Asked Questions About Our New Automated Contribution Service:
Central Inc. Answers:
does your service work?
you have signed an agreement with us, your customers may
call into your local or toll-free number (or into a number
we have established on your behalf) and arrange for a payment
by credit card or check. They provide information about
their credit card or bank account, the amount they wish
to pay, and the account to which the payment is to be credited
(if applicable), and then record a verbal authorization
for the transaction, which we archive for an appropriate
amount of time (normally six months).
can you claim that your service is absolutely secure?
"system" referred to in this "Questions &
Answers" list consists of voice-processing boards and
customized software installed in a standalone PC. All information
entered into the system by callers (both numbers entered by
TouchTone and recorded speechfiles) are stored on this PC's
hard drive. Later, the system only sends information to your
computer that specific payments have been received (and confirmed,
in the case of credit card payments and guaranteed check payments;
see Question 3 below) - MINUS the sensitive and private credit
card or bank account information. And since our PC is not
connected to the Internet, and therefore is simply NOT ACCESSIBLE
to hackers, the only way that someone with criminal intent
can obtain the information we have collected is to physically
break into our offices, or tap into our phone lines - both
of which possibilities we take considerable pains to protect
against. But to reiterate, the system IS, in fact, absolutely
secure against the most likely (and usual) route by which
such information is stolen, namely by hackers operating through
you obtain real-time approval for the transactions, while
the caller is still on line?
credit card transactions, our system obtains approval for
the requested transaction while the caller is recording the
verbal authorization, and then tells the caller that the transaction
has been approved, and he or she should make note of the confirmation
number that the system is about to give him or her. Alternatively,
the system may tell the caller that there is apparently a
problem "with his or her financial institution",
and he or she should check with that financial institution
(but in the meantime, if he or she has another way to handle
the transaction, he or she should press "1" to enter
the new information). That way, the caller has the maximum
opportunity to arrange for a completed transaction, and will
leave the call knowing whether or not he or she has been successful
in making the payment; this also eliminates the need to call
a buyer back if a transaction is declined by a credit card
company during a subsequent offline request for authorization.
transactions by check (if you have contracted for check-guarantee
services), the system obtains approval for the requested transaction
in exactly the same way as described for credit card transactions.
Otherwise, the transaction should be handled as if a "soft"
check has been received from the caller.
happens after the caller hangs up?
For credit card transactions,
the system will subsequently convert the already-obtained
authorization from the bank clearing house into a "settlement"
(i.e. the actual transfer of funds from the caller's account
to yours), unless an arrangement has been made with your bank
to handle the settlement automatically. The system will typically
perform all settlements for each day during an overnight interaction
with the bank clearing house, but you may request that settlements
be performed immediately after the authorizations have been
obtained. (Or, alternatively, our system can perform the authorizations,
and then pass all information over to your system to handle
the settlements when you wish to.)
transactions by check, there are two ways that we can handle
the processing. The first, which is obviously easier for us,
involves transferring the funds electronically from the caller's
bank account to yours, via EFT ("Electronic Funds Transfer").
The second, which we prefer (even though it obviously costs
us more to carry it out) because it will subsequently help
the caller understand why this transaction has appeared on
his or her bank statement, involves the preparation by our
system of a bank "draft" printed on proper banker's
paper using magnetic toner, and including the caller's bank
name and address, the name of your company (as payee), the
date, the amount in numbers and in words, all the magnetic
coding at the bottom of the check necessary for it to pass
normally through the federal check-clearance system, and the
words "Authorization on file" in the signature block.
(Our system also endorses the draft on the back, and prints
up a deposit slip for all such bank drafts to be deposited
to your account every business day, as part of the service
we provide.) North American banks have indicated that they
are perfectly happy to process these check drafts, as long
as the payee (your company) has a good credit rating.
