In a perfect world, every customer would pay their bill on time, every time.
Collection and billing agencies specialize in working with unpaid accounts receivables and provide a pertinent role within the business community. No matter the size of a company, there is always a need to collect on unpaid bills. The collection agency has certainly become more of a universal requirement in recent times due to the economic climate. As profit margins are rapidly shrinking for a great deal of organizations, collecting on the unpaid accounts makes the difference between barely surviving or ultimately thriving.
When past due bills need to be collected there are two ways a business can handle the matter. The first option is to keep the delinquent account in-house. This approach ultimately leads to either hiring additional employees or dedicating current staff – both of which are costly options. The amount of time and money it takes to train a new employee can be crippling for some organizations, especially for small to medium sized businesses. For this reason, most turn to professional collection specialists for help. Hiring a collection agency to deal with the unpaid accounts receivable is by far the best option for a plethora of reasons.
A collection agency’s clientele focuses its’ resources on strategies to gain new business instead of spending valuable time on unpaid accounts receivable. The effort it takes to collect on a company’s own late accounts – making collections calls, sending emails and written correspondence – is simply not worth the time investment for most. Collection agencies are specialists in handling the remuneration of past due debts from start to finish. Accordingly, to achieve optimal success, it is imperative for an accounts receivable business to fully utilize the tools of the trade.
THE ABILITY TO TAKE CREDIT AND DEBIT CARD PAYMENTS IS KEY TO A COLLECTION AGENCY’S ORGANIZATIONAL SUCCESS
Access to a collection agency merchant account, debt collection merchant account, and the ability to handle collection agency credit card processing are the keys to the kingdom in the world of digital financial transactions. Without such services, one is as helpless as a carpenter without a hammer. An agency’s clients expect the job to be done accurately, which of course means collecting as much of their outstanding debt as possible. Do you know what the biggest concern is for potential clients? The answer is a simple one.
It is all about an agency’s success rate. The bottom line is that if an effective collections credit card processing system is not in place within an organization, then agents will have a significantly more difficult time persuading delinquent accounts to pay. Payment Savvy specializes in providing credit card processing for collections. Although an agency may have found it extremely difficult to be approved for a collection agency merchant account in the past, Payment Savvy has the relationships and merchant support to guide a company through the entire process. We are extremely proud of the fact that our collections credit card processing services help a business thrive.
REASONS WHY IT IS DIFFICULT FOR COLLECTIONS AGENCIES TO BE APPROVED TO PROCESS CREDIT AND DEBIT CARDS
In the credit card processing trade specific industries are considered high-risk. That certainly does not mean that the industries on this list are dangerous or unethical in any way. It can be as simple as having a typically higher than average chargeback rate. For example, subscription services and travel agencies are considered high-risk merchants since their customers tend to cancel or dispute their credit card transactions on higher frequency then other industries.
Collection and billing agencies are on the high-risk merchant processing list due to industry related trends. These organizations are considered high risk because of the inherent nature of the business. Agencies are directly working with consumers that have a proven track record of failing to pay their bills on time, if at all. Many individuals pay collection accounts with credit cards reluctantly after feeling forced to do so. This, in turn, creates a significant number of chargebacks and directly leads to the high-risk factor. Many debt collection agencies simply do not know how to properly manage chargebacks. That is why it is so important to work with a collection agency credit card processing specialist that knows exactly how to help you manage and avoid chargebacks.
REASONS WHY COLLECTION AGENCIES NEED TO AVOID PROCESSORS LIKE PAYPAL, STRIPE, AND SQUARE
It is also important to note that agencies should avoid working with processors that offer an immediate set up such as PayPal, Stripe, or Square. These processors exclude nearly all high-risk businesses, including collections agencies. Although an agency may be initially approved for a merchant account, these organizations will track merchant activity and will ultimately freeze an account for up to a 90-day period before terminating it. This can negatively affect an agency in two ways.
