Working with a Payment Gateway

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

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

Payment Processors vs. Payment Gateways

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

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

Key Components of a Payment Gateway

A payment gateway should include these functionalities:

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

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

Infrastructure Development

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

Data Security Measures

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

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

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

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

Integration With a Payment Processor

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

Compliance and Regulatory Considerations

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

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

The following steps are part of PCI DSS requirements:

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

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

The Benefits of Using a Payment Gateway

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

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

CSG Forte’s Payment Gateway Solution

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

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

Why Choose CSG Forte Over Building Your Own Payment Gateway?

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

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

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

Optimize the Payment Journey for Your Customers

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

What Is the Payment Journey?

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

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

How to Improve the Payment Journey

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

1. Accept Multiple Forms of Payment

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

2. Provide Recurring Billing Options

Subscription or recurring billing provides:

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

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

3. Offer Multiple Channels to Pay

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

4. Let Customers Buy Now and Pay Later

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

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

The Benefits of Frictionless Payments

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

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

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

How CSG Forte Will Help You

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

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

Multichannel Payments

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

Customized Payment Journeys

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

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

Secure Payments

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

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

Enhance Your Payment Customer Experience With CSG Forte

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

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

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

Transact With Customers Using Email Payments

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

What Is an Email Payment Link?

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

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

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

Can Your Business Benefit From Payment Notifications Through Email?

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

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

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

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

What Are the Advantages of the Email Payment Method?

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

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

Choosing a Trusted Payment Email Provider

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

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

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

Leverage the Benefits of Email Payments With CSG Forte

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

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

Streamline your payment processes by connecting with our team today.

A Guide to Avoiding Payment Reversals

Payment reversals challenge organizations of all sizes. Many companies even allocate a monthly budget to payment reversals. They may be a frustrating part of your own business—and depending on your organization’s services or products, you may have a higher likelihood of experiencing payment reversals.

The good news is that avoiding payment reversals is possible. This guide explores all aspects of payment reversal and solutions your organization can implement to minimize your risk.

What Is a Payment Reversal and Why Does It Happen?

While a payment reversal can happen for a few reasons, the direct cause is the initiation of a request by a cardholder, issuing bank, acquiring bank, merchant or card network. A payment reversal on a credit card is not uncommon. Some reasons why payment reversal happens include:

  • Unmet expectations: If consumers feel your product or service doesn’t match what they paid for or expected based on the description, they can submit a payment reversal.
  • Customer-initiated issues: Consumers may change their minds after purchase and no longer want to leverage your products or services.
  • Fraudulent reasons: A consumer may reverse a payment in an attempt to make a fraudulent transaction.
  • Incorrect charges: A payment reversal may occur as a response to the wrong amount of money being taken from the cardholder’s account.
  • Missing information or duplicate transactions: Many fields are involved in payments. If information is missing or incorrect, you may need to reverse charges. Reversals may also be necessary in the event of duplicate transactions.
  • Stock issues: If you are in e-commerce, items may sell out before they are delivered—so the consumer may need a refund for the unavailable products.

All payment reversals should be a concern for your organization and an opportunity to explore ways to optimize your processes. Payment reversals may indicate:

  • Operational failings
  • Product or service issues
  • Inadequate safeguarding against fraud

Payment reversals go beyond the financial implications of your organization needing to return funds and pay associated fees. Depending on the reasons for reversal, your business could face reputational harm and lose customer loyalty.

Types of Payment Reversals

Three main payment reversals exist—authorization reversal, refund reversal and chargeback reversal.

1. Authorization Reversal

Authorization reversal is reversing a payment before it has been fully completed. The automated clearing house (ACH) network is often limited and slow, so pre-authorized transactions are conventional. Pre-authorized funds may take days or weeks to transfer from the customer’s account to your bank account. This delay occurs because the customer’s bank needs to authorize the transaction and specify the funds for the payment. The wait provides a window of opportunity to stop a transaction before money leaves the bank account.

Authorization reversals can happen in various scenarios, including a merchant spotting a mistake in the amount keyed in or the consumer wanting to change cards or payment methods. Depending on the payment software you use, there is usually a way to stop the transaction from happening. The stop communicates to the issuing bank to reverse the authorized transaction.

In other instances, you may require the customer to pay a pre-authorized amount before they use or consume a product or service. For example, a hotel may ask for a deposit on a room before accepting a reservation. This pre-authorized payment is also known as a security payment. If the consumer does not spend the authorized amount, you must fully or partially refund them.

Remember that the longer the authorization takes, the more complex the reversal becomes. As the transaction clears through the payment process from the issuing bank to the card network and the acquiring bank, reversal fees become more expensive and complicated. Ideally, you want the funds to stay in the customer’s account when processing reversals so you can avoid interchange fees.

Rapid authorization reversals are cost-effective and fast. Reversals can happen before consumers even know, making this approach the most convenient and customer-centric way to cancel payments. Quick reversals also mean you won’t have to account for the arrival of a payment and return of funds on your balance sheet—something that’s particularly helpful when you process high volumes of transactions for your business.

2. Refund Reversal

Refund reversals are for payments where transactions have already been completed. Refunds often occur because consumers are unsatisfied with a product or service. If the opportunity has passed for an authorization reversal, a refund reversal is your next best option as an organization.

