Account Updater: Out With the Old, In With the New

Customer upgrades, card expirations, data breaches, and lost or stolen cards are all situations that can result in customer credit card data changing without a marketer realizing it. Credit cards update frequently and this is particularly problematic when it comes to monthly subscription plans or automatic customers with cards on file. Without having the updated card information in your backend system your payments may fail, resulting in a missed billing cycle and a dissatisfying customer experience. 

The card brands have created a way to make sure your company always has fresh information. The service is called Account Updater and it automatically updates card information when there are changes or outdated information to a cardholder’s account. With this feature, you no longer need to contact customers every month to update their billing information, saving office resources and ensuring on-time payment.

How does Account Updater do it?

Each individual processor that has access to this service connects differently, but in general the Account Updater technology analyzes the card data recorded in various Bank databases to see where customer information may have been changed or altered. Areas of analysis include:

  • Any requests for updated information or declined credit cards
  • Automated nightly updates to check any credit cards processed in the past six months
  • Requests for information on cards due for a customers’ next billing date

Add it all up, and Account Updater can pinpoint and identify most changes to customer data, including credit card numbers and expiration dates. Then, it automatically updates the old information to reflect the new in your customer file.

In the Energy industry, where the margin is very thin, Account Updater can save you money in a variety of ways:

  1. It reduces customer churn. Minimizing the risk of failed transactions makes for happier customers, and happier customers make for loyal customers who will want to continue to do business with you. 
  1. It lowers administrative costs. No more need for time-consuming manual updating of card information.
  1. It lowers the risk of late fees. There are no more late fees incurred from failed transactions caused by the wrong information being used.
  1. It creates operational efficiencies. Accurate information means much fewer manual tasks required to identify and update outdated card information.
  1. It improves cash flow. Uninterrupted payments ensure a consistent cash flow.

Not all payment processors have access to the Account Updater service, so check with your payment partner to see if this service is an option and what the pricing would be. After you have confirmed the service is available, you should also verify with your backend software/portal company that they can update saved cards on file using this service. Next, the setup is easy and is usually managed inside your admin account with a simple training. Keep in mind that whether a card can be updated using the Account Updater service depends on the customer’s issuing bank. But the good news is most banks do support accepting this automated functionality. Better still all four major card types support Account Updater. If you are curious to learn more on how this service works, please contact your processor or reach out to me directly and say goodbye to manual updates and lost revenue! β€” Marci Gagnon

Marci Gagnon is the Vice President of Strategic Alliances for Qualpay and has been in the payments industry for over 15 years with a concentration on recurring billing and the Energy space. Qualpay provides processing solutions to fuel delivery and service businesses with tools designed to provide real-time reconciliation and cost reduction. For additional information contact Marci Gagnon at or visit

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