Best Practices Guide: Accepting Payments

Want to make sure you are all set to accept payments successfully? Check out our best practices below to ensure you are reducing your risk of being involved in a payment dispute and are prepared if you do receive one.

In this article:


Set Expectations

While we at TeamSnap ensure that the processing of the payments and payment information is secure, there are many things you can do as the payment recipient to prevent disputes or misunderstandings. The first step in successful payment acceptance is providing clear and accurate information to your members. This should include:

Ensure your contact information is highly visible

Contact information for your organization should be posted in as many places as possible. Add your phone number, address, website, and any social media pages to your registration instructions and the descriptions for your invoices. This will help a customer reach out to you directly if something goes wrong with a transaction rather than filing a dispute with their bank right away. 

If your members can't contact you regarding unclear fee charges or questions regarding those charges, the likelihood of a chargeback dispute is much higher.

Make sure your organization name is recognizable

You can ensure registrants and members will recognize the organization's name by making sure it is prominently and frequently displayed in member communications. Your organization name should also be used as the billing descriptor/account name when setting up your Payments or Financials tab. This is the name that shows up on your members’ bank statements. If a member sees an unfamiliar organization name or version of the organization name on their statement, they may be more inclined to file a dispute. If your organization's name may not be clear, feel free to shorten and combine it with a description of what the sport and org location is. 

Make sure that members understand that the charges for online credit card payments for organizations using payments powered by WePay will be displayed as WPY*[ORGNAME], where [ORGNAME] is your organization's name as entered in WePay, while organizations using TeamSnap's integrated payments will have TEAMSNAP*[OrgName] on their statements. This information is shown to members during payment confirmation, but the more you can include that in member communication, the better. One common reason for chargebacks is that the cardholder doesn't recognize the transaction or doesn't know how to request a refund. Ensuring that your organization's name appears on the transaction and your members have clear instructions on how to contact the organization will help to prevent this from happening.

Provide a clear description of the services sold

Make sure you have an accurate statement of what is included in the services covered by the payment(s). For example, "Completing this registration form serves as an agreement to attend and participate in [X] # of games, practices, tournaments, etc". Having this information highly visible and available can help refresh a member's memory and prevent a dispute from happening. 

If you'd like to double-down and set up a services agreement for your registration process, it should include the following info:

  • Physical dated signature by payee saying they have read and agreed to the document conditions.
  • Detailed description of the program/service being provided.
  • Detailed  description of the refund-request parameters that includes the:
    • Time frame allowed for requesting a refund.
    • The means by which a refund may be requested (ie requests must be submitted via email to x address by y date).
    • The circumstances under which a refund will be considered.
    • The circumstances under which a refund will not be considered.

It should be loaded as a file to the Documents section of your registration and registrants should be instructed to print, sign, and upload the document before continuing through the registration process.

Publish a refund policy

Provide and explain your policies regarding refunds or cancellations clearly. For example, "Participant is not eligible for refunds after {DATE}." 

All customers should have the refund policy displayed to them at some point prior to submitting payment. In addition, we recommend that you include some high-level bullet points on your refund policy during checkout, whether that is in the custom instructions for registration, or in your invoice descriptions. 

Having a refund policy in place does not guarantee success in protecting from a chargeback, but it is an important step. If the issuing bank or acquiring bank believes the refund policy to be overly restrictive then it may not serve as protection against a chargeback, so be aware that a no refunds statement may not be an accepted refund policy.  A refund policy with detailed parameters and limitations carries more weight than a flat ‘no-refunds’ policy.

Your organization should also have options available for unsatisfied members. For example, you may offer the ability to exchange the service/item that they paid for; provide a credit for future seasons or events; or provide additional services.

Electronic payments - both card and ACH/EFT transactions, are designed to facilitate moving funds between two willing parties and are not designed to be an enforcement mechanism. If there is any disagreement, it's best handled directly between you and the disputing party.

Provide channels for member feedback/contact

If a member has a problem with a transaction, they need to be able to reach out to your organization directly. Whether this is a contact number, email, or physical address for your organization where they can get in touch with someone. You may be able to respond, issue a refund, or resolve the issue without ever having to enter the dispute process. 


