As I described last week, Recurly generates outstanding amounts of recovered revenue for our merchant customers. Account Updater is a key part of this capability. Recurly added Account Updater last May.

Over time, customer billing information you have on file might become outdated - cards are lost or stolen, or an expiration date passes by. This outdated information can cause a payment delay, lost revenue, or even customer churn. Account Updater solves these problems and prevents the charge from being declined in the first place.  

The great thing about Account Updater is that it fixes problems with credit cards automatically, without any customer contact needed. Your customer doesn’t have to suffer the pain of hearing from you about a credit card decline and providing new information. You also avoid the possibility of churn from customers who decide not to bother with the update.

As a Recurly customer, you can get more recovered revenue by understanding how Account Updater works and making sure it’s turned on for your account. If you’re a merchant who is not yet using a subscription billing service, Recurly’s Account Updater is a key benefit to consider in your decision-making.

So here’s the what, why, and - most important - the how to for Account Updater. The key takeaway? Take one minute out of your day and follow the steps below to turn on Account Updater now!

Tuning Into Account Updater

When customers get a new Visa card or MasterCard, they agree that the issuing company can update their account information “behind the scenes”, without the need for them to contact merchants who hold their card information. This allows customer charges to go through:

  • After a card’s expiration date.

  • After a card is lost or stolen.

  • After a customer moves.

These circumstances cover a high percentage of “hard” credit card declines - the ones where a customer hasn’t done anything “wrong” to justify a decline. Account Updater doesn’t help when a customer has insufficient headroom on their card maximum for a charge, nor when their account is temporarily suspended for late payment.

Both Visa and MasterCard offer account updater services to their issuing banks. Most cards in use - from giants like Citibank and Chase to local banks and credit unions - are covered.

However, as a merchant, you don’t automatically get the benefit of Account Updater-type services. Instead, it’s an extra-cost option with some gateways - or, better, you get Account Updater for free if you’re a Recurly customer.

Getting More Revenue with Account Updater

Account Updater makes up a significant chunk of the revenue that Recurly software recovers for our merchant customers. It’s most effective for B2C companies, probably because consumers are more likely than businesses to lose a credit card or move during the lifetime of a card.

Recent Recurly customer data shows that B2C companies tend to recover revenue from Account Updater at about twice the rate of B2B companies. So it’s especially important for B2C customers to have Account Updater turned on, but still worthwhile for all customers.

Turning On Account Updater

Recurly added Account Updater a year ago*, but many of our customers have not turned it on yet. If your site is in production mode, you can turn Account Updater on, and it’s easy to do:

  1. Go to your Payment Gateways configuration page.

  2. Find the Account Updater area.

  3. Click Enable. Account Updater will be turned on.

turn on account updater

The screenshot shows the Account Updater feature for the Recurly Gateway; the screen looks similar for other gateways as well.

After you run Account Updater for a month or two, check your recovered revenue statistics. You’ll be able to see how much Account Updater is contributing to your bottom line.

And remember: if you’re a Recurly customer, and you’re looking for a 1:1 session on your current recovered revenue and how to improve it, please reach out. If you’re not yet a customer, our sales team is happy to talk through the opportunity with you.

* Recurly's Account Updater service is not supported for the SagePay gateway.