The average credit card account number has a lifespan of three years. Have you ever wondered why card companies don’t allow their cards to stay active for longer? Well, there are several reasons why card companies maintain this system. Many things can happen in three years:

  • Physical cards can degrade/get worn out and become unusable
  • New chip and digital technology can evolve

Changing cards every three years allows card companies to provide better service, with newer high-tech features and improved security. Besides, the longer a card stays active, the risk of it falling victim to fraud or identity theft also increases.

Be that as it may, no one likes keeping track of credit card expiration dates. And that is a big, big problem for subscription businesses. Expiring cards are the number one reason for involuntary churn among subscribers and customers signed up for recurring billing.

Luckily, if you are a Chargent customer, you don’t have to worry about subscriber accounts closing due to expired credit cards slowing down your billing system. With the Account Updater feature, you can automatically alert your subscribers before the expiry date, and reduce the risk of involuntary churn!

In this post, you will learn how to set up an Account Updater with detailed instructions. But first, an introduction to the Account Updater is in order:

Chargent Account Updater

The Account Updater is a Salesforce scheduled job that is part of the Chargent package. It is programmed to check the card details of your customers in Salesforce. When it finds cards that are about to expire, it will automatically alert those customers via email.

The email will contain a secure link that can be used by the customer to update their payment information with your organization.  The link will lead to a page that is hosted on your Salesforce site. It is a fully secure and brandable credit pay form – a customer can safely enter new payment method information and continue using your service without interruption.

Using the Account Updater can save time and effort for your organization’s payment process. Your teams no longer need to keep watch on customer card expiry dates. They don’t have to schedule phone calls in advance to alert customers about expiring cards, or have nearly as many transactions fail due to card expiration dates. The updater will automatically handle everything in the background, leaving your teams free to focus on other critical functions.

The Account Updater is designed primarily to serve organizations that depend on recurring billing. If you run a subscription business, use installment payments, or provide membership-based services, this feature was tailor-made for you. By reducing involuntary churn, it can protect your recurring revenue streams from disruptions.

The benefits of the Updater also extend to your subscriber/customer – the early alerts about expiring cards ensure that your customer has smooth and uninterrupted access to your service. It greatly enhances the overall customer experience with your business – further boosting your customer retention rates.

It should be noted that Chargent’s Account Updater feature works slightly differently than Credit Card Account Updater features offered by some payment gateways. Chargent’s feature sends email notifications to customers, and gives them a chance to provide updated billing details. Some payment companies can automatically update the expiration dates of cards on file with them, that would be associated with tokens stored in Salesforce. This type of update does of course come with a fee, but can be very useful as well, as it does not require any action from your customer. Chargent supports payment gateway account updater features on some of its gateway integrations, please contact us for more details.

Getting Started with Chargent Account Updater

First, prepare your Chargent account to properly enable the Account Updater. This process is relatively simple, as the updater relies on one major service for its functionality – the Chargent Payment Request feature.

Ensure that Payment Request is properly configured for your business before you set up the Account Update feature. This is absolutely essential and cannot be overlooked under any circumstances. After this step, it will only take you a few minutes to set up Account Updater.

As always, we strongly recommend that you follow the Salesforce Guidelines when configuring new payment-related features. For safe testing, set your Account Updater in a Salesforce Sandbox first. You can always deploy the feature later, once everything is configured properly.

As a precaution, you may also want to use the Salesforce Data Masking Feature during a Full/Partial Sandbox-based testing. This way, you can ensure that no actual email alerts are sent to customers during the testing phase.

Now that the basics are out of the way, let us look at the steps involved in setting up the Chargent Account Updater.

