Powering Customer Success and Loyalty with Account Updater


Connor Sullivan


May 2, 2023

May 2, 2023

May 2, 2023

Whether you’re running a subscription-based business, rely on recurring revenue, or simply expect your customers to return frequently for repeat purchases, you’re likely storing customer credit card information in a secure vault. Ecommerce companies and online retailers of all kinds vault these details to create a better, faster checkout experience for customers—one that doesn’t require re-typing credit card details for every new purchase. This is only true, however, when everything goes according to plan.  What happens when your customer’s card is reissued or stolen and now the data in your vault is out of date? Do you have the resources to contact your customer and ask for new details? Are your customers loyal enough to come back and update their card details with you all on their own? Do you even have the ability to know when a card is expired or when a customer is getting avoidable declines? 

That’s ok, Pagos is here to help with our account updater service, Loon.

In the wild, loons are known for diving down deep below the water’s surface to hunt for food. Similarly, Loon by Pagos is your solution for diving deep into card brands and issuer records to retrieve updated card details. 

What is Account Updater?

Simply put, account updater is a program offered by the major card brands that keeps your vaulted card data fresh. It relies on the secure exchange of updated account information from card issuers, through card brands, and on to merchants like you that hold vaulted card credentials. 

Like most card brand programs, account updater can be very expensive and enormously time consuming to integrate with—especially when you consider each card brand has their own version and requires a unique integration. That’s where Loon is here to help. With Loon, you need only complete one simple set-up to access account updater data for the four major card brands (Visa, Mastercard, Amex, and Discover).

The real benefits of using account updater are threefold:

  1. Increase your overall authorization approval rates

  2. Reduce customer churn

  3. Improve customer experiences with your brand

Let’s get into it!

Improve Approval Rates

The issuer decisions behind credit card authorization declines are numerous and can range from the extremely vague “Declined - Do Not Honor” messages to very specific reasons like “Declined - Expired Card”. Using an account updater solution will have an enormous impact on how often you face a subset of declines caused by changes made to cardholder payment information or underlying accounts. Examples include:

  • Card has expired or the expiration date has changed

  • Card has been updated due to being lost or stolen

  • Card has been reissued due to a new card program, a new card brand, or fraud

  • Customer details such as customer name or address have changed

 The cost of these types of declines compounds on your business. First, you immediately lose revenue from the sale that didn’t go through as expected. On top of that, you’ll pay a fee for your authorization attempt (yup, you get charged for every authorization, regardless of whether or not it results in a successful transaction). Beyond the direct financial impact, this failed transaction drops your authorization rate and increases your decline rate—two KPIs you’re likely monitoring for your business. Finally, if the cardholder whose transaction failed doesn’t take the time to update their card information and try again, you may have not just lost the revenue from this single purchase, but from a lifetime of future purchases from a subscriber or loyal customer. When you think of it this way, you don’t just need to make up for one lost sale, but for the lifetime value (LTV) of a lost shopper.

By using an account updater solution, you can stay ahead of declines by receiving fresh card details ahead of time, resulting in more sales for you and a lift in your overall authorization rates.

Not sure if declines are a problem for your business? We have a bird that can help with that! Peacock by Pagos creates data visualizations based on your aggregated payments data, including a whole dashboard of charts breaking down your declined transactions.

Reduce Churn

The number of cards that get re-issued in the United States alone hovers around 30% annually. Imagine not being able to authorize and charge 30% of the cards stored in your vault, at a minimum, every year. That’s a lot of missed revenue and potential customer churn that could otherwise be easily addressed by simply employing account updater.

By addressing re-issuance, companies using account updater can reduce lifecycle management declines related to AVS (address verification system) mismatches, expired cards, and lost or stolen events, and ultimately recover anywhere between 2-10% of their monthly revenue. 

Let's quickly explore how much a 10% decrease in declines could improve your bottom line. Consider a situation where your business has an average order value of $25 and you sell 1,000 recurring subscriptions a month. Typically, 100 of those transactions fail due to declines (a decline rate of 10%). As a result, you make $22,500 a week ($25 x (1,000 attempted transactions - 100 declines) = $22,500). Now imagine you enrolled in account updater and improved your decline rate by 10%, meaning only 90 of your attempted transactions fail a month. Now you're making $22,750 each month! That's a $250/month value that required zero work on your part outside of the original account updater integration.

Staying with this example, we can explore the long-term impact on future revenue of not using account updater and continuing to lose those 10 extra subscribers each month. When you lose a customer this month, you cut short their lifetime value to your business. If you expect a customer to stay with your business for 1 year (12 billing cycles), and they drop off on the 2nd billing cycle, the value of a single decline can also be thought of as 11 missed months at $25 each, or $275. The inverse is also true; by saving a single transaction, you stay on track to bring in the expected lifetime value of your customer, and you avoid the risk that they churn due to the frustrations of unintentional payment failures.

As we’ve highlighted above, lifecycle management declines are inevitable. There are only two ways for you to really be proactive about them: either you regularly encourage your customers to come to you ahead of time and update their details before a decline occurs or you use account updater to keep those details fresh. In reality, account updater is the only real option for taking lifecycle management declines seriously, preventing churn, and recapturing those sales that would otherwise be lost.

Improve Customer Experience

By now we’ve all had the experience as a consumer of getting a new credit or debit card because the original was compromised or it expired. The fallout is overwhelming and can make you feel a bit loony. Do you remember all of your active subscriptions? What about the usernames and passwords (don’t forget the special characters!)? Going to every site and updating your details is time consuming, frustrating, and can make you question if it’s even worth continuing to pay for all of these products. 

As a business, using account updater and keeping your vaulted cards up-to-date helps avoid any service disruptions for your customers. More specifically, it eliminates the need for them to log in or contact customer service to manually update their card details. This provides them with a better overall experience of your service or product and prevents a potential loss of sales!

A Better Account Updater

Loon is an easy-to-use, global account updater solution that is independent of network or PSP. If you use account updater services today, you're probably torn between having multiple versions with no control, or facing market limitations that prevent you from turning it on at all. With Loon by Pagos you only need to manage one relationship, one integration, and you’ll get access to account updater services and data for all four major card brands (Visa, Mastercard, Amex, and Discover)—regardless of your processor or processors.

Your vaulted card details will change and go stale, that’s just a fact. We’ve shown you the numbers and the use cases. It is not a matter of if but when, so when that time comes, be prepared with Loon.

We referenced the following articles when writing this blog post:




Share on X