A Recurring Billing Mistake You Don’t Want to Make

Posted by Whitney in Billing solutions, Data Portability, Payment Processing, Recurring Billing Software | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So you’re in the market for recurring billing software.  Whether you are just getting started in your business or have come to the conclusion that your time is better spent by outsourcing your billing to the experts, you are starting to search the options.  It takes some work to dig down deep into the details of what each billing software company and payment processor offers to know exactly what you might be getting.  What you do want to do is pay close attention to those details.  The only thing worse than getting set up for billing services once, is needing to do it twice.

A fatal flaw in the service of many of these providers is that many of them won’t share with you your customers’ payment information. 

So let’s say you decide to switch merchant accounts or the software you use two years from now as a way to cut costs or get better service.  You’ve built up a good customer base by that point.  You ask for your information from your current company and what do they tell you?  No, you can’t have it.  They’ve locked you in to their services for the life of your customer’s contract.  They’ll keep doing your billing for you, of course, but if you really want to switch your billing process, you’re left to reconstruct your entire list of customer information.  This means asking your customers once again for their payment information.  That’s time consuming, it won’t make you look good, and it could cause your customers to rethink their subscriptions (think of what happened to Netflix when they made their customers rethink their subscriptions).  This is likely a hassle you don’t want.

It’s hard to believe, but it is true: The decisions you make right now regarding your recurring billing provider(s) might lock you in and limit you in the future.  You may not ever want to change your services, but nobody wants to be trapped or stuck because a company you’re working with refuses to be flexible or reasonable.  Would you really want a company who is supposed to be working for you to have such power over the future decisions you want to make for your business?

As best as we can figure it, these companies (who are big players in the recurring billing industry), blame this refusal to return your customers’ payment information on the strict Payment Card Industry guidelines they’re required to follow.  While the Payment Card Industry does have strict regulations for keeping customers’ information secure, the rules don’t mean it has to be impossible for you to get the information that is vital to your business.

Your business data ought to be portable. 

You should have the right to move it from one company to another at your request and not be locked in for life.  If you are looking for recurring billing providers you will want to ask about data portability and get a detailed answer.  You’ll want to know who stores your customers’ credit card information and what happens to that information should you want it back.

At Crowne One, we believe in data portability.  We don’t lock you or your customers in for life.  If you want to go somewhere else, you should be able to do that.  You don’t work for us, we work for you.  Your information isn’t ours, it’s yours.  When you want your information, we’ll give it to you, securely and according to the Payment Card Industry’s requirements.

Don’t regret the recurring billing decision you’re making today.  Read the fine print.  Ask questions about data portability.  That way, if you need to choose some other option two, five, or ten years down the road, you will be free to do so.

To find out more about Crowne One call us at 855-524-5546 or click here.

Recurring Billing Software is the Easy Part

Posted by Christa in Billing solutions, Payment Processing | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On December 9, Jesse Wolgamott (@jwo) tweeted:

“Easy: subscription billing with Stripe. 

Still Annoying:  reporting to users their invoice history / plan changes / cancelations.”

The benefit of subscription billing is that your customers pay regularly and automatically.  Recurring payments give you a good idea of your projected income for the next several months.  Recurring payments give your customers uninterrupted service and the ease of not having to think about sending in a check each month.

But as Jesse Wolgamott so clearly expressed in his tweet, setting up with a recurring billing software is the easy part.  In this case you can take out Stripe and enter in any recurring billing system out there: Recurly, Chargify, or Cheddar Getter, but the story is still the same.  All these companies offer the software needed to schedule the recurring payments, and setting that up is relatively simple no matter which software company you go with.   The hard (yet profitable) work is still to come.

Your customers will call in asking how much they are paying.  They will email you with a request to upgrade their service plan.  They will call you with a new credit card to bill.  This takes up your time.  These calls will come while you are busy doing something else.  And while you want to keep all your customers happy and paying, just like Jesse does, all that account maintenance will get annoying from time to time.  It will take you away from developing your business, adding new customers, or providing the great service you offer.  It’s a necessary task, but one you’d probably like someone else to do for you.