Step 1: Scheduling the Apex
    1. First, schedule the Salesforce Apex for the Chargent Account Updater Feature:
      1. Go to Salesforce Setup, and then type in Apex Classes in the Quick Find Box.
      2. In the Apex Classes menu options, click the button “Schedule Apex” and type a name in the Job Name field.
      3. Pick a name that lets you know the function of this Apex – something like “Chargent Account Updater.”
    2. Below the Job Name field, is the Apex Class field – click on the magnifying glass next to it and type “TChargent” in the search box.
      1. In the Search Results, click on TChargentCheckCards.
      2. In the section for Frequency, configure how often you want the Apex to run – monthly or weekly – with checkboxes available for all seven days.
      3. Place a checkbox next to each day that you want the Apex to run.
    3. After that, scroll down to the Start and End date fields.
      1. Set the End Date to at least a few years out, or more.
      2. Finally, set your preferred start time for the Apex function.
      3. While you are free to pick an hour, it is better to set this at a time when no other Apex are processing – the middle of the night is ideal in our opinion.
    4. Click Save to finish the first step!

Step 2: Setting the Criteria

Your next task is to tell the Account Updater Job to check only for expiring credit cards on your recurring Chargent Orders. To do this, populate the SOQL Statement into Chargent settings. This is a critical step — if you don’t do this properly, the Updater may send email alerts to your ex-customers who are no longer being billed by your company!

      1. To populate the SOQL Statement, click the Salesforce App Launcher, and navigate to Chargent Settings.
        1. Then click on the Advanced Settings Tab and look at the Account Updater Settings.
        2. In the ‘Account Updater Search Criteria’ field enter the following SOQL Statement:

ChargentOrders__Payment_Status__c = 'Recurring'

If you are using a legacy Chargent Package and not the current Chargent Orders Package, you will need a different SOQL statement for your Org. Contact the Chargent Support Team to obtain the appropriate SOQL Statement.

Step 3 – Configuring the Email Template
      1. Next, look at the template for the email the Updater will send to your customers.
        1. Go to Salesforce Setup and type “Classic Email” into the quick find box.
        2. Click on Classic Email Templates.
        3. Click on the drop-down menu next to Folder and select “Chargent Templates” from the available options. This will display several Account Updater Email Templates.
      2. Click on any one template — here you can see the text and the merge fields being used in the email.
        1. You have the option to edit the text in the template, and also edit the merge fields. The trick with the merge fields is that they must be fields on the email notification object.
        2. You can use fields from a different Salesforce object — but for that, you must create custom formula fields on the Email Notification Object to map the fields from the other object there.
Step 4 – Testing

Now that you have configured the Account Updater Feature, it is time to conduct tests to see how it performs.  Before the tests, add Account Updater Logs and Email Notifications as related lists on the Chargent Order Page Layout.

      1. Next, set up a Chargent Order record with a credit card that is set to expire during the current month.
        1. Complete the Chargent Order record with the required information.
        2. Make sure that the expiration month and year are set to the current month and year.
        3. Ensure that the Payment Status Field is set to Recurring — remember the SOQL Statement you set earlier for the criteria!
      2. Finally, check and ensure that the Billing Email contains your email address so that you will be the recipient of the Account Updater test email.
        1. You may now wait for the Apex to execute at the scheduled time that you set in Step One.
        2. Or you can execute the batch instantly, using the following code on the Developers Console:

    ChargentOrders.TChargentBatchCheckCards b = new 
      1. Once the Apex executes the test, you should see an email in your inbox containing the secure link to update the credit card details.
        1. Click on the link and enter updated card information.
        2. Navigate back to the Chargent Order in Salesforce, and you will see the new card details there!

And that’s that – you can experience first-hand how this Chargent feature helps your business prevent interruptions in recurring payment schedules due to expired credit cards! Instead of manually contacting customers to obtain updated card information – everything is fully automated and requires minimum effort from your team!

It is no wonder that the Account Updater is one of the most popular features among Chargent customers for subscription management. Now you too can quickly enable this vastly useful feature on your Chargent account – simply look for an Email Notification record with the Account Updater Link in the related lists when you are reviewing the Chargent Order in Salesforce.