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Behind the Surge in Phone Billing Growth: An Interview with the ILD Payments Experts

ILD’s Payments Division has shown impressive growth year over year. To what do you attribute this?

Dennis Stoutenburgh Dennis Stoutenburgh: ILD’s Payment Processing Division has grown more than fivefold over the past four years by tailoring our systems to the needs of our customers, providing accurate reporting and settling faster than anyone else in the industry. ILD’s systems enable our customers to get their money fast and reconcile to the penny. Along with financial stability, innovation is an important factor in the payment-processing world. ILD-pioneered advanced payment and settlement services have accelerated the adoption of bill-to-phone for more than traditional communications services. Merchants selling premium content, such as information and entertainment services, are using ILD’s credit card alternatives for revenue lift, also contributing to ILD’s growth.


ILD prides itself on customer care. What do you do for customers that is different?

Kathy McQuade Kathy McQuade: Our commitment to customer care is initiated early and lasts through the customer lifecycle. Our customers were included in the design and development of our systems. We base all upgrades and enhancements on direct input from our customers, with a focus on dynamically adjusting our systems to promote ease of use and operational improvement. Also, ILD’s reports are accurate and settlements are timely. We handle our customers’ money and customers with the same consideration as our own. So when it comes

to handling primary inquiry from our onshore call center facility, developing custom reports or rapidly deploying payment solutions, we always give customers what they want.


Information and Entertainment Transaction Billing (“IETB”) seems to be a hot topic of discussion. What is it? Why is it important?

Kathy McQuade: IETB is a “no credit card required” payment solution developed specifically for digital merchants and content providers to process electronic transactions to a telephone bill for most online subscription-based services, including digital entertainment, online gaming, music and movie downloads. With the rapid growth in the online marketplace, providing digital content subscribers with an alternative to online credit card payment is optimizing the digital landscape and enabling users to be billed later, simply and safely via their phone bill.

How do you see the Local Exchange Carrier (“LEC”) billing market changing in the next five years?

Dennis Stoutenburgh: As mobile device manufacturers push the envelope on design and user interface, mobile billing will continue to be an area of growth. The social strength of the Internet is greater than ever, and I expect an accelerated demand for applications, downloads and online subscriptions purchased through the phone bill. We also expect to see a lower concentration of long distance and continued penetration into mobile billing.

You are known as a LEC billing industry authority around ILD. What important factors should a company consider when evaluating a LEC billing partner?

Kathy McQuade: A LEC billing partnership is for the long-term, so trust is important. I always tell a company that is either LEC billing for the first time or transitioning from another clearinghouse to ask itself the following questions before they move forward with any one provider:

- Would they make a good partner?

- Are they financially stable?

- What kinds of tools do they provide to help me efficiently manage my business?

- Are they subject matter experts in the area of phone billing?

At ILD, our relationships with LECs are older than our company. Our team has been working with the phone companies since the divestiture of AT&T and maintains relationships at the highest carrier levels, which allows for faster approvals, easier implementations and superior support. Other considerations include cost-effectiveness, handling of services in-house, and growth potential, to name a few.

We hear a lot about the importance of validating prior to billing. What is “validation” and why is it important?

Kathy McQuade: Validation is a critical cost-savings tool that is usually neglected in the payment processing cycle. Often after a consumer signs up for a merchant’s service, a change will occur, such as moving, disconnecting or changing numbers or providers. These records are submitted to a clearinghouse – like ILD – containing inaccurate information, which costs the merchant through processing fees and rejection fees. By validating through ILD’s service first, merchants can reduce bad debt and reduce marketing dollars spent on unbillables, and bill their customers more accurately. The pennies it costs to validate is more than offset by the expense associated with the alternative.

 

Combat Fraud and Safeguard Purchases With ILD’s IdentityVerification Tool

Consumer fraud against merchants costs businesses billions of dollars each year. It is one of the dangers companies face every day in selling to the consumer market. Unfortunately, some people choose to falsely represent themselves, either to spite someone or for self-interest. This is not only wrong, it is illegal and costly to businesses.

ILD has developed a new identity verification service designed to reduce fraud by requiring specific and secure information that only an authorized party should know. The authentication process confirms the identity of a consumer in real-time as the purchase is made, to ensure the transaction is authorized and legitimate. With bill to phone, authentication becomes the anti-fraud security feature every business needs to verify that a buyer is authorized to make purchases to that telephone number. By performing identity verification matches such as address, name and other personal details

(i.e. mother’s maiden name, last four digits of Social Security number, etc.), ILD’s authentication service validates the buyer to ensure the authenticity of each transaction and prevent fraud.

