Citadelnetworks, Inc. is currently doing a feasibility questionnaire regarding the development of a web based Automatic Recurring Billing System for Customer Loyalty Programs for car wash operators and is wondering if you might participate.

We are currently looking at the possibility of integrating a new feature in the Citasystem Framework (the system that your website is currently built upon) that would enable you to provide and manage Automatic Recurring Billing Subscription (ARB) services through your website as well as accept e-Checks online.

We’ve received numerous requests for this feature, mostly in conjunction with VIP Club and Unlimited Wash Club Memberships.

We’re aware that there are POS providers that have a solution but some of the issues that we’ve heard are:

  • Cost of replacing current POS solution with new ARB Supported equipment for the purpose of recurring billing is prohibitive
  • Not fully implemented
  • Reporting or manageability awkward or incomplete
  • Mix of POS systems for multiple / acquired locations makes implementation impractical

We’ve been investigating how we might be able to provide this service to car wash operators and what we have found is quite promising.

Listed below is a preliminary overview how this system would work:

Requirements (tentative):

  • Car Wash POS System that supports Membership or Unlimited Wash Club services
  • Citasystem powered website (you already have one)
  • Dedicated merchant service
  • Payment Gateway & ARB Subscription Service
  • e-Check service enabled (optional but recommended)
  • SSL Certificate to encrypt credit card transactions


  • Administrator: The owner of the car wash or the individual designated by the owner as the authorized individuals to manage the website and ARB Subscription Services
  • Car Wash POS Membership or POS Membership: The actual Membership that has been entered in the Car Wash Point of Sale system to manage car wash services for customers who have VIP or Wash Club privileges.
  • ARB Subscription: A service provided that manages the automated process of charging a Customer’s credit card or withdrawing funds from a Customers checking account on a monthly recurring basis for the purpose of providing payment for a service that is billed monthly
  • Citasystem Membership: The centralized “Membership” in a Citasystem Powered Website that manages and links together the ARB Subscription and the Car Wash POS Membership

How it would work for the customer on your website (the add to cart & checkout process):

  • This part is fairly simple. The customer would add to the cart the VIP and / or the Unlimited Wash Club (we’ll refer to these as Membership) and how many they wish to purchase.
  • In order to add a Membership to the cart, they must “check off” the box which specifies that they have read the Terms of Agreement for the Membership(s). This is to ensure that there’s no confusion regarding the rules of the Membership and that their card will be billed on a Monthly Recurring Basis. It’s imperative that the Customer understands these rules and verifies this. Citadelnetworks will ensure that this is clear to the customer and understood.
  • They will be required to fill out vehicle information and / or any other information that is required to initialize and manage a Car Wash POS Membership.
    • If required, the Customer must also select a “location” that they wish to use their POS Membership.
  • When they go through the checkout process and view their basket, they will see that the products that have been defined as a Membership will be “pro-rated” based on the day of the month that they register (prior to the 20th of that month).

    What does it mean to pro-rate?
    • If a Membership is $30
    • and there’s 30 days in the month
    • and they are registering on the 13th of the month
    • their first bill for services will be $17

Regardless of the cost of the Membership, the number of days in the month or what day of the month they register, the system will automatically calculate their 1st bill for services and pro-rate accordingly. If multiple memberships have been added to the cart, these will also be pro-rated as well.

Why Pro-Rate?
The first transaction is pro-rated so Customer’s ARB Subscription’s can start on the 1st . From the on, Customers will be billed on the first of each and every month.  This make ARB Subscription and Membership management a once a month process instead of a daily process.

  • The next step is billing information. The visitor (now a customer), will have the option to pay by credit card or e-Check. Whatever option they choose, their one-time payment will be processed through the payment gateway. Please note that the first time payment for Membership is only a one-time payment. ARB Services for their Membership has not yet been activated.

Why isn’t the ARB Subscription initialized upon checkout?

  • We’ll be dealing with recurring billing services that will charge people on a monthly basis. This is a sensitive issue for many people so the “request” for Membership needs to be reviewed and processed by an Administrator.

    We feel that prior to billing someone’s credit card on a monthly basis, it’s necessary for a pair of human eyes to first review this information so that no request for subscription or membership goes “un-noticed”.
  • Once the Customer has completed their transaction:
    • Their credit card is verified and charged accordingly
    • They will be presented with a receipt that they can print out
    • Emailed a receipt of their transaction
    • Emailed the rules and policy of their Membership

Important Note: At this point, the visitor’s credit card or e-Check information (except for the Card Verification Value 2 [CVV2] as this is against the credit card provider’s policy) is saved to the database in an encrypted format.

Full credit card information and access to it is unavailable to anyone…even to Citadelnetworks systems administrators. This information is strictly reserved and required for the activation of the ARB Subscription service. This is a security measure to help protect both the Administrator and Customer from potential theft of credit card information.

The only information that will be visibly accessible are the:

  • Last four digits
  • Address information
  • Name on card
  • Expiration Date

 Initializing the ARB Subscription:

  • Once the Customer has completed the checkout process, the designated Administrator will receive an email containing the details of the order.
  • Currently, when an Administrator receives a notification of an order, it contains a link that takes him directly to the order to be reviewed and processed:
    • An additional link will be contained within the email that will take the Administrator directly to the newly created Membership. At this point, a Citasystem Membership will be created and will be in a status of “Pending ARB Activation”.

      Important Note: Don’t confuse the “Citasystem Membership” with the “ARB Subscription”. At order completion, a Citasystem Membership will automatically be created in the website but not the Automatic Recurring Billing (this needs to be manually activated and processed through
  • At this point, the Administrator will be able to review the Membership that has been created. There will be a button that says “Initialize ARB Subscription Services”.

There will be two important fields that must be entered:

  • A “required” input field called “POS Membership ID” (up to 20 characters). This is a unique id that is generated by the Car Wash POS system for a given Membership:
    • Membership ID
    • RFID
    • Sticker ID
    • Card Number ID
    • …other process by which the Car Wash POS uniquely identifies a Car Wash Membership
  • A dropdown select list that contains a list of locations (physical car wash locations) that this membership should be assigned to. The default selection is “All Locations” otherwise, should accounting or other purposes deem it necessary, the Administrator shall select a location that the ARB Subscription / Membership should belong to.

Important Note: The information entered into these fields will be passed on to for processing. This creates a relationship at between the:

  • ARB Subscription (once created)
  • Physical Car Wash Location (optional but available if required by the Administrators business processes)
  • POS Membership Data
  • Once the details of the Membership have been reviewed and have been deemed satisfactory, the Administrator will click on this link to “Activate” the ARB Subscription.

    This will take the details of the Membership, process it through
  • This will Activate the ARB Subscription
  • If the response from for the subscription is “Success”
    • will return an “ARB Subscription ID” that will be associated with the Citasystem Membership.
    • The Membership in Citasystem will be flagged as “Valid”
    • Stored credit card information will be removed from Citasystem as it is no longer required. The credit card information is now stored at for the use of ARB services.
  • If the response from for subscriptions is “Failed”
    • The Membership “status” will be flagged as “Failed ARB - Pending Review”
    • Credit card information stored will remain
    • Option to notify customer of failed subscription will be available via modifiable pre-templated email communications form

Side Note: The occurrences of a “Failed” subscription should be rare. Since we have already processed the Customers credit card once (during the initial pro-rated transaction), we have already verified that the payment information is valid.

Important Note:  Initializing subscription will not charge the credit card. It will only initialize the ARB Subscription through Once the subscription has been Activated, Automatic Recurring Billing will begin on the 20th of the current month.

The stage for ARB Subscriptions is set…what happens now?

Let first establish the scenario:

  • 200 subscription are in the system
  • March 20st

ARB Subscriptions will be set to be processed 10 days prior to the 1st of any given month. So, subscriptions that are processed on the 20th in the month of March will be for services for the Month of April. The reasons for doing this are:

  • There will be cards that are declined or expired. This 10 day “grace” period will give Administrator time to communicate with Customers to get updated or new card information prior to their Membership going into an “Invalid” state where VIP or Unlimited Wash Club services are denied to them without them being notified that there was an issue with the processing of their credit card or check card (e-Check) services.

    Ensuring that we have the opportunity to communicate with customers will help maximize retention rates and reduce turn-over.

    Processing cards several days ahead for next month’s service is standard practice for recurring billing based services.
  • We’ll want to give ourselves plenty of time to ensure management of subscriptions and to handle issues that may occur during the processing.…Processing the Subscriptions will process ARB Subscriptions at approximately 2-3am for the day that we have set subscriptions to occur (10 days prior to the first of any given month).

  • When processes the subscriptions, they send back data to the Citasystem in the form of “response codes”. These response codes contain this information:











































  • The Citasystem will process this information and associate it with each “Membership” that has been set up (via ARB Subscription ID). This will enable Administrators to keep a historical record of each transaction processed for each Membership.