Dealing with Failed Payments

Payments may fail to process for several reasons, and if your members run into an issue attempting to submit a payment there are a few things you can ask them to check on:

  • Payment card information entered correctly
  • Payment card has not been canceled
  • Payment card has not expired
  • No holds or limits on the payment card with their financial institution
  • Clear browser cache or try an incognito browser
  • Attempt an alternate payment method

When an installment payment fails, our system will handle it differently based upon the payment purpose/type:

  • Invoice Installment (WePay only) Payment Failure
    • Payment fails - there will be no further attempts to process the payment
      • Resolution Option 1: Update payment card information to trigger the system to re-attempt processing.
      • Resolution Option 2: Admin can cancel the invoice and create a new invoice for the remaining balance.
  • Registration Installment Payment Failure
    • Payment processing will be re-attempted three times
      • If the failure error is returned that the card is being explicitly blocked from transactions, the payment is locked completely and no further attempts will be made for the current or future installments for that transaction. 
        • Resolution: The cardholder must enter their card information as a new payment method rather than attempting to update the current payment information, and select to pay the installment then or ask an organization admin to reset the registration installment dates, which will reset the payment attempts and future installments.
      • If the installment is declined due to non-sufficient funds three times, processing attempts will stop until the next installment date, skipping over the failed installment.
        • Resolution: An admin for your organization needs to reset the installment date for the failed installment in order to process that installment payment.

Handling Payment Disputes

Chargebacks can cause your organization to lose time and resources in settling disputes. Structured as a consumer protection process, these disputes will often go in the customer’s favor - especially if your refund policy and/or the statement of services you have provided is unclear. It is always best if a sports org can resolve a payment dispute directly with their member before they begin the chargeback process.

Although following these guidelines can reduce your chances of facing a dispute, there is always a potential risk when accepting online payments. If a customer does dispute a payment, WePay will provide information and guidance to you in the case of a chargeback. You can read more about chargebacks and the process for responding to them in our Handling Chargebacks FAQ.

Any organization concerned with guarding against chargebacks is encouraged to read through our Handling Chargebacks FAQ. If you are notified of a chargeback you should review the information carefully, paying particular attention to the chargeback type so you can provide pertinent supporting evidence.

Things to keep in mind

  • The more tangible your evidence, the more substantial it is. Proof of participation, physical documentation, emails, etc.
  • The burden of proof is on the org, not on the payee to show that the agreed-upon service was provided, that the agreed-upon parameters for requesting a refund were not followed.  
  • Chargebacks are a service provided by the consumer’s card/bank, and it is in the card/bank provider’s best interests to make their users feel supported, safe, and secure. As such, the more evidence you can provide in favor of your organization, to challenge their card/bank member’s case, the better. Even so, there is no guaranteed method of preventing chargebacks. Taking these cautionary steps will improve your odds of winning when challenging chargebacks. If the dispute continues without concessions on either side, it can go to forced-arbitration / small claims court. 

Be prepared

Being aware ahead of time of the requirements for dealing with disputes, even if they never occur is the best way to protect your organization. Typical documentation requirements can consist of one or more of the following:

  • Documentation and date from when a credit, if any, was issued
  • Documentation showing that the cardholder was aware of and agreed to your policies
    • Specifically, the cardholder’s signature must appear on a sales receipt or other document stating your return policy
      • This can be acquired by having a sign-able PDF available during registration for members to sign and upload
  • Signed contracts, agreements or terms of service
  • Refund policy
    • A screenshot displaying the policy as located on your website - please include the browser URL in the screenshot
  • Contract, Terms of Service and/or Refund Policy that states the terms of the service agreed to by the cardholder at the time of the transaction
    • Entire document must be made available to cardholder prior to checkout
  • Itemized receipt
  • Proof of the service rendered
  • Proof of work, or detailed condition of product or service
  • Proof of digital receipt to cardholder’s e-mail address
  • Correspondence with the cardholder (emails, texts)
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