First and foremost, any funds that have yet to be deposited into a company bank account are tied up during the freeze period. Second, an agency will not be able to process any new debit or credit card payments until locating an alternative processing solution. Can any collection agency afford to be without a debt collection merchant account for an extended period of time? There is zero reason to take the risk. Payment Savvy truly helps collection agencies succeed by providing a robust and custom credit card processing solution for collections.
WAYS TO DECREASE AN AGENCY’S RISK
Although collection agencies are considered high-risk in the world of credit card processing, there are ways to minimize the risk. Whenever looking for a collection agency credit card processing company to work with, it always pays to conduct some basic research. It is important to keep in mind that not all credit card processing companies are created equal. While processors are in business to make money, it should never be at the unnecessary expense of their clients.
High-risk business categories typically result in less favorable credit card processing terms. The higher the risk, the higher the fees. While agencies should expect to pay a bit more, it certainly does not mean that a company should be taken advantage of. First and foremost, do not feel pressure to sign up with a credit card processing for collections company solely since they are willing to have one as a client. Do not allow them to make you feel like they are your only choice.Reputable debt collection merchant account processing companies do not rely on deceitful sales tactics. Companies like Payment Savvy rely on our products, services, and customer support in order to earn an agency’s business.
Another item to consider is the contract. Always read it thoroughly and carefully before signing. If not understanding a term or need further details on a particular fee, do not be afraid to ask your sales or service representative. It is their job to answer your questions in a manner that makes you comfortable. If one feels pressured to sign a contract or is not receiving a satisfactory answer to the questions asked, do not just walk away…run. If the processor offers to waive a fee, then make sure get a waiver or have the exception added to the contract.
The overall success of one’s business depends on a collection agency merchant account in order to process credit and debit card payments. Since collection agencies are high-risk businesses, one will need to pay a little more for the privilege of having a merchant account. It is the unfortunate cost of doing business. However, that certainly does not mean the one should overpay for the service.
ADDITIONAL FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A DEBT COLLECTION MERCHANT ACCOUNT PROVIDER
There certainly is a laundry list of additional factors to consider when choosing the right company to work with for payment processing. A top-notch collection agency credit card processing company not only provides excellent customer service, they will also become a valuable partner in your business. You work extremely hard to grow and maintain your company. It does not make sense to take a risk with one of the most important aspects of your business.
Although finding the best in the business may seem like an arduous task, the good news is that there are four (4) traits that will provide agencies with a great deal of decision making information. These traits include:
1: The Payment Processing Vendor Provides Superior Customer Service
Customer service happens to be a crucial part of the business cycle, yet most decision makers fail to give it much weight during the decision-making process when choosing a credit card processing for collections specialist. Often by the time agencies realize the company they chose for merchant processing has inferior customer service, it is too late. Whenever working with a vendor or supplier there are bound to be a few issues – it is an unavoidable part of life. The importance here is to work with vendors and suppliers that have the ability to quickly and painlessly fix arising concerns so they do not negatively impact your business.
It is important to have customer service representatives available you need them. They must be able to provide specific answers to specific questions. This should be a basic principle for any service provider one does business with. When it comes to a collection agency merchant account, a company must also consider a few other industry related factors. For example, how often will the processor supply you with software updates? Do they provide debtor support?
It is important a collection agency’s consumers have a fast and easy experience with the payment interface or portal. Is the payment processor willing to work directly with them? Any good payment processor should have an available customer support team in place for a clients’ debtors as well as the client. The goal is simple – make it as easy as possible for your business to collect payments from the people your clients have hired you to collect from.
A high level of customer service is needed to keep debtors happy and directly impacts the overall success of one’s business. The question you may be asking at this point is how can you figure out the level of customer service that a vendor provides? The answer is a simple one. It goes back to doing research. In this high-tech age, it is as easy as doing an internet search. Simply look up a review on the company and focus on the ones that detail the customer service experience. You can also ask the collection agency merchant account provider for a client reference list. Most companies willingly supply a list of happy clients, but be ask specific questions related to their customer service experience.
