Are you one of the 15 million to 20 million people the FTC estimates are crammed each year? Cramming is when a company adds unauthorized or deceptive charges to a consumer’s phone bill. One of the reasons cramming is so common is that the amounts charged are often small, usually only a few dollars. As a result, many consumers don’t notice they’re paying extra for a product or service they didn’t order. So how can you stop cramming?
As a third-party payment processor, ILD Teleservices works closely with its partner merchants to ensure accurate billing. We screen merchants before we work with them, monitor them to make sure they comply with good business practices, and require them to verify authorization of billing. Learn more about the ILD Consumer Protection Standards of Practice.
If you have questions about a bill, please visit our Help Center.
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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.
Is the cardholder legitimate? Is the credit card valid? For years, these types of questions have dogged the digital merchants who rely on card-not-present transactions to do business. And while credit card sales aren’t likely to disappear in the near future, there are strategies merchants can implement to manage the risk of fraud. Here are four to consider:
ILD Teleservices is a trusted third party payment processor for a range of industries, from telecommunications and ISP to gaming and home security. Our Bill to Phone alternative payment method allows you to build predictable revenue streams while reducing your exposure to fraud. To learn more about our ecommerce payment solution and real-time customer identity verification, contact our team.
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:
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.
We encourage consumers to review their bills each month, from credit cards to utilities and phone bills. So, we are re-running a blog post from last year, where we provided some best practices we’ve picked up along the way. Here it is:
In this economy, every penny counts—and that makes it especially frustrating to discover a charge you didn’t authorize on your phone bill. The good news is you can reduce the risk of becoming a cramming victim. Here’s a guide to help you prevent those unauthorized telephone charges.
Cramming hurts consumers.
Cramming occurs when your telephone bill is charged with services that weren’t ordered by you or anyone else in your household. Unauthorized charges range in monetary amounts, but can be as little as a few dollars. If they go undetected, they add up over time, putting a ding in your wallet. The charges can be for a variety of services, such as web hosting, club fees, or phone calls.
Protect yourself from cramming.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends these steps for reducing your risk of cramming:
ILD protects consumers from cramming.
ILD Teleservices is a third party payment processor. Merchants use our Bill to Phone service to allow consumers to charge purchases directly to their phone bill. As a result, consumers do not need to share sensitive financial information, like credit card numbers or bank account numbers, reducing your risk of identity and credit card fraud.
We are committed to protecting consumers from unauthorized charges. For example, ILD only works with merchants after the vendor successfully passes a screening process that includes extensive background checks and a business plan review. After we take on a merchant, we continue to monitor their activities and customer satisfaction levels. If ILD receives excessive complaints about a merchant, we take immediate action to rectify the problem or, if necessary, terminate our business relationship with the company.
Call us if you have questions.
ILD’s U.S. based customer service team is available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (CST) and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. One of our associates will answer your questions or help find a resolution.
Friendly fraud. Despite its name, there’s nothing friendly about a reversed transaction that costs a digital merchant time and money. Friendly fraud is when a consumer makes an ecommerce purchase, receives the goods or services then initiates a chargeback. But there are tactics that help ecommerce merchants reduce the rate of friendly fraud.
Learning how to reduce chargebacks from friendly fraud starts with asking yourself these 3 questions:
Will the customer recognize my company on their billing statements? When a consumer reviews a billing statement, whether it’s for a credit card or a phone bill, they may be suspicious of an unfamiliar or ambiguous name, even if they’ve already received the product or service. Always ensure the name that appears on the bill will be identifiable to the customer. If you partner with a third party payment processor, post an easy-to-see note on your website that notifies customers that the processor’s name (for example, “ILD Teleservices”) will appear on the billing statement.
Disputes are going to happen. But by implementing simple ecommerce best practices, such as identifying your third party payment processor or making returns easy, you will start reducing chargebacks from friendly fraud—and start controlling your costs.
Do you have tips for how to reduce chargebacks from friendly fraud?
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:
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?
As an ecommerce merchant, you know that customers want—and need—alternatives to the traditional credit card payment option. So if you want their business, you need to partner with an alternative payment processor who offers the right blend of expertise and easy-to-integrate technology. But before you sign on the dotted line, here are a few questions to ask the third party payment processor:
Adding alternative payment methods to checkout is a savvy way to boost revenue and control costs. But as with any other business deal, be sure to read and fully understand the terms and conditions of the contract—this is critically important when it comes to the complexities of payment processing.
What additional tips can you share with fellow merchants who might be on the verge of signing a contract with a third party payment processor?
Ecommerce merchants lose more revenue from the fear of fraud than from actual fraud—6x as much revenue to be exact, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Eye-opening figure, isn’t it? And digital consumers have reason to be wary of sharing credit card or bank account information for online transactions. More than 11 million U.S. adults were victims of fraud in 2009, the highest level since 2003. The good news is there are tactics digital merchants can implement to make customers feel safer when shopping online.
So how do merchants take the fear out of shopping ecommerce stores?
What tips can you share for taking the fear out of ecommerce shopping?
Your customers have the need. You have the product. Traditionally, credit cards have been the way ecommerce merchants and customers have completed that transaction. But between rising credit card interest rates and the fear of identity theft, consumers may not be as comfortable breaking out the plastic to subscribe to a service or download digital content; that’s why merchants who want to lift revenue and expand their market add alternative payment options to their checkout.
When it’s time to invest in a third-party payment processor, ask the company these four questions:
If it’s time to look for an alternative payment method, such as LEC billing, contact ILD Teleservices. Our team delivers the payment processing tools you need and the service you deserve. Learn more today.