To address additional questions you may have about FirsTech, we have provided below a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that may be of assistance to you.
If you are an authorized biller, the payment posts the same day. If you are an unauthorized, then normally 3 to 5 business days.
An authorized biller is one with which FirsTech has a contract to provide their walk-in bill payment locations. This typically means that for authorized billers the convenience fee customers are charged is defined by the contract, payments usually post to a customer account more quickly, and the agent location is distributed by the biller as a place customers can make payments. With unauthorized billers, there is enough information about their customer accounts that we can accept payments, but we do not have any direct relationship with the biller.
As a primary focus, FirsTech helps our clients and prospects to assess their current business practices to determine what payment capabilities would be the most effective in improving their cash flow by removing impediments in their receivables process. Through that analysis, we define and deploy the payment processing applications most applicable to their industry and their customer preferences. Our core competencies include tenacious problem solving skills, strong creativity, a solid knowledge of the payments industry and a well- established understanding of our customer's back office operations. We pride ourselves on not only bringing best practices to bear, but also in helping our clients avoid pitfalls that can occur along the way. Our unwavering commitment to quality and excellence is demonstrated in our service level metrics and organizational performance.
In today's market, the challenges of our economy have an impact on billers and their customers alike. Billers need to find ways to reduce cost, improve operational efficiency, reduce their DSO, all while delivering a positive experience for their customers. For customers, their ability and willingness to pay the bill ON TIME is driven by the payment options that are offered to them. Billers need to recognize a wide variety of payment channels that range from time-tested traditional methods to the convenience offered by technical innovation. To meet the varying needs of today's customers, the biller must be able to offer the following options: pay by check, pay in person, auto-debit to bank accounts or credit cards, home banking bill payment, one time bill payment at the biller website, and the ability to make payments on mobile devices. At FirsTech, we will take an all-inclusive approach to your solution by proposing a wide variety of experience and expertise to create a custom solution tailored specifically to you, our Client and your customers. Through the payment capabilities solution set we jointly define: your business objectives will be achieved by enhancing process efficiencies, accelerating cash thereby reducing DSO and improving working capital and your customers will have options available that resonate specifically with them enhancing customer loyalty and satisfaction.
FirsTech is extremely flexible when it comes to customization within a payment channel. We appreciate the fact that you know your specific business better than we do. Our approach is to listen to your needs, couple that with our industry expertise and experience in deploying solutions to satisfy similar business objectives and then designing systems and processes to meet them. Whatever the technology requirements, we can customize to fit the needs. We can integrate into systems and work processes in a variety of different ways such as, web service calls, file outputs, real time memos/payments, real time look-ups, custom payment flows and processes, etc.
Here are some of the frequently asked questions regarding becoming an Agent in FirsTech's extensive walk-in payment network.
There is no cost to the agent to become a walk in payment center. There are no start-up cost, no monthly cost, and FirsTech owns and supplies the equipment installed at the agent location. FirsTech also provides replacement paper, ink, and any equipment that breaks.
With the authorized billers, once the system is set up and goes "live" at the agent location there are a couple of ways to "promote" payment acceptance. The FirsTech client leveraging the walk-in payment network will publish the agent's information out on their website as an authorized agent location for accepting payments on their behalf. Additionally, FirsTech will also supply signage for the agent to post around the store and at the counter to denote that they are an authorized agent for payment acceptance.
The agent compensation comes in the form of a percentage of the customer convenience fee that is assessed to the customer for leveraging the convenience of this service to satisfy their payment obligation. The amount of that fee varies depending on the agent's state of operation, as the customer convenience fees are defined by and range in amount by state. The agent's compensation equates to a 50/50 split of the customer convenience fee assessed. The fees normally range from $1.00 to $2.00.
As an agent, if we deposit the monies paid to us by the customers into our bank account, how long does it take for FirsTech to withdraw the payment funds from our (the agent's) bank account for ultimately delivery to the client?
Normally these funds are withdrawn the second business day after receipt.
Customer Service Payments
Here are some of the frequently asked questions about the FirsTech customer service payment solution.
There is no software to purchase or install and no licensing fees to pay. All that is needed is an internet connection, so getting started is easy.
FirsTech includes training as part of their standard implementation services. The screens are easy to follow and use and typically, training only takes an hour to complete.
Yes. This can be established at your discretion and FirsTech will support the implementation.
Here are some of the frequently asked questions about the FirsTech direct debit solution.
FirsTech offers customers the ability to set a maximum payment amount on their Direct Debit, which prevents customers from having a large amount deducted unexpectedly. This gives customers more feeling of control, and drives increased adoption.
Direct Debit payment service is optimized by including it as an option on your own hosted bill payment site or via a FirsTech hosted online bill pay solution. We also offer and can integrate with an Electronic Billing Presentment solution.
Yes. FirsTech offers a web-based (no software to install), CSR tool for all of our payment services. The ability to view and make changes on any customer's account is at your fingertips and can be done immediately with the customer on the phone.
Electronic Payments Concentration
Here are some of the frequently asked questions about the FirsTech electronic payments concentration solution.