Hiring an assistant is an option But if account maintenance takes you about 10-15 hours a week of your time, you have to figure out which 10-15 hours of the week you want to cover.  The phone will keep ringing when your assistant is off or on vacation, making it an incomplete solution.

Outsourcing is another option.  Finding someone you can trust to listen to your customers and respond accordingly can be challenging, but it is possible.  Having billing-oriented customer service people do it for you makes the most sense.  They know how the software works, they can read even the most complex invoice history, and they know how credit cards and bank accounts function.  Because they are the ones who hear from a customer when something was set up inaccurately, they know the importance of accuracy.  They are the experts in the field, and why wouldn’t you want them working for you, helping you retain the customers you worked so hard to get in the first place?

At Crowne One, we believe that recurring billing software isn’t a complete billing solution unless it also offers payment processing and a customer service component.  We can offer you a cheaper solution to your account maintenance than hiring an additional employee.  We can help you cover more than just the standard business hours of phone service, but charge you a rate that is based on the time you actually use.  Because we are billing people and have designated customer service representatives, we know how to answer questions efficiently and with care.  We’ve been doing billing and customer service together for 24 years and in a variety of industries.

Not only do our customer service options help our clients keep their hands free to work on what they do best, but we think it gives us better software.  In the fall of 2010, we launched our new cloud-based software that took into account our more than 2 decades of doing billing in the real world.  Because of our real-world billing experience with real-life customers, we created software that works with the needs of real businesses and customers.  It’s flexible, thorough, automated, customizable, and adaptable.

Crowne One can offer you simple subscription billing software which is the easy part, but we can also help you with the hard, continuous work of keeping your customers and accounts up to date.

To learn how Crowne One can offer you a real billing solution, please call us at 855-524-5546 or contact us here.

Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Possible with a Better Billing Solution

Posted by Christa in Billing solutions | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Year’s Resolutions that Really Matter:

Spend more time with my family

Grow my business

Get more exercise

Be organized

Save Money

Improve my bottom line

Spend my time doing the things I really want to do

The One Resolution that will Help You get There:

Outsource my billing needs to those who do it best

At Crowne One we can save you both time and money.

Here’s how:  Our software can schedule your recurring bills just the way you want them.  It will sit on your desk automatically updating your customers’ information as we receive it.  We’ll process the payments for you, meaning you have no additional processors or merchant accounts to coordinate.  And when your customers want to know their billing history or upgrade their plan or cancel their services, they will call our phone number, not yours.  Our customer service agents will answer their questions and update their accounts, while you go out and grow your business or take that much needed break.

What would you do if you had more time on your hands because someone else was efficiently handling your billing needs?  What would you do if you had more money in your pocket to make your business grow?

Whether your New Year’s resolutions are centered around saving time, making money, or being efficient, outsourcing your entire billing process to Crowne One is the right first step toward making all those other important resolutions happen.


Crowne One’s EFT Savings Over PayPal

Posted by admin in Payment Methods, Payment Processing | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If your recurring billing software or payment processing doesn’t offer you a low cost EFT option (also called ACH) to directly debit your customers’ checking and savings accounts, you may be paying too much. Crowne One’s EFT option can save you significantly on a basic transaction as compared to PayPal’s rate of 2.9% + $.30. (See the Savings chart below.) The higher the dollar amount of your transaction, the greater your savings on EFT payments.

Sample Transaction Amount

Savings per Transaction for EFT 

Yearly Savings with EFT Option







Also keep in mind that Crowne One’s experience is that up to 40% of customer accounts will sign up for the EFT option without an incentive. If you could save $9/year on billing costs for 40% of your accounts, how much would you save annually?

Not only can Crowne One save you money with an EFT option, but we can offer you more service options that can save you time and relieve some headaches. We can provide you with a variety of reports to give you an overview of what is going on with your accounts. We offer customer service, meaning we can be the ones to answer your customers’ billing questions over the phone or via email. We can help you recover declines and rejected payments at no additional cost to you. And we can give you access to all your customers’ data should you decide to do your billing some other way (but we don’t think you will).

