#Frequently Asked Questions

#How does a typical Chippin transaction work?

There are four simple stages to completing a successful 'chippin':

#STAGE 1: Identify your purchase

The instigator selects their purchase or purchases and chooses to 'Pay by Chippin' (akin to choosing Visa or PayPal).

#STAGE 2: Invite friends or family

The instigator chooses who to invite to 'chippin' (no maximum) and sets how much they want each person to contribute.

Payment can be split equally (default) or the instigator can set how much each contributor is invited to pay. Chippin automatically calculates the resultant splits. (Contributors cannot 'negotiate' how much they want to 'chippin' so as to prevent drawn-out discussions. This can, of course, be done 'outside' the process – contributors' invitations can be cancelled and re-sent with a different total.)

The instigator can add an optional message to explain the reason for the proposed purchase.

The instigator can choose whether to pre-authorise the full amount of the purchase or just their share.

  • If they choose to "underwrite" the purchase, the full amount is reserved in their bank account. Once their contributors have chipped in (or not) and the pre-set time runs out, the 'chippin' automatically completes and the instigator is charged the full amount minus any contributions. Unless the instigator actively chooses to cancel the 'chippin', it will complete.
  • If they choose to only pre-authorise their share, only the set amount is reserved in their account. Their contributors then have a set amount of time to chip in. If they all contribute, then the purchase automatically completes. If the target is not achieved within the timeframe, the instigator has a merchant-configurable "grace period" in which to decide whether or not to make up the outstanding balance and chase the non-committed contributors outside the process. If they do not choose to pay the balance and the grace period elapses, the 'chippin' will fail.

Once the instigator has entered their card details, the invitations are sent via email.

Contributors can choose to accept or decline their invitation. If they choose to chip in, they are directed to securely pay by credit / debit card before being re-directed to the merchant's website. A link in their confirmation email allows them access to the progress tracking page for the 'chippin'. If they decline, they are re-directed to the merchant's website but do not have access to the progress tracking page.

All contributions are pre-authorised and held until the 'chippin' is:

  • Successful (monetary target reached within allotted time) - at which point all pre-authorisations are charged.
  • Unsuccessful (cancelled by instigator or monetary target not reached within allotted time or payment failed to authorise) - at which point all pre-authorisations are cancelled.

The instigator can choose whether or not the contributors are able to see who else has been invited to 'chippin'. The default is for contributors to see who else has been invited as experience suggests that this helps to build trust and optimise success (through a sense of 'positive peer pressure').

The length of time that a 'chippin' remains active is determined by the merchant at the point of integration. This is for every 'chippin' (i.e. not item dependent) and can be any length of time up to seven days (including the grace period, so for example 6 days and 20 hours to contribute with a four hour grace period). This is the period that the instigator has to reserve an item and attempt to successfully get contributors to chip in for the purchase.

#STAGE 3: TRACK

An active 'chippin' can be monitored and managed from the progress tracking page.

Contributor statuses are displayed as:

  • BOUNCED - email not delivered successfully.
  • PENDING - email delivered successfully but unopened.
  • VIEWED - email opened and contributor has clicked to view the 'chippin'.
  • COMMITTED - card details have been submitted and pre-authorisation given.
  • DECLINED - contributor has chosen not to chip in.

A progress indicator bar clearly shows how much has been committed and how much remains outstanding. The instigator can choose to complete the purchase by paying the remaining balance at any time. The progress page automatically alerts instigators / contributors to refresh the page when any status changes. The instigator also receives an email when a contributor commits or declines to contribute.

A countdown timer shows how much time is left for the contributors to chip in. The instigator then has a grace period to decide whether or not to pay any outstanding balance. The 'chippin' automatically fails if the grace period elapses without payment.

More contributors can be invited to participate once the 'chippin' is active. This can result in the initial invitees paying less, but never more than they have been invited to contribute. Any 'spare pennies' / round-ups are added to the instigator's total.

All contributors who have committed are able to see the current status of the 'chippin'. This includes being able to see all viewed, pending and committed contributors' statuses (if permitted during the initial invitation). They are neither able to see contributors that have declined to 'chippin', nor can they see how much the instigator has outstanding to complete the process.

Reminder emails are automatically sent to contributors that have neither committed nor declined a third of the time (as long as this is greater than 3 hours) before the 'chippin' times out.

The instigator can cancel (and restart) the 'chippin' at any point.

