Creating Balances for Accounts

You can create Balances for your end customer Accounts. Customers can then draw-down against their Balance amount for any charges due for consuming your products and services throughout the period the Balance is active for their Account. You can include options to top-up the original Balance.

Using Balances for end customer Accounts delivers other benefits, for example:

  • Onboarding Balance/Free Trials. You can offer an onboarding incentive to new customers by way of an initial free credit Balance on their Account to be used within a set time frame but which carries no further commitment. This can encourage customers to start using your service by drawing down against the Balance, and increases the likelihood they will sign-up as a fully onboarded customer.

  • Balance as initial commitment. Add a Balance amount to a new customer Account to act as an initial commitment, which allows them to start using the service and gain an accurate insight into their usage level. You can then have a well-informed discussion with them about the most suitable usage-based pricing contract to suit their projected usage level.

  • Managing Customer Satisfaction. Use Balances as credits that will be applied to subsequent Bills as compensation for acknowledged service delivery issues, rather than using credit notes.

  • Facilitating Balance Adjustments:

    • Apply negative amounts to immediately write-off outstanding Balances.

    • When setting up to migrate data into the m3ter service create a Balance total, which you can then adjust to accurately reflect the Balance at the precise cut-over date.

Tip: Balances and Prepayments/Commitments? You can use both Balances and Prepayments to help manage credit amounts for your end-customer Accounts, but they serve different purposes:

  • Prepayments are used for amounts end-customers have agreed to pay for consuming your product or services across a full contract term.

  • In contrast, a Balance - often referred to as a Top-Up or Prepaid draw-down - is used when a customer wants to add a credit amount to their Account or you as service provider want to add a credit to a customer Account. This Balance credit can then be drawn-down against for billing the Account for usage. Balances therefore serve payment use cases in a more flexible way, for example to be used as a "Free Credit" sign-up scheme to encourage sales or to enhance customer satisfaction by adding credit to an Account when there have been issues delivering your service.

You can use Prepayments and Balances together, with the option to draw-down against the Balance credit amount before or after draw-down against any Prepayment amounts on a Account. See below Balances Draw-Down Order Against Prepayments

You can create Balances for an end customer Account in the Console from the Account details page. You can then add Transaction amounts to Balances to manage the amount available for drawing-down against charges due on the Account when Bills are calculated for the Account.

This topic explains how to create Balances for your end-customer Accounts and how charges are drawn-down against Balance amounts for billing purposes:

Tip: Note on Terminology? Balances, Credits, and Prepaid Drawdown, are all terms used to describe the addition of funds to an end customer Account in m3ter.

Tip: API Calls for Balances? We maintain a full set of API calls to create and manage Balances for your end customer Accounts - see the Balances section in our API Ref Docs.

Creating and Managing Account Balances

You can create Balances for your end customer Accounts in m3ter directly from the Account details page. You can then add Transactions for the Balance on the Balance details page.

Creating a Balance on an Account

To create a Balance for an Account:

1. Select Accounts. The Accounts page opens.

2. Select the Name text of the Account for which you want to create a Prepayment. The Account details page opens with the Overview tab selected.

3. On the Account actions menu, select Balances>Create Balance:

Alternatively:

  • Select the Balances tab. Any existing Balances created for the Account are listed on the Balances panel.

  • Select Create Balance.

The Create page opens.

4. Enter the details of the new Balance:

  • Name. Enter a name for the Balance..

  • Code. Enter a code for the Balance

  • Description. Enter a description for the Balance. (Optional)

  • Currency. Use the drop-down list to select the currency you want to use for the Balance.

  • Start date (inclusive) and End date (exclusive). Use the calendar pop-ups to set start and end dates/times to define the time period the Balance will be active for the Account.

  • Draw-down products. Select the products whose consumption charges can be drawn-down against the Balance amount.

    • Note that if you don't select any products for draw-down, by default the charges for any product consumed by the Account will be drawn-down against the Balance amount.

  • Draw-down charge types. Select the charge types that can be drawn-down against the Balance amount:

    • Minimum spend

    • Standing charge

    • Usage

Note that if you don't select any charge types, by default all of these three charge types will be drawn-down against the Balance amount.

  • Draw-down description. Enter a text that will appear against Bill line items for usage draw-down charges against the Balance. (Optional)

  • Rollover amount. If the charges drawn-down against the Balance during the period the Balance is active for the Account don't exhaust the Balance, you can have whatever remains of the Balance rollover. This means charges continue to be drawn-down against the unused amount beyond the active end date set for the Balance.

