Maximizing the Opportunities of Digital Transformation on Campus

With the current emphasis on student success and engagement as they relate to student retention, we understand how overwhelming big data can be. The ground-level administrators of commerce and credentials systems are integral to funneling an entire ecosystem of data to people and departments on campus that, in many cases, didn't exist a few years ago.

At some schools, one new role with the power to affect data-driven change is that of Chief Transformation Officer. This individual monitors university enrollment rates, analyzes activity data from outside the classroom, models student outcomes, and shares positive impacts and areas where additional work is needed to achieve student success and retention. It’s also important to understand who can best help interpret your data. It might be a partner, or it might be a new administrative role.

Comprehensive Student Data

Why do transformation efforts and comprehensive student data matter? Imagine the advisory potential with insights from both payment and credential systems.

Monitoring campus engagement, automating reminders for time-sensitive transactions, and advisory services to prevent attendance or payment problems from snowballing into student withdraws are just a few of the opportunities made possible by 360-degree data integration.

Transformation can go many different directions. Fortunately, with the right tools, people, and context in place you’ll enjoy a clearer path toward better student experiences and educational outcomes.

Get to Know NACHA’s New Anti-Fraud Rules

Institutions that transfer money back and forth via ACH transactions are increasingly vulnerable to fraud, and colleges and universities are no exception. In response to more frequent and sophisticated phishing and other attacks, the National Automated Clearinghouse Association (NACHA) will implement two new fraud-prevention policies in 2020.

Those deadlines will be here before you know it, so here’s a quick summary of the new rules and their respective compliance options.

Supplementing Fraud Detection Standards for WEB Debits
Effective March 19, 2021

While organizations are already required to use fraud detection when conducting commercial ACH transactions, this new rule will supplement existing efforts by making account validation explicitly required.

Existing account validation methods include:

. ACH Validation Test (Prenote) – This method uses a test transaction for zero dollars to validate the account. It takes a few days to complete, and although it verifies the account and routing number, it doesn’t verify the account holder.

. Micro Deposits – Similar to prenotes, micro deposits-sometimes as little as a penny- take a few days to complete. This method requires action to be taken by the payer (i.e. students) to verify the amount deposited into their bank account.

. Account Validation Service – This real-time method leverages a cooperative database that is maintained and updated by major financial institutions. Validation includes both account and routing number, with no delay or added student interaction. Both prenotes and micro deposits are manual processes, and response time is delayed for both. Unlike the first two methods, an Account Validation Service is automated and occurs in real time at the point of payment, so accounts are validated immediately. Less friction for students, fewer returns for your office-this is the spirit of the new NACHA rules.

Supplementing Data Security Requirements Phase-in
Begins June 30, 2020

This two-phase rule will supplement data protection requirements by requiring bank account numbers used in the initiation of ACH transactions to be rendered unreadable when stored electronically.

In simple terms, account numbers must be encrypted or tokenized when stored.

. Larger originators and third parties with ACH volume greater than six million will be required to have their encryption (or tokenization) in place by June 30, 2020.

. Smaller entities with ACH volume greater than two million must have encryption in place by June 30, 2021.

Both encryption and tokenization meet this rule’s requirements.

Higher Education Fraud Prevention

When it comes to higher ed fraud prevention, the best defense is a good offense that also provides a better student experience.

By working with your Third Party Sender-also known as an ACH Originator or ACH Merchant Services Provider-now to implement Account Validation Service and end-to-end encryption or tokenization, you’ll be compliant in advance of NACHA’s rule updates.

You’ll also have a competitive advantage when it comes to meeting student expectations for real-time campus-wide commerce that’s frictionless and secure.

About the Author
Adam McDonald is the President of TouchNet. Adam has spent his entire career in the software industry and draws from that experience to steer TouchNet's product and process innovation and ensure consistently exceptional customer experience.