We are pleased to provide you with a summary of our January, 2011 release.
Z-Billing has added advanced discount charge models (the Fixed Amount Discount Charge Model and Fixed Percentage Discount Charge Model) that allow you to provide percentage and flat fee discounts. The existing Z-Billing charge models have always provided a variety of means to apply discounts and robust pricing configurations to one time, recurring and usage charges. These new discount charge models allow you can apply advanced flat fee or percentage discounts.
The new Fixed Amount Discount Charge Model allows you to apply a fixed discount over a set number of periods, which could be monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual periods. The Percentage Discount Charge Model works the same way, but allows you to apply a percentage discount. These discounts can be set to apply towards one-time, recurring or usage charges. These discounts can be targeted to apply to only one-time, recurring or usage charges and you can identify whether to apply the discount for the specific Rate Plan, all rate plans for a Subscription, or to all charges associated to the Account. If the discount is not used at the end of the period(s), you have the option to roll it over to make it a "use it or lose it" discount or not.
As an example, you can apply a $100 (flat fee) discount to the first three months of usage charges only. Another example is to apply a 10% (percentage) discount for all charges to an account over the first quarter. Since you can have multiple discounts associated at one time, you can combine both fixed and percentage based discounts to create powerful pricing options.
To access this feature, please enable these new charge models by:
Z-Billing’s Overage Pricing and Tiered with Overage Pricing Charge Models have been enhanced to support an additional configuration setting that indicates if overage charges should be applied when they occur. The existing overage smoothing model allows you to group usage over a set number of billing periods, then apply overage at the end of the billing period. This feature is very popular for customers that have seasonal or cyclical usage and would like to smooth the impact of the usage over a set number of periods. The new configuration option allows you to charge for overage in the period which the usage takes place.
For example, you can now define a 12 month smoothing model that includes 1200 units. In month 8, if usage exceeds 1200 units, the overage will be applied at that point and will continue until the end of the 12 month period. To access this feature, please configure the Overage Charge models in the Z-Billing Product Catalog > Product > Rate Plan > <Usage> Charge > Smoothing Model = Rolling Window.
We have added two new tables to the Invoice PDF template: Open Invoices and Previous Transactions.
The Open Invoices Table displays a listing of all Open Invoices (invoices with a balance other than 0). Our customers have been able to display the "previous balance" on the invoice and this new table allows you to list each invoice and the associated balance. This is a great tool to add more dunning and collections information on each invoice that you send to your customers. The invoices in this Open Invoices table can be sorted by "Due Date" and by "Invoice Date" using the standard invoice PDF template sorting capabilities.
The Previous Transactions table allows you to show Previous Transactions associated to the Account. The ability to show transactions such as payments and adjustments that are associated to the individual invoice already exists; this new table is different in that it allows you to reflect all "recent activity" such as previous invoices, payments, adjustments on the invoice PDF. This new Previous Transactions table has two processing options:
All transactions since the previous invoice (including the last invoice). The Transactions from previous invoice allows you to show payments and adjustments that may have happened since the last invoice. This is particularly useful for customers delivering invoices once per month as it can show any activity since the last invoice.
All transactions for a specified number of days. When using transactions for a specific number of days, you may select a number up to 180 days.
Since each Customer Account in Zuora can have their own invoice template, you have the freedom to use these tables differently for different account groups. The following transactions will be included: Invoice, Invoice Item Adjustment, Invoice Adjustment, Payment, Payment Refund, Credit Balance Adjustment (applied to invoices) and Credit Balance Refund.
You can configure your invoice PDF template by going to Settings > Z-Billing Settings > Manage Invoice Rules and Templates.
Additional fields on the Payment Method: Previously Zuora was configured to send the email address from the "Bill To Contact," we've now enhanced our Payment Method so that you can include an Email Address and a Phone Number giving you the flexibility to store different information per payment method. These optional fields are used for advanced authorization checks for various gateways. You can view, edit, or create a new payment method by going to Z-Billing > Customer Accounts > <Account> > Electronic Payment Methods > Edit or Create New Payment Method.
Z-Payments will now automatically void any authorization attempts made when you create or update a Payment Method. This automatic process will send a void authorization request to the gateway for any successful payment method authorization attempt made for an amount greater than 0 and void the authorization amount.
We’ve enhanced our Payment Method Retry Rules to give you more granular control. With our existing retry functionality, you are able to configure retry rules that are then applied to every payment method. Now, using the Zuora API, you have the flexibility to customize a specific retry rule for each individual payment method. This means you can change payment retry rules for a particular credit card or another grouping such as BIN range.
When creating a payment method via the API, you can now pass in the IP Address and/or Device SessionID of the end user. These values can be used to support additional fraud checks that may be supported by your payment gateway. The IP Address is used for IP Geolocation to determine if the IP address is from a location with a higher propensity for fraud. The device session ID is used in conjunction with advanced fraud tools that detect various hardware fingerprints to determine fraud profiles.
Zuora now offers a new API call, amend(), which allows you to amend Subscriptions in a Single API transaction with the option to preview amendments (which allows you to view what charges will be generated for the invoice)*. See the Zuora Developer Network] for more information. (See Amendment Use Cases and amend() for more details.)
*Update: The ability to generate invoices and process payment immediately using the amend () became available shortly after our January release. We apologize for the error in our prior release notes and API documentation which stated this functionality was available as of January 11, 2011.
For greater control with overage charges, you can now specify whether or not you would like unused credits/units to be applied, as well as how to calculate overage charges.
You can programmatically control the retry logic for payment methods, which includes the ability to reset the number of failed consecutive attempts, set the total number of retries, and specify whether or not the PaymentMethod should use the default retry logic.
You can now update usage records after they have been created. Previously, you would need to delete and re-create incorrect usage records. Please note that usage records that have been processed (calculated and invoiced) cannot be updated.