Frequently Asked Questions
- Connect your uCollect account to your Xero Ledger
- Connect your uCollect account to your approved payment processor and set some initial settings (see Set up demo)
- Tell uCollect what clients to collect payments from (and provide their relevant details)
We charge you a flat-rate monthly or annual fee to subscribe to the uCollect system. There are no other uCollect charges. Your payment gateway will charge you a fee for their services, and you will have to pay for your accounting ledger (if you are not yet setup in Xero or Quickbooks Online we can help you get that sorted through one of our partners).
Each uCollect account (organisation) needs to be connected to a unique Xero or Quickbooks Online ledger and have it’s own billing settings. You can have more than one payment method/gateway in each uCollect organisation. You can not connect a uCollect account to more than one Xero/Quickbooks organisation nor can you connect the same Xero/Quickbooks organisation to more than one uCollect organisation. However, you can have more than one uCollect organisation (each connected to its own ledger) and you can switch between these from a single login within uCollect.
Once we have loaded the payment batch into your payment gateway we post the payments to Xero/Quickbooks. We don’t post as a batch to allow for flexibility if a payment fails. We recommend that you create a separate bank account or ledger account (with payments enabled) for us to post these payments to (you tell us which bank account to record the payments in when you set up or edit the payment gateway). When the funds settle you then code this as a bank transfer (if the holding account is a bank account) or code to the holding account (if a non-bank account with enable payments). You will need to code any deducted fees as well (full tutorials are given).
No, our fees are separate from your payment gateway’s charges. You will pay them directly for their service fees. uCollect is not a payment gateway and does not touch the funds – we simply act as the middle-man to request your payment processor to process the collection request.
It’s very simple. If you have chosen the annual or bi-annual (2 year) subscription option then we use the appropriate rate and renew your subscription automatically on the anniversary date. If you have chosen the monthly subscription option we look at your activity in the prior month and charge you accordingly. Let’s take an example. You sign up on Jan 15 and do 25 transactions in the next month. Your first month is free, so we haven’t charged you yet. On Feb 15 we charge you $15 (assuming a US subscriber) for the coming month. In the next month you do 125 transactions. On March 15 we charge you $20 (because you exceeded 100 transactions the month before). In the next month you only do 98 transactions, so on April 15 we charge you the lower fee of $15. If your activity drops below the 100 item threshold there is no refund for the previous month (as it was based on real activity in the month before) but rest assured that you are not locked in to a higher rate unless you actually use the higher service level.
uCollect does not collect the money – your payment gateway does that. uCollect acts as the bridge between your accounting system and your payment gateway ensuring that your payment is scheduled correctly. Your payment gateway may have a holding period before they release the money to you and they may deduct fees from that for their services. uCollect is not involved in that process at all.
uCollect is very secure. We do not store credit card or bank account details of any of your contacts in our system, only their relevant ID numbers that connect them to the Payment Gateway. We store no personal details of your business or your contacts other than name and your email address). We even scramble your passwords or API keys on our database – so that even our database administrators can’t read it! All app pages are protected by SSL encryption as well. You can’t get much safer than that! We are fully PCI compliant.
You will have to make sure that uCollect is set to run several hours before your payment processor cut-off (we recommend at least 4 – to allow for issues at either end). For example, if your payment gateway requires all payments to be uploaded by 4pm, then you should ensure that Please note that if you have reminders switch on you will need to wait for the reminder period to expire before we initiate collection. Please note that if you have reminders switch on you will need to wait for the reminder period to expire before we initiate collection.
uCollect is triggered by noon at the latest. We cannot guarantee same day collection.
When uCollect checks your accounting ledger it will automatically pick up any invoices dated today that are unpaid (plus any dated in the next few days – depending on your “days in advance” setting in your gateway settings) and initiate collection. If an invoice is created in the accounting system after uCollect has checked it will be picked up the following day.
Please note that some gateways that you have given your customers several days notice of the amount being deducted. In this case your invoice must be created in the accounting system before the payment due date. Unfortunately, you cannot create a repeating payment that will generate before the transaction date in Xero (say you want the invoice dated 1st of the month, and funds collected 1st of the month – you can’t use a repeating invoice to generate this on the 28th of the month).
