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FiServ is the apparently the puppet-master behind CBS/Evercom (Correctional Billing Services), a company that handles outbound calls from detainees and inmates at correctional facilities across the USA. Most people, including me and a family member, use the prepaid option with CBS/Evercom, and payments can be made online.

FiServ, however, makes it as hard as possible to fund these accounts on any kind of timely basis to stay in touch with family members with seemingly ridiculous rules posted NOWHERE. Transgress one of their rules, like trying to make more than one payment in a 24 hr. period, and they lock out your credit card for a week.

They will only allow CBS/Evercom to accept one payment per 24 hours per credit or debit card. You may know this, or not, or have known it and forgotten, but the "fail" response on CBS/E's system doesn't necessarily tell you WHY the payment attempt failed---so you try again, thinking you typed a wrong number. Try more than once, and your card is locked out for a week.

It doesn't make sense not to let me make more than one payment in 24 hrs. to begin with---I have plenty of money in the bank, and I am trying to give CBS/Evercom $100 each on two accounts.

The unfailingly polite customer service reps at CBS/Evercom with whom I've spoken and IM'd numerous times are bound by FiServ's rules, yet cannot explain why they exist.

What's missed here is the human story---families have NO OPTIONS except to use CBS/Evercom, and sometimes it takes 10 days or more to maneuver through the many hoops and rules and penalties imposed to prepay the account so the family member can call collect. The c/s rep at CBS/Evercom told me tonight, "FiServ is strict about these rules."

The correctional calling system stinks, and the stench comes from FiServ. If YOU have a family member or friend in a US correctional facility, see if the telecommunications company handling the calls uses FiServ for their payment processing. If so, call the public relations office at BOTH companies and tell them what you think. Also, tip off a reporter in your local newspaper, and ask him or her to do an investigative report on the whole correctional facilities calling rip-off. We CAN change this if we ban together.

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Or just keep your family out of prison. :grin

to ThatGuy Saint Louis, Missouri, United States #698197



Sorry to hear nobody took the time to explain the issue on the payment hold up.I worked at Fiserv for a good bit of time (no longer) but I talked to enough people with similar issues to make a good guess at what happened in your case.

Fiserv and Correctional Billing are two seperate companies the same as Fiserv and the bank are seperate companies. Most people use a prepaid debit to pay electronic payments to Correctional Billing. Lots of things may lead to a payment decline, but the most common in my experience happens when that pre-paid card has no registered valid zip code at the card provider's customer service side of things. If that is the case, the system may decline the transaction even though the funds are there and nothing else is wrong.

That is where the bank comes into the picture. This decline still leaves a pending authorization on file with the bank's computer system that provided your card. (yes every pre-paid card is provided by a bank, no matter what it's name). If you have a $50.00 balance and the bank computer sees a pending authorization coming, it deducts and holds those funds so that they are guaranteed available when the merchant sends the bill to collect them.

Banks can hold a pending authorization for up to 30 days before they release your funds if the merchant does not collect on them, but most banks release them in 3 to 7 days. Until that time, your balance will read in the computer as 0.00 even though the funds never...

They have to go by the guidelines the bank gives them.I hope this helps with understanding the problem if it happens to you again, or to anyone else.

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