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    Collections / Recharge Settings



    About Collections and Recharge Settings

    ONTRAPORT has a discrete built-in system for managing credit card collections and recharges if you sell subscription products or offer payment plans. This makes it easy to manage the frequency and duration of retry attempts when a customer’s card fails. Just set it up and ONTRAPORT will take care of it on the schedule you specify.

    When your customer’s card declines the Collection Settings Rules make it easy for you to customize their experience and relieve yourself of the burden of tracking it. Depending on your product or service, you can send Emails, assign Tasks for you to reach out with a phone call, and suspend or remove membership access to your WordPress site.

    Collection Settings Configuration
    1. Go to Sales > Settings > Recharge Settings

      Sales, Settings, Recharge Settings Menu

    2. Specify how often (in days) you’d like ONTRAPORT to attempt recharging a card from a previously failed transaction

    3. Specify the duration (in days) of your recharge cycle.

      Default recharge cycle

      Note: At the end of this recharge cycle, ONTRAPORT will automatically change the item's payment status to "Write Off" in accordance with standard accounting principles. This prevents you from processing the transaction.

      Establish a reasonable period of time for your customers to pay, such as 90 days (the default) to prevent premature Write Off status.

      Note: ONTRAPORT does not automatically use other cards on file to retry failed transactions. We recommend creating a Task notification to try other cards.

    4. Create Rules that run specifically the first time a transaction fails. In addition to a Rule sending a reminder notice to the customer to update their card details, you might want to consider these other Rules:

      • If you wish to run a Rule for the failed transaction of a particular product, use the Rule condition Transaction contains Product

        transaction contains product rule

      • Add a Rule to notify the Contact Owner with an email. The Contact Owner is one of your staff members or the default Administrator if you have not added Users. Merge fields used in the email will have the Contact's information.

        Notify contact owner

      • To disable membership in an integrated WordPress site, create a Rule. For the action ("Then Do This") select "Change the value of a field". Start typing "Website Subscribers" to select that field, then select your domain. Under Subscriber Information, select the field "Status". Then, select "Disabled" from the field value drop down box:

        Disable WordPress Membership

        Setting the Status to "Disabled" preserves the membership levels, but does not allow access to them. If the customer updates their credit card and pays, another Rule can set this same field back to "Enabled" to restore access.

    5. Create Rules that run for every additional failed transaction beyond the first; with the default setting of retrying every 3 days, these Rules would also run with each retry. An email to the customer in this section should instruct them how to update their credit card details.

      Reminder email with each charge retry

    6. Create Rules that run after the last failed attempt to recharge a card. Note that these Rules are run after the order is in write off status. Your customer can no longer pay for this order, but you can refer them to a new order form to purchase the item again if desired, or have them contact you to settle the issue manually. A Rule in this section can also create a Task for you to review the issue and file a court case to recover the amount, etc.

      Many membership sites will wait until this step to delete their membership details completely as shown. This removes all information regarding their membership, and does not save the membership levels for restoration later (see step 4 for a method to preserve but inactivate membership levels).

      Order written off and membership deleted permanently

    7. Create Rules that run if a previously failed transaction is successful. These Rules can notify the Contact Owner, restore their WordPress membership, etc.

      successful recharge rule

    8. Save your Collection Settings
    How ONTRAPORT Users Can Manually Update Credit Cards

    Changing the Credit Card on Behalf of Your Customer:

    To change the credit card on behalf of your customer go to the Contact Record > Purchases tab.

    Locate the order in the Subscriptions and Payment Plans section and select it by hovering over it and checking the check box that appears. Click Edit Order in the Actions drop down box.

    Edit the open order

    The open order is displayed in a lightbox. Under Payment Info select Charge on the next billing date. Use the drop down next to Credit Card to select any of the active credit cards or add a new one. This change selects that credit card for all future transactions on this order. It does not affect any other subscription or payment plan the Contact has.

