Spreedly Insights: Reduce Failed Online Credit Card Transactions

Spreedly’s mission is to democratize participation in payments by connecting platforms, online merchants, payment providers and other PCI compliant services. Information is one critical pillar of openness and, with that in mind, we’re proud to announce that Insights is available to all Spreedly customers.

The idea behind Insights is simple yet extremely powerful: provide accessible insights into your payment gateway data to help you track and reduce failed online credit card transactions.

Introducing Insights

Insights provides you with time based snapshots (24 hours, 7 days, 8 weeks, or last year) . . .

payment gateways time range Insights

. . . of your individual performance against the different payment gateways you work with on Spreedly . . .

payment gateways insights

. . . where “performance” is defined as the Transaction State (Failed, Gateway Process Unknown, Gateway Processing Failed, Successful) . . .

payment gateway transaction states insights

. . . for the major Transaction Types (Authorization, Capture, Purchase) . . .

payment gateway transaction types insights

. . . by currency.

The really powerful part, however, is we also compare your individual performance against our aggregated gateway performance. This provides the missing context most online merchants have always searched for!

Real World Examples

I want to give some real world examples for why we believe Insights is so valuable.

During beta, a customer moved a credit card vault onto Spreedly and was transacting against an existing gateway. Insights highlighted a red flag around the performance of their Purchase requests:

payment gateway purchase requests insights

No, not the big spike in the graph. This customer ran a daily subscription renewal against the Chase Paymentech Orbital gateway, so a spike is expected. What wasn’t expected was their payment gateway success rate: just 51.1% for Purchase transactions during this 24 hour snapshot compared to our overall Purchase success rate of 78.3% with Orbital.

At this point we knew two things: the customer’s payment gateway success rate was much too low and it wasn’t systemic to Spreedly and Orbital (we knew this simply by looking at the aggregate success rate and performance for Orbital – which were much higher). Armed with this data, we spoke with the customer and Orbital and proposed a change to how we communicate with Orbital: instead of sending a field in the transaction request to denote the absence of a CVV (expected for a recurring transaction), we didn’t send the field at all.

With the changes successfully in place, we waited for the next overnight renewal run, where the bulk of the credit card transactions occurred. Sure enough, we saw significant improvement:

payment gateway purchase requests insights

The success rate had moved from 51% to 68%, inline with the customer’s performance on other payment gateways with Spreedly. (Note: if 68% seems low to you remember that renewals are very dependent on a number of factors. An important one is the length of time between attempts. Annual renewals, for example, experience far higher failures than weekly or monthly renewals. This level of performance analysis is the type of thing that Insights fosters).

Later, and surprisingly on Orbital again (sorry, we’re not picking on them!), we began to see error messages. Malformed XML requests caused the errors. The result? A transaction status of “Gateway Process Unknown” (this only happened on a subset of all purchase transactions). Selecting “Gateway Process Unknown”, Insight customers saw the following 24 hour snapshot:

payment gateway process unknown insights

(Note: the times displayed are UTC, so customers have to make the translation to their local time.)

A quick search of Twitter reconfirmed the incident was not confined to Spreedly:

payment gateway tweet insights

We contacted Orbital. They were aware of the problem and working on a fix. In this case, Insights ensured our customers could quickly check the status of their payment gateway and understand exactly when the issues started and stopped. One of the major benefits of Spreedly, transacting against multiple payment providers, comes into play here. By seeing up-to-date payment gateway data our customers can switch to a backup provider and decide when to switch back based on tracking gateway performance in real time.

Reduce Your Failed Credit Card Transactions

“Compare your individual payment gateway performance against our aggregated gateway performance – the missing context most online merchants are looking for!”

Our longer term plans for Insights include sharing API response times and instant alerts, among other features. But for now, we consider Insights a powerful tool that gives anyone using Spreedly the ability to understand how their payment gateway is performing when it comes to success, failures and uptime. By sharing our overall gateway averages, you can finally contextualize your own payment gateway performance. And, by tracking your real time and historical performance, reduce your failed credit card transactions by working with Spreedly or your payment provider. This is a key focus of Insights: an easy to access, real time overview of your payment gateway success and failure rates.

For more information, check out the Insights page.