    • If you want to enter a cap on any rollover amount used for a rollover or grace period, enter the amount here.

    • You'll need to enter a Rollover end date also to enable the rollover/grace period - if you only enter an amount for rollover without entering an end date, you'll receive an error when you try to save the Balance.

  • Rollover end date. If you want to allow a rollover or grace period where any unused Balance amount continues to be drawn-down against charges due after the defined active end date, then use the pop-up calendar to define an end date for the rollover or grace period.

Note: Rollover on Balance not required? If you don't want a rollover on a Balance, simply leave Rollover amount and Rollover end date blank.

  • Overage surcharge (%). Optionally, enter a value for the additional surcharge (in percent) added to bills for overages on the Balance amount:

    • Note that you can enter a negative percentage if you want to give a discount rate for usage to end customers who exceed their Balance amount.

  • Overage description. Optionally, enter a description to be used for Bill line items for Balance amount overage surcharge.

Tip: Balances overage pricing? If you are using a tiered pricing structure when pricing Plans, you might want to set up overage pricing bands for Balance/Prepayment overage pricing, and instead of using a percentage addition/reduction on the standard pricing for usage. See Creating Pricing for a Plan.

Important! Balance Overage surcharge percentage overrides Balance Overage pricing. If you have set up overage pricing on a tiered pricing structure when pricing a Plan that will apply to billing for the Balance and you have also set up overage surcharge percentage when creating the Balance for an Account, any overage usage charges on the Account will be billed at the overage surcharge percentage rate and the Balance overage pricing will be ignored. See Creating Pricing for a Plan.

5. Select Create Balance. The Balance details page opens:

6. If you want to edit the Balance's details, select the Edit button, make your changes, and click Update.

7. Return to the Balances tab, where the Balance AMOUNT shows as zero and you'll now have to create Transactions for the Balance.

8. If you want to remove a Balance, select the Delete button for the Balance:

A confirmation popup opens.

9. Select Yes to confirm the delete action.

Creating Transactions for a Balance

When you've created a Balance for an end customer Account, you can then create Transactions for the Balance to flexibly manage and maintain the Balance amount your customer has available to be drawn-down against any usage or other charges due for the period the Balance is active for the Account - and possibly for longer if you choose to allow rollovers on the Balance amount.

Important! Before you can create a Transaction for a Balance on an Account, you must first set up Transaction Types for your Organization - see Creating Transaction Types.

To create a Transaction for a Balance:

1. Select Accounts. The Accounts page opens.

2. Select the Name text of the Account for which you want to add a Transaction to a Balance. The Account details page opens with the Overview tab selected.

3. Select the Balances tab.

4. Select the name text of the Balance you want to create a Transaction for. The Balance Details page opens. The Transactions panel lists any Transactions that have been created for the Balance.

5. On the Transactions panel, select Create Transaction. The Create page opens.

6. On the Balance Transaction Details panel, enter:

  • Transaction Type. Use the drop-down to select the Transaction Type.

  • Amount. The amount of the Transaction.

  • Description. A description for the Transaction. (Optional)

7. If the amount paid differs from the Transaction or the currency of payment differs from the currency defined for the Balance you can optionally use the Balance Transactions Settings panel to enter:

  • Currency. The currency in which payment was made.

  • Amount. The payment amount.

This allows you to record the fact that an end customer has been credited for a Balance amount using another currency/amount. For example, you might credit an end customer in the amount of 200 USD for a payment they've made in virtual currency credits of X amount.

8. Select Create. You are returned to the Balance Details page where the new Transaction has been added to the Balance.

9. If you want to add further Transactions of different types to a Balance, repeat steps 5 to 8:

The Transactions panel provides a ledger for the Balance. In this example:

  • We've manually added two credit Transactions of different amounts to a Balance.

  • There is a third debit Transaction, which shows an amount billed against the Account was drawn-down against the Balance:

  • SOURCE. Note that in each case the SOURCE column in the Transactions ledger identifies who or what was responsible for the Transaction being added - such as a User, a Service User, or a Bill.

For further details on working with the Transactions panel ledger, see the following section.

