College Consortium (“CC”) payment accounts are activated in a few easy steps and allows you to collaborate and pay or charge any institution on the platform once wired up. The process to get set up is as follows:
Please note: 100% of payments on CC are ACH debit or credit, without exception.
1) Primary Finance Contact (“PFC”) established:
Each institution is required to establish a primary contact at their institution to handle all financial affairs for activity using CC’s platform, referred to as the Primary Finance Contact (“PFC”). This individual will verify the account with a CC admin during an initial set up period, will receive all email notifications of activities per transaction including invoices, and will act as the point person to CC admins for any payment related questions. Note: multiple recipients can receive the payment-related emails sent by the system. For Teaching Institutions (“TIs”) this person will also act as the legal business representative for the vendor account creation and activation (more below).
2) Payments account created:
All institutions will have an account created for them on our payment processor Stripe. Teaching Institutions (TIs) are required to establish and activate a 'vendor' payment account directly with Stripe. On the platform TIs function as ‘vendors’ who charge Home Institutions (HIs), or ‘customers,’ directly. This vendor account will connect to the institution’s chosen bank account via providing CC admins with their institution’s ACH banking information over the phone and filling out the activation forms in the TIs vendor account. This ACH information serves to guarantee CC payments can be withdrawn or deposited based on institution activity on the platform. An institution email must be used to create this account, and that email must not be tied to any prior Stripe accounts.
The account creation is handled over a 30-60 minute phone call where any questions around the payments set up and process on the platform are answered. Stripe follows IRS regulations with respect to vendor account creation, specifically “Know Your Customer” regulations. Therefore, at least one individual on the payments set up call for the TI must have the authority to establish and activate such an account for the institution. Specifically, this individual must be listed in the account as having the ability to exercise significant control, as a beneficial owner or significant controller would. This individual does not need to be listed as the PFC for the institution’s account on the platform, but they must be on the payments set up call and handle the creation and activation of the Stripe payments account. This individual must also have an institution email address not tied to any prior Stripe accounts or have access to a shared institution email address that has not previously been used in Stripe. Stripe will require this individual’s legal name, date of birth, last four of their social, a phone number and address, and possibly (though rarely) a valid ID.
CC requires at least one other individual at the institution be added to this vendor account as an ‘administrator’ in case the individual activating the account leaves the institution. Note: this second individual does not also need the same level of authority as the individual opening and activating the account.
3) Payments account verified via Stripe and tested:
Once the Stripe account is created for the institution, the bank account attached to it must be verified and tested. This is done via three follow up items handled after the initial set up call:
- Test deposits: Stripe will deposit two random, sub-$1.00 deposits simultaneously into the attached bank account. These deposits typically appear within 24-72 business hours after the account creation, but can take as long as 7 business days. Once the institution sees these deposits they must notify CC via email of the exact dollar value per deposit (e.g., $0.88) as well as the order in which they were received. These deposits will be debited (i.e., removed) after a 4-7 business days.
- ACH Authorization: Institutions must have their bank authorize Stripe for ACH transactions (debits and credits) for the connected bank account. Institutions who have access to an ACH filter via their bank can do this directly, or otherwise the institution can simply forward the ACH IDs to their bank rep via email. Here are the specific ACH IDs and corresponding entity names that must be authorized for both ACH debits and credits:
WFMSTRIPE1 - Stripe Inc.
1800948598 - Stripe Payments Company
- Test Payment: Once the above two steps are confirmed CC will run a test payment where we will debit $5.00 from the account, and then credit that amount back in a refund. This is distinct from the stripe test deposits, which are used to assure Stripe that we are working with someone who has access to the account. The goal for this test payment is to ensure that all payment operations are working fine with the account so that no issues arise when actual payments are to be made.
4) Vendor account activated via Stripe:
As mentioned in step two above, TIs are required to both establish and activate a 'vendor' payment account directly with our payment processor Stripe. In order to activate the account the individual at the institution creating and activating the account will fill out and submit an application to activate the account (this is done during the set up call mentioned in step 2 above). The goal of this activation application is to have stripe enable the vendor account for both payments (charging customer stripe accounts directly) as well as payouts (having any payments charged in stripe transferred to a connected bank account of the school’s choosing via ACH credit). This application review happens in separately from the follow up items mentioned in step 3.
As part of their verification review, Stripe may require additional information about the institution or the individual activating the account. These requests for additional information are sent via email, and may include questions such as:
- Can you confirm an estimate of your annual processing volume?
- Can you describe the product or service you will be processing through Stripe?
- How many courses do you plan to offer on the platform and at what price?
- What has been your historic dispute and refund rate?
If your institution does receive an email for these additional requests, your CC admin can help guide you through any questions you may have.
Once the test payment is processed and refunded, and the TI vendor account activated by Stripe, the Institution will be fully wired up and ready to operate on the platform. Any annual software fees are first charged after the account is wired up, and all subsequent payments are handled via ACH debit through this account. Please ask the CC admin specifically about which annual software fees apply for your institution.
Please see here for more details on how payments work in practice and the communications sent to schools around such payments.