Recurring Payment Processing and Regulation E Compliance

Recurring Payment Processing and Regulation E Compliance

Updated June 2021

No matter what business you’re in, taking payments brings more regulations you must follow. For instance, companies that use recurring payment processing need to maintain Regulation E compliance during Electronic Funds Transfers (EFTs).

How do you know when Regulation E applies to a transaction or payment schedule within your business and how can your payment software tools help?

What is Regulation E?

Regulation E is the regulation within the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA) stating what EFT compliance is required according to the act. It also addresses who Regulation E applies to and at what times it must be taken into account.

Both fines and criminal liability can be consequences of failing to comply with the regulation. It is best to understand your responsibilities as a business to avoid these penalties.

Who Must Comply?

Regulation E is mostly applicable to financial institutions. “However, there is also a somewhat "catch-all" provision for applicability of Regulation E to service providers other than financial institutions,” says attorney Mike Etmund. “If electronic funds transfer services are made available to consumers by a person other than a financial institution holding a consumer's account, the disclosures, protections, responsibilities and remedies shall be applicable.”

This means that any business that offers EFT payment options must follow applicable sections of Regulation E.

Recurring Payment Requirements

In an effort to protect consumers from recurring payment processing they do not consent to, companies must gain pre authorization before an EFT schedule takes place.

The definition of a preauthorized electronic funds transfer is “one authorized by the consumer in advance of a transfer that will take place on a recurring basis, at substantially regular intervals, and will require no further action by the consumer to initiate the transfer.”

Pre Authorized EFT Definition
To comply with Regulation E, your company must also authenticate the consumer, provide the consumer a copy of authorization (either through paper or electronic means), and your company must show evidence of your customer’s consent.

PDCflow and Regulation E Compliance

PDCflow offers built-in compliance features to keep your business safe without slowing down office processes:

  • Get payment schedules up and running faster by sending authorization documents to consumers by email or text.
  • Send schedule details and payment reminders to consumers through the channels they prefer.
PDCflow Recurring Payments

Recurring Payments: Considerations Beyond Regulation E

Your recurring payment processing software should meet compliance requirements without adding more work for your staff. Beyond that, it should offer convenient options that meet consumer needs.

  • PCI compliance - your payment software should limit PCI compliance scope, whether agents work in the office or remotely.
  • Chargeback prevention uses - look for reporting features that include proof of authorization, time/date stamp and other features that prove right-party authentication and can help you win chargebacks.
  • Data tokenization and encryption - encryption is a common practice to keep data safe. Finding a payment tool that also offers credit card and ACH bank account tokenization decreases your risk and protects consumers from fraud.
Customer Service Quote_Zendesk

  • Flexible schedules - people may need weekly or bi monthly payments to coincide with their paychecks. Your system should be able to accommodate their needs.
  • Adjustable payment terms - you need to balance consumer needs with payment schedules that make sense. Adjust schedule lengths and minimum payment amounts so schedules don’t stretch on too long and minimum payment amounts are acceptable for your business needs.
  • Automatic payment reminders - Along with compliance purposes, automatic payment reminders offer convenience. Sending a reminder helps you avoid running expired cards and reminds consumers to contact an agent if they can’t make their next payment. This reduces the likelihood of failed payments.

Do you want to learn more about the EFT and Nacha requirements for payment compliance? Learn about transaction types and view sample authorization materials here:

Download EFT Authorization Requirements eBook
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Hannah Huerta - PDCflow Marketing Specialist
Hannah Huerta, Marketing Specialist

Hannah Huerta is a Marketing Specialist at PDCflow. She creates content for the accounts receivable and payment industry.

LinkedIn - Hannah Huerta

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