Slate Payments - Financial FAQ

Slate Payments is a built-in payment processor that can be used instead of integrating Slate with an external processor. 

Below you will find further information intended more for the business office or bursar.

What does it cost to use Slate Payments?

The only charge is the payment processing charge taken by the back-end payment processor (Stripe.com). 

For U.S. institutions with US-based payout accounts:

  • for all credit card payments a processing fee of 2.3% plus $0.30 per transaction will be charged.
  • for ACH/checking account payments a fee of $0.25 will be charged (presently only available in the U.S.).

Note: Credit card fees are the same for credit cards originating in any country, so that a U.S. institution that takes a credit card payment from an international bank will still pay the same fee.

Processing rates for Canadian (CAD) payout accounts

 

Processing rates for transactions going to Canadian payout accounts will be as follows:

  • 2.3% + $0.30 per CAD transaction for domestic V/MC payments
  • 2.75% + $0.30 per CAD transaction for international V/MC payments
  • 3.5% per CAD transaction for Amex

  • 2.3% + $0.30 per USD transaction for domestic V/MC payments
  • 3.25% + $0.30 per USD transaction for international V/MC payments
  • 3.5% per USD transaction for Amex

Checking account payments are currently only supported for Stripe businesses based in the U.S.

For institutions with payout accounts in other countries please open a Service Desk request for pricing information.

Are there any additional fees?

There is a $1.00 fee for failed ACH/checking account payments, and a $15 fee for disputed payments. Technolutions takes no additional fees (and in fact we cover certain transfer fees ourselves).

What does it mean when a payment is 'pending'?

An ACH payment may take 5-10 business days to "clear" or fully process. During this time the status of the payment transaction in Slate will be "pending."

Once an ACH payment has been initiated, you cannot cancel or void the transaction.

A disputed charge amount is larger than the original amount. Why?

The disputed amount can differ from the original charge amount. For small deviations, one common reason is currency fluctuation between the time of the charge and the dispute if the credit card is denominated in a different currency than the charge (e.g. USD vs EUR).

Is there an option to configure Slate Payments to not charge fees on a per transaction basis?

No. The payment processor will take fees for each transaction. There is not an option to process fees on a monthly basis or any other schedule.

Is Slate PCI compliant?

Yes. Please review Slate Security Profile and Documentation, and see the attachments to that article for PCI compliance documentation. Please also see the attachment to this article for a data flow diagram.

Is credit card information stored in Slate?

No, never. In fact, with Slate Payments, the credit card information never touches our servers or our forms; it's sent directly from the web browser to the back-end processor.

Who is the back-end payment processor?

The actual credit card and ACH processing is handled by a company called Stripe. Stripe was founded in 2010 and provides a platform allowing other companies to build payment processing features using their system. Stripe is Level 1 PCI compliant. You will not need to create an account with Stripe—we use their "Connected Accounts" system to create an account on your behalf. At this time we are not able to support linking Slate Payments with a previously existing Stripe account; the managed Connected Account must be used.

When you set up a Slate Payments account, you'll be asked to indicate your acceptance of the Stripe Connected Account Agreement.

Who is the merchant of record?

When you use Slate Payments, because the Stripe account is one we create on your behalf, your institution will be the merchant of record. Because Stripe is designed to be a "full-stack" payment processor—that is, a gateway and a merchant account in one—there is no merchant ID or merchant account exposed.

Can we alter the user agreement?

Stripe has informed us that all clients must agree to the standard Connected Account Agreement (linked  to in the section above). Even if you have your own standalone Stripe account with a different negotiated agreement, that agreement would not pertain to Slate Payments. You cannot use a pre-existing standalone Stripe account. You must accept the standard Connected Account Agreement to use Slate Payments.

How will we receive our funds?

When you set up Slate Payments deposit accounts (the holding accounts on the Slate Payments platform), you'll specify an external bank account for each holding account to which the collected funds should be sent, and you can specify the schedule for transfers into those accounts (every day, once per week on a specified day, once per month on a specified day). 

The very first transfer/payout to your external bank account may take up to 7 days to post. For U.S. accounts, each transfer to your account will include all transactions that "cleared" prior to 21:00 UTC (typically 5 PM Eastern), two days before the transaction (e.g. on Thursday morning you'll receive a transfer of all funds received/cleared as of 5 PM Tuesday). For accounts based in other countries the delay before a transaction is available for transfer will vary; in most countries other than the U.S., each transfer will include transactions from 7 days prior.

On any given day that a transfer to your account is scheduled, you may receive either one or two transfers (assuming that the relevant funds source sub-balance is positive). Stripe processes credit card payments separately from checking account payments, and so there will be separate transfers bundling the funds that came in from credit cards and the funds that came in from checking account/ACH payments.

