|Doc. Number||Article Title||Effective Date||Version|
|FHC-XX||Entering Creditor Reference Numbers||March 27, 2023||0.2|
This article was developed to describe the process of entering creditor reference numbers within the Forth CRM.
One of the most important steps while entering settlement creditor information in the Creditor Payee Details section in the Forth CRM. Careful data entry ensures your payments are processed accurately by Forth Pay and subsequently credited to the right account by the creditor. The Creditor Payee Details page contains crucial payment info including creditor address and account reference numbers to properly send ACH, checks, or bank wires. This article is focused on the creditor reference field and explains its importance and why it needs to be entered correctly for accurate settlement payment processing including Direct Pay payments.
How does Forth Pay use creditor reference numbers and why are they important?
Creditor reference numbers are used to match payments received in both DPG and creditors' accounting systems. Forth uses the creditor reference number in the scheduled settlement to match to check by phone images and ACH electronic payments with the creditor's reference numbers. This happens twice daily as we receive ACH's in the morning and checks for the following day's settlements in the afternoon.
The image below shows the review decisions screen that Forth uses to help ensure we have correctly matched the payment to the correct consumer's settlement. The reference # is one of several critical matching elements we use to match payments. If the numbers differ, it requires more effort to locate the settlement letter and research to ensure a good match.
What happens when this information is incorrectly entered?
If we cannot match a check image or ACH payment, Forth sends a notification to your settlements team to look up each unidentifiable settlement. This causes delays, more effort to research and resolve the settlement, and sometimes causes a settlement to be mismatched or even returned and eventually void the settlement because the creditor doesn't get paid.
In the image below, note the reference # was entered incorrectly. It delayed the decision because extra time was needed to research it. It was left in unknown status and returned to the DSC for further investigation. After significant efforts by both the DSC and Forth. the correct consumer was identified and the settlement was matched and cleared. This could have been easily resolved had the correct information been originally entered and processed accordingly.
How to enter the correct creditor reference number
The easiest way to get a creditor reference number is to copy the file # or creditor reference number from the settlement letter to the creditor reference # field.
For some creditors like Wells Fargo, it is acceptable to enter the last 4 digits of the account since that is the reference # they use on their settlement letter documents.
Sometimes, agreements are conducted over the phone/email and a settlement letter has not been generated or sent prior to entering the info into the system. In those cases, we ask that you instruct whoever is setting up the settlement to ask the creditor for their reference # while they are on the call or via the email thread. Specifically, the negotiator should be requesting from the creditor, the reference number that they will be printing on the check or ACH payment. Since that reference number appears on the payment, it needs to match the information entered in the CRM.
What if there isn't a creditor reference # or it's not immediately available
There may be instances where you need to complete a settlement without a creditor reference #. Forth suggests in these cases to use a temporary reference # until a confirmed one is available. For example, enter the last 4 digits of the consumer's account # with the word TEMP so that you can ID which entry needs to be later updated on the adjust payments page.
To make updates to the creditor reference field and navigate to the Adjust Settlements page, please refer to the article - Adjusting Settlements.
Article Version History:
|0.1||07/07/2021||Minor Grammatical Updates|
|0.2||03/27/2023||Added header and version control footer; refreshed one screenshot to improve legibility.|