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How To Follow Up On A Failed Payment

The billing credit card for recurring subscriptions can be rejected for a number of reasons.

Fortunately, AccessAlly can apply a tag to trigger a CRM automation to follow up with clients and get their subscriptions back on track.

What happens when AccessAlly can’t collect a subscription payment?

Stripe Payment: If AccessAlly cannot charge a payment made via Stripe successfully, it will try once a day for three consecutive days. If the charge has not gone through successfully at this point, AccessAlly will apply the Failed Payment Tag, and then wait until the credit card has been updated before it tries to charge again (or until you cancel the subscription).

Once the card is updated, AccessAlly will automatically charge the new card (unless you have canceled the subscription). However, it will only charge the regular recurring amount. If there are any “missed months” of payments, you must charge those manually.

PayPal Payment: PayPal may try to run a payment again if they fail to collect funds, but this retry is not controlled by AccessAlly and PayPal will email you directly if this happens. If PayPal is not able to recover the payment, AccessAlly will apply the Failed Payment tag and immediately move the user into your Payment Failure automation.

Subscribers using PayPal will need to repurchase from an AccessAlly order form as they can not update their payment information from the My Orders and Subscriptions page.

What is the Failed Payment Tag?

The Failed Payment Tag is simply used as a trigger for your CRM automation that reminds your users to update their credit card and revokes access to course material if they fail to do so. (Here’s the tutorial for creating the “update credit card” area on your site.)

Setting Up Failed Payment Campaigns in your CRM

Infusionsoft/Keap

1. Create a new Infusionsoft/Keap campaign, where the trigger is the “Payment Failed” tag.

Screenshot of Infusionsoft failed payment campaign

2. Remove the Payment Successful tag. This makes it possible to pull the contact out of the sequence when they do update their card and their payment goes through successfully.

3. Send as many emails as you’d like to send to remind people to log in and update their credit card on file.

Screenshot of reminder emails

4. If you’d like to revoke access if they don’t successfully make a payment within a time period, then run the Revoke HTTP Post. (You’ll find the webhook URL in the Webhook generator.)

5. Add a “Goal” for the “Payment Success” tag. When the contact updates their credit card and the payment processes, it will pull them out of the campaign so they will stop getting notifications to update their card.

6. Remove the “Payment Failed” tag. This is important because it’s always possible that a payment will fail in future months, so this allows this automation to run again if that happens. Run an update user webhook to sync tag changes.

7. Send an update user HTTP Post to sync the changed tags.

Ontraport

1. Create a new Ontraport campaign, where the trigger is the “Payment Failed” tag.

2. Remove the Payment Success tag. This makes it possible to pull the contact out of the sequence when they do update their card and their payment goes through successfully.

Screenshot of Ontraport failed payment automation

3. Send as many emails as you’d like to send to remind people to log in and update their credit card on file.

Screenshot of revoke webhook in Ontraport

* 3. If you’d like to revoke access if they don’t successfully make a payment within a time period, then run the Revoke Webhook. (You’ll find the webhook URL in the Webhook generator.)

4. Add a “Goal” for the “Payment Success” tag. When the contact updates their credit card and the payment processes, it will pull them out of the campaign so they will stop getting notifications to update their card.

Screenshot of Ontraport last steps

5. Remove the Payment Failed tag. This is important because it’s always possible that a payment will fail in future months, so this allows this automation to run again if that happens.

6. Send an update user webhook to sync the changed tags.

ActiveCampaign

1. Create a new ActiveCampaign Automation, where the start trigger is the “Payment Failed” tag. Make sure that the option for allowing this automation to run more than once is selected.

Screenshot of ActiveCampaign Payment failed tag

2. Remove the Payment Successful tag. This makes it possible to pull the contact out of the sequence when they do update their card and their payment goes through successfully.