A given transfer (or payout) will contain all the relevant transactions regardless of how you categorize/separate "payment accounts" (such as payment_account prompt values) inside Slate. If a given payment account is configured to use the deposit account in question, all relevant transactions will be included in the payout. You will be able to separate out e.g. Application Fees, Event fees and/or deposits via the built-in Excel report from the payment history page (or via a custom payments-based query).

Payout Failures

If your bank account can’t receive a payout for any reason, your bank sends the funds back to Stripe. It can take up to 5 additional business days for your bank to return the payout and inform Stripe and us that it failed. If this happens, you’re notified by email. As a result it is possible that a payout status initially shows as paid but then changes to failed.

This most frequently happens when the "two-way option" is selected but your bank account is not properly set up to allow the debit for the negative balance.

Note: Test payments will not generate an actual test payout transaction to your external bank account, however Slate does simulate how a test payout would be recorded.

Why is there a negative deposit account balance?

Your Slate Payments Deposit Account includes a holding account with Stripe (a connected account) where your funds are held until transferred to you. Funds are collected, held, and paid out in separate sub-balances depending on the source of the payment (credit card charge vs. ACH payment).

If there are funds (of the relevant funds source) currently in that account when you make a refund, those funds are used. If there are not sufficient funds in the account, the refund will be made anyway, and the balance in that account (or sub-balance) will become negative. Whenever an account balance (or sub-balance) is negative (at the cutoff time) regularly scheduled payouts are suspended.

Please see this article for further details: https://knowledge.technolutions.com/hc/en-us/articles/360057364451-Slate-Payments-Account-Balance 

Account verification - what is meant by "institution representative?"

When setting up a Slate Payments account, the Slate administrator (or another designated representative) will need to enter personal information for an Organization Representative or Executive.

Providing personal information about an institution representative is purely so that the back-end payment processor can comply with regulations of the Office of Foreign Asset Control and "Know your customer" laws that prevent money laundering and other misuse. There are no responsibilities and there is no liability involved. The identity information is only used during the initial verification. The organization representative will not be contacted.

Note: This information is recorded at Stripe (on a Stripe page), not inside Slate. No Slate users have access to this information.

Stripe is now asking in many cases that someone act as representative who is an executive of the organization, to comply with the federal Beneficial Ownership Rule, which says "covered financial institutions must identify each beneficial owner by obtaining their name, date of birth, address, and identifying number (such as a social security number or other identifying number permissible under the CIP rule), and verify their identities."

Account verification - which documents can I use to verify bank account ownership?

When setting up a Slate Payments account, you must verify ownership of the bank account to which monies are being paid. This is typically done by uploading either a bank statement or voided check. In either case, it is important to include the full name of the institution, its address, and at least the last four digits of the account number.

Note: This information is recorded at Stripe (on a Stripe page), not inside Slate. No Slate users have access to this information.

What do I do when the information for my external bank account changes?

Whether you are just changing account numbers at your existing bank or switching financial institutions, you do not have to create an entirely new Slate Payments Deposit account!

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In either case, you just need to update the information related to the external bank account in the deposit account pop-up edit window. Always update all editable values, such as the routing number and bank account number for US-based accounts.

The "deposit account" (which is the holding account on the Slate Payments platform) will remain the same.

What are 'pending funds' in the Slate Payments deposit account pop-up window?

Funds are collected, held, and paid out in separate sub-balances depending on the source of the payment (credit card charge vs. ACH payment).

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In either case, funds are pending when the transaction has been initiated/completed, but the funds have not yet cleared to be paid out to your external bank account.

Can you describe the data flow for Slate Payments?

The Slate Payments system uses an online payment processor called Stripe.com, which provides a web service API (that is, a set of commands that can be used from other computer programs, connecting through the web).

On the payment page in Slate, when the applicant enters their payment data, the credit card or bank account information is sent directly to Stripe from the applicant's web browser, using JavaScript in that page (using a tool called Stripe Elements). This is an encrypted transmission. Stripe stores that information temporarily, and returns a single-use token. When the payment form is submitted back to Slate, the credit card or bank account information is not included; only the Stripe token is sent to Slate.

Slate then uses the Stripe token to initiate a payment transaction with Stripe (again, through an encrypted transmission). Stripe processes the payment and returns the result. Slate stores the result and, if the payment was successful, creates a Payment Received activity on the student record. If the payment is being made from a bank account (which is a slower process), Stripe will return a status of "pending," which will be stored in Slate. Once the transaction is complete, Stripe will send Slate an update, with a status of "complete" (this will take approximately 5 business days for a bank account payment). The record in Slate will be updated.

No credit card or bank account information is stored in Slate or present on Slate web servers during this process.

If an update from Stripe to Slate fails at any point (for example, due to a network problem or a temporary database issue) Stripe will continue to send the update for up to three days or until it is successfully received.

A visual representation of the data flow is attached.

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