Instead of canceling a transaction, you pay the transaction in reverse. The acquiring bank is now paying the consumer or cardholder in a separate transaction. That means a refund is not a neutral agreement. You will have to pay transaction fees and lose the sale for services rendered or products sold. Still, a refund is preferable over a customer contacting their bank to get their money back.

3. Chargeback Reversal

Chargeback reversals are the worst-case scenario for your business. These reversals involve a customer contacting their bank to file a dispute against the transaction. A consumer may file a dispute if they believe fraud has occurred or if they never received an item or service they paid for.

Chargebacks are more than an inconvenience for your business. These reversals can incur additional chargeback fees and penalties from card networks.

You can dispute chargeback requests if you provide evidence that the consumer is wrong. A dispute can take weeks or months and cause a substantial administrative burden for your team. Even if you win the dispute, your organization may be flagged by card networks if you receive high rates of chargebacks, leading to stricter security thresholds.

When a chargeback reversal occurs, your organization can face a range of challenges:

  • Paying for shipping fees if you’re selling products or goods
  • Recovering or forfeiting items sold or services rendered
  • Submitting a claim and disputing the chargeback reversal

Chargeback reversal can also leave you with revenue loss and transaction fees associated with fraudulent payments. Excessive chargeback reversals may lead to reputational damage and card networks suspending your ability to transact.

The best way to combat chargeback reversals is to identify fraudulent transactions proactively. Internal system checks will help you reduce the number of chargebacks and help you easily distinguish between legitimate and unauthorized transactions.

How to Minimize Payment Reversals

Your organization will face payment reversals from time to time. You can and should take steps to minimize refunds and optimize your processes to mitigate the risks when they do happen. Some ways you can prevent payment reversals include:

  • Making payments secure: Use additional payment security measures like two-step authentication and tokenization to reduce the risk of fraudulent transactions.
  • Being vigilant: Authorization reversals are often due to human error, like a staff member typing in the incorrect amount. Encourage your employees to be attentive while processing payments, explaining the cost and implications of reversals, refunds and disputes.
  • Leveraging automation and technology: Implement an innovative payment processing platform that manages all your payments in one easy, user-friendly interface. CSG Forte verifies transactions, helps you make payments secure, and streamlines recurring and ad hoc payments. The cloud-based platform will support your employees, minimize admin and help you provide first-rate payment experiences for customers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to a few common questions to help you gain a deeper understanding of payment reversals.

What Are the Differences Between a Reversal and a Refund?

An essential difference between reversals and refunds is what happens to the funds. During the former, payment reverses, meaning the bank or payment processor cancels the transaction—the funds aren’t transferred from the customer’s account into your account. A refund means that after a transaction is completed, you need to refund the amount and pay it back to the consumer, incurring transaction interchange fees.

What Is an Example of a Reversal Transaction?

In the context of e-commerce, one example of a reversal transaction is a consumer wanting to purchase running shoes online. The consumer attempts to buy running shoes and, during the transaction, receives notice that the shoes are no longer available in the correct size. While the payment is pending, the consumer cancels the transaction. No funds are transferred from the cardholder’s account to yours, meaning no fees are incurred during reversal.

What Happens After a Purchase Refund?

After a purchase refund, the business returns funds to the consumer’s bank account. It is an entirely separate transaction from the original payment. The amount is the same, but the business must pay transactional and processing fees, and standard settlement time applies.

Why Would a Company Reverse a Payment?

A company might reverse payment if:

  • A customer is trying to commit a fraudulent transaction
  • An item or product is sold out before delivery can occur
  • A consumer changes their mind after ordering a product

Verify Payments With CSG Forte

Scale your business and provide frictionless customer payment experiences with CSG Forte’s award-winning payment solutions.

One of the add-on services that organizations leverage to verify payments is Validate. With Validate or Validate+, your organization can process ACH payments with confidence. Both solutions use an innovative ACH database with millions of records, ensuring funds are in good standing. Validate provides:

  • Updated data sources
  • Instant, actionable responses on each transaction
  • Extensive routing and bank account (DDA) validation over multiple data sources
  • 100% real-time reporting for invalid checksums and transaction routing numbers

With Validate, your organization can proactively minimize and simplify payment reversals to save money and provide customers with seamless payment experiences.

Streamline and Verify Your Payments With CSG Forte

CSG Forte has over two decades of experience delivering innovative end-to-end payment solutions for over 81,000 merchants. We will help you optimize revenue and streamline payment processes with quick, easy integrations.

Contact us to learn more.

ACH Myths Busted: Clearing Up the Confusion on Clearing Houses

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

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

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

What’s a payment channel?

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

What is a Payment Channel?

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

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


Payment Channels CSG Forte Supports

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

Physical POS

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


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

Mobile Payments

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

Online Payments

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

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


Payment Channel Solutions For Your Business

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

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


SEC Code Glossary: A Quick Guide to Entry Class Codes

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

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


What is an SEC code?

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

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

Common SEC Codes and Their Meanings


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


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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


5 Payment Trends To Watch For In 2021—And Beyond

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

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


Anticipating Payment Trends in 2021

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

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

  1. Tokenization Takes Off

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

  1. No Contact, No Problem

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

  1. More Governments Modernize the Citizen Experience

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

  1. Fraud Prevention Measures Will Be Tested

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

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


This post originally appeared on