Working with the Balance Transaction Ledger

The Transactions panel on the Balance detail page provides a ledger tracking credit and debit Transactions for the Balance, including billed amounts drawn-down against the Balance:

You can read-off details of each Transaction:

  • TRANSACTION DATE. The date the Transaction was logged for the Balance.

  • APPLIED DATE. The date of application of the Transaction amount against the Balance.

    • Note that in the case of a manual Transaction - such as when an Organization User adds a top-up credit amount to an Account Balance, the TRANSACTION DATE and the APPLIED DATE will coincide. However, in cases such as billed amount debit draw-down against the Balance, these dates often differ. In the above example, the APPLIED DATE for the billing draw-down item is the date of the Bill responsible for the draw-down against the Balance.

  • DESCRIPTION. Under Description on the Transactions panel are shown:

    • The Transaction Type, which for the first Transaction is Sign-up Credit.

    • The description entered for the specific Transaction of that type, which in this case is Sign-up bonus credit.

  • SOURCE. The source of the Transaction:

    • If a manually credited/debited Transaction this is shown as Organization User.

    • If a billing Transaction, this is shown as a Bill hotlink text link allowing you to open the Bill responsible directly:

  • AMOUNT. The Transaction credit/debit amount,

  • BALANCE. Shows the running total for the Balance as credit or debit Transactions are registered against the Balance amount.

Understanding Charges Draw-Down Against Balances for Billing

When you create Balances for an end customer Account, it's important to know how the Balance amounts are handled for billing purposes:

  • A Balance amount on an Account will be applied to Bills that contain any of the following charge types:

    • Usage

    • Standing Charge

    • Minimum Spend

  • For billing purposes, usage, standing charges, or minimum spend on an Account with a Balance can only be drawn-down against the Balance amount for the period the Balance is active for the Account.

    • Importantly, note that if you create a Balance on an Account and the Balance is active for only part of the normal billing period set up for the Account, then only the charges for usage, standing charge, or minimum spend that are due for the period the Balance is active will be drawn down against the Balance, not charges due for the entire normal billing period for the Account

    • You can also optionally define a rollover or grace period, with a restricted rollover amount specified, to allow any unused Balance amounts to continue to be drawn-down against for billing purposes beyond the defined active period for the Balance.

  • When applied to a Bill, the Balance amount will be drawn down until it is fully consumed.  If the Balance amount is greater than the Bill amount and the Balance remains active for some or all of the next billing period, the remaining Balance amount will be applied to subsequent bills.

  • Each Transaction that makes up the Balance, for example, an addition of credit, consumption of credit against a Bill, or adjustment of credit, are all recorded against a ledger, so that a complete record of all Transaction movements is known.

    • For Balances, the Transactions panel on a Balance detail pages acts as a ledger. For example, if a Bill draws-down against a Balance for charges due on the Account during the Balance active period, then this will automatically show as a Bill Transaction with a link out to view the Bill.

  • If you have created more than one Balance for an Account, they will be drawn-down against in chronological order of their start dates - the earlier being drawn-down against first.

The following diagrams illustrate how the effective period for charges draw-down against Balance amounts on an Account are determined for billing purposes:

  • Active Balance Period by Date. No rollover or grace periods for consuming the Balance amount defined:

  • Active Balance Period by Date with Grace Periods. Rollover periods defined for consuming the Balance amount:

  • Active Balance Period by Date/Time. No rollover or grace periods defined for consuming the Balance amount:

Note that the end date/time is exclusive to the second, meaning that in this example the Balance amount can be used for draw-down against charges due up to and including 11:59:59 on 30th June.

Balances Draw-Down Order Against Prepayments

If you have added Balances and Prepayments as credits on an Account, you can define the order in which these credit amounts are drawn-down for billing the Account. Four options are available for this credit application order for Balances against Prepayments:

  • Prepayment then balance. Draw-down against Prepayment credit before Balance credit. Default.

  • Balance then prepayment. Draw-down against Balance credit before Prepayment credit.

  • Prepayment only. Only draw-down against Prepayment credit.

  • Balance only. Only draw-down against Balance credit.

You can configure this in two places:

  • At Organization level as part of your Organization configuration. See Viewing and Editing Organization Configuration.

  • At individual Account level when creating or editing the Account to which the Prepayments and Balances have been added. See Creating an Account.

  • If you configure this at Account level, the Account level setting takes precedence over any setting at Organizational level.

Next: Submitting Usage Data for an Account



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