    Change the credit card on an open order

    How Customers Can Update Credit Cards using the WordPress PilotPress Customer Center

    In WordPress

    When you’ve integrated your WordPress site with ONTRAPORT, it’s easy to send your customers login credentials so they can update their credit card in your built-in Customer Center. Just set up a Campaign or a Sequence with an email step that contains their username and password, along with a URL to their login page, and they’re just one click away from setting everything right.

    The Contact can designate the credit card to be used for all future payments on payment plans and subscriptions in the Customer Center in WordPress by selecting Update Payment Info and selecting the radio button next to Use this card. When the Contact makes this change the card selected replaces the original card used for all payment plans and subscriptions from that point forward.

    Manage credit cards in the Customer Center in PilotPress

    Note: This changes the credit card used for all existing subscriptions and payment plans. To change the credit card on a single subscription or payment plan, and leave another card active on other subscriptions or payment plans, you will have to change the credit card on the specific order, as outlined below.

    How Customers Can Update Credit Cards using an Order Form

    The Zero Value Order Form Method

    There are two methods used to update the credit card in ONTRAPORT using an order form. The easiest method is to use a "zero value" order form that is not processed by your gateway, but will update the card details stored in the Contact Record. ONTRAPORT checks the card to make sure it fits the proper format of a credit card, but does not send the purchase details to the gateway to verify if the card is valid. The new card details will be used to process any orders in collections, so you usually have feedback if the card is not valid right away.

    1. Create an order form with a $0 product named "Credit Authorization". The customer can see there is no charge, so filling out the order form doesn't meet much resistance.
    2. For ONTRApages and ONTRAforms, click on the Order Form Block > Form Settings and scroll down to the Advanced section and select the checkbox next to If charge is successful, then use this card for all transactions in collections


    3. For Legacy Order Forms, click the Settings tab, scroll down to the Advanced section and select the checkbox next to If charge is successful, then use this card for all transactions in collections.
    4. Save and host the form and send your customers there to update their card details. ONTRAPORT will check to make sure the card number is in the right format, and that the expiration date is in the future, and then record the new credit card details. The Advanced setting to use this card for all transactions in collections will automatically recharge all items in Collections for that customer.

    Validating the Credit Card Through the Payment Gateway

    This method uses ONTRAPORT automation to have the payment gateway validate the card for a "free trial" and then cancels the order so your customer is never charged. It is slightly more complex to implement but has the advantage of actually validating the card presented.

    Create the same "Credit Authorization" product but have a price of $1 associated with it. When creating the order form, set a 6 month "Free Trial" for the product. ONTRAPORT will send the gateway a gateways will authorize the card and put a $1 hold on the card for a short time, typically 7 to 10 days. Then, we cancel the open order for the "Credit Authorization" product before the end of the 6 months. Here's one way to automate that process:

    1. Create the $1 "Credit Authorization" product.
    2. Create a new ONTRApage by navigating to Pages and clicking the New Landing Page button. Select a template or use the Start From Scratch template.
    3. Remove any other Smart Forms on the page, and add the Order Form block. Select the block for editing and then hover over the items listed in the Palette that we don't want and toggle them off. In this screenshot we have turned off the Billing Header, Billing Fields, Shipping Header, Shipping Fields, Pay with Paypal, and Product Grid displays.

      image description

    4. Edit the Product Header to tell the customer they may see a temporary $1 "hold" on their on-line account, but that it will disappear in a few days and they won't be charged.

      image description

    5. Click the Payment Settings icon to set the product, free trial period, and payment gateway. Even though we have this "hidden" using the Palette selectors, we can access it from the Payment Settings icon. Save the settings.
    6. Click the Form Settings icon in the Palette.
    7. At the bottom of the Settings section select the checkbox next to If charge is successful, then use this card for all transactions in collections

      Check off the advanced setting to use this credit card for all orders in collections

    8. Set a Rule in the Conditional Rules > Successful Payment section to add the Contact to the "Credit Authorization" sequence. If you do not have this sequence created already, choose Create New from the rule drop down and create a new Step Sequence. The first step can be an email thanking the customer for updating their card information. The second step should be a Rule Step that cancels the open order for the free trial product so we don't charge the customer.

      image description

    9. Make sure you set the Step Sequence to "Unsubscribe After Last Step" so this same sequence can be used if the customer needs to update their card again. Click the Settings button at the top right to check off this option.

      image description

    10. Save the Step Sequence and you will be returned to your ONTRApage. Save and publish your ONTRApage.
    11. When customers fill out the order form to update their card details, ONTRAPORT sends the information to the gateway for approval. If successful, ONTRAPORT updates the card information in their Contact Record and they are subscribed to the Credit Authorization Step Sequence.
    12. Gateways like Stripe will check the card and put an "uncaptured" authorization on the card, but only holds the uncaptured charge for 7 days (other gateways may hold the authorization longer). We'll just let that expire. Here's how such a charge looks in the Stripe dashboard:

      image description

    13. Test this process with your gateway by filling out the order form, and verifying the action of the Rule Step in the Step Sequence.

    Note: If the order has gone through the entire collections process and has the status of "Write Off" the transaction cannot be processed.

    For the final "Last Failed Attempt" Rules, you can send the customer to a new order form to re-subscribe, if desired.

    Best Practices
    • Notify your customers of a failed credit card transaction - Create an email that notifies your customers if their credit card declines, and includes instructions on how to update their card details.

    • If you wish to run a Rule in your Collection Settings that’s specific to the failed transaction of a particular product, use the Rule condition Transaction contains Product. This can filter the notices to the customer based on the type of product (e.g, subscription to a membership site or a physical product that may be recovered through repossession.)

    • Remember after the last failed attempt the order is written off, and the customer can no longer pay on that order. If you wish to give them one last chance after the write off email them a link to a new order form to re-order the item.


    Create a Legacy Sequence with a Task step to call and collect your customer’s updated credit card information. Then attach that Sequence to your Collection Rules following the directions above.



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    • Avatar
      Heidi Shroff

      What if the customer uses a different name on the "credit card update" form from when they originally bought the product.  EX. Jonathon Smith originally used Jonathon to purchase the product and now uses Jon on the update form.  I'm assuming this will not update the original contact that the subscription is attached to but will then add a new contact correct?  Any way around that?

    • Avatar
      Frank Hagan

      Hi Heidi,

      We index on the email address used on the order form, so the card details would be updated for the right contact record. The first name in your example would change from "Jonathon" to "Jon" if that's what he puts on the order form. 

      If the customer updates his card in the Customer Center in WordPress it would not change his first name, as only the card details are updated. 

    • Avatar
      Chris Daigle

      If I wanted to notify the contact themselves, rather than the contact owner, how does that change the steps above?

    • Avatar
      Frank Hagan

      In the Setup section, in item 4.b., add another "Then Do This" item that sends the contact an email:  


      Another method is to subscribe the Contact to a "Failed Payment" Step Sequence if you want to remind them more frequently than your "Retry" settings in this section.

    • Avatar
      Sonya Illig

      A good fix for customers signing up for online products using cards that do not have there name. You could set up two Fields one with the User name and another with the Billing Name on the card that is applied to the product. Is that possible ontraport?

    • Avatar
      Amethyst Mahoney

      Great, another 3 year old article, that sort of works, but not really. Do you guys think you could update your database? Like, Ever? I've had to call customer support 7 times this month because ALL of your articles are so outdated. It's ridiculous.

    • Avatar
      Michael Smart

      Second the suggestion to have the option to toggle a single-box "cardholder name" field that has zero impact on the Contact Record's name fields and is used only to send the cardholder name through the gateway.

    • Avatar
      Michael Smart

      For anyone who also wants the "contact name" / "cardholder name" distinction, upvote the existing Feature Request here:

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