Gateway Overview: Forte Payments

Forte Payment Systems (sometimes known as Agile payments) offers merchants a broad range of payment solutions, including credit card and debit card processing, ACH/eCheck origination, check verification, and fraud prevention. Through superior customer service and industry-leading technology, Forte helps organizations of all sizes grow and prosper by reducing transaction costs, mitigating risk, and increasing efficiencies.

Forte charges no setup fee. Credit Card processing has fees of $10/month and Interchange+0.25% and 28c per transaction (Interchange is the fee charged by the Card issuer such as Visa or Mastercard and varies by card type).  Fees for ACH are $10/m plus 30c per transaction.  Additional service and charge-back fees apply.  Settlement is 4 working days.  Amounts are settled gross, with fees collected at the end of the month from your account.

Forte is our preferred US gateway.

To setup a Forte account please download and complete the Application Form.  You can email it to the email address on the form.  Please note that this application contains pre-set limits ($500 max sale and $10,000 maximum per month in each of Credit Card and ACH).  Using these limits (at least initially) significantly increases your changes of being approved (and approval is usually within one working day).  If you attempt to process transactions beyond these limits they will be declined.  If you would like higher processing limits please use this form, but note that the underwriting process is longer (and tougher).

Once your account has been setup you should receive the API settings from Forte by email.  We need the Account ID, Location ID, API Key and Secure Transaction Key.  You will need to enter these when setting up your gateway in uCollect.

Canadian Users: You use the same form as US users – please use SIN in place of SSN, and BN in place of EIN.  Settlement bank routing number should be 0IIIBBBBB (zero followed by three-digit institution number then 5 digit branch transit code).  All Canadian accounts will only be able to collect in CAD.  All US accounts will only be able to collect in USD.

To set up your gateway in uCollect Add a new Gateway (Edit Organisation, or from the setup wizard) with the following details:

  • Gateway: choose the Forte gateway.  There are two options – one for credit card and one for ACH.  If you want to accept both please set up each gateway separately.
  • Enter your Account ID, Location ID, API Key and Secure transaction Key that you have received from Forte.  The same credentials should be used for ACH and CC if you use both.
  • Calculate Commission/Fees on Settlement: This option is not appropriate for Forte as they do not settle net of commissions.
  • Pay Now: Both ACH and Credit Card options are eligible for Pay Now (and your customers can sign up for automatic collection).

If you would like to accept American Express card you need to get this setup with Forte first, then check the “Allow American Express” box on the Gateway profile page in uCollect.

For help on using the Gateway setup screen please see the help page.

When setting up your contacts in uCollect you have two options:

  • Select the Client ID.  If your customer has already been setup in Forte you can simply select them from the drop-down list.
  • Create Customer.  You can click the “Create Customer” link to add the details if they have not already been created in Forte.  You still need to ensure that you have the correct authorisation to set up the credit card/bank account in uCollect.  We submit this data to Forte which assigns a ID number.  We do not store the account details in uCollect – we only store the ID Number from Forte.

uCollect will automatically send collection requests to Forte.  No additional involvement from you is required.  The response we get is a real time authorization.

You will get an email on returns and chargebacks from Forte (to the email address on file). You can also setup your own notifications in the Forte Virtual Terminal if you want to (see tutorial here).

If you have difficulty matching your settlement deposit to your processed payments log into Forte’s Virtual Terminal and run the Deposits report (see tutorial here)

Important note on currencies: For US-based users all transactions are treated as USD, and Canadian-based users all transactions are treated as CAD.  DO NOT try to settle invoices in other currencies as they will not be handled correctly. Furthermore, uCollect requires that all invoices sent through a gateway be in the same currency as the bank account that is used to settle that payment in Xero.  If you invoice in multiple currencies you should set up multiple gateways (one for each currency) in uCollect.  We recommend that you get in touch with us (live chat or contact us) for further assistance.

Rejected Transactions

Forte do not validate account/routing numbers when submitted.  You will only find out about errors after the transaction is processed by uCollect – account number or routing number rejects usually have code R28 (you can see a complete list of error/response codes here).  If a transaction fails for any reason Forte will send you an email telling you the AMOUNT only of the transaction.  The email lacks really critical information such as the name of the customer, the date of the original transaction, the transaction or even a description of the reason for the rejection.  To find out which transaction has failed you can look at recent batches in uCollect’s Collection History screen or log into the Forte console and look under Transactions, Search.  You may need to call Forte’s Customer Support (phone number is in the email) for further explanation.  We recommend that you complain bitterly about the lack of useful information in the email!

For more information on how to deal with a rejected payment see our support page “What to do When a Payment fails (after processing)”.