Payment fields, payment history and reporting, user access and timing are always customized for each individual client's needs.
Access is web based so there is no software to purchase or install and there are no licensing fees to pay.
Here are some of the frequently asked questions about the FirsTech identification verification solution.
Yes. FirsTech provides both standard and customized reports for all of their services.
FirsTech's (VerID) Solution utilizes existing payment locations to positively identify your customers so you can establish service in their name with complete confidence of residence and identity. FirsTech delivers all the back end systems required with no major technology effort or expense to you. Customers provide key profile information such as name, service address, phone number which is then verified at the agent location with primary and secondary sources of identification. The information is verified and ID sources are scanned into a document warehouse. Once the customer has been positively identified in the system, the information is transmitted to FirsTech and a receipt is electronically printed for the customer stating that the identity verification data was provided to the utility client.
Utilizing an already existing network of authorized nationwide agents to both receive payments as well as process and verify your customer data, allows you to reduce service calls and support staff on your end.
FirsTech's VerID is customizable with regards to the forms of customer identification, as well as number of data transmittals.
Lockbox Remittance Processing
Here are some of the frequently asked questions about the FirsTech lockbox processing solution.
We can process any stub with an OCR scan line at the bottom and a minimum of 4.75" and maximum of 8.5" in length and 2.75" to 4" in height.
This can vary, but typically is next day funding.
FirsTech provides same day remote access to processed items through a self-service research tool. There is no limit to the amount of time this data is stored.
Mobile Bill Pay
Here are some of the frequently asked questions about the FirsTech mobile bill pay solution.
FirsTech's mobile bill pay works with any phone capable of sending and receiving text messages.
Mobile Bill Pay is available through a simple three step registration process on the web. The customer will be sent an activation code to their phone to confirm they are able to receive text messages. Once that activation code is entered on the web, they are set to receive notifications and confirm payments via a simple SMS text.
Yes. No credit card or bank account information is sent via text messaging. It is secured through the web registration process and accessed systematically through the solution.
Online Bill Pay
Our solutions for online bill payments are second to none. Here are some of the frequently asked questions about this service.
Yes, Firstech hosts a bill payment processing page with your logo and company look-and-feel, linked from your website to our secure processing servers.
Firstech offers small to medium sized clients a turn-key online Bill Pay solution called SmartPay. It can be up and running in as little as ten business days.
Yes. It is our experience that the faster the payment is posted to the customer's account; the more likely they are to make payments and to use the service more frequently. Customers appreciate the ease and convenience of Online Bill Pay with real-time posting.
FirsTech is able to support all major credit cards, debit cards, and electronic bank debits.
At FirsTech, we work diligently to ensure that our clients experience no interruptions in service, due to equipment failures or other unforeseen circumstances at our primary processing locations. For example, we re-create copies of all data we receive to our back-up facility locations each processing day. As a result of this built-in redundancy, FirsTech would not have to rebuild data in the event of a disaster or loss of the primary processing site. To ensure our approach is infallible, FirsTech participates in annual disaster recovery tests while our Information systems department conducts monthly tests of all systems in a fail over capacity. We also have a business continuity plan in place that is reviewed every year and tested quarterly. Our back-up safeguards allow FirsTech to fulfill our contractual obligations without any disruption to you and your customers. Specific client disaster plans can be created and tested based on your requirements.
FirsTech has successfully completed SOC 1 (formerly SAS70) Type II certifications each year since 2008. We believe that our investment in this initiative is a significant competitive distinguisher and provides a strong testimony to our commitment to quality assurance, information security, and IT operational robustness and compliance capabilities. Our Type II non-qualified compliance well illustrates our capabilities in designing, implementing, and adhering to the controls and safeguards required to process confidential client information. You can rest assured that all documents and images in our possession are subject to very stringent facility and electronic handling requirements. We received NO EXCEPTIONS on our most recent SOC 1 Type II audit.
Given the nature of our business, FirsTech is required to maintain PCI compliance as per the PCI standards. FirsTech maintains a contract with TrustWave for yearly questionnaires and quarterly vulnerability scans. Throughout the history of FirsTech, we have maintained a spotless record of performance with no penalties, infractions or violations.
Here are some of the frequently asked questions about the FirsTech walk-in payments solution.
FirsTech manages the recruiting, selection, and management of all the agents that take payments at locations determined to be mutually beneficial. There is no financial risk to the biller. FirsTech manages the transactions and maintains the daily updates with each location.
FirsTech provides each agent location with a CPU, monitor, scanner, and check printer (if applicable). These are maintained and serviced by FirsTech's 24/7 Help Desk.
The percentage of payments made through walk-in options has increased from 7% to 10% in the past few years. This percentage will continue to increase as the percentage of households that are unbanked continues to increase. The FirsTech model allows for customers to make payments in the same locations were they are leveraging check-cashing services already.
FirsTech offers each client with a web address link that can be provided on the billing statement and/or their web site, which provides a look-up tool for payment locations.
"To provide our customers with innovative systems, processes and services of the highest quality in the customer payment processing industry".- FirsTech Payments Mission Statement
1 N. Brentwood Blvd