte Combats Fraud with Launch of End-to-End Authorization Solution, CSG Forte Authenticate

ALLEN, Oct. 20, 2022 –  CSG Forte, a CSG (NASDAQ: CSGS) company and the expert in processing and making automated clearing house (ACH) payments more secure and reliable, today launched CSG Forte Authenticate. To be successful, merchants need lock-tight authentication capabilities that effectively reduce the risks of fraud and automate their processes.  Authenticate is an end-to-end payments security solution that empowers merchants across verticals to seamlessly verify account owner ACH payments and reduce the risk of fraud.

“At a time when fraud is surging, it is not a matter of if, but when fraud occurs. From customer convenience to ease of acceptance, CSG Forte Authenticate gives merchants the ability to process ACH payments with confidence, securely and reliably,” said Jeff Kump, head of payments, CSG Forte. “CSG Forte continues to modernize our platform to reduce time to activation, ensure that businesses get paid on-time with accuracy and introduce new products that meet evolving customer demands. We’re proud to be industry leaders in helping merchants combat fraud.”

According to “The State of Retail Payments in 2022” from Forrester Research, Inc., September 2022, “improving security (fraud, management encryption) jumped to the top of the list of online initiatives, with a significant 42% of retailers including it on their list of priorities.” With CSG Forte Authenticate at the center of ACH payments, an insurance company can reduce fraudulent deposits and increase customer loyalty and trust by depositing a check into the account owned by the person they are writing the check to.

 

With CSG Forte Authenticate, businesses can:

  • Reduce fraud or potential losses, establish a secure financial transaction relationship and improve overall profitability
  • Ensure validated and non-failing inputs to the processor/network, to drive increased acceptance rates
  • Catch errors in the early stages of a transaction and prevent transaction delays, to deliver increased customer satisfaction and loyalty

Based on the Merchant Risk Council, the volume of ACH transactions has grown by over 50% in less than a decade, which indicates that ACH payments are a growing segment of the modern payments landscape. CSG Forte’s expertise in same-day ACH technology allows merchants to fuel growth by receiving funds quicker and at a lower price than working with other payment processors. For more information about CSG Forte Authenticate, join us at Money 2020 in Las Vegas #3-222 (Venetian Tower) or visit https://www.forte.net/why-csg-forte/authenticate.

CSG Forte Team

CSG Forte Team


Categories: News,

Million Dollar Payments: Nacha Boosting Same-Day ACH Maximum

Think of your favorite news outlet, any news outlet. Chances are, if you visit their site right now, the leading topic will be the economy. From inflation to new job numbers, several metrics and topics are commonly discussed when analyzing the economy. However, the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network often goes overlooked in economic discussions. And it definitely shouldn’t—with over 7.5 billion payments valued at $18.9 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2021 alone.  

With payment volumes and values continuing to grow, new rules are needed to foster the growth of the ACH network. The National Automated Clearing House Association (Nacha), an organization that governs and facilitates the ACH Network, develops standards and rules to ensure the ACH Network operates smoothly, and that payment information transfers securely and quickly.

In response to substantial increases in ACH payments, Nacha announced a rule that will increase the same-day ACH spending limit. Beginning March 18, 2022, businesses will be able to transfer same-day credit and debit payments up to $1 million, up from the current $100,000 cap.

And with more verticals likely to adopt this because of the increasing amount of payments they can accept, there’s never been a better time to start offering this payment option. Get paid faster, lower payment processing costs and easily manage recurring payments.

 

Choose CSG Forte for Same-Day ACH Payments

CSG Forte is the leading payments provider of same-day ACH, supporting over 73,000 merchants. With a best-in-class solution and decades of experience, we deliver a scalable and seamless solution to companies operating in a wide variety of verticals, including integrated software vendors (ISVs), healthcare, property management, government, insurance, enterprises and utility organizations.

Our payments platform can turn what was once an operational expense into a revenue generator through our revenue optimization solutions. Our platform optimizes ACH payments by validating payments in real-time, automatically re-presenting failed payments and keeping recurring payments on track.

Want to learn how you can optimize your ACH payments and take advantage of the rule change? Click here to learn more.