An Open Letter to EBS Payment Gateway

Dear ebs,

So you are a payment gateway “service” provider in India. You provide the service of transparent online payment collection between parties. You also claim to be startup/smb friendly. My experience has proved to be polar opposite and it seems unlikely to change.

Let me explain my predicament.

The trouble started right from the pre-integration stage. The deadlines for service activation were missed thrice. Your executives were of no help and kept repeating the standard trained responses. I had to literally beg, request and shout at your president to get the platform live after 3 weeks of delay. Time lost, opportunity lost, real cash burnt while my team waits for platform to go live. If not your customers, if not your field troops, at least respect your key employees who end up facing the brunt.

One ordeal over.

I understand the reason for flagging a payment and it’s something we have to live with. I am sure you understand the importance of cash flow in your business, no wonder why your executives called me day in and out to close the deal. But I wonder if you understand the importance of cash flow in your customer’s business. You flag the payments for longer than 48 hours at times, with no reason given. And the captured payments takes atrociously long to hit the bank. Kindly understand that bad debt kills a business and small players are most susceptible to this threat.

We don’t raise flags each time the payment is delayed now. But, it’s an ordeal each time nonetheless.

The third ordeal and the deal-breaker

Your systems are wonderfully automated, great! They are so wonderfully designed that a payment will be automatically cancelled after 12 days of flagging. Only emails will be sent to the client and if for some reason he cannot access the account, sorry rahega boss! What makes this even more ridiculous is, there is ONLY Email support. The reason for this is “we cannot respond to all calls and issues” as repeatedly told to me by your Sr Customer care executive in a rather carefree tone. Excuse me, why are you in business?

THE INCIDENT: A customer made a payment with wrong permanent address but correct billing address. The payment was flagged. The payment remained flagged for more than 48 hours but since it has become a common thing by now, not much heed was paid to it. Raising a support ticket every time is time expensive. To our surprise the payment was cancelled after 12-14 days. Apparently, two mails were sent to our official email account in this 12-14 days but since the account was not accessible the mails went unnoticed. I have some simple questions:

1. Why do you take contact numbers if you won’t use it to convey business critical information?

2. Informing every client about every flagged transaction is difficult (read: expensive), I understand; but shouldn’t you inform the client about critical things like payment cancelation? Your brilliantly designed automated system can send a sms or two at least?

3. When you charge 3.75% per transaction what are your liabilities? You are providing me a “service” of felicitating online transaction, if I am correct.

I particularly found your executives carefree about transactional responsibility for the client. As if it really doesn’t matter to them if the payment is getting flagged, cancelled or whatever happens to them. I asked your executive to send me at least an official mail from EBS, which I can then show to my customer and try to recover the lost payment. It was outright refused.

I am trusting you with the most important part of my ecommerce business. Handling transactions. You are not doing a favour to me, you too are doing a business. And this is not the way I or anyone else or for that matter even you, will like it to happen. I am sure, I am not alone in this apathy.

Just like Indian politics, what options does an ecommerce entrepreneur have for payment gateway?

My customer is dilly-dallying and it is highly unlikely that payment will be recovered, not to mention the immense time and effort dollars wasted.

Yours Frustratingly,
Talvinder Singh
Founder & CEO

[The views expressed in this article belong solely to the author and his experiences with the service provider]

About the author

5 thoughts on “An Open Letter to EBS Payment Gateway

  1. @ Nishanth Chandran,

    We had a terrible experience with EBS and i can show all the proofs. OR i can show it to public with a blog post on my blog.

    Pls provide your email id, so that i can forward the whole thread.

    I sent them around 20+ emails and 20+ calls, but no one responded and they behave like they are doing me a favor. I didn’t received a single reply from EBS staff. I found govt offices are far better compared to EBS.

    They don’t bother to review and update the application even though its been 40 days we submitted everything and make all the above efforts.

    There are many payment gateways coming in every day, EBS needs to improve a lot in customer satisfaction.

