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2023 Payments in Review

As the year comes to a close and businesses finalize their plans for the upcoming calendar year, it’s a perfect time to reflect on the events of the past 12 months.

At iStream, stability and compliance are not just buzzwords; they are the foundation of a culture built over two decades. Woven into our commitment to providing outstanding customer service, iStream continues to thrive in growth and innovation while meeting the diverse needs of partners, gateways, banks, clients, and consumers.

The proof of our platform stability lies in another year of zero unplanned outages. We understand that the consistency and accuracy of payment processing impact every aspect of a business. Nothing prompts customers to criticize a business more than a glitch in their payment transactions. Managing exceptions and errors in payment processing doesn’t contribute to business value, and those resources are better utilized focusing on core business activities.

To gauge the stability of our company, one only needs to look at the tenure of our employee base. With an average tenure of 10 years and many employees present since our inception nearly two decades ago, iStream fosters deep relationships and abundant friendships among its team members based primarily in Wisconsin.

iStream is proud to have numerous credentialed payment professionals, ensuring that payment expertise is always readily available. Guiding partners and clients through the intricate rules and regulations surrounding payments is not just a job; it’s a service that helps maintain the safety, security, and trustworthiness of payment networks. With the addition of 20+ new partners and 20,000+ new locations, iStream remains committed to training and educating entities, especially regarding ACH requirements.

In response to evolving payment needs, iStream has been busy developing new solutions and features. The introduction of Instant Payments through FedNow, coupled with the ongoing pressure to reduce payment processing costs, led to the introduction of Linked Account Verification (LAV) as a service, enhancing the reliability of ACH payments.  LAV works in conjunction with ACH processing providing the bridge necessary to cover 100% of ACH accounts for payment processing at lower costs.

iStream’s focus on channel partners, particularly through integrations, prompted a makeover of our APIs. The introduction of Restful APIs brought more functionality, including account validation, Linked Account Verification, and improved security with tokenization. Our API set has always included the ability to cancel and refund a transaction but now there is the ability for clients to cancel the item immediately through the online interface.

The Back Office interface received a makeover based on user feedback, with ongoing efforts behind the scenes to enhance functionality and speed in rendering requested information.

While national studies indicate a decline in check processing, it remains a significant payment type at iStream. This year, our Remote Deposit solution was implemented for a large national retailer, speeding up deposit times and processing while ensuring 100% eligibility of items and reducing the complexity of processing.  Deep in the code, iStream enhanced logic and check intelligence capabilities to reduce the item proofing queue by 70%.  iStream continues to improve check processing as new payment capabilities are added.

One of the highlights of the year was the enhancement of a unique insurance product, Insurance Premium Aggregation (IPA), designed for the processing of voluntary benefits. With the addition of API boarding and integration capabilities to allow employees to modify their payroll distribution amounts, IPA is streamlined for all parties.  IPA serves as an orchestration layer between multiple parties involved in delivering voluntary benefits, eliminating the burden on employers by streamlining premium deductions, invoice handling, and payment processes. This innovative solution ensures better service, persistency of coverage, and minimal overhead for employers.

As iStream reflects on a stellar year, we eagerly anticipate more growth, innovation, continued stability, and the opportunity to collaborate with new partners in expanding their businesses. Wishing you Happy Holidays and may good fortune find you!