Level 3 Credit Card Processing Solutions

Level 3 processing requires payment solutions that can both send level data and dynamically optimize transactions to qualify for level 3 rates. Learn the secrets to higher profits right now. Were you told your last solution would fix your problems so you’d qualify properly? Have you been told with more training you could fix the problems to hit level 3? Hogwash! It’s not your fault, you just didn’t have an insider perspective until now.

Many payment gateways can send level 3 data, but the requirements to qualify for level III interchange rates are much more complicated than that. Do you perform preauthorizations? You know what happens when the preauth expires? Or when the final settlement is not the same as the preauthorization? These are just two of many reason merchants fail to qualify for level 3.

New rules for storing cards and using stored cards can also impact profits. Hint: If you haven’t made big changes to how you do this since October 2017, you’ve got a problem. Failure to comply with any rules negates rate qualification. If issuers are not sophisticated enough to catch all the rule breakers now, it’s only a matter of time. In the future, cardholders will be able to login to their bank and view all the companies that are storing their cards. So if you haven’t made the changes needed per new stored card requirements, that creates a problem for the long term goals in financial industry. Compliance will be enforced via penalties and potential assessments.

I’ve seen demo’s, heard sales pitches, and read the documentation on many payment gateways and virtual terminals. It’s not what’s there, but what’s not there that is most revealing. Before choosing a level 3 processing solution, get a demo. If you’ll be using a virtual terminal, use that for the demo. If you’ll be using an integrated solution, view the integrated solution demo.

The demo:

  • Store a regular card and business card. What methods are used to capture the initial card data? Then charge each card. Note the steps for each.
  • How does the solution manage reversals on preauthorizations?
  • What’s the process to identify and renew an expired authorization?
  • How can buyer complete a transaction with 3-D Secure?
  • Pull report to retrieve transaction.
  • Pull report with level 3 data.

Note how much of the process is automated, how much relies on people making decisions, and if any items are not available. Take screenshots. On a Mac it’s command + shift+ 4.

Want a payments expert as a silent observer? Ask me to sit in on the call for unbiased feedback.

Call Christine Speedy, PCI Council QIR certified, for simple solutions to complex payment transaction problems, 954-942-0483, 9-5 ET. CenPOS authorized reseller based out of South Florida and NY. CenPOS is an integrated commerce technology platform driving innovative, omnichannel solutions tailored to meet a merchant’s market needs. Providing a single point of integration, the CenPOS platform combines payment, commerce and value-added functionality enabling merchants to transform their commerce experience, eliminate the need to manage complex integrations, reduce the burden of accepting payments and create deeper customer relationships.

Did you like this article?

Are You Compliant? B2B Credit Card Processing Fact Check

Merchant compliance with various credit card processing rules maximizes profits while mitigating risk. This is especially true for business to business companies. But that task is getting harder and harder with the onslaught of new rules, and virtually impossible if not using a sophisticated cloud solution to help manage compliance.

b2b visa stored credentialIf your B2B company stores credit cards, there’s a pretty good chance you’re not compliant. For example, Visa’s 2017 Stored Credential Transaction framework (PDF download from Visa) outlines merchant responsibilities to obtain customer consent as well as storing credit cards, using stored credentials (token), and managing stored tokens. Failure to comply with Authorization rules, for example preauthorization and final settlement do not match, has far-reaching consequences including higher interchange rates (the bulk of credit card processing fees), penalty fees and new chargeback risks. With so many new rules across multiple card brands that vary based on business and transaction type how can a business quickly ascertain if they’re compliant?

Quick tips to validate compliance:

  1. Is cardholder authentication performed when a new card is stored? When the cardholder data is entered and submitted, the issuer responds with an approval or declined message. A small charge is not an acceptable practice to submit transaction for approval; instead a zero dollar authorization request for authentication is submitted. If authentication is via 3-D Secure -Verified by Visa, MasterCard Secure Code, whereby the customer self-authenticates vs merchant initiating, reduced rates may apply. Under the new rules, two transactions occur at the time a card is stored. Compliant answer is yes.
  2. Is a transaction receipt delivered to customer when you store a credit card? This will be either for an amount or a zero dollar authorization. When stored credit card credential (token) is created, a transaction receipt is generated with the approval or decline and other mandatory fields. Compliant answer is yes.
  3. Does the receipt include “RECURRING” or “REPEAT SALE” for token transactions? Compliant answer is yes.
  4. Review merchant statements, usually the last 1-2 pages with the heading “pending interchange” or “fees” section. Do you see EIRF, STANDARD (STD), or DATA RATE I? Compliant answer is no.
  5. Can you produce documentation of customer consent to store their card (including with 3rd party service) and how it will be used?

If you’re not in compliance, your payment gateway is the most likely culprit, followed by ERP or other software integration limitation. I can fix that.

Reference: Links for all Card brands.

Need help getting compliant?

Call Christine Speedy, , for simple solutions to complex payment transaction problems, 954-942-0483, 9-5 ET. CenPOS authorized reseller based out of South Florida and NY. CenPOS is an integrated commerce technology platform driving innovative, omnichannel solutions tailored to meet a merchant’s market needs. Providing a single point of integration, the CenPOS platform combines payment, commerce and value-added functionality enabling merchants to transform their commerce experience, eliminate the need to manage complex integrations, reduce the burden of accepting payments and create deeper customer relationships.

