Dev Talk: Landing a Long-Term Relationship with ACH Payments
Heath Roehr, senior vice president of solutions at PaymentSpring, recently took some time out of his day to give you a peek at his team’s ACH development processes and what it takes to live happily ever after in the payments industry.
First and foremost, what’s the team’s favorite caffeine fix?
Oh, coffee’s on around the clock in the office. Otherwise we venture out all over the neighborhood, whether it be The Mill, Crescent Moon, Scooters or somewhere like that.
Secondly, music. Spill it. What do you guys listen to?
Interestingly enough, we have a couple musicians on our team who have their own music on Spotify, and they let that slip to the team. I say “slip” just because they are so modest and have really amazing music.
Other than that, it’s kind of what you’d expect—a lot of diversity. Anything from electronic to rock to who knows. Typically it’s whatever you want to pump though your headphones. We have a wireless sound system in the office and sometimes try to connect to the speakers without anyone knowing and turn it up as loudly as possible. It’s little prankster stuff like this that helps keep things lively.
Now for the really important stuff, what makes ACH capabilities such a valuable gateway tool for your clients?
A core part of PaymentSpring’s vision is to become that single source for all payments—and that includes ACH payments. We want our clients to be able to accept them in one simple click.
ACH is a fundamental way to pay, especially for larger amounts, so adding that support for our clients made a lot of sense. There’s a lot that goes into processing these payments under the hood. A lot of complexities and a lot of edge cases to execute it really well. We’re excited to empower our clients to gain all the benefits of this single-click or single API call, and we anticipate several other exciting enhancements to come from this experience.
How did you and your team approach the challenge of creating ACH functionality for PaymentSpring’s fully integrated gateway?
Our clients are at the heart of every decision we make and every new feature we launch. So as we build out support for ACH, we often let simplicity be our guide.
How will this impact our clients? How does it need to work so it will make their lives easier? We allowed questions like this to lead our decision-making and design process.
For our team, it’s exciting to handle the complicated aspects behind the scenes; so that to our clients, it just works plain and simple. We want it to be so easy, so intuitive they have no choice but to smile when they use it.
What was it like the night you and your team deployed ACH functionality?
The night we deployed all our new technologies [ACH, mobile and online sign up] was a big coming-of-age moment . . . we’d been working for months and it was time to deploy everything from staging to production. It was the real deal after all this work we’d done.
We didn’t want to interrupt our clients, so we started that process at 1 a.m. and worked through until 7 a.m., migrating millions of records and deploying thousands of lines of code which, we’re happy to say, went off without a hitch. There was zero downtime, we didn’t drop any transactions—it felt unbelievable, especially considering we were working for nearly 24 hours.
But, the best part came later that morning during our previously scheduled all-company meeting. So after working all night, we drove 50 minutes to this meeting where we were going to present our new technology to about 75 people on about 20 minutes of sleep. We had just deployed it, it was out in the production environment, and there we were an hour later talking about it, showing it, doing a live demo on that 20 minutes of sleep. That was a fun one.
What was one of your “proudest papa” moments throughout the ACH development process?
The ACH build out has definitely been huge, but there’s also been so much other stuff. We were tasked with creating a handful of massive deliverables from across the team, including ACH, mobile, online sign up and other things that go into supporting those enhancements.
An easy way to encapsulate that is the way the team has come together to create something so cool. And what’s unique about that is we’re a team that has been together less than a year, actually closer to six months. This group cares a lot about the technology we create and the way people use it, so it’s a really fun thing to be a part of. A good example of our teamwork is the challenge we immediately took on after completing this round of deployment.
A lot of the larger components took about three months to build out, some of the ACH build out, the mobile and what not. Once it was out, we wanted to challenge ourselves by asking, “hey, now that we have this experience under our belts, can we do an equally-sized build again in two weeks instead of three months?”
It was a lofty goal that nobody on the team shied away from; rather, we charged right toward it—writing on the white boards, typing away and trying to figure out how to accomplish this within the crunched timeline. It’s really evident that our team members want to win and it’s so fun to watch them charge toward these types of challenges.
If you could go back and do it all again, would you do anything differently?
That’s an interesting question that can go both ways. On the one hand, having all the insights we had months ago would have saved us a few late nights, but the only way to gain the insights we have today and to gain the empathy that comes along with that for the client is to go through the process.
So, would I trade the experience we had to go back and know what we know today? Probably not. And I say that because it was such a valuable experience and something we’re going to carry forward in everything we continue to build.
These recent advancements have set PaymentSpring up to rapidly pump out more and more simplicity to clients, and we’ll be sure to keep you posted each time they do. Just remember, love is a lot like time—it waits for no one.