#STAGE 4: COMPLETE

Automatic completion:

  • If the instigator chooses to only pre-authorise their share at the beginning of the 'chippin', their transaction will automatically complete only if all contributors chip in before the specified time limit elapses. If there is an outstanding balance, the instigator will have to agree to pay the remaining amount in order to successfully complete the purchase.
  • If the instigator chooses to pre-authorise the full amount, the 'chippin' will automatically complete either when the target is reached by enough people contributing or when the time runs out. If there is any outstanding balance, this is automatically charged to the instigator.
  • The instigator can complete any purchase at any time by electing to pay any outstanding balance.
  • Once the instigator's payment is authorised, all contributor pre-authorisations will also be charged. If all are successful, the order is complete and passed on to the merchant as a successful transaction. If any payments fail to be charged, the 'chippin' is cancelled and any successful charges are refunded.
  • Each payment is automatically routed to the merchant's Stripe account net of processing and platform fees.
  • Stripe remit the money on a daily basis on a rolling seven day schedule – i.e. remitted seven days after the transaction is completed.

The merchant can handle all refunds and chargebacks according to their policies from the admin page of their Stripe account.

#What is required in terms of preparation for installation?

Simply forewarn your technical team and make their contact details available to us.

Consider the configurable options (below) and how they might work best for your business.

#What can I configure i.e. to meet my own business needs?

Several aspects of the process are configurable, including:

#The length of time allowed for a 'chippin'

The clock starts ticking the moment the instigator sends out the first invitation(s).

Stock should be allocated in a pending state until either the 'chippin' is successful, is cancelled by the instigator or times out.

The merchant can choose any length of time up to and including seven days (to include both chippin time and grace period). This may depend on stock availability and / or working practices.

#Landing pages

All participants are ultimately re-directed to the merchant's site. This is the case if contributors decline to chip in or commit to the 'chippin' and for all instigators when they complete or cancel the 'chippin'.

Merchants determine what page participants are directed to and can display the messages they want customers to see depending on their pathway – i.e. whether they declined or contributed to the purchase. This is an excellent opportunity for up-selling or suggesting other products and / or services.

#Participants' transaction fee

There is a 25p per transaction charge for all contributors - 20p from Stripe and 5p from Chippin and a 20p per transaction charge for the instigator who is not charged the 5p from Chippin.

Merchants set the participant transaction charge, so can choose to:

  • charge each contributor 25p to cover this cost.
  • not charge the contributors and absorb the cost in their margin.
  • charge the contributors a higher transaction charge in order to make a small surplus on each transaction.

#Customer bank statements

Merchants set the name that will appear on the customer's bank statement. This helps to mitigate chargebacks and customer service requirements by highlighting that the payment was part of a group payment – e.g. Acme via Chippin (maximum of 22 characters).

#Branding throughout the process

Merchants can add brand identity to a number of areas within the visual process:

  1. Wallpaper behind the Chippin process.
  2. Merchant logo above the Chippin process.
  3. Merchant logo in the payment modal.
  4. Wallpaper behind the Chippin emails.
  5. Merchant logo in the Chippin emails.

These are all configurable within the merchant's Chippin admin account.

#How do I make best use of the marketing opportunity?

Chippin recommends the following best practices to maximise the awareness of the Chippin payment service:

#On your website

Homepage. Announcing the new payment option on the homepage educates customers from the outset.

Product listing pages. Adding copy to relevant product listing pages ensures that customers are aware of the split payment option whilst viewing the product. This will help to "de-mystify" the price as it becomes the total and not the fixed price. Offering this option here (similar to 0% APR, etc.) makes successful conversion more likely.

Payment information page. Important to add information about the Chippin service to the payment information page.

Checkout. Adding helpful copy in the checkout next to the Chippin payment option (e.g. Want to split the cost with others?) helps educate and potentially increase new customer acquisition.

#Marketing channels

Email mailshot. It's always good to be able to announce positive newsflow that doesn't involve an overt sales message. Letting your customers know that they can now split the cost of any basket, can set-up multi-buy opportunities, etc. updates them on a benefit to them that you have proactively integrated.

Social media. By its very nature, the Chippin service is a viral marketing tool. Announcing this new initiative and explaining its benefits and social potential makes for social media gold.

PR and media interest. As Chippin expands, so our PR and media interest will increase. We plan to announce all new merchants that adopt the service through all of our sales and marketing channels as well as through our media connections – please let us know if you would prefer not to be involved with this.

#How do I track progress and access customer information?

Chippin provides a full admin panel for managing configuration settings as well as deep level reporting to provide immediate and constant evaluation against key hypotheses. This includes access to new customer data.

These hypotheses vary according to business type, transaction value and frequency, but in general form a strong set of benefits for the merchant:

BENEFIT: The majority of activated 'chippins' will be successful.

DATA POINT: Total number of 'chippins' – showing completed vs failed 'chippins'.

BENEFIT: Certain 'super-instigators' will account for multiple 'chippins'.