Finally, our system will prepare and send to you a hard copy
of the list of all transactions handled that day, sorted by
your account or transaction number (if applicable) and by
the confirmation numbers that the system announces to each
caller, to enable easy verification in case of any subsequent
dispute. It will also produce a computer batch file containing
all pertinent information about the transactions it handled
that day (in any format you require), which you will be able
to import directly into your accounting or spreadsheet program,
thereby eliminating the need to do any data entry whatsoever
for transactions which have gone through the system.
we have to accept payments both by credit card and by check
through your service?
Not at all.
We can easily configure our service to accept payments only
by credit card, or only by check, according to your specific
do we get our money? Do we receive the money directly, or
does it first go into your account, and then into ours?
for credit card and check transactions, all funds collected
through our service go straight into your account; we simply
act as the expediter. If desired, we can help you set up the
necessary merchant credit card and corporate bank accounts;
if you are unable to obtain such accounts, we could then arrange
for you to receive deposits through our accounts.
about credit card chargebacks?
are debits charged by the credit card companies to your merchant
credit card accounts, when specific transactions are disputed
by the payors. Typically, the credit card companies are very
quick to charge back a transaction when they are notified
of a dispute, and the onus is then on the payee (yourself)
to contest the dispute, if it is your company's policy to
Since our system obtains authorization for credit card charges
exactly as you would do if you were handling these transactions,
there may be absolutely no difference in the likelihood of
a transaction being disputed when it has passed through our
system. On the other hand, since our system captures the telephone
number from which each call for a transaction request has
been made, and can easily be configured to REFUSE to accept
such calls when the number cannot be captured (from a payphone,
say, or when Caller ID blocking has been invoked by the caller),
and since the caller has recorded a verbal authorization for
the transaction, this may well discourage some payors who
might otherwise have disputed a transaction; the stored information
(to which you will have easy access, by telephone) will certainly
help you, should you wish to contest the payor's dispute.
about N.S.F. checks? And can we use the services of a check-guarantee
drafts issued and deposited through our service are effectively
exactly the same as checks which you have received by mail,
and deposited into your account. They are "soft"
payments which are not sure to remain in your account (and
may therefore not be drawn against, for the most part) until
after the period of time specified by your bank (typically
one to five days, depending on how far away the payor's
bank is from yours).
To speed up this process, and place the burden of collecting
payment for N.S.F. checks in the hands of those most able
to do so successfully, you may want to consider using the
services of a check guarantee company. This will usually
cost you about the same as you will be paying in commissions
for credit card services, but for these fees the check guarantee
company promises to pay you quickly the face value of any
check returned N.S.F. (and will then attempt to collect
back that amount, plus N.S.F. charges, from the issuer of
the bad check, although this will no longer be any concern
much does your service cost, and how do we pay you?
are NO installation fees or set-up charges for our service,
nor do we charge a percentage of each amount deposited, as
some "live" services do. Rather, we will charge
you a flat-rate fee for each completed transaction carried
out for a caller. The amount of this transactional fee will,
of course, depend on the number of transactions handled on
your behalf per week or month, but will always be LESS than
you are currently paying to have transactions processed (i.e.
the direct cost of having payments processed and deposited
to your account, and information about the payments entered
into your accounting or spreadsheet software - and verified).
In addition, you would incur the cost of the local or toll-free
telephone service (registered in your name) that will be needed
to give access to your customers to deposit funds to your
account; as an experienced player in the voice-processing
industry, however, we will be able to arrange for rates on
your behalf which will very likely be considerably less than
you might be able to arrange for yourself.
contact us directly to determine what your cost would be.
To help us give you a quick answer, please be ready to give
us a reasonably accurate estimate of the transactions you
would expect that our service might have to handle on your
behalf per week or month, once it is operating fully and is
ensure that the financial aspect is fair to both parties,
our agreement with you will include your permission for us
to transfer funds from the account into which we are depositing
all fees paid to you through our service into our account
(to cover the incurred transactional fees), on a weekly, bi-weekly
or monthly basis, depending on the volume of such transactions.
