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Carrier billing standards - white paper by Fortumo

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Fortumo provides merchants with two different ways to collect payments using carrier billing: turnkey payment products hosted by Fortumo (Web SDK, Android SDK and Hosted DCB) and merchant-hosted payments.

In both cases, we rely on the telco in enabling the connection for our merchants. This requires Fortumo to meet certain compliance standards in payment products that we host, and also requires merchants to follow the same standards when the checkout process is managed on their side.

These guidelines give an overview of how Fortumo and our merchants can meet telco standards in order to ensure you can continue using carrier billing as a payment method, grow your business and keep your customers happy.

Fortumo is a digital enablement platform for app stores and digital service providers for user acquisition, monetization and retention. The company connects service providers with more than 350 mobile operators across Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.

Service providers use Fortumo’s platform to manage the end-to-end customer lifecycle of mobile users on these networks through the company’s bundling, carrier billing and messaging solutions.

Fortumo’s platform is used by thousands of leading digital merchants including Google, Spotify, Electronic Arts and EasyPark. Founded in 2007, Fortumo has offices in San Francisco, Madrid, Beijing, Delhi, Singapore, Estonia and Hanoi. For more information, please visit https://fortumo.com.

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Carrier billing standards - white paper by Fortumo

  1. 1. CARRIER BILLING STANDARDS White paper by Fortumo Copyright © 2018 Fortumo
  2. 2. Fortumo provides merchants with two different ways to collect payments using carrier billing: turnkey payment products hosted by Fortumo (Web SDK, Android SDK and Hosted DCB) and merchant-hosted payments. In both cases, we rely on the telco in enabling the connection for our merchants. This requires Fortumo to meet certain compliance standards in payment products that we host, and also requires merchants to follow the same standards when the checkout process is managed on their side. These guidelines give an overview of how Fortumo and our merchants can meet telco standards in order to ensure you can continue using carrier billing as a payment method, grow your business and keep your customers happy. CARRIER BILLING STANDARDS OVERVIEW Mattias Liivak Head of Marketing & PR Anni Pähna Customer Relations Team Lead We hope you find this white paper useful and should you have any questions, please reach out to your account manager or bd@fortumo.com. Payment flow standards Unsubscription standards Monitoring payment traffic Customer support standards How to handle refund requests? Identifying your customers for troubleshooting Topics Covered Carrier billing standards overview
  3. 3. Consumers must always understand that they will be charged when navigating through the payment flow, in order to ensure that the purchase decision is informed and to avoid problems, such as refund requests and direct complaints to the local telecommunications authority. In order to make sure that customers do not make any accidental purchases, keep in mind the following: Your landing page includes all information regarding the content and price of your service which the user can familiarize themselves with before initiating a payment Subscription service landing pages must include information about the billing plan (how much the user will be charged for and how often), as well as guidelines on how to unsubscribe from the service Your Terms of Service and refund policy should be clearly brought out on the landing page If you are hosting the payment flow yourself and need guidance on how to make it compliant with telco standards, you can read our Country Regulations page and refer to Fortumo's Web SDK flow (click "Try Demo Payment") to see what information should be included. PAYMENT FLOW STANDARDS Carrier billing standards overview
  4. 4. When the customer has made a successful payment (including renewals for subscriptions) they must receive a receipt SMS. In case of Fortumo-managed payment products, we do this on our own side. If you are hosting the flow yourself, you need to include the following information in the receipt: The maximum length of the receipt depends on the country and telco. In order to avoid going over the limit, keep your receipt messages below 120 characters; you can shorten the content (e.g. by using shortlinks and reducing service name length) to make sure you fit into this limit. Here are a few examples of receipts that you can use: Your subscription to <product name> has been terminated. Thank you for your patronage. To subscribe again, <URL link>. Max 120 characters <product name>. Successful subscription for $ XX /wk. Auto renewal on <date>. To access, <URL link>. To cancel, <URL link>. Support <URL link> Service / Product name Service / Product price For subscription payments, the next renewal date Your contact details, e.g. support portal URL or email address For subscription payments, a link to unsubscribe One-time payment: <product name>. Successful payment for $ XX. Customer support: <URL link> Start of subscription: <product name>. Successful subscription for $ XX /wk. Auto renewal on <date>. To access, <URL link>. To cancel, <URL link>. Support <URL link> Renewal of subscription: Successful renewal for <product name> for $ XX /wk. Auto renewal on <date> Access <URL link> Cancel <URL link> Support <URL link> Termination of subscription: Carrier billing standards overview