Crowne One offers recurring billing software with payment processing and includes an EFT option. Now that’s a real billing solution!

To find out more about how Crowne One can save you time and money call us at 855-524-5546 or click here.

Streamline Your Recurring Billing & Save

Posted by Christa in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

If you run a business based on any kind of recurring billing, you’re going to need some help when it comes to receiving payments for your goods or services.  You want your billing process to be automated, efficient, and hassle-free.  At the minimum, here’s what you are going to need:


You’re going to need help in keeping track of your customers’ information.  Email addresses, payment information, and type of agreement are the very minimum.  Keeping track of payments, schedules, and account balances are a necessity.  You want reporting and easy ways of communicating with customers (from sending receipts to promotional emails).  The software must be accurate and able to schedule the recurring payments to your liking.  If it doesn’t have a payment gateway (to send your payments to the processor), you’ll have to get one of those, too.

Payment Processing and Merchant Account:

These two can be combined into one service, but not always.  This is the company that will actually process the payments that the software scheduled for you.  They’ll run your credit cards and EFTs and report to you which ones were declined.  You’ll pay for this service according to your agreed upon rates (often a percentage) along with all those miniscule and often hidden credit card fees that start to increase those percentages in no time.  They’ll deposit the successful payments, minus your fees, into your bank account.

In-House Account Staff:

Someone is going to have to work your software and accounts.  Whether it is you or hired staff, you’ll still have to respond to your customers via phone or email when they want to update their payment information or understand the details of their account.  You’ll also have rejected payments to deal with and need a plan to recover them.  This person must be accurate and provide good customer service.  Unless you have perfect customers who always pay on time and never change their information, this is going to be a task that is more consuming than you’d like.

And don’t forget that these three groups are going to need to communicate with each other and you get to be the coordinator.  Your software has to work with your payment processor, and your in-house account staff is going to have to be trained and interact with each.  Each must be set up separately, paid separately, and instructed separately.  Unless these administrative tasks are your cup of tea, you’d probably rather be doing those things that make your business better. 

How much time would you save if instead of dealing with three different groups, you only had to work with one?  No additional training of staff, no long merchant account statements to wade through, no extra payments to the software company.  If your whole billing process was streamlined for you and there was only one company to communicate with and pay, how much of your hassle would disappear?

At Crowne One, we are a full-service billing company.  We offer advanced and flexible software, competitive payment processing rates, and customer service staff trained in your policies.  Once you send us a new account, we handle all the payment-related servicing from scheduling to processing, from answering questions over the phone to sending email promotions.  All you have to do is get paid.  Because we do the whole billing process, we know how it ought to be done and can do it more efficiently.  We can save you time and hassle, and do the whole process for less than what you could do it yourself Afterall, one is much more efficient than three (or more).

Are You Ready to Find Out How Crowne One Can Save You Time & Money?

Call us at 855-524-5546 or Contact Us Here

How Your Rejected Payments Can Pay Your Billing Costs

Posted by Christa in Rejected Payment Recovery | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The old 80/20 rule can likely be applied to your business accounts, too.  80% of your problems are caused by 20% of your accounts

Perhaps the most frustrating of all account problems for business owners are those customers who have signed up for your services, but whose payments don’t pan out.  You look at your numbers every month knowing they should be higher.  Instead of payments, you get declined notices.  There may have been insufficient funds, an expired credit card, fraudulent activity, or your customer changed their payment information without letting you know.  It’s a constant headache.  These problems can be especially costly if your customers are on a recurring billing plan, as it can affect future payments, too.

Of course, there is a simple solution to this.  You can call each one of these customers to ask for new information and schedule a re-pull of their monthly bill.  It’s a simple solution, until you’ve tried it a time or two.  Quickly, you find out how time consuming and awkward it can be.