Identity verification addresses fraud before it negatively impacts a merchant’s bottom line, reducing the likelihood of cramming complaints and improving uncollectibles. Call your account manager to learn more.


 

Do You Market to Online Subscribers? Are You Looking to Grow Your Business?

With the online marketplace rapidly growing, providing digital content subscribers with an alternative to online credit card payment is critical to business. ILD is optimizing the digital landscape and enabling businesses to offer users a simple and secure payment method for digital content and subscription-based services via their phone bill. For more information, contact your account representative or call 1-800-ILD-COMM (1-800-453-2666).

Welcome New Customers

We’re proud to welcome the following companies to ILD’s list of marquee customers:

Affinion Group Affinion Group

Providing a diverse range of products and services, Affinion Group helps businesses attract new customers, strengthen relationships with existing customers and produce significant new revenues that go straight to the bottom line. Affinion relies on ILD’s alternative payment services to promote several services, including Privacy Guard, an identity theft protection service providing credit reports, alerts, fraud insurance and fraud resolution.

United Online United Online

A leading provider of consumer products and services over the Internet, the brands of United Online have attracted a large online audience that includes more than 60 million registered consumer accounts. United Online relies on ILD’s popular online payment services to process phone billed transactions for its online companies, including NetZero and Juno.

Global Tel Link Global Tel*Link

For more than 14 years, Global Tel*Link, the market leader to the corrections market, has provided exceptional telecommunications service to correctional facilities. Continuing the tradition of progressive technology and professional service, Global Tel*Link has expanded to include facilities in more than half of the United States. Global Tel*Link leverages ILD’s infrastructure to quickly and accurately process and settle collect call transactions.

Did You Know?

A recent study of online consumers revealed that 43% of shoppers abandoned their orders before checkout.
Nearly 23% of U.S. households do not have a credit card and approximately 10 million of those U.S. households are online.

More than 50% of all online consumers prefer an alternate payment method to credit card payment, yet the primary method of payment for more than 90% of online transactions is the credit card.
With the introduction of phone billing as a secure & viable alternate payment method, digital merchants are seeing up to a 25% lift in revenue.


Bill Online Entertainment to the Phone Bill!


Approved services include:

Online Memberships, Ring Tone Downloads, Subscription Gaming, Dating Subscriptions, Software Downloads, Music Downloads, Online Studies

Employee Highlights

Monica MelgarMonica Melgar

Monica Melgar joined ILD as Call Center Manager in January 2008 with extensive call center experience, having worked in various capacities at 2Wire, ACS and Travelocity. Under Monica’s management, ILD’s Primary Inquiry Center has experienced tremendous advances, including an increase of calls handled, reduced handling times, improved employee morale and refocused training efforts. In her short tenure, Monica has demonstrated a strong commitment to the personal and professional growth of her employees and a much-appreciated commitment to supporting the growth of ILD.

Shawn SkidmoreShawn Skidmore

As a 17-year veteran of the billing and clearing industry, Shawn Skidmore provides ILD’s customers with the expertise needed to manage the intricate calculations of LEC billing settlements. Since joining ILD through the acquisition of certain assets from WorldCom in 1997, Shawn’s hard work and dedication helped her rise through the ranks of ILD to become Director of Client Settlements in 2007. Shawn’s tenure with ILD has enabled her to understand the unique requirements of clients and to apply her skills to improving the billing and collections process. Thanks to Shawn and her team, ILD has consistently delivered customer settlements on time and with uncompromising accuracy.

Larry HillLarry Hill

A long-time employee of ILD, Larry Hill joined ILD in 1998, and as Vice President of Information Systems, he is responsible for systems development and operational support. A great customer advocate, Larry consistently solicits the input of customers in new product development projects and system enhancements to capture design and process elements that help customers streamline their operations. Larry’s nearly 25 years of experience go beyond traditional software development, with expertise in the areas of telecom networking, telecom software and hardware, project management and transaction processing, which makes him unique to IS and a tremendous asset to ILD.

 

Kathy McQuadeCongratulations to Kathy McQuade, who was recently recognized by ILD’s executive management in a surprise award ceremony honoring a decade of outstanding achievement to ILD’s Payment Processing Division and to ILD.

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