  5. 5. One of the most common consumer complaints related to carrier billing is when the user wishes to unsubscribe from a service but is unable to do so. In such cases, the consumer may directly escalate the issue to the telco or the local telecommunications authority, which puts you as a merchant at risk of having your connection shut down. In order to avoid such complaints, the unsubscription process needs to be as clear and visible as possible. When processing subscription payments, here are the steps you need to follow to make sure your service is compliant with telco standards: Every receipt sent to the customer needs to include a direct link to the unsubscription page. The page should include only a button to unsubscribe; with too much information displayed on the page, the user might not be able to find the button UNSUBSCRIPTION STANDARDS If the user needs to visit a mobile website to unsubscribe, the desktop browser version of your website must include step-by-step instructions on how they can correctly unsubscribe Your web page must include unsubscribe information under your FAQ or on the service page itself In case of customer complaints, you should immediately unsubscribe the user and block the customer from making future purchases Music Premium. Successful subscription for $ 6.99 /month. Auto renewal on 25.08.2018. To cancel, music.my/subscription. Support music.my/help Carrier billing standards overview
  6. 6. Fortumo actively monitors all payment traffic on our platform for two purposes: to make sure that our connections to telcos are working and to identify any abnormalities that might indicate there is a risk of fraud on the consumer side. When we identify unclear or suspicious traffic patterns (such as sudden increases of traffic from one country, or a consumer rapidly making an unreasonably large number of payments), we contact the merchant to investigate the reason. If we identify a situation where there is a clear threat to your revenue (for example, incorrect integration of carrier billing, where consumers are able to abuse making free payments) we immediately suspend the service until the issue is fixed. This is done to protect our merchants. While the fraud detection part of our platform and our team are constantly monitoring the traffic, merchants should also make sure they monitor payments on their side. In case you know that there is a new campaign being launched or traffic is expected to rapidly increase, it is helpful to notify us of it in advance so our team can account for it when looking for abnormalities. Other things we recommend you to also keep an eye on: Review your payment volume for each country and investigate cases where there are drastic changes in traffic Identify heavy users of your service (users making a large number of payments or payments in very large values) and review whether their behaviour is normal MONITORING PAYMENT TRAFFIC Carrier billing standards overview
  7. 7. Fortumo also has a customer support portal available for end-users, but we still recommend you to provide your own support contacts first, as we may not have full information to troubleshoot all issues, which can cause delays in resolving the customer’s problem. In case of customer support for payments, merchants should aim to be the first point of contact to their customers. If the customer is able to quickly and easily contact the merchant, it reduces the likelihood of escalation to their telco or the local telecommunications authority. Gathering the feedback first-hand also allows you to collect valuable input about your service. To make sure that the consumer contacts you directly in case of any issues, you should include your support contact in every communication sent to the consumer. We also recommend to provide support contacts on your website and inside your app. In case you provide support through a dedicated support portal, a direct link to the portal should be included in your messages to customers. Your support portal should include the following information regarding carrier billing: Opportunity to submit a ticket to your support, with dedicated fields for the customer to fill in information that relate to carrier billing (their phone number, payment date and time, problem description, their telco, whether they are a postpaid or prepaid user, contact details etc) For subscription services, you should also include instructions on how users can unsubscribe from your service CUSTOMER SUPPORT STANDARDS Carrier billing standards overview
  8. 8. Once a customer submits a ticket, they should receive an automated response that includes information on when they can expect a reply from you and unsubscribe instructions (in case you are using subscription payments). Every customer who submits a ticket should receive a reply back from you regarding the outcome of their request. The reply should be sent by a human customer support agent and from an email address that can be replied to. For payments customer support, you should set up and track SLA-s: for subscription services, complaints need to be solved within 12 hours to avoid renewal charges. For one-off services, the complaints need to be handled within 24 hours. Managing customer expectations on when their problem will be solved and having a timely response rate reduces the amount of customers who will escalate the issue to their telco or the local telecommunications authority. In order to help you investigate customer issues, Fortumo has created the Transactions tab on your Dashboard. On the transactions tab, you can search for information related to the transaction: which country the user is from, who made the transaction, when was it made (according to UTC/GMT+0 time), the phone number that was used for the payment and the service that was purchased. The status Charged means that user was billed and the payment was successful. The most common customer issues and their solutions are: Issue Solution Customer is unable to make a payment Troubleshoot the issue with the help of our white paper Customer wants to unsubscribe Unsubscribe the customer Customer is unaware of why they were charged Unsubscribe and blacklist the customer Customer asks for a refund Refund, unsubscribe and blacklist customer Carrier billing standards overview