  2. Yourstory has turned out to be a great platform bringing the two end parties on one platform :)

    We are EBS customers for past one year and our experience has so far been good. Yes, I agree that there is a lot of scope of improvement (especially the analytics and the way processes are not so structured) but I would still rate EBS as 4 / 5.

    But yes, consumers need better service and EBS needs to tighten up their belts.

  3. Dear Talvinder,

    I am sorry for the unpleasant experience you have had, however I have to take this opportunity to explain further about the issues you have raised are

    1) Delay in activation
    2) Flagged Payments
    3) Auto-cancel of payments

    1) Delay in activation:

    EBS acts as a facilitator to multiple banks and whenever any application is sent, banks sometimes come back to us with a request for much more information for further validation. Hence sometimes there is a delay which is experienced as each application needs to be in compliance with the acquiring bank guidelines and in compliance with the payment brands such as Visa, Mastercard and number of other different banks you are getting connected to.

    However this is an issue which we as an industry are facing and this situation is getting improved as more and more banks are trying to formulate a process and we are seeing lot of improvements in the timeline

    2) Flagged Payments

    In the world of ecommerce transactions, fraud is a major problem one has to address and at EBS we have a track record of having the lowest fraud rate, and we are trusted with the largest brands to reduce fraud and process payments.

    EBS security has been a key priority and so to protect our merchants we came up with a state of art risk management system with human intelligence and that’s exactly flagged transactions are about

    Most payment gateways directly cancel payments without manual review if they suspect fraud and sometimes because of false positives this will turnout to be a lost sales, where as in EBS we review transaction if they are flagged based on certain criteria instead of enabling a auto-cancel, our average flagged transactions rate are about 3% and we mostly find 85% of flagged transactions are fraudulent in nature and our merchants save a lot of money of direct loss, chargeback risk, fines from visa master for non compliance.

    As a business EBS doesn’t not charge anything on the cancelled transactions and our business model is only to earn on the transactions, which are captured or approved by you, however we treat this as a cost to save our merchant from loss and to protect the goodwill

    In Most cases when a transaction is flagged the team approves the payment within 48 hours. If in case there is a suspicion just like when there is a wrong address or a customer who is actually from Australia trying to do a transaction from India with an Australian credit card we contact the merchant to get more information and after mutual discussion the transaction is approved if its looking genuine or cancelled if suspected fraudulent.

    Also in the merchant console, any transactions, which are flagged, are clearly listed in a different column and everything is kept transparent to the merchant with instructions on what next to expect or do.

    3) Auto cancellation

    Yes the system is automatically configured to cancel payment after 12 calendar days, this is a best practice which is followed. In a typical scenario the amount, which is to be charged, is as a first step authorized or blocked from the cardholder limit, for example if your customer credit card has an available credit limit of 50,000 and you have to book a sale for 10,000. 10,000 is only blocked in his limit and the system awaits you to capture this transaction fully or partially, this is important for most merchants especially the ones in travel industry,sometimes there will be change in itinerary and you may have to cancel or can only partially fulfill. If not this is cancelled automatically as we cannot keep this open forever as the cardholder’s billing cycle may end, or the card may expire and most issuing bank don’t keep open authorizations for a long time.

    Usually for this service there is no fee charged in spite of processing the transaction and holding it in the system for 12 days and if cancelled, EBS earns no fee

    However we promptly send automated email notifications before such an event happens, we send 3 or 4 reminders before a cancellation happens, If you are a merchant having many transactions you can use our bulk capture facility or use our auto capture API where you can completely automate this from your application

    Last about the training, we have a support team who is available for help and also we have video tutorials and a extensive knowledge base which is available in for your know how.
    I am hoping that most of your queries/grievances have now been satisfactorily answered. If you still have any feel free to get in touch with us. We would be more than happy to answer/resolve


    Nishanth Chandran
    Co-Founder & CEO

  4. Dear Talvinder,

    First of all I am greatful that you have brought this matter to light.
    This is sure to help a lot of Entreprenures and there by the real consumers.

    I can feel your frustration but what to do..some times our choosen path is taking through such soar experiences.Cheer up and wish you all the best

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