DATA POINT: Total number of instigators - required to test this hypothesis.

DATA POINT: Total number of contributors - required to test this hypothesis. .

BENEFIT: There will be four contributors per 'chippin' on average.

DATA POINT: Average number of contributors per 'chippin' - this will clearly show how many 'new' customers each 'chippin' is acquiring on average.

BENEFIT: Chippin will increase average order value.

DATA POINT: Average order value per complete 'chippin' - this is the total basket value that the group purchase achieves. Due to the ability to split the total basket cost between multiple contributors, AOV should increase.

BENEFIT: Average transaction value will potentially decrease.

DATA POINT: Average transaction value of a 'chippin' - due to being able to split the price of a basket, the ATV may actually decrease.

#How do I get paid?

Remittance of funds:

All payments are made using the Stripe payment gateway. The merchant's Stripe account is connected to the Chippin Stripe account. (If you do not have a Stripe account, this can be set up and verified easily and quickly (5-10mins). More details are contained in the Chippin technical documentation (see separate document).

Pre-authorisations are taken by the Chippin Stripe account to ensure that the participants have the money before the order is marked as completed.

When the 'chippin' is successful, authorisations are taken by the Chippin Stripe account and re-directed to the merchant's Stripe account net of Stripe and Chippin processing charges. Merchants are then free to process the order as 'complete'.

Stripe remit monies to the merchant's Stripe account on a daily basis on a seven day rolling schedule.

Note that the minimum total any one contributor can contribute is as specified by Stripe for the given currency. See https://support.stripe.com/questions/what-is-the-minimum-amount-i-can-charge-with-stripe

#How do I access technical support?

Chippin is dedicated to supporting all of its merchants – and to being easy to do business with. For any technical queries, please email: support@chippin.co.uk

Our support team are constantly monitoring any support enquiries and will respond within one working day.

Any software upgrades will be notified and implemented by Chippin once acknowledged and accepted. (All changes can be tested and validated in the sandbox environment).

#How do my customers access technical support?

Customers should contact your normal customer services for all order enquiries.

For all technical enquiries regarding a 'chippin', please email: support@chippin.co.uk

#How do I issue refunds?

You can issue a refund from within your Stripe account. This will automatically re-route through the Chippin Stripe account and have the Stripe and Chippin charges added back to the total.

By agreeing to integrate Chippin, you are authorising and appointing Chippin as a commercial agent permitted to arrange for two or more customers to attempt to raise the funds required to successfully make a purchase on your website.

Any contract to sell and buy products and / or services is made only between you and the customers concerned – Chippin is not a party to any such contract.

Chippin facilitates the negotiation of the sale of products and / or services between customers and merchants through the use of the Chippin software and e-mail communication services operated and managed by Chippin.

Products and / or services offered for sale through your website are neither owned nor come into the possession of Chippin at any time.

The customer-merchant relationship remains entirely between the customer and you and is not the responsibility of Chippin. This includes responsibility for the quality of the goods and / or services as well as responsibility for refunds, chargebacks and customer service enquiries.

You acknowledge and agree that following acceptance of an order notification from Chippin, such an acceptance is also deemed to be an irrevocable instruction by you to Chippin to conclude a contract of sale between you and the customer.

The contract of sale between you and the customer is concluded when Chippin (acting as a commercial agent of yours) sends an order confirmation email to the customer, and Chippin has no responsibility for the performance of any such contract.

#How can I use the data?

Chippin passes you the contact details of all of the customers; both instigators and contributors. In order to use their details it is important that you set up an opt-in checkbox during the checkout or on the order confirmation page. Chippin accepts no responsibility for how you choose to use the data.

#How do I handle chargebacks?

Chargebacks can be dealt with in the same way as normal. Chippin can provide details of any transaction for challenging a chargeback. Stripe runs numerous fraud checks and can support all transactions with necessary documentation.

#Does Chippin support subscription payments?

Chippin cannot currently be used to share subscription payments.

#How does Chippin impact my PCI compliance?

The entire Chippin site has SSL certification and all card data is handled entirely by Stripe. Chippin will not impact your PCI compliance.

The only information passed to Chippin from your website is the details of the instigator's name, the products in their basket and the order number that you assign the customer. These details are submitted to Chippin via a URL redirect or a form post. Although a redirect based gateway, this can be integrated in a pop-up if you prefer.

#What contract is there between me and Chippin?

There is no ongoing contract to use the Chippin payment gateway. You are, however, required to agree with our Terms and Conditions before Chippin can go live in your checkout.

#What if I wish to remove Chippin from my check-out?

There is no ongoing contract to use the Chippin payment gateway. It can be removed from your site at any time.