We provide the option for text files where a payment gateway does not support direct API transactions (yes, we know – so last century!). Because we can’t send the data directly to the payment gateway we have to remind you to do it (so we recommend that you set the initiation window to at least 1 day in advance). Each day we check your accounting ledger for invoices that are due for collection. If there are any that need a file upload we will send you an email with a link to the file for you to download (we don’t email the CSV file as it is not encrypted and may contain sensitive data). You will then upload the file to the bank/gateway’s web site or use their application.
Of course! If uCollect is not providing value to you then you should cancel. To cancel simply go into your uCollect account, from the menus choose edit organisation settings, scroll to the very bottom and click the “Cancel Subscription and Delete Organisation” button. Please note that this action is not reversible – so if you come back to your senses you will have to re-create your account. Please note that uCollect subscriptions already paid are non-refundable. If you want to test out the system you should choose the monthly subscription option. We give you the first month free in all cases, so you have plenty of time to decide if uCollect will work for you.
No you don’t – you can create a uCollect account and set up all the details without a credit card. But uCollect will not process/collect any payments on your account until a valid credit card has been entered and verified. Remember that we don’t charge your card until your 30 day trial period is over, so there is no chance that you will be charged until you have had ample opportunity to test it out. We send you an email reminder 5 days prior to renewal to give you a chance to cancel if you don’t want to go ahead.
Yes, but you need to ensure that the currency code of your invoice matches that of the bank account nominated as your settlement account. If it differs the invoice will fail and not be collected. If you use a gateway that automatically converts your settlement into local currency then you will need to create a fake Bank account in your accounting system matching the invoicing currency, and then create a Gateway in uCollect to match. uCollect will automatically offer the correct gateway in the Pay Now screen.
Here are the instructions assuming USD invoices in an AUD ledger,using Stripe:
To process payments in USD you need to do the following:
- Create a new bank account in your accounting system using the USD currency (doesn’t matter what bank you choose).
- Log into uCollect as an Adminstrator user, go to Edit Payment Gateways , Add Gateway. Create a new instance of your Stripe gateway. Make sure that you choose the new USD bank account in the settings.
- For this contact edit the contact and delete the contact, but DO NOT delete the gateway data.
- For this contact re-connect to the USD version and choose the name from the Select list.
This can be a bit confusing at first, so feel free to reach out to Support for further guidance.
Yes you can. However, each contact can only be connected to one payment gateway. If you need the same contact to use multiple payment gateways you will have to split them into more than one contact in the accounting system first.
Yes. First, create the invoice in your accounting system for the full amount. Next log into uCollect, ensure that the contact is assigned to the payment gateway and assign a payment sequence (dates and amounts) to the invoice using our installment options. uCollect will now ignore the due date and follow the payment plan until the plan has finished or the invoice shows as fully paid.
If we submit a payment request to your payment gateway and it is declined or rejected for any reason at the time we initiate the request (which could be several days or hours before the payment is actually processed by the payment gateway) we will send you an email advising you of the error so that you can correct it. The invoice will not be marked as paid. We will keep trying each day. It is very rare that a Direct Debit/ACH payment request will be rejected due to insufficient funds (as we are often scheduling payments in advance and don’t know the customer’s bank balance).
It is more likely that our payment request is accepted initially but then the payment is later declined or returned. The payment gateway should alert you about this directly (it does not go through us) and will remove the funds from your bank account (or just not pay you in the first instance). Some of our API gateways will notify us. In this case we remove the payment and follow your instruction on what to do next (in the gateway settings). For other gateways the Invoice is showing as paid and we need to correct that. You have two options (strap in – it’s a bit complicated – feel free to use the live support option the first time you experience this):
- From the invoice in the accounting system remove the payment manually (in Xero you, click on the payment link , and choose “Remove and Redo” from the payment’s Options menu). If you do nothing more uCollect will schedule the invoice for recollection in the next daily cycle but it will fail as we detect that it has already been collected. To allow recollection you should add an installment or check the “Allow reprocessing” option when you run the batch
- Code the reversal bank transaction to a suspense account and create a new invoice (code to the same suspense account) to reflect the recovery of the bounced payment. Set the due date that you want us to schedule collection for. uCollect will initiate collection in the normal process.
You can easily suspend a contact from collection at any time. Simply open the contact settings, Contact tab, set Collection Status to Suspend. uCollect will ignore all invoice due dates until you reactivate that contact.
First you need to ensure that the gateway is configured for Pay Now. Next you have two options.
Send a new invitation:
- Open the contact options dialog, Gateway tab, scroll to the bottom and choose “Remove uCollect Data.” If prompted to delete the data in the gateway choose Yes.