Naturally, there will be a reconciliation period after each
such transfer, during which time discrepancies or questions,
if any, can be resolved.)
can I tell if your service will enhance the image we want
to project for our company? You know how much many people
dislike automated voice systems.
Glad you asked!
For almost a decade now, our parent company has been creating
customized automated telephone systems for clients, with capabilities
that exactly matched their needs - and, in some cases, with
capabilities that no one had ever thought to put into a voice-processing
system. When you try out our voice demo (call us at 702-757-5587
or email us at
email@example.com and we'll tell you what you
need to do, to do so), you'll be able to hear for yourself that
we have placed into this system all the functions necessary
for it to collect the information which the credit card companies
and banks require, in a format which is EASY AND INTUITIVE
for the callers to use. In fact, the actual implementation
of the design was not overly difficult for a company such
as ours, which has been building even more complex systems
for years; the real work was done in recognizing and defining
the need for such a service, and in designing it to be easily
usable by non-technically- oriented people.
there anything I should know before calling into your voice
There are three things you should know:
Have a pen and piece of paper in front of you when you place
inevitably, as you listen to the demo, you will hear something
that will cause you to think, "I wish that they had done
[something] this way instead of that way". Since our
business for almost a decade has been the creation of *customized*
automated telephone messaging systems, it will be no problem
for us to arrange for the service we offer you to, in fact,
do it "this way instead of that way". So, taking
the occasional note may be useful.
You may safely ignore the admonition to "have your credit
card (or your checkbook) in front of you".
the purpose of the voice demo, ANY number with the correct
number of digits will work just fine - although it would be
a good idea to press different keys, rather than simply pressing
the same key 16 times, for example.
You will actually hear several different "goodbye"
messages BEFORE you reach the end of the voice demo.
there are several different ways that actual payment calls
to the system may end, there are several different final messages
recorded. During the course of the demo, you will hear all
of them - but the demo will *continue* after each one has
been played. You will know that you have reached the end of
the demo when you hear a message saying, "to listen to
this demo again, please press '1'. To leave a message, press
'2'.", etc., and you may then choose one of the options,
or simply hang up.
we decide to use your service, when could we be operational?
Assuming that we can operate our service on your behalf in
the U.S. or Canada, you can expect to be operational for credit-card
acceptance within 2-4 weeks from the time we sign an agreement;
check acceptance will take an additional 2-4 weeks, because
we will have to arrange to subscribe on your behalf to a bank
database service (so that the system will be able to verify
bank routing numbers entered by callers in "real-time"
- i.e., while the callers are still on the line). Obviously,
if we will need to establish your service outside the U.S.
or Canada, we may need a little extra time to familiarize
ourselves with the banking situation in your country, in order
to provide you with a perfectly-functioning service.
all is said and done, why should we be interested in your
service? People seem to be managing quite well to send us
to" is EXACTLY the point! You have absolutely no way
to know how many people were *going* to send you an order
(and money to pay for it) - but simply never got around to
it. As one important example, two separate recent studies
sponsored by major organizations have established the same
point (almost to the same percentage, in fact!) - *2/3* of
all people who have the technical skill to browse the Internet,
and the financial resources to do so, are ABSOLUTELY UNWILLING
to pass their financial information through the 'Net to complete
a transaction. So should companies which feel they are "very
successful" in selling through the Internet rest on their
laurels - or should they be worrying about the fact that their
sales (and presumably their profits!) should have been as
much as 200% HIGHER than they are??
After all, if Rule Number One of Marketing is "make it
easy for the customer to buy", Rule Number Two *must*
be "make it easy for the customer to pay" - BECAUSE
WHAT IS THE FIRST, WITHOUT THE SECOND?
Our service makes it easy for people to PAY you! And since
we don't charge you anything but a fee for actual transactions
which the service handles on your behalf, IT WON'T COST YOU
A PENNY TO TRY IT OUT - except when it is resurrecting orders
that you might well otherwise have lost!.
you have any further questions, please feel free to bring
them up, and we will do our best to provide meaningful answers.
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