First Data level 3 processing solutions

Need a solution for level 3 processing with your First Data merchant account? A payment gateway that supports level 3 processing is required, but that’s not enough. Payment gateway selection and implementation impact whether a transaction actually qualifies for level 3 rates.

The main requirements to qualify for level III interchange rates are:

  1. Submit required extra order detail. This varies by card brand; for example Ship to/from ZIP code, Destination country code,VA/ tax amount, invoice number, order reference number, Discount amount, Freight/shipping amount, Duty amount, Order date, unit of measure and more.
  2. Valid authorization. For example, the authorization and settlement amount must be the same.
  3. Interchange Rate Special Requirements, which may vary by card, industry etc. For example, here are requirements to qualify for MasterCard Data Rate III
    1. U.S. Merchant
    2. Applicable Electronic Authorization Data must be included and match Settlement Data
    3. Valid Banknet Reference Number and Banknet Date in valid date format MMDD
    4. Settlement within 2 days of transaction
    5. Level II & Level III Corporate Card data (Level II Data includes the entry of customer code, card acceptor type, tax ID and sales tax. Level III Data includes Level II data, line item detail, item description, item quantity, item unit of measure, extended item amount, product code, and debit or credit indicator.)
    6. Non-T&E MCC
    7. Card Acceptor Type and Tax ID must be provided

Visa Stored Credential Framework Impacts Authorization Validity

For business, corporate and purchasing card transactions to qualify for Level 3 interchange rates, a valid authorization is required. New rules change requirements for card not present transactions using stored cards. US businesses must comply with Visa Stored Credential Transaction framework effective October 14, 2017. Without getting into too much detail, payment gateways must update to comply, and merchants will also need to make some changes going forward.

Merchant requirements include:

  • When capturing a stored credential for the first time, complete special requirements, including cardholder authentication as applicable (Managed by payment gateway or integrated solution.)
  • Send correct transaction type on subsequent transactions: Installment Payments, Recurring Payments, or Unscheduled Credential On File. (Managed by payment gateway or integrated solution.)
  • Authorization and settlement amount must match. (Managed by payment gateway or integrated solution.)
  • Obtain cardholder consent and disclosure agreement. (Most likely managed by payment gateway or merchant.)

For years, authorization and settlement amount mismatch has been a common problem for merchants to qualify for level III rates. Even if a gateway solves this problem, an integration may limit the capability. This is easily identified by EIRF, STD/ standard, level I and level II rates present in the “pending interchange” section on merchant statements.

To solve all of the above problems, merchants can use a third party payment gateway with their merchant account, that manages authorization validity and continual changes within the gateway, including integrated solutions. Below image shows before and after interchange rates from actual merchant statements; same merchant account, just changed the payment gateway.level 3 gatewayContact Christine for a level 3 payment gateway that works with your First Data Merchant Account, as well as other acquirers.

Christine Speedy, CenPOS authorized reseller, 954-942-0483 is based out of South Florida and NY. CenPOS is a merchant-centric, end-to-end payments engine that drives enterprise-class solutions for businesses, saving them time and money, while improving their customer engagement. CenPOS secure, cloud-based solution optimizes acceptance for all payment types across multiple channels without disrupting the merchant’s banking relationships.

Dealership Post-Acquisition Standardization Cash Flow & Profits

Car, truck, and ag equipment dealership acquisitions by mega dealers are on a torrid pace. Cash-flow and profits are directly linked to standardization among locales. The right payment processing technology creates instant receivables financial transparency at headquarters regardless of varying dealer management software. heavy duty equipment credit card processingCloud-based payment processing is critical to financial transparency. For example, credit card processing terminals batched out individually means management has to wait for reports. A cloud solution, including payment gateway, can provide real-time insights by dealer location or any other number of data points.

Key payment gateway differences for dealership evaluation:

  • Real-time dashboard with drill down vs export reports to view (additional payment types not shown)dashboard net sales payment gateway report
  • Compliance with complex rules for rentals, preauthorizations, retail and card not present. How many merchant accounts needed to comply?
  • Compliance with Visa October 2017 stored credentials mandates
  • Level 3 processing capabilities for commercial cards
  • EMV chip or EMV chip and pin
  • Push payment requests (collect remote payments before delivery) via text or email
  • Cardholder authentication (3-D Secure) for remote payments
  • Payment methods supported: cash, check, wire, credit card and other methods vs just credit cards provides significantly tighter controls and data insights

Dealers hesitant to replace desktop EMV chip terminals due to prior investments should bite the bullet. Better solutions to improve customer experience and back office efficiency will reduce ROI time for acquisitions.

ABOUT: Christine Speedy is a payment processing expert with deep experience in the multi-department needs of dealerships. Solutions empower CFO’s to achieve common customer satisfaction goals with tight financial controls, risk mitigation, and reduced PCI Compliance burden. Need standardization help? Call 954-942-0483 to learn more about solutions for your business that are quick and easy to adopt, increasing efficiency and growing profits virtually overnight.