- From the Search Contacts page click on the Invitation icon, update the required settings and send.
Ask the customer to update using the Pay Now page:
- Ensure that Pay Now settings are switched on for the desired gateway(s).
- Copy the contact’s Pay Now link from uCollect’s Search Contact screen and send it to them.
- The customer should choose the “All invoices on their due date” option and select the payment method (NOT the “Payment details already on file”). This will override the old data.
Try to collect them, of course. If these contacts are assigned to a gateway in uCollect we will automatically attempt collection unless the date of the invoice is more than six months old (we don’t attempt these as a safety precaution – you need to add an installment or choose the “Allow “Include 6 month old invoice” option). uCollect will initiate a payment for all invoices that are due up to the cut-off period and are unpaid at the time we initiate payment. If you do not want the invoices collected you can either suspend the whole contact, or you can mark selected invoices for suspension.
No. Some gateways will automatically update expiration dates in the background. If a transaction is declined (when we request it) we will advise you so that you can correct it.
Maybe not. We are not a payment processor or merchant account. You need to have an account from one of our approved payment gateways to be able to use this service. If you wanted real time or eCommerce collection it would be more efficient to integrate your web site directly with the payment processer.
No problem – that’s what uCollect is intended for. Whether you are billing the same amount every month, or the amount changes based on activity, uCollect can initiate the payment request based on your invoice due date.
No problem. We use a hidden contact ID to track your contact. If you change the contact name we will still track it. But, if you assign this invoice to a new contact or merge this contact into another we may lose the connection to the original contact. You need to log back into uCollect and attach your payment gateway ID to the new contact.
You probably need to set up a new authority to charge their account. You need to follow your payment gateway’s rules for this and get them setup with the payment gateway first. If this changes the ID/token assigned by the payment gateway then you need to update uCollect. If we are pulling the bank account from Xero then you should update it in Xero. If Pay Now is enabled for your gateway the customer can actually change it themselves.
Yes – as long as the fees are a flat rate per transaction and/or a fixed percentage of the charge. We can create a Spend Money/Expense transaction for the fees every time a collection batch is processed. See our Fees on Settlement post about this.
OK – so there are a few TLA (three letter acronyms) and other jargon on this site. Here are a few definitions – drop them around at your next office party or BBQ and watch people move away fast!
- Gateway: this is the service that actually collects the money from your customer from your customer’s account and transfers it into yours. These are nice people! The term is usually used for credit card services, but we apply it to all the interfaces that we integrate with. We use the terms Payment Processor, Payment Gateway, Payment Provider, and even Bank interchangeably – they all mean the same thing here (we like to spread the love around).
- CSV: Comma Separated File – a text file containing data where each piece of data is separated by commas or line breaks. These are really useful for importing or exporting data between systems.
- Contact / Client / Customer: these are the people who you want to collect money from.
- Organisation: this is your business.Yes, we spell it with an s because that’s how we were taught when we were young.
- Ledger: this is your accounting software that we connect to
- ACH: Automated Clearing House – a US central clearing process for electronic transactions. In our context we refer to electronic checks that are processed through the ACH system.
- Direct Debit: The method of debiting (charging) someone one else’s bank account (as opposed to a credit card) for an amount due based on their prior-approval. In the US this is known as ACH and in Canada it is known as a Pre-Authorized Debit (PAD).
- API: Application Programming Interface – the way that computer systems can talk to each other over the internet (you know – that thing that Al Gore invented).
- Direct Type: These are the gateways that allow us to connect directly to them over the internet using an API.
Upload Type: These are the gateways the require us to prepare a file that has to be uploaded to their software (rather than allowing us to send it directly through an API).
Merchant Account: this is a facility that a business may have with a Gateway that allows them to accept credit cards. Technically the merchant account and the gateway are usually separate – but now we’re getting really boring! This is almost the same as Gateway so just think of it as a package!
Z: pronounced “zed” not “zee” and belongs next to the letter N (that is: “NZ” pronounced “Enn Zed” – short for New Zealand and all things creative and good!)
We are based in Canada and charge the appropriate GST/HST rate to organisations in Canada only. We are not registered for any other sales tax anywhere else in the world and therefore do not charge it. So to be clear, we do not charge GST in New Zealand or Australia or VAT anywhere in Europe.
From the Reports menu choose Subscription History. You can generate a really ugly receipt for each payment.
By default uCollect will collect ALL invoices for a contact UNLESS you have suspended the invoice.