Automatic Payments

Our Installments feature is a great tool to help you quickly and easily change the payment date or split the payment over multiple dates for a single invoice.  But when you need to do this across multiple invoices it can be a bit cumbersome.  Our Automatic Payment feature allows you to specify a set amount on a frequency, and uCollect will collect this amount and apply it to the oldest eligible invoice first.  Now you get to stay in complete control of the payment process, with much less effort.

Once an Automatic Payment has been setup on a contact invoices will not be considered for collection on their due date.  However, you can still set installments on individual invoices (these invoices will not participate in the Automatic Payment plan) and suspend invoices (suspended invoices will not be eligible to be collected under the Automatic Payment plan).  If you have filters set for this contact then the invoice must meet the filter criteria to be eligible for collection under the Automatic Payment plan.  This adds an additional layer of complexity and therefore it is not recommended that you use filters with Automatic Payments (but you can if you want).  If you suspend collection for a contact then Automatic Payments will also be suspended.

To set up Automatic Payments for a contact they first need to be connected to a Payment Gateway.

  1. Edit the contact by clicking on their entry in the Search Contact screen.
  2. Select the "Automatic Payments" tab and then click the "Create Automatic Payment" button.
  3. Set the options you need (see below) and click "Save".

The options for Automatic Payments are as follows:

Collection Amount

This is the amount that will be collect with each automatic payment.  It is a fixed amount.

The currency will default to your gateway currency.

Collection Frequency

This determines how often the Automatic Payment will run.  You can select any number (up to 12) of days, weeks or months.

Next Installment

This is the date that the Automatic Payment will next run.  You can set this to any date starting from today.

End Point

All good things must come to an end.  You need to tell us when this Automatic Payment should stop.  Your options are:

  • When all eligible OVERDUE invoices are paid - we will continue the Automatic Payment plan until all invoices that are past due (based on the invoice due date being less than or equal to the payment date) have been collected.  This will mean that not-yet due invoices will not be processed.
  • When ALL eligible invoices are paid - we will continue the Automatic Payment plan until all invoices are collected, including invoices that are not yet due.
  • On a set date - you can specify a date and we will stop on that date regardless of the balance due.

An "eligible" invoice is one that is not suspended, meets any filter criteria and does not have an installment plan set for it.

Users with payment notifications will receive an email advising them that an Automatic Payment plan has ended.

Action on End

Once we reach the end point (as specified above we can take one of three actions:

  • Delete Automatic Payment plan and go on standard collection - this will mean that the contact will now be eligible for collection under the assigned gateway using our normal rules.  If there are any past due invoices then they will be evaluated in your next collection batch for collection.
  • Delete Automatic Payment plan and suspend contact from further collection - this will prevent the contact from being included in the automatic or manual process until you un-suspend them.
  • Retain Automatic Payment plan - leave the plan in place.  This is especially useful if you want to automatically resume the AP if new invoices are added to the contact.  This option is not available if you have selected "On a set date" as your end point.

The amount that we collect

When we evaluate an Automatic Payment we will collect the LOWER of the Collection Amount and the value of eligible invoices.  If your end point is all overdue invoices then we will only collect up the amount of overdue invoices.  If your end point is all invoices then we will collect up to the maximum amount unpaid.  uCollect will NEVER collect more than the amount due (or overdue - based on your settings).  At this time we do not allow you to build up a balance on account using this tool.

What if the customer pays an amount manually?

If your customer pays an amount manually it won't immediately effect the Automatic Payment plan unless that brings their account up to date (in which case our end point and action on end will be triggered next time we go to initiate the Automatic Payment).  If you want to skip a payment you need to edit the Automatic Payment plan and reset the Next Installment date.

We always apply the payment to the oldest eligible invoices in your accounting system.  If y

What happens if a payment fails?

This depends on when the payment fails and what type of gateway you are using:

  • If you are processing in a real-time gateway (such as most credit card gateways) and the payment fails at that stage then we do not post the payment and we try again the next day.  Once a payment is successful the next payment date will be applied based on the original date, not the final collection date.  If a payment fails for a complete automatic payment frequency cycle then that cycle will be skipped.
  • If you are processing in an API gateway that has automated failure notification then we will respond with your default actions for failure.  If your instructions are to suspend the contact then this will pause the Automatic Payment.  If your action is to try again we will try again as instructed but separately from the Automatic Payment process, which will be initiated on the next date as normal.
  • If you are processing using a gateway that doesn't have automated failure notification then you will need to manually deal with the failure as usual.  The next scheduled Automatic Payment will progress as usual.
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