Screenshot of ActiveCampaign failed payment automation

3. Send as many emails as you’d like to send to remind people to log in and update their credit card on file.

4. If you’d like to revoke access if they don’t successfully make a payment within a time period, then run the Revoke Webhook. (You’ll find the webhook URL in the Webhook generator.)

5. Create a brand new Automation, with the trigger being the “Payment Success” tag is added. When the contact updates their credit card and the payment processes, it will pull them out of the campaign so they will stop getting notifications to update their card.

Screenshot of ActiveCampaign tag triggered automation

6. Add a “flow” step to exit out of the Failed Payment automation.

Screenshot of ActiveCampaign last steps

7. Remove the “Payment Failed” tag. This is important because it’s always possible that a payment will fail in future months, so this allows this automation to run again if that happens.

8. Send an update user webhook to sync the changed tags.

ConvertKit

1. Create a new ConvertKit Automation, where the start trigger is the “Payment Failed” tag. Make sure that the option for allowing this automation to run more than once is selected.

2. Remove the Payment Successful tag. This makes it possible to pull the contact out of the sequence when they do update their card and their payment goes through successfully.

Screenshot of ConvertKit failed payment steps

3. Send an update user webhook to sync the changed tags, by applying the tag you set up for it.

4. Send as many emails as you’d like to send to remind people to log in and update their credit card on file.

5. If you’d like to revoke access if they don’t successfully make a payment within a time period, then run the Revoke Webhook. (You’ll create the tag in the Webhook generator.)

Screenshot of ConvertKit last steps

6. Add an “Event” for the “Payment Success” tag. When the contact updates their credit card and the payment processes, it will pull them to this point in the automation so they will stop getting notifications to update their card.

7. Remove both the Payment Failed tag. This is important because it’s always possible that a payment will fail in future months, so this allows this automation to run again if that happens.

8. Send an update user webhook to sync the changed tags, by applying the tag you set up for it.

Drip

1. Create a new Drip Workflow, where the trigger is the “Payment Failed” tag.

2. Remove the Payment Successful tag. This makes it possible to pull the contact out of the sequence when they do update their card and their payment goes through successfully.

Screenshot of Drip failed payment automation steps

3. Send as many emails as you’d like to send to remind people to log in and update their credit card on file.

4. If you’d like to revoke access if they don’t successfully make a payment within a time period, then run the Revoke HTTP Post. (You’ll find the webhook URL in the Webhook generator.)

Screenshot of Drip last steps

5. Add a “Goal” for the “Payment Success” tag. When the contact updates their credit card and the payment processes, it will pull them out of the campaign so they will stop getting notifications to update their card.

6. Remove the “Payment Failed” tag. This is important because it’s always possible that a payment will fail in future months, so this allows this automation to run again if that happens. Run an update user webhook to sync tag changes.

7. Send an update user HTTP Post to sync the changed tags.

Managing Failed Payments with Multiple Products.

In the failed payment automation in your CRM you can link multiple products ID numbers for the same course or membership in the failed payment sequence.

This is helpful when you’re using the same Failed_Payment and Success_Payment tags so you’re not creating multiple failed payment sequences for each version of your course or membership.

Example – you have a membership with a monthly and yearly recurring subscription. This creates two separate products in AccessAlly, but you’ve only got one failed payment sequence in your CRM.

Inside your CRM in the failed payment sequence you’ve created earlier in this guide, you’ll link the two products together.

Use the Webhook Generator, found in the top bar of your WordPress admin area, under AccessAlly:

Screenshot of webhook generator location

Then select the “Revoke Subscription” Webhook and select the offering you want to run it for.

Screenshot of revoke webhook

Here’s how:

  • Open your failed payment sequence and scroll to the spot where you added the revoke subscription HTTP post. It looks something like this: https://access.yourwebsite.com/?aal_revokesubscription=###&productId=##
  • You’ll add a comma after the first product number followed by the second product number (inside the revoke campaign in your CRM) like this. https://access.yourwebsite.com/?aal_revokesubscription=OeNjvq&productId=45,46 IMPORTANT: do not copy and paste the example shown because it will not work for your site.
  • Save and publish your campaign.

