VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.



  • I'd be interested in real life experiences and thoughts on allowing the VoIP provider to do Auto charging to keep your account topped up.

    I know it is a great way to combat run away charges from a hacked SIP account.

    Any other reasons?

    Please understand that sometimes when I say "you" I'll be referring to you, and other times it may be your client or a payables clerk if you have setup your customer with their own VoIP SIP provider account.

    We use Skyetel and Skyetel only allows connections from the IP of your PBX.
    Our PBX only allows connections from the IPs we put in a whitelist.
    (except for the smartphone app. I don't know what safety measure my PBX (VitalPBX) has for protection us against non-whitelisted smartphones)

    So, my first thought is that the risk is probably pretty (very) low.

    For those who do the Top-up as needed, have you ever found it to be a nuisance task? Do you do it? or is it delegated?

    Thanks, not looking to be yelled at for thinking, just looking for other views so I can be well informed.



  • I have no problem with "top-up".
    I set my "top-up" to replenish at $10, "top-up" charge is $80.
    I get an email alert & I get a notification on my phone from my Amex Corp.
    I also use Skyetel & Twilio.



  • The answer is it depends.

    I recommend against it to people that don't really know what they are doing and just "manage" the phone system.

    The small hassle is better than a runaway phone bill.

    Now for those that know what they are doing and monitor it, then sure it is fine.



  • I've taken most of my queues from Jared on this one.

    That said a client who had top up enabled - he brought it to my attention and we talked through it. He gets email alerts when it's low, VOIP.ms only allowed one top-up per 24 hour period. With those kinds of safeguards it's likely pretty safe to use, as long as someone is watching the incoming emails and acting on them responsibly.

    An alternative action would be to prepay for say 6 months of expected use, and then repay roughly every six months, or some timeframe your client is happy with. Of course in a hack situation, that money can be drained, but it's generally still likely to be a pretty small amount all things considered.



  • @JasGot said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    For those who do the Top-up as needed, have you ever found it to be a nuisance task? Do you do it? or is it delegated?

    I do it manually. it's also delegated to another executive if I'm not available. We avoid auto-top up to avoid the worst case scenarios.



  • @FATeknollogee said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    I have no problem with "top-up".
    I set my "top-up" to replenish at $10, "top-up" charge is $80.
    I get an email alert & I get a notification on my phone from my Amex Corp.
    I also use Skyetel & Twilio.

    Same for us. We set our max to $20 and refill at $10. Get push notifications and emails... It usually takes us about 3 weeks to use $10 lol So it's pretty obvious that something is wrong if we get notifications more than that



  • @FATeknollogee said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    I also use Skyetel & Twilio.

    I forgot I use Twillio also!



  • FWIW - We only top you up to your "Fraud Limit" which is a hard limit on how much we will automatically top you up. By default, the fraud limit is $1,000. This means that we will stop charging your credit card automatically once we have collected $1000 within that month. You can see this fraud limit on the rates & fees page in our portal, and it can only be adjusted by opening a support request.



  • @JaredBusch said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    The small hassle is better than a runaway phone bill.

    So true, and even more true if you get bit!

    @Dashrender said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    VOIP.ms only allowed one top-up per 24 hour period.

    I just noticed Skyetel has a $1,000 "Auto Recharge Fraud Limit". Not sure how they detect it, and it seems a bit high for my needs (you can't change it via their UI), but I guess it's better than nothing.



  • @Skyetel said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    FWIW - We only top you up to your "Fraud Limit" which is a hard limit on how much we will automatically top you up. By default, the fraud limit is $1,000. This means that we will stop charging your credit card automatically once we have collected $1000 within that month. You can see this fraud limit on the rates & fees page in our portal, and it can only be adjusted by opening a support request.

    Nice that it can be adjusted. I'm curious, why is the limit so high to start with? Are most of your customers anywhere near that limit for normal monthly billing?



  • @Skyetel said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    This means that we will stop charging your credit card automatically once we have collected $1000 within that month. You can see this fraud limit on the rates & fees page in our portal, and it can only be adjusted by opening a support request.

    Excellent! thanks!



  • @Dashrender said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    @Skyetel said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    FWIW - We only top you up to your "Fraud Limit" which is a hard limit on how much we will automatically top you up. By default, the fraud limit is $1,000. This means that we will stop charging your credit card automatically once we have collected $1000 within that month. You can see this fraud limit on the rates & fees page in our portal, and it can only be adjusted by opening a support request.

    Nice that it can be adjusted. I'm curious, why is the limit so high to start with? Are most of your customers anywhere near that limit for normal monthly billing?

    Well, for a fraud limit, you need it way higher than anyone's normal. Like at least 2-3 times higher, or its useless. You don't want fraud alerts for "a busy month" of normal traffic.

    NTG is around $400/mo of real traffic, so $1,000 is actually on the low side for us as a fraud limit.



  • @scottalanmiller said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    @Dashrender said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    @Skyetel said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    FWIW - We only top you up to your "Fraud Limit" which is a hard limit on how much we will automatically top you up. By default, the fraud limit is $1,000. This means that we will stop charging your credit card automatically once we have collected $1000 within that month. You can see this fraud limit on the rates & fees page in our portal, and it can only be adjusted by opening a support request.

    Nice that it can be adjusted. I'm curious, why is the limit so high to start with? Are most of your customers anywhere near that limit for normal monthly billing?

    Well, for a fraud limit, you need it way higher than anyone's normal. Like at least 2-3 times higher, or its useless. You don't want fraud alerts for "a busy month" of normal traffic.

    NTG is around $400/mo of real traffic, so $1,000 is actually on the low side for us as a fraud limit.

    Sure, which is why I asked if the norm was pretty high... The adjustment via support I assume can be up or down. $1000 just seem like a high starting number to me, but then again I'm dealing with tiny sites where the average monthly bill is $30, so a spike means $90 - $1000 is more than two years worth of billing.

    Just a question, not a wrong or right answer from Skyetel.



  • @Dashrender

    We wanted the limit to be high enough to where you wouldn't have to worry about hitting it unintentionally, but low enough to where you wouldn't get a crushingly hard credit card bill. We figured that $1,000 for a business was a safe balance between high enough and low enough. We also needed to account for customers who suddenly have a big burst in their traffic (which happens more often than I would have guessed). Believe it or not, we actually have many more tickets around people unexpectedly hitting it instead of people hitting it due to fraud.

    The Top Up limit is only part of our auto-recharge fraud prevention. For international, we have very strict dollar limits you can spend (that you specify in our portal), a maximum outbound channel limit, and dedicated international gateways. So far this has effectively blocked all of the international fraud on our network and protected huge amounts of money with our customers.

    For domestic traffic, you can specify concurrent channel limits in our portal that will SMS you if your channel counts suddenly spike.

    Taken together, we are pretty proud of our success rate in keeping fraud down on our network 🙂



  • @Dashrender said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    @scottalanmiller said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    @Dashrender said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    @Skyetel said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    FWIW - We only top you up to your "Fraud Limit" which is a hard limit on how much we will automatically top you up. By default, the fraud limit is $1,000. This means that we will stop charging your credit card automatically once we have collected $1000 within that month. You can see this fraud limit on the rates & fees page in our portal, and it can only be adjusted by opening a support request.

    Nice that it can be adjusted. I'm curious, why is the limit so high to start with? Are most of your customers anywhere near that limit for normal monthly billing?

    Well, for a fraud limit, you need it way higher than anyone's normal. Like at least 2-3 times higher, or its useless. You don't want fraud alerts for "a busy month" of normal traffic.

    NTG is around $400/mo of real traffic, so $1,000 is actually on the low side for us as a fraud limit.

    Sure, which is why I asked if the norm was pretty high... The adjustment via support I assume can be up or down. $1000 just seem like a high starting number to me, but then again I'm dealing with tiny sites where the average monthly bill is $30, so a spike means $90 - $1000 is more than two years worth of billing.

    Just a question, not a wrong or right answer from Skyetel.

    Yea, you can adjust it up or down. Among our customers, $25 is our lowest and our highest is $50,000. The system has a minimum of $10 and a maximum of $100,000. Anything above that and we require a separate agreement, letters of credit from a bank, and we switch you to Invoicing instead of auto-recharge.



  • @Skyetel said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    @Dashrender said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    @scottalanmiller said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    @Dashrender said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    @Skyetel said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    FWIW - We only top you up to your "Fraud Limit" which is a hard limit on how much we will automatically top you up. By default, the fraud limit is $1,000. This means that we will stop charging your credit card automatically once we have collected $1000 within that month. You can see this fraud limit on the rates & fees page in our portal, and it can only be adjusted by opening a support request.

    Nice that it can be adjusted. I'm curious, why is the limit so high to start with? Are most of your customers anywhere near that limit for normal monthly billing?

    Well, for a fraud limit, you need it way higher than anyone's normal. Like at least 2-3 times higher, or its useless. You don't want fraud alerts for "a busy month" of normal traffic.

    NTG is around $400/mo of real traffic, so $1,000 is actually on the low side for us as a fraud limit.

    Sure, which is why I asked if the norm was pretty high... The adjustment via support I assume can be up or down. $1000 just seem like a high starting number to me, but then again I'm dealing with tiny sites where the average monthly bill is $30, so a spike means $90 - $1000 is more than two years worth of billing.

    Just a question, not a wrong or right answer from Skyetel.

    Yea, you can adjust it up or down. Among our customers, $25 is our lowest and our highest is $50,000. The system has a minimum of $10 and a maximum of $100,000. Anything above that and we require a separate agreement, letters of credit from a bank, and we switch you to Invoicing instead of auto-recharge.

    I'm surprised it's that high for moving to invoicing, CC fees can be killers. But very cool on the rest!



  • @Dashrender said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    @Skyetel said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    @Dashrender said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    @scottalanmiller said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    @Dashrender said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    @Skyetel said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    FWIW - We only top you up to your "Fraud Limit" which is a hard limit on how much we will automatically top you up. By default, the fraud limit is $1,000. This means that we will stop charging your credit card automatically once we have collected $1000 within that month. You can see this fraud limit on the rates & fees page in our portal, and it can only be adjusted by opening a support request.

    Nice that it can be adjusted. I'm curious, why is the limit so high to start with? Are most of your customers anywhere near that limit for normal monthly billing?

    Well, for a fraud limit, you need it way higher than anyone's normal. Like at least 2-3 times higher, or its useless. You don't want fraud alerts for "a busy month" of normal traffic.

    NTG is around $400/mo of real traffic, so $1,000 is actually on the low side for us as a fraud limit.

    Sure, which is why I asked if the norm was pretty high... The adjustment via support I assume can be up or down. $1000 just seem like a high starting number to me, but then again I'm dealing with tiny sites where the average monthly bill is $30, so a spike means $90 - $1000 is more than two years worth of billing.

    Just a question, not a wrong or right answer from Skyetel.

    Yea, you can adjust it up or down. Among our customers, $25 is our lowest and our highest is $50,000. The system has a minimum of $10 and a maximum of $100,000. Anything above that and we require a separate agreement, letters of credit from a bank, and we switch you to Invoicing instead of auto-recharge.

    I'm surprised it's that high for moving to invoicing, CC fees can be killers. But very cool on the rest!

    Ah - we can move people to invoicing at any amount over ~$3,000/mo. It just comes with a contract. Larger companies or school districts can't use credit cards, so they have to be invoiced. They also can't just click "Accept" to terms of service. Lawyers have to get involved, terms and rate sheets agreed to, etc. Its a whole thing and we accommodate them. The vast majority of our customers use prepay like everyone here and is the method we recommend and prefer.



  • This has turned out to be a great conversation. 🙂
    Thanks to everyone!



  • @Dashrender said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    seem like a high starting number to me

    duh because

    @Dashrender said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    tiny sites where the average monthly bill is $30

    I deal with much larger on a semi-regualr basis. Sadly not any on @Skyetel yet. But not for a lack of prodding.



  • I'm just checking if I missed something.

    We use invoicing so we are billed once a month. Does that mean we are at risk for racking up lots of cost for a hacked SIP account? How exactly can a sip account be hacked?



  • @Pete-S said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    How exactly can a sip account be hacked?

    Someone gets your username/password and gets into your system.

    It's not the account or SIP that is hacked. It's normally your pbx or phone.



  • @scottalanmiller said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    @Pete-S said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    How exactly can a sip account be hacked?

    Someone gets your username/password and gets into your system.

    It's not the account or SIP that is hacked. It's normally your pbx or phone.

    more specifically, it is usually open provisioning servers allowing extension credentials to leak.



  • @JaredBusch said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    @scottalanmiller said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    @Pete-S said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    How exactly can a sip account be hacked?

    Someone gets your username/password and gets into your system.

    It's not the account or SIP that is hacked. It's normally your pbx or phone.

    more specifically, it is usually open provisioning servers allowing extension credentials to leak.

    Thanks, it makes sense.



  • @JaredBusch said in VoIP Services and AUTO TOP-UP prepaid billing.:

    it is usually open provisioning servers

    Would this be a server that is not using whitelists for access?


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