What is Account Updater?
Spreedly's Account Updater submits the credit cards in your vault to their respective card brands. If the card has changed, we receive back new credit card details and update the card in your vault. Changes typically result from cards expiring, accounts closing, or lost and stolen cards getting replaced. We submit all the cards in your vault twice per month, but you only pay a fee for those cards that are updated, or confirm the card has changed but indicate you need to contact the card holder.
How does Account Updater fit into your business? The number of impacted cards in your vault depends on what type of business you have, and whether it's a first time run or ongoing maintenance of your vault.
The two most common questions we receive about Account Updater:
How many cards can I expect to be updated if I utilize the Account Updater service?
The number of impacted cards in your vault depends on what type of business you have, and whether it's a first time run or ongoing maintenance of your vault.
What kind of return can I expect to receive?
What kind of business are you? Are you a recurring/subscription based business or are you an e-commerce repeat/additional sale based business?
Where are most of your customers located?
Account Updater For Recurring/Subscription Based Businesses
These businesses tend to have the "cleanest" vaults. That's because you're typically trying to charge a credit card every month, so you know the status of the card quite regularly. In a way, there's a manual, end user driven account updater process happening.
This reduces the number of cards you're likely to see impacted by using the account updater service. That means this type of customer usually sees the smallest initial run of cards needing to be updated when running Account Updater for the first time.
Account Updater For E-commerce Repeat/Additional Sales
In this model you store the customer's credit card to make any future repeat or additional purchase easier, thus removing a friction point and driving up conversion. This can vary a lot by business and user, but typically these cards are not used each month. This means that when we first run Account Updater on your vault, we're going to be submitting cards that have been stored for an extended period of time. This increases the success rate of impacted cards as a percentage of your overall vault.
Account Updater For Regional Mix of Users
Spreedly's Account Updater has full participation for Visa, Mastercard, and Discover cards in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Italy. The rest of Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East have ‘High participation’ but not near full coverage. Accordingly, the number of credit cards updated initially, and on an ongoing basis, will be dependent upon the mix of users you have in those regions.
Account Updater ROI Metrics
Again, repeat e-commerce most likely has slightly higher run rates due to the timing of our vault updates vs. the timing of the subscription renewal runs by our customers. One can safely assume that for our repeat e-commerce cards, many cards are added during the month and are not used again. In the subscription model, some percentage of the cards added will fail a renewal test and get updated before they get a chance to get passed to AU.
Countries that don’t have full coverage
For these countries, we are seeing initial run percentages as low as 3% and 4% and ongoing monthly runs at 0.5% to 1% of their total vaults. But based on the fees for Account Updater, the economics are still very positive: You're only charged for cards that are updated or indicate you need to contact the cardholder.
How to think about Account Updater's Return on Investment (ROI)
There are three ways to think about ROI as it relates to Spreedly's Account Updater:
Increase Customer Lifetime Value
Firstly, the number of "saved" transactions. Each business is different, but your rough formula should be:
(Number of updated cards) x (Average ticket size per card per charge/subscription)
From that, you have to apply your internal formula based on what you know about your service and its stickiness today. When cards fail, what percentage of your customers abandon your shopping cart or let their subscription expire vs. what percentage re-enter their credit card?
If 75% of customers are manually reentering their card data upon failure, then you would take the above amount and multiply it by 0.25 to get the total amount of revenue you can truly retain.
The second area to think about is reduced support costs. What does it look like for you when a card fails? This is especially pertinent to subscription and recurring businesses, but can also apply to e-commerce apps too. At one end of the scale, you have one or more full time employees in a customer service role whose job it is to chase down existing, or soon to expire, credit cards on file.
At the other end of the scale, you can track tickets in your support application to see how many your team handles each month around a failing payment method and updating it. For example, if your average support ticket cost on a failed payment method is determined internally to be $30, and an updated card via Account Updater is a fraction of that price, then each successfully updated credit card saves you $30 in a support ticket chasing down that customer/subscriber.
Improved customer experience
You want to ensure repeat buyers have a smooth experience and asking them to enter payment details due to outdated information can hurt your conversion. Updating their payment details behind the scene, greatly reduces the friction associated with adding a new credit card.
Automatically receiving new payment details eliminates the time and resource-intensive process of reaching out to your customers to manually update their payment details. It also allows you to focus the same resources on more valuable activities.
For Spreedly customers, that first run of the Account Updater can update a large percentage of your cards, especially if you're an e-commerce application with an, long-term vault in place. Yet once you get past the initial run, you can expect to settle into an ongoing rate of 3 - 6% of your monthly vault. Even if your rate is much lower than that, it still makes sense to join because there is no fixed cost and you only pay for updated payment methods.
Whether it's cost effective to you as a business will depend on what you believe the overall stickiness of your service is, and how much you value the cost of supporting customers when their payment methods fail.
Learn more about Spreedly's Account Updater, or reach out to our Customer Sucess team for more information.