Retrying Payments Beyond the 3 Default Retries – Stripe Payments Only!

Sometimes payments fail, it happens! Maybe a credit card expired, or it is currently maxed out.

Here’s what AccessAlly will do about it:

  1. AccessAlly will retry the payment 3 times with 1 day in between, which helps if the card was maxed out and just got paid. This won’t help if the card is expired.
  2. When the 3rd attempt fails, AccessAlly will automatically apply the Payment Failed tag.
  3. From there, your “Failed Payment automation” sequence in your CRM will get kicked off to start the followup / recovery sequence using this Payment Failed tag as the trigger. (This is what we just set up in the above videos.)

When do payment retries happen?

  1. AccessAlly calculates time based on when the initial purchase was made. For example, if the client purchased at 10AM EST on June 16th, the retry will happen on the 17th after 10AM EST.
  2. After the first condition is satisfied, the exact timing will be determined by when the “cron job” is run. AccessAlly has an hourly cron job, so in the previous example, the payment will be processed between 10AM EST and 11AM EST.
  3. Different servers might run cron differently. That is out of AccessAlly’s control and if the cron is not run on schedule, you can contact your website host and ask them to enable native / alternate cron (which is based on the server OS). The default WP cron is traffic-based, so a quiet site might not run cron as often.

Forcing a payment retry for Stripe

In some cases, you might want to try to process the payment again before revoking access and giving up.

For example, you might decide to do one try every 3 days for 21 days.

You can use a webhook to force a payment retry in AccessAlly.

Use the Webhook Generator, found in the top bar of your WordPress admin area, under AccessAlly:

Screenshot of webhook generator location

Then select the “Charge Subscription” Webhook and select the subscription you want to run it for.

Screenshot of charge outstanding balance webhook

The webhook will look like ?aal_chargesubscription=###&productId=###. For ConvertKit you will need to create a tag and use the “Generate webhook” button to set it up.

Then follow the instructions for running a webhook in your CRM automations.

Retrying Payments for PayPal Payments

Note for PayPal users there are no 3 default retries! When a PayPal payment fails (or a user cancels a payment inside PayPal) the user receives the Failed Payment tag immediately and moves into your Payment Failure CRM automation.

You may want to review our admin options for manually managing subscription payments if using PayPal.

Admin notification for failed payments

If you’d like to get an email every time a payment fails, so you can follow-up manually or just keep an eye on things, you can set that up here. Go to AccessAlly -> Emails -> Advanced, and enter your email or the email of someone on your team:

Screenshot of admin notification for failed payments

Video Tutorials (With outdated interface)

These videos will stay here even though the AccessAlly and CRM interfaces have changed a lot since they were recorded because some people learn better through video.

Infusionsoft/Keap

Ontraport

Please watch this tutorial video to learn how to create your automation inside Ontraport’s Campaign area.

Reminder: as noted in the video (3 min 47 seconds), please make sure you include the Contact ID post data as a part of your webhook.

ActiveCampaign

ConvertKit


A note for ConvertKit Users:
Due to limitations in ConvertKit automation, there are a couple of edge cases that need to be monitored periodically. Please go to AccessAlly -> Purchase Logs and review the subscriptions with the status Failed to collect.

  • The follow-up email sequence is canceled for any client who unsubscribes. This means the revoke rule will not be triggered.
  • The follow-up email sequence can only be run once for each client. This means the follow-up sequence will not be run when a second payment fails

Please email ConvertKit support directly if you want to see improvements in this area. In particular, ask them to add the following features:

  1. Allow tags to be added with each email in a sequence.
  2. Allow email sequences to be run multiple times for the same client.
  3. Allow email sequences to be run for unsubscribed users. ConvertKit doesn’t need to send the emails, but the tags and the associated rules should still be triggered
  4. Add delay in automation rules.
Drip

Updated on October 18, 2021

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