2: The Payment Processing Vendor Provides Adaptability and Choices
Leaders in the field of collection agency credit card processing provide their clients with plenty of payment choices. This, in turn, provides an agency’s debtors with plenty of payment choices. It is a simple formula, the more options available, the higher probability debtors will make timely and frequent payments. Payment options should include web based payment platforms that incorporate mobile pay selections for people that prefer to use their smartphone when conducting online financial transactions.
Interactive Voice Response, or IVR, is also imperative for debtors preferring to send a payment by phone in a self serve manner. A collections agency’s credit card processing service should be available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. In our fast-paced world, debtors appreciate the option to make convenient and easy payments. If your business does not provide those services, you are taking the risk of payment avoidance. For example, collections agencies solely relying on agents to accept payments end up slowing down cash flow.
Without the proper payment methods in place, it is impossible to make money when the office doors are closed at night, during the weekends, and on holidays. Also keep mind the fact that it is typically not a good experience for debtors to speak directly to an agent when making past due payments. Most have a hard time letting go of the money and some will feel embarrassed. It is important to note, when making it as easy as possible for the debtors it significantly decreases the chances of them holding a grudge against your agency.
3: The Payment Processing Vendor Provides a High Level of Cyber Security
Cyber theft is a serious security problem that negatively affects millions of payment transactions on a yearly basis. It is crucial that your debt collection merchant account is as safe and secure as possible. Highly regarded payment processing companies have concrete proof that online hackers and thieves cannot penetrate their systems.
When a payment processing system is hacked, it is just like a thief breaking into a safe. Anything in that safe will be stolen. That means your debtors private and sensitive information will be in the hands of individuals that intend to illegally profit from it. The cyber thieves will have access to computer files, bank statements, passwords, and even medical records. There are two sets of standards that credit card processing for collections companies should follow. If the company that you are considering hiring has neither or only one, then you may want to reconsider working with them.
The first standard is The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, or PCI-DSS for short. It is a security standard for businesses, charities, and other organizations that accept credit card payments from cards issued by American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa. The other standard is The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, otherwise known as the HIPPA Act. This is a federal regulation that requires security measures to be in place in order to protect an individual’s medical information. If your collections credit card processing company does not follow both of these necessary standards, then you should seriously consideration moving on.
4: The Payment Processing Vendor follows all Required and Industry Standard Regulations
Taking part in accepted business practices, staying informed, and following the letter of the law can make the difference between a profitable business and being shut down by the government. A lot of this is out of your control, which is exactly why it so important to choose a debt collection merchant account provider that is in full compliance with all industry regulations.
In addition to being PCI-DSS compliant and HIPAA compliant, it is necessary for merchant providers to follow the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB. They have extremely stringent rules regarding when and how consumers can be contacted. If the collection agency credit card processing company is in non-compliance with the CFPB, then your business is held responsible. This responsibility includes paying fines and penalties, which will significantly reduce your profit margins. The bottom line is that you must be careful with the companies that you choose to do business with.
When considering the best collection agency merchant account vendor to work with it is necessary to conduct the research, ask a lot of questions, and evaluate the information. Even though your business is in the high-risk category, the credit card processing for collections fees must be reasonable and make sense for your organization’s bottom line. It is incredibly important for the payment processing vendor that you choose to offer superior customer service to both your staff and the consumers that you are collecting from.
The collections credit card processing service needs to not only be adaptable, but also offer plenty of payment choices to make it easier and more likely for your debtors to make payments. Your processing partner must provide a high level of cyber security to not only protect your business, but also protect the private, personal, financial, and medical information of the debtors. Last but certainly not least, it is imperative the debt collection merchant account vendor is in compliance with all required and industry standard regulations.
Ultimately it will be your collection agency that will be held accountable if something goes wrong from a legal or financial perspective. Payment Savvy is an industry leader providing the most technologically advanced and cutting-edge solutions in order to help your business grow in a safe, secure, and compliant manner. We take great pride in our customer service department and are known as a company that truly cares about the needs of our clients. Please contact us today for more information about how we can help your business. We look forward to working with you.