Table of Contents

Expiring Credit Cards

CiviCRM stores only limited information about the card on file for a recurring payment series. As such we have not identifed a reliable way to search for an upcoming recurring payment with an expiring credit card, in a way that also enables us to send an automated email to that contact. There are potential alternatives to this.


Using Scheduled Reminders to alert a contact when there recurring payment has failed

Proposal: If we are unable to identify credit cards that will expire before an upcoming recurring payment is attempted and notify the card holder programmatically, perhaps it is possible to send an automatic failure notification for failed recurring transactions and prompt the contact to "update their card on file". The assumption is that many recurring transaction failures will be due to an expired credit card.

  • An automated email (using the scheduled reminders function) can be triggered when a contribution of a specific type fails, but we cannot configure whether or not the scheduled reminder triggers based on whether the payment was part of a recurring series. This is insufficient as we do not want to send email notification to contacts who's non-recurring contributions failed, assuming they are already aware.
  • We can configure a membership reminder to trigger on the end date of the membership, and filter it to only trigger on recurring memberships. However, this doesn't take into account if the associated contribution failed or not, and would also not enable us to send automated notifications for failed recurring non-membership donations.

Conclusion: Using Scheduled Reminders to notify contacts that their recurring contribution (membership or non-membership) has failed is not possible.

Alternatives to scheduled reminders

Some ideas for following up on (or even preventing) failed transactions due to expiring credit cards.

  • Once Chorus America staff members have been notified of a failed recurring contribution (see below for config changes), reach out to the donor or member to update their info.
  • Create a report using the iATS Payments - Recurring Contributions template that lists all the upcoming recurring payments in the next X number of days, ensuring that the expiry date is displayed. Schedule this report to send automatically to a Chorus America staff member, or run the report regularly. Reach out to any contacts who's credit cards are expiring via email or phone.
    • Note: sending a mass email to several contacts at once is not possible from a report result screen.
    • Note: while this report could be configured to send to a Chorus America staff person at regular intervals, no automation is available with regards to communicating directly with contacts in the results of the report.
  • Does the Email receipt for a Contribution in a Recurring Series would send a failure notification?

If a method of identifying a contact with an expiring credit card and an upcoming recurring contribution is found and is felt to be reliable, we can use the following links to have then self-service update their information.

  • Update Billing Details:{contribution.contribution_id}&cs={contact.checksum}
  • Update Recurring Contribution:{contribution.contribution_id}&cs={contact.checksum}
  • Cancel Recurring Contribution:{contribution.contribution_id}&cs={contact.checksum}
  • Email Recurring Contribution failure reports to this Email address: use this field to have an email sent to a Chorus America staffer when a recurring contribution fails, in case the donor needs to be followed up with.
  • Email receipt for a Contribution in a Recurring Series: recommend to set this to "Always" or "As set for a specific Contribution Series" (and then set that config)
  • Enable self-service updates to recurring contribution Contact Billing Info: checking this box enables a link to be created that allows users to update their own credit card information. This link will be sent in receipt emails and the like.

Pledge Payments

A pledge payment would not be recurring, so a failure can be handled like any non-recurring failure. i.e. the pledge contributor or Chorus America staff person entering the pledge payment will know immediately if there's a failure and can correct.

Updated: 3-21-2019