A B2B supplier’s guide to optimizing commercial card payments review

Mastercard and The Strawhecker Group released A B2B supplier’s guide
to optimizing commercial card payments. Selecting the right merchant acquirer and payment gateway, and optimizing interchange, can help reduce suppliers’ collection efforts and costs associated with commercial card payments. By Marie Elizabeth Aloisi and Peter Michaud. Christine Speedy, blog author, reviews the guide. In my opinion some elements, present an incomplete picture for merchants, especially the business suppliers accepting commercial payments that is the target of the paper.

The executive summary cites research that suppliers can reduce the cost of collecting funds from customers by 31% if they accept credit cards. I googled to find that commercial credit card research data, and though this is not the referenced Mastercard and Kaiser Associates, Commercial Card Acceptance Cost-Benefit Study, of November 2016, it has similar data:

  • This study estimated card acceptance at the point-of-sale to be 37% less costly than using other payment collections methods – yielding savings of $12 on a $500 transaction
  • Card acceptance provides a similar sized net benefit regardless of the funds transfer tool it replaces – e.g. check vs. ACH vs. wire
  • The bulk of value from commercial card acceptance lies in its use as a pre-payment tool – providing revenue assurance against bad debts

 

I have a problem with the next line in the report, “That’s because getting paid by check—or even ACH or wire—involves many manual steps, onerous costs, and potential errors that are a burden to a supplier’s accounting, finance, and treasury functions.”  Checks are still the most onerous even with a scanner, but with electronic bill presentment and payment, any other payment method can be automated for increased efficiency. Our cloud payment processing solutions, including integrated with ERP, automate all types of payment processing, including check/ACH, wire, credit card, and can update journals etc.

The paper goes on to explain why working with your acquirer is critical. While it mentions suppliers can benefit from advanced gateways, most acquirers offer a limited number of payment gateways to merchants. In fact, they may offer suppliers only one solution – they’re own- and it may not be the best for the supplier, it’s just the only one they offer. Independent payment gateways, like CenPOS that I offer, can provide significant advantages to maximize profits, efficiency and flexibility. For example, fulfilling the need to simplify wire transactions and match to invoices.

The three best practices cited to work with acquirers are to automate payments, optimize interchange and negotiate pricing. 

The devil is in the details not cited. For example, “suppliers can only take advantage of lower interchange rates if the payment gateway is set up to pass Data Rate 3 information along with the transaction.” This is true. But the bigger problem is compliance with all the other rules required to qualify the transaction for Data Rate 3. For example, suppliers often do a preauthorization, which expires before settlement (but can still settle) or is not the same as the final settlement amount. These common transaction types will nullify qualifying for the best interchange rates, including MasterCard Data Rate 3. There are many more rules that make it tough to qualify and if the payment gateway does not automatically manage for suppliers, passing Data Rate 3 info doesn’t matter. The reality is most payment gateways do not have a solution to help suppliers comply.

Again, if the acquirer doesn’t have the best solution, should suppliers rely on their advice? A supplier client of mine went to their acquirer (top 5 in USA) and told them what I was offering. They would keep their acquirer but switch to my payment gateway; they’d use our electronic bill presentment and payment solution to eliminate paper credit card authorization forms and employees getting cardholder data over the phone. Customers would self-manage their payment methods, including storing & tokenizing if they chose to. Their acquirer did not want them to use any solution other than their own.  They offered them a substantially worse solution- the silliest I’ve ever heard. The acquirer would give them a new merchant account with virtual terminal exclusively for one large client that they knew was using a commercial card. What about all the other clients? What about eliminating employee access to cardholder data and storing data on paper? Advising to use substandard solutions happens all the time.

In summary, Mastercard and The Strawhecker Group put out some great research data for suppliers. I’m a huge fan of the people at The Strawhecker Group and their work. Suppliers should look to cloud payment processing solution providers like myself at CenPOS for advice. Suppliers need the best payment gateway because without it, the rest doesn’t matter. Combining a robust payment gateway, business solutions, and the flexibility to change acquirers without business disruption can provide significant advantages.

All comments and statements herein are strictly my personal opinion and do not represent that of any company.

Christine Speedy, CenPOS sales 954-942-0483. CenPOS is a cloud business solutions provider with end-to-end payments engine that drives enterprise-class solutions for businesses, saving them time and money, while improving their customer engagement.

Dynamics AX Credit Card Processing Alternatives 2017

Need a solution to process credit cards for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012? Whether replacing Microsoft Dynamics ERP Payment Services due to end of life announcement, or looking for an alternative to Red Maple Advanced Credit Cards, Christine Speedy has a solution to delight your customers and make your business more profitable virtually overnight. It’s wrong to thing big name gateways are compliant with your B2B payment processing needs. If that were true, our solutions would not exist.

Dynamics AX Credit Card Processing Critical Features Checklist:

  • Customer managed wallet from the very first sale, including before payment is needed. Must eliminate need for paper or digital credit card authorization forms with card data in the clear!
  • No 3rd party applