Tag: phone billing

Shop Smarter with Phone Billing - FAQ

What is phone billing? If you’re shopping on a website that sells digital services, such as gaming or downloads, you may see an option to charge the purchase to your telephone bill. But is this a safe way to pay online? How does phone billing work? Is it the same as cramming?

Here is a consumer FAQ guide to shopping smartly and safely with phone billing:

What is phone billing?

Phone billing allows online shoppers to buy ecommerce services and charge the transaction to a telephone bill. It’s not a credit card transaction, so you pay no interest or other fees that big banks tack onto credit card sales. When the transaction shows up on your phone bill, you simply pay it along with the rest of the bill, using whatever payment method you normally use, such as a check or money order. The entire transaction is handled by a third party payment processor, like ILD Teleservices.

But is this a safe way to shop online?

Absolutely! When you charge a purchase to a phone bill there are no credit card or bank account numbers to share over an Internet connection—and that significantly reduces your risk of identity theft. You’re not asked to provide any sensitive financial information; you’ll simply give your phone number as well as information to verify your identity.

Will I become the victim of cramming if I pay for digital goods through phone billing?

Cramming is when a consumer is subject to unauthorized charges on a phone bill. A reputable payment processor works very hard to ensure that customers are billed only for the goods and services they have ordered. At ILD, we take proactive steps to protect consumers from cramming. For instance, before we agree to handle phone billing for a merchant, we conduct a rigorous screening process to ensure that company maintains appropriate business practices.

If you ever have a question about an ILD charge that appears on your phone bill, we welcome you to contact our help center.

Ease Jittery Shoppers’ Financial Concerns with Alternative Payment Methods (APMs)

The volatile economy is causing many consumers to be more mindful of their wallets. Will they have a job in 6 months? How high will credit card interest rates rise? These are the discussions millions are having around their kitchen tables. In fact, the August 7th Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index showed that consumer confidence dropped to its second-lowest point of the year.

Digital merchants who want to succeed in these uncertain times need to take action.

One of the simplest paths to easing consumers’ concerns and making their decision to spend money on your ecommerce store easier is by offering alternative payment methods (APMs), like phone billing. This payment alternative works by allowing consumers to purchase digital goods and services, like downloads or Internet services, by charging the purchase to their phone bill.

Phone billing saves consumers money.

Shoppers spent less on credit cards during July 2011, according to a First Data report. As credit card companies increase interest rates and impose steeper penalties on late payments, plastic is becoming a less attractive way to pay for ecommerce products.

Digital merchants who add a phone billing option to their shopping cart give consumers a no-additional-cost way to complete the transaction. Shoppers aren’t forced to pay interest or fees to banks in order to get the goods and services they want. It’s a win for the customer; and that means it’s a win for you, too.

To start integrating consumer-friendly phone billing into your ecommerce store, contact ILD Teleservices, a leader in the third party payment processing industry. Our Bill to Phone alternative payment method offers timely settlements, increased customer satisfaction, and an easy-to-integrate interface. Learn more today.

Donate online

Whether you’re the director of a non-profit or a business professional serving on a board, you know how challenging it’s become to fund the mission. With the funding well drying up, organizations are more and more reliant on building strong support from the public. One strategy to make it easier for donors to give is to add an online giving alternative payment option, such as phone billing, which charges the donation to the supporter’s phone bill. Here’s how it works to boost online donations:

  1. Convenience. Donors have big hearts and busy lives. A non-credit card payment method is a low-hassle option because there are no credit card numbers or security codes to enter, making it easier to give on the fly.
  2. Safety. No matter how passionate a supporter might be about your cause, the threat of identity theft may make them think twice about sharing their credit card or bank account information over an Internet connection. Phone billing doesn’t require donors to share any sensitive info online, giving the supporter peace of mind.
  3. Value. Charging a donation to a credit card increases the cost of the transaction to the giver; after all, they’ll likely pay interest and potentially other fees. Adding an alternative payment method eliminates those costs, which may just translate into a bigger donation for you.
  4. Choice. Credit card payment options are fine and dandy—as long as the supporter has a credit card. In fact, nearly 30% of households in one 2010 study reported they didn’t have a credit card. Don’t turn away donors simply because they don’t have plastic. With phone billing, the giver needs a home or business phone number. That’s it. The option opens up whole new markets to help support your cause.

Whether your group mentors kids, funds scholarships, or provides job opportunities for veterans, adding an online giving alternative payment method, like phone billing, makes it as easy as possible for you to get the support you need.

ILD Teleservices is an experienced third-party payment processor with a phone billing platform that’s easy for you to integrate and easy for supporters to use. Learn more about how to increase online donations using our Bill to Phone service.

Ecommerce Payments and Stats

Ecommerce isn’t a fix-it-and-forget-it endeavor. If you want to generate revenue, digital commerce needs to be a continuing process that analyzes and refines the tools you use to make transactions happen. A good place to start on any site is the shopping cart. Are you making one of these ecommerce shopping cart mistakes?

You play hide-and-seek with navigation buttons.

Basic navigation buttons should be simple to find, especially if you expect to make the shopping experience hassle free. If a consumer needs to hunt for a search box, for example, they may just become frustrated enough to click onto a competitor’s site. Shoppers should be able to easily find buttons, such as:  

  • Buy
  • Cancel
  • Change quantities
  • Shipping charges/estimates
  • Search box
  • On sale/bargain products
  • Top sellers

The pages are a jumbled mess or a utilitarian wasteland.

Ecommerce pages need to blend appealing images with functionality. If the digital store’s page is cluttered with too many photos or images that are too large, they eat up real estate needed for some of those navigation buttons that make online shopping a breeze.

But you also can’t expect to appeal to consumers with a shopping cart that looks like a dot-matrix printout from 1990. You still need appealing, professional-level images to help sell a product, whether it’s a cat toy or a corporate report. Use the best-quality images possible rather than “no image available” icons.

You don’t build trust with ecommerce customers.

As consumers become increasingly aware of the potential risks of identity theft, it’s critical to instill trust. Share contact information, such as email address, phone number, or live chat info, clearly and prominently to alleviate consumers’ concerns.

Another way to build trust is to partner with a third-party payment processor that offers credit-card free payment options, like phone billing, so the shopper doesn’t need to share sensitive info to get the goods and services they need.

What other no-no’s have you seen in ecommerce shopping carts?

Automatic Subcription Renewal

Whether you market a digital newsletter or a service site, you rely on customers to come back for your product on a recurring basis. One way for ecommerce merchants to generate those repeat sales is by offering automatic subscription renewal.

Subscription renewals in digital commerce take two forms.

One way is manual renewal. With this option, the customer is not charged unless he or she expressly agrees to each transaction. Manual subscription renewal requires a digital customer to continually re-enter information regarding payment, such as a credit card number. Whether the subscription is renewed is entirely at the mercy of the customer’s schedule and convenience.

There is an easier way to boost subscriptions: automatic subscription renewal. The customer agrees to be charged at regular intervals until they cancel the service. After they submit valid billing info for the initial transaction, that same valid information is used for each subsequent charge. It’s easy for the customer and profitable for you!

There is a drawback to automatic subscription renewal.

Unfortunately, a few ecommerce customers won’t fully understand what they’ve signed up for—so when they continue to be billed, they become frustrated and dispute the charge. That’s why it is crucial to partner with a third party payment processor that offers a customer care team with the expertise and tools to professionally resolve those issues for you.

Alternative payment methods are a convenient way to boost auto subscriptions.

From electronic newsletter fees to monthly service charges, alternative payment methods (APMs), like phone billing, are an affordable way to lift subscriptions through auto payments. When you’re ready to boost revenue with automatic subscription renewals, contact our team at ILD Teleservices. As a leader in phone billing (LEC billing), we offer an easy-to-integrate payment system and one of the industry’s best customer care teams. Learn more today.

Ecommerce Payments and Stats

Are you trying to decide if alternative payment methods (APMs) are right for your ecommerce business? Well, you’re on the right track. Alternatives to traditional credit card transactions are becoming a go-to way for digital merchants to boost revenue, expand markets, and reduce fraud exposure. Check out these ecommerce payment stats and facts:

Consumers Need Payment Alternatives for Digital Content.

  • Nearly 30% of American consumers said they didn’t own a credit card in a February 2010 survey—a 10% jump from June 2009. (CreditCards.com)
  • 17 million American adults do not have a bank account, relying instead on check-cashing services. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • 21 million Americans are considered “underbanked.” These consumers have a checking account but often use payday services and car title loans. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • According to a Javelin report, only 35% of merchants offer the alternative payment methods that make ecommerce transactions possible for those without credit cards or banking services. (Internet Retailer)

Credit Cards Cost Consumers.

  • Credit card penalty fees cost consumers $20.5 billion in 2009. (CreditCards.com)
  • Proposed caps on interchange (or swipe) fees charged to merchants could trigger banks to make up for lost revenue by charging consumers more. For example, in June Bank of America will start charging some users a penalty interest rate of up to 30% if they make late payments. (CNN Money)
  • The proposed caps have also spurred banks to consider capping debit card transactions at as little as $50 or $100, even if the transaction is run as credit. (CNN Money)

Fraud Costs Consumers.

  • 11.1 million U.S. adults were victims of fraud in 2009—the highest level since 2003. (CreditCards.com)
  • Identity fraud victims are twice as likely as non-victims to change the way they shop and pay for purchases on ecommerce sites, according to Gartner research. (Information Week)

Fraud Costs Ecommerce Merchants.

  • Ecommerce merchants lost $3.3 billion to fraud in 2009, translating into 1.2% of lost revenue. (CyberSource)
  • The FTC estimates merchants lose 6x as much revenue from the fear of fraud than from actual fraud. (Ethoca)

It’s time to add alternative payment methods to your digital shopping cart. To learn more about what APMs will do for you, contact ILD Teleservices, an industry leader in LEC (or phone) billing, which allows customers to easily and safely charge purchases to their phone bill.

LEC – FAQ for Ecommerce Merchants

E-commerce Tips

Looking to lift ecommerce revenue? Need to reduce cart abandonment? Then it’s time to learn more about adding LEC (Local Exchange Carrier) billing to your checkout process.

What is LEC billing?

LEC billing is using local phone companies to bill consumers for your digital goods and services. When a customer chooses the option at checkout, the purchase is charged to their home phone bill. The transaction is handled by a third-party payment processor.

What will LEC billing do for me?

  • Increase revenue by allowing you to access new markets, such as consumers without credit cards or bank accounts or customers who do not want to share sensitive financial information online.
  • Reduce cart abandonment rates by providing an easy-to-use payment option that requires only the customer’s home phone number and the last four digits of their Social Security number.

Can we offer LEC billing in addition to traditional credit card options?

Yes! The key to attracting and maintaining customers is to provide them with a variety of payment options. Phone billing can be used in conjunction with checkout options you already offer on your ecommerce site.

Which ecommerce stores can add phone billing to their checkout?

Some of the merchants who utilize this alternative payment method (APM) sell digital goods, internet services, content, downloads, games, etc. Phone billing is also ideal for subscription services because the charge is conveniently added to the customer’s monthly phone bill.

Will it be a hassle to integrate LEC billing into my ecommerce store?

Not if you invest in the right APM processor. Look for a partner with a simple, easy-to-integrate system that works with your existing infrastructure. In addition, your alternative payment processor should offer validation services to reduce the risk of bad debt and chargebacks.

ILD is a trusted name in LEC billing.

Our Bill to Phone team offers the technology and expertise to lift revenue potential by adding APM options to your ecommerce checkout. Talk to one of our specialists to learn how Bill to Phone will help you build a better business.

 

how to save money tips

Whether you sell downloadable software or provide home security services, your business’s survival is dependent on your ability to save money or generate dollars. Adding alternative payment methods, like bill to phone, to an ecommerce checkout process will do just that.  

  1. Save money in unbillables – Consumers might be hesitant to use share credit card info online because of the fear of fraud, but the truth is that merchants are vulnerable to fraud as well. A third-party alternative payment processor like ILD offers real-time verification methods that authenticate a shopper’s information, reducing the risk of losing hard-earned revenue to fraudsters. What’s more, utilities generally have a higher remittance rate than other bills, so there’s less of a chance the customer will neglect to pay what they owe you.
  2. Save money in capital investment – Setting up phone billing accounts with every local phone company, or LEC, is very costly and time consuming. Outsourcing alternative payment processing is a smart way for merchants to access the service without the hassle of building the infrastructure.
  3. Generate revenue by increasing conversion rates – Experts estimate that as many as 40% of all online purchases are abandoned before checkout. Bill to phone options capture lost sales by giving shoppers a convenient payment option that doesn’t require a credit card or bank account.
  4. Generate revenue by tapping new markets – Why turn away customers simply because they don’t use credit cards? The fact is that businesses that don’t offer alternatives are doing just that. Bill to phone provides a secure payment option for the nearly 25% of households who do not use or are unable to get credit cards.

Save money and generate revenue with ILD, an industry leader in alternative payment processing. To learn more about how phone billing works or to set up a merchant account, contact the ILD team.

Credit Card Fraud

Credit Card Fraud

The competition between online merchants is quite high.  There are billions of online companies seeking to sell a wide variety of products and services.  With so many companies and services available, the consumer is left to answer the question of who has the best offer.  A lot of times the answer comes down to one or two factors. 

Method of payment can be a deciding factor when a consumer is making a purchase online.  Most merchants offer a variety of payment methods to the customer.  The most common of these methods offered are credit card and checking account.  Both of these methods have been used for years and are becoming increasingly dangerous.  The credit card and checking account methods of payment are both linked to the consumer’s personal credit information.  This information is highly susceptible to theft.  Customers today are wary of this fact. With each purchase made online using a credit card or checking account, the chances for identity theft increase. 