 

SaaS Startups: Credit Card Customer Onboarding 2017

Critical rules changes for credit card processing, especially recurring billing, will impact business profits and chargeback risk effective October 2017. Simply copying what other big SaaS businesses are doing successfully is not good enough. Everyone needs to make opt-in updates to comply, and EMV chip card acceptance is a good example of how even big companies can takes months or years to change.

payment gateway SaaS recurring

Critical SaaS recurring billing credit card processing rules past, present and future:

    • To validate a card and create a token for future purchases, perform a Zero Dollar Authorization. There’s a procedure, including using recurring indicator, and a transaction fee for this. If the solution you’re looking at suggests a $1 authorization, that’s because the payment gateway, and or the implementation, are out of date and don’t support current requirements. Run!
    • The sales receipt must include phrase “recurring transaction”, frequency of the charges, and the period of time agreed to.
    • Cardholder opt-in record. Rules may vary by each card brand; following Visa requirements is a good practice. For example, read Visa Stored Credential Transaction Mandates and also Visa Core Rules. One of the new requirements is specifying how the Cardholder will be notified of any changes to the agreement. The significance of new mandates is huge, and non-compliance will result in higher fees, penalties, reduced sale approvals and chargebacks.

Payment gateway selection directly impacts profits, risk, and your customer buying experience. Lots of developers integrate one or two of the oldest payment gateways because they’re “reliable” and familiar. True, but, this could cost your company it’s path to profitability and even existence. Any WordPress developer knows technology and implementation of technology changes. It’s constant. Before selecting a payment gateway for a SaaS startup, ask these questions:

  • How will it help with new Visa Stored Credential Mandates?
  • Does it support 3-D Secure cardholder authentication?
  • How will it help with account updating for expiration and replacement cards?
  • What type of digital record is created at the time of customer opt-in to agreement, how is it retrieved, and how long is it retained?
  • Does it support authorization reversals?
  • Does it level 3 processing for commercial cards (if applicable to business type)?
  • If I change banks or payment processors, how will it affect my customers? My business?

TIP: Most payment gateways are reliable; level 3 processing, and 3-D Secure support are starting points to reduce the list of options. Need help to get compliant? Contact Christine Speedy to learn more about solutions for your business that are quick and easy to adopt, increasing efficiency and growing profits virtually overnight.

Hotel credit card authorization form 2017 change

Hotel and lodging industry must update best practices due to 2016 and 2017 changes in Visa and MasterCard rules. Cardholder authentication and multiple authorization indicators are two key components of change. Hotels that comply will maximize profits and security. Noncompliance will result in higher credit card acceptance fees due to penalties, increased declines, reduced profits, and new chargeback risk.hotel credit card authorization formFor those still using paper credit card authorization forms, few are in compliance with Visa Core Rules 5.4.2.5 Prohibition against Requiring Cardholder or Account Data – US Region.

“A US Merchant or its agent must not: Request the Card Verification Value 2 data on any paper Order Form.”

Authorization validity is front and center to the 2017 rules changes. Merchants used to get and authorization, and settle it later at checkout. Now merchants must send the correct transaction types and link them all together with a unique identifier:

  1. The ESTIMATE (Visa) or UNDEFINED (MasterCard) indicator is sent when the final settlement amount is unknown. The customer must be informed that it is an estimate as well.
  2. INCREMENTAL authorization is obtained when the original authorization expires or to increase the amount on hold.
  3. Final Authorization says this is the final transaction.

TIP: Merchants need 3-D Secure (Verified by Visa, MasterCard SecureCode), a global cardholder authentication standard for card absent transactions, to maximize profits and compliance for card not present transactions, which is only available with customer initiated transactions: hosted pay page, digital payment request, online booking. Paper forms don’t create a digital record tied to the credit card, and cardholder authentication is not possible, as defined by the card brands. It’s also not possible to comply with the rule by key entering data into any desktop terminal.

The unique transaction transaction identifier can be a point of breakdown in the process. For example, the events manager obtains a paper credit card authorization form. The first charge is a deposit; the second charge is at the end of the event; a third charge occurs after assessing damages to a room. In each case, the amount is key entered into the payment processing terminal. Since there is no transaction identifier tying them all together, the authorizations are invalid and the ISSUER is within their rights to chargeback for invalid authorization, example Visa reason code 72.

There are so many nuances to the rules, and changes needed in the payments ecosystem, hotels should not assume existing partners have completed the required updates to comply. Technology that can automatically manage the authorization and settlement process- not the old way, but with all the new rules changes- requires a sophisticated payment gateway. Like EMV, there will be vendors that struggle to adapt.

For compliant solutions that can be used standalone or integrated, improving your customer experience, contact Christine Speedy, 954-942-0483.

Reference materials:

  • MasterCard® Pre & Final Authorization Mandate by CyberSource, December 2016.
  • Visa Core Rules October 2016.
  • MasterCard Revises Standards for Processing Authorizations and Preauthorizations by Vantiv December 2016.
  • MasterCard Transaction Processing Rules, November 2016.

See merchant bulletins – downloads for links to many resources.