You can call, email, or send an email to each of these customers, advising them their monthly payment was not able to be processed.  Each is time consuming.  For the call to work, the customer would have to answer their phone.  An email won’t be productive unless you first have a valid email address and the recipient reads it.  A letter takes time to set up, stuff in an envelope, address, and send.  If you try one of the above methods and it doesn’t work, you are on to the next.  If it does work, you still have an account to update and an extra payment to run.  This takes time, your valuable time, away from what your business is doing right.   On your list of things to do today, we’re guessing this task ranks near the bottom of what you find enjoyable.  You can always delegate this work to a staff member (they are jumping for joy, I’m sure) or hire someone else to do it, but without the proper training it can demand a lot of time.  And time means money.  This isn’t the only drawback.

Making such phone calls also leads to awkward conversations with your customers.  Your customers are likely embarrassed this happened to them.  You or your staff hates the idea of confronting a member over an unpaid bill.  If you see your customers face to face, the awkwardness increases and you won’t want to have the confrontation at your front desk.  No one wants this job.  We’re guessing many businesses let this type of account sit around collecting dust for these very reasons

But wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to turn those unpaid bills into dollars in your bank account? 

Especially if you could recover those payments without bearing the cost of such a service yourself?

At Crowne One, we provide trained professionals who are willing to send emails and letters on your behalf, but we offer greater success because we are also willing to make phone calls on your behalf until the balance owed is paid.  We’ll spend the time.  We’ll deal with the awkwardness and confrontation for you.  And we’ll do it in a timely matter.  All you have to do is watch your revenue grow.  For many of our clients, the rejected payments we recover for them help to pay much if not all their monthly billing costs. 

If recovering your rejected payments could put enough money in your pocket to pay for a quality billing service, wouldn’t it be worth it?

    Are you ready to find out what Crowne One can do for you?

Call us at 855-524-5546 or Contact Us Here

Add Customers and Cut Costs with an EFT Option

Posted by Christa in Payment Processing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If your current recurring billing software doesn’t provide your customers with the ability to pay by EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer), not only are you losing paying customers, but you are paying more than you should.  EFTs, also known as direct debits or electronic checks, are payments from a checking or savings account.  They are also a cheaper and more efficient way of billing, making them ideal for businesses with membership or subscription-based payment plans or for businesses who accept charges over their website.

EFTs are better for your bottom line for a number of reasons:

  1. Some people just won’t pay with credit cards.  If you have paying customers lined up for your services and they refuse to pay with a credit card, you lose them.  Whether they want to avoid finance fees, cut out an extra payment step, or operate on a cash-only basis, an EFT option will make it possible for them to sign up.
  2. Cheaper processing.  Processing payments is cheaper for EFTs than it would be for the same charge on a credit card, especially as that payment amount increases.
  3. No need to update ever-changing Credit Card expiration dates.  Expiring credit cards can keep you from getting paid on-time and increase unnecessary phone calls, emails, and updates to your database.  Customers are also more likely to keep their banking information longer than they keep their credit cards, meaning businesses can count on less updates and more on-time payments with the EFT option.

 How many of my recurring billing accounts can I expect to move to EFTs? 

 Our experience is that if recurring billing customers are simply given the option of EFTs or Credit Card payments, up to 40% of them will choose the EFT option.  If you offer an incentive or other motivation, it could be even higher.  Think about it.   If you could significantly reduce the payment processing cost of 40% of your clientele, how much money would you save?  If you had an EFT option, how many additional paying members could you sign up each month?

 Unfortunately, the EFT option is missing from many of the popular new products and services in recurring billing.  They say it complicates their system and increases the support burden.  It might be too complicated for them, but not for us.  Crowne One has been doing recurring billing for 24 years.  We specialize in complexity.  And the support burden is on us, not you.  Crowne One can recover rejected payments and get the customers you might have lost on a monthly schedule.  We can save you money and add to your customer count by giving your customers the option of paying by EFT or credit card.

Ready to Learn More about Crowne One?

Call us at 855-524-5546 or Contact Us Here