Here are some staggering stats on credit card fraud from creditcards.com:

  • The number of U.S. identity fraud victims rose 12 percent to 11.1 million adults last year, the highest level since the survey began in 2003. (Source: Javelin Strategy & Research, “Identity Fraud Survey Report,” February 2010)
  • The average fraud resolution time dropped 30 percent to 21 hours. (Source: Javelin Strategy & Research, “Identity Fraud Survey Report,” February 2010)
  • Nearly half of fraud victims now file police reports, resulting in double the reported arrests, triple the prosecutions and double the percentage of convictions in 2009. (Source: Javelin Strategy & Research, “Identity Fraud Survey Report,” February 2010)
  • The number of U.S. identity fraud victims increased 22 percent in 2008 to 9.9 million adults. However, the total annual fraud amount jumped just 7 percent to $48 billion. The report said this is because “consumers and businesses are detecting and resolving fraud more quickly.” (Source: Javelin Strategy & Research, February 2009 study.)
  • Women were 26 percent more likely to be victims of identity fraud than men in 2008. (Source: Javelin Strategy & Research, February 2009 study.)
  • 71 percent of fraud incidents “began occurring in less than one week from when the data was first stolen, up from 33 percent in 2005.” (Source: Javelin Strategy & Research, February 2009 study.)
  • “Lost or stolen wallets, checkbooks and credit and debit cards” made up 43 percent of all ID theft incidents in which the “method of access” was known. (Source: Javelin Strategy & Research, February 2009 study.)
  • Credit and debit card fraud is the No. 1 fear of Americans in the midst of the global financial crisis. Concern about fraud supersedes that of terrorism, computer and health viruses and personal safety. (Source: Unisys Security Index: United States, March 2009)
  • Arizona leads the nation in identity theft complaints per 100,000 people. In 2008, the state had 149 complaints about ID theft per 100,000 people. California (139.1), Florida (133.3), Texas (130.3) and Nevada (126.0) rounded out the top five. (Source: Federal Trade Commission, February 2009 survey)
  • South Dakota has the fewest identity theft complaints per 100,000 people in the nation. In 2008, the state had 33.8 complaints about ID theft per 100,000 people. North Dakota (35.7), Iowa (44.9), Montana (46.5) and Wyoming (46.9) rounded out the bottom five. (Source: Federal Trade Commission, February 2009 survey)
  • Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas, is the metropolitan area with the largest number of ID theft complaints per 100,000 people. In 2008, the area had 366.8 complaints per 100,000 people. Napa, Calif., was second with 351.3. (Source: Federal Trade Commission, February 2009 survey).

 

Some merchants have taken this information into consideration and are accepting forms of payment, other than the traditional credit card.  Consumers are now able to apply some purchases to their monthly telephone bill.  This method of payment is becoming very popular.  Not only does this method of alternative payment appeal to the person wishing to protect their identity, those without credit cards are now able to participate in online purchasing.  Of those that have never made an online purchase, over thirty percent has been due to the lack of owning a credit card. Merchants wishing to reach out to these customers now accept alternate billing. 

Accepting this alternative method of payment can greatly increase the revenue for a company.  The process is easy to implement.  Consumers feel safe knowing their personal information is secure and are more willing to spend money on what they want when they feel safe.  Merchants are beginning to understand this and adapt in order to please the customer. If the customer is happy, they will return for repeat business and maybe even suggest products or services to others.  The alternative billing through the telephone bill is a win-win situation for both the merchant and consumer.

It is safe to say that most people are subscribers of a telecommunication service, the most common being telephone service and internet service.  The world of online shopping and mobile shopping has continued to evolve since their early usage.  Within the past ten years, the personal computer, or PC has all but become obsolete for personal use at home.  Now there are palm pilots and blackberries, just to name a few.  These handy personal mini super computers do it all.  Now you can surf the web and make a phone call from the same device and at the same time. No credit card

The technology certainly has changed.  With this change, the world of commerce has changed along with it. Credit cards and standard billing practices are becoming past experiences.   Consumers can make purchases online and apply their purchase amount to their telephone bill.  This service is most often billed to land line telephone bills. However, with the growing amount of consumers utilizing mobile handsets for all their online and communication needs, third party billing companies are beginning to allow for this type of transaction as well. 

This system of payment is more secure than paying with a credit card or drawing funds from a bank account since the merchant has no immediate knowledge of the identity of the consumer.  Typically, the way that this works is the consumer enters their telephone number and location then a text message is received requesting confirmation of the purchase.  The consumer is prompted to reply via text message to confirm payment through the telephone bill. 

The difference between the land line and mobile telephone third party billing service is the mobile billing goes through immediately, while the land line method is billed during the next billing cycle.  While this alternative method of payment may be appealing at first glance, there are still some kinks in the system.  Being that there is minimal verifier information obtained for the mobile telephone billing, there is ample room for fraud.  Services or products could be billed to a mobile telephone bill unbeknownst to the subscriber rather easily.  The land line method, however, remains tried and true.  The convenience of each alternative payment method is appealing; however, consumers should remain aware of their accounts at all times.