  9. 9. Some customer support cases will be related to customers requesting refunds, i.e. wanting money back for something they already purchased. As friendly fraud (chargebacks) are a common issue in the payments industry, we recommend to have the following process in place for refund requests: One option to provide refunds without handling fees is to integrate Fortumo’s Refund API. The Refund API gives you the ability to refund the customer directly back to their mobile account by using a server callback. The Refund API is available for a limited number of telcos. Please confirm the availability of the Refund API for countries where use use carrier billing with your account manager. Processing refunds without using the Refund API can be a costly matter as there are bank or digital wallet fees involved in sending the money back to customers. If your audience is primarily located in emerging markets where prepaid SIM cards are dominant, we recommend to refund them through a SIM card recharge instead. This can be done through services such as Mobile Recharge or Recharge. Check the customer’s payment history; if they claim they did not make the payment, make sure they have no prior payment history. If a user has been making payments for several months and suddenly claims they are unauthorized, the refund request is most likely illegitimate Verify the customer; do not give out information about transactions unless you are sure they are owner of the phone number: you can do this for example by asking what amount they were charged, what were they billed for or having them go through a PIN validation with their phone to confirm they have the device at hand In case of a refund request, block the user from making any future transactions for your service, not just for carrier billing but for any other payment method as well HOW TO HANDLE REFUND REQUESTS? Carrier billing standards overview
  10. 10. In case of payment flows where header enrichment is used, we do not receive the MSISDN information from the telco during the authorisation process. Instead each user is identified by a “consumer identity”. However, when telcos contact Fortumo in case of customer care cases, they only share back with us the user’s MSISDN. In order to successfully investigate issues where we do not have the customer MSISDN, we need you to set up a system that enables linking of MSISDNs to the user's consumer identity. To achieve this, the best and most reliable way is to ask the information directly from the user. You can ask the user to indicate their MSISDN at some point after being making a payment. For example, the user could be required to enter their MSISDN before downloading or accessing content. An alternative would be to ask the number to fully activate their account. The MSISDN could then be attached to each user's account and consument identity in the your database. This point is key in order to ensure an efficient and fast support to end-users. IDENTIFYING YOUR CUSTOMERS FOR TROUBLESHOOTING Carrier billing standards overview
  11. 11. Fortumo’s goal is to help you reach more paying customers and maximize revenue from your services by providing an easy to use payment method that is available to all mobile phone owners. At the same time all payment methods must follow the same regulations and protect the consumers as primary goal. The guidelines above have been compiled to make sure that once you launch carrier billing, we are able to keep your services up and running while also keeping the telcos and their subscribers happy. If you have any questions or need help to make sure your payment service adheres to standards set forth by the mobile operators, please reach out to us and we will be happy to help you out. SUMMARY Fortumo is a digital enablement platform for app stores and digital service providers for user acquisition, monetization and retention. The company connects service providers with more than 350 mobile operators across Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. Service providers use Fortumo’s platform to manage the end-to-end customer lifecycle of mobile users on these networks through the company’s bundling, carrier billing and messaging solutions. Fortumo’s platform is used by thousands of leading digital merchants including Google, Spotify and Electronic Arts. Founded in 2007, Fortumo has offices in San Francisco, Beijing, Delhi, Singapore, Estonia and Hanoi. For more information, please visit: https://fortumo.com https://facebook.com/fortumo https://twitter.com/fortumo https://www.linkedin.com/company/fortumo-ltd This document is for informational purposes only. Fortumo and the authors make no expressed or implied warranties in this document. Fortumo and the author(s) make no representation or warranty in relation to the accuracy, completeness or reliability of the information contained in this document. Any opinions expressed in this document are subject to change without notice. This document may be based on a number of assumptions and different assumptions could result in materially different results. This document should not be regarded by recipients as a substitute for obtaining independent advice and/or the exercise of their own judgement, and is not to be relied upon by recipients. Fortumo and the authors, and any of their members, directors, employees or agents do not accept any liability for any loss or damage arising out of the use of all or any part of this document. Copyright © 2018 Fortumo | All rights reserved. Carrier billing standards overview

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