    It will also enable each customer to login to their account online and view each transaction that has been processed for each Membership that they have subscribed to.
    • If Subscription Status = Success
      • The response data is associated with their Citasystem Membership
      • The Citasystem Membership status remains as “Valid-Current”
      • The Administrator should not have to take any action on the POS Membership
    • If Subscription Status = Fail or Unknown
      • Response data is associated with their Citasystem Membership (including reason for failure)
      • Citasystem Membership status is changed to “Failed ARB – Pending Review”
      • Pre-Templated email form becomes available to communicate with customer to notify of Subscription failure.
      • The Administrator should not have to take any action on the POS Membership since the Customer should have at least 10 days till Membership for Car Wash services has expired.

Reporting Feature
One of the most important elements to this system is the reporting feature. The reporting feature will enable the Administrator to manage subscriptions and ensure the status of those subscriptions “coincide” with the status of the Wash Club Membership set in the POS System (POS Membership).

When the Administrator first accesses the ARB Management area, their first view will be Citasystem Memberships with a Status of “Failed ARB-Pending Review” and have gone beyond that 10 day grace period. These “expired” Citasystem Memberships define which POS Memberships need to be “disabled” or deleted in the Car Wash POS system.

Advanced Search Filters for Management:

  • Filter for unsuccessful ARB transactions based on “batches” (i.e. the last batch of Subscriptions processed by These will be Citasystem Memberships that have been marked as “Failed ARB-Pending Review”.
    • Filtering for unsuccessful transactions (due to cards being declined or expired) will give the Administrator the opportunity to immediately notify the customer of the failed subscription
      • If the Customer responds to notification(s) with updated/valid credit card or e-Check information within the defined period set by the Administrator, the Administrator can update this information and reprocess the subscription. If returns with a response of “Success”, the Citasystem Membership Status will change to “Valid-Current”. The Administrator will not have to make any changes to the POS Membership.
      • If the customer does not respond to communications within the defined period set by the Administrator, he/she can manually set the Citasystem Membership Status from Failed ARB-Pending Review to:
        • Failed ARB-Inactive: If the Car Wash POS system allow Memberships to be inactive, we will be able to reprocess the Subscription in the future if the Customer wishes to “Re-Activate” their ARB Subscription / Membership
        • Failed ARB-Deleted: If the Car Wash POS system requires a POS Membership to be removed or deleted, we will not be able to reprocess the ARB Subscription. Should the Customer choose to re-activate their ARB Subscription / Membership, the will have to create a new one.
      • From within the Car Wash POS system, the Administrator will have to set the POS Membership to “Inactive” or delete from the Car Wash POS System if required.
      • Since we have the Customer’s email and if they have chosen to “opt-in” to any email marketing campaigns during the registration process, we can try to market to them in the future. But at this point, we now have lost this Customer and is set to “Failed ARB-Inactive or deleted”.
  • Filter for unsuccessful ARB transactions “between” dates
  • Filter for transactions based on “Status”
  • Filter for transactions based on locations (combined with other filter such as date(s) or status)
  • …other filters to be defined.

 Other Functions or Features:

  • Dedicated POS Interface to process “on location” VIP or Wash Club Memberships (requires PC/kiosk at facility with Internet connection).

 The biggest issue is the cost of implementation. Because of the complexity of integrating such a service and the amount of resources it will take to implement, it becomes cost prohibitive for any one carwashing company to invest in such an application.

Not only are we looking at programming and the necessary man-hours to code and support it, we will be also implementing a specially dedicated “high availability server” to handle the response codes sent back to the Citasystem by

This is why we are looking for car wash owners who currently have an existing Car Wash POS that supports some type of VIP or Wash Club Membership system and wish to implement an Automatic Recurring Billing (ARB) system without the high cost of replacing their existing POS solution with a new system.

The advantages of our system:

  • Low cost of implementation (around $5500 regardless of the number of locations compared to the $25k - $40k per location of other solutions). For car wash owners who want to be part of the development process, have input on its implementation and are willing to commit to it, the cost would be $3200 billed in two installments…$1600 initial deposit prior to development and final balance when going live.
  • Centralization of data and management. Easily accessible from a web browser (IE6 or above, Firefox 3.0 or above).
  • Car Wash Companies with several locations utilizing different POS systems (i.e. implementing DRB at one location and ICS at another location) can now enjoy the benefits of an Automated Recurring Billing solution.
  • Because the system is centralized, continued development, improvements and additional features will be made to this system at little or no additional costs to the Administrator (the system will continue to evolve).