When dealing with payments and payment types, a company needs to evaluate its services and customer base to find optimal payment solutions. Payment solutions must fit the company’s use-case and can make life easier for customers. Some customers also prefer certain payment types over the other, either due to simplicity or cautiousness. Depending on when and how payments are collected, we can split different payment types into three major groups:
The Pay-Now payment type relies on immediate payments of services or products. For example, a customer would like to charge his electric vehicle for 20 Euros and pay for the service immediately. In this case, the customer usually provides a payment method (i.e., credit card). Maybe he already has one safely stored in the system. The system authorizes a desired amount on the credit card. When the charging session is over, the system charges the authorized amount on the card, while the customer receives back any remaining authorized funds. When dealing with non-session transactions, the credit card can also be charged immediately without pre-authorization of funds.
Prepaid payment types utilize balances (or credits) which a customer has available on his account. The customer can top up his available balance by using a desired payment method. The system, upon a successful top-up, updates the customer’s balances. The rating and billing engine charges the customer for any service usage. The engine performs authorizations, re-authorizations, and charges on the customer’s available balances. When a customer runs out of available funds, he is usually notified and encouraged to perform another top-up. Balances can be monetary, or any other quantifiable unit. Other popular units are free minutes, free kilowatt-hours, free megabytes for data, and so on.
From our experience, we can say that postpaid is the most commonly used payment type. The customer has an open bill for one billing cycle (i.e., one month). Any services used during that time accumulate on the customer’s open bill. Such bills usually include different monthly fees, service fees, and one-time fees, since customers usually subscribe to a specific plan. Different plans can also include different resources and other benefits for the customer. Granting free resources is a tactic, which encourages customers to subscribe. Companies commonly offer free resources, such as minutes, text-messages, or gigabytes. Some companies choose to charge for their customer’s subscriptions in advance, but this still counts as a postpaid type in our system. Our billing engine generates bills for each billing cycle. Customers then pay those bills via automated payment methods. Customers can also receive their bills as invoices and handle payment on their own.
Integrating with Payment Providers
Supporting various payment options and different types of payment terms serves as a solid platform for future development. To collect payments, however, a rating and billing system needs to cooperate with third party payment solution providers. Such providers offer easy solutions for payment processing. There are pre-designed forms which payment provider’s clients can use, but the option to integrate with their APIs is almost always available.
We created a component designed specifically to integrate with payment providers such as Paypal, Braintree, Stripe, Authorize.Net, CyberSource, Wirecard, and many more. These payment providers offer different types of payment methods online and allow users to integrate with their platforms. Our component is called The Payment Gateway, and you can read more about it in our article “Processing Payments in Tridens Monetization.”
Payment Types in Tridens Monetization
We wanted to ensure our clients can serve their customers most efficiently. That is why we supported all three major payment types in our rating and billing engine – Tridens Monetization cloud billing platform. In Tridens Monetization, each customer can have multiple billing profiles with different payment types. Multiple billing profiles allow our clients to utilize different payment types at once. The variety of payment types and a broad product catalog configuration help fit the need of their customers. Tridens Monetization can also safely store payment method tokens from different payment providers. Storing payment tokens allows the customers of our clients to keep a list of payment methods for reusing.
If you are interested in discovering how we could apply different payment types to your use-case, feel free to contact us. We can also help you find out the optimal way of configuring your use-case in Tridens Monetization.