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Failed Payment Notices: Return of the Pointless Redirect

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Some things never change, and one of those things is credit cards expiring. Consequently, there is no shortage of notifications about failed payments or needing to update a credit card. However, not all failed payment notifications are created equal. This is why we decided, as an experiment to pay more attention to these messages from our providers, and identify which processes for having a customer update their payment method were streamlined and customer-focused, and which were more cumbersome (and potentially annoying). So far, in parts one and two we have evaluated the failed payment notifications of six different companies, and now, it is time for round three.

Smooth and Efficient

We use this status and incident communication tool to keep our customers informed of any system outages or other incidents that would affect their service. When a payment to them failed, we received an automated email that our card was declined and clicked the embedded link.


We were prompted to login to our account and were immediately taken to the billing tab (points for convenience!).


We clicked to update the card and were done. Statuspage.io uses the Stripe widget to collect card data.


Another plus was that, in addition to the email, there was an alert at the top of the page in our account also telling us that our payment method needed to be updated.

Buffer – We use this vendor for social media management. We received an automated email that our card was declined and clicked on the embedded email.


Since they had click tracking enabled, we were taken directly to the billing page (we nearly swooned out of pure joy). There was an alert in red on the top of the page about our failed payment here as well.


There we clicked the “change payment details” button, clicked add new card, updated details, clicked save and the process was complete.


Middle of the Road

Sendgrid – We use this service to assure the security of our emails. When our card failed, we received an automated email, clicked the embedded link, and were prompted to log into our account. So far, this was looking good.


From there we taken directly to the billing page where we clicked the red “update” button at the top of the page. Unfortunately, it took us to the page we were already on, which was kind of a bummer. From there we clicked “change billing info,” updated the credit card, and clicked “submit.” Done.


The unnecessary click to land on the same page is why they rate as middle of the road. Other than that hiccup, not too shabby.

Unnecessarily Complicated or Otherwise Problematic

DigitalOcean – We use this service for data security and storage. We received their automated email about the declined card and clicked the first embedded link in the email.


From there we were prompted to login to our account and then prompted for a 2FA token. At this point we realized that we clicked the wrong link and had been brought to a PDF invoice instead of the page to update our payment method, so we had to start over. Clicked the second link, logged in and clicked the “pay now” button which is what appeared on the screen. The system tried to run a payment on the existing card. We then had to find the prompt and click to add a new card. After we added the new card we had to remove the previous card before the system to accept the new one. After that we had to click “pay now” button again to pay the outstanding balance.


The system hopefully would have auto-attempted to charge the card on file within the next 24 hours, but we didn’t want to risk losing our account if that didn’t happen, so we completed that last step of the process ourselves.


In this installment, simple and streamlined processes for updating a payment method have prevailed once again! In this busy world, good customer service means making life as easy as possible, and keeping processes like updating a credit card quick and straightforward. Once again, we hope that this information is helpful to providers looking to streamline their own processes to be more customer friendly. At the least, maybe these experiences will encourage all of us who run a business to review our own credit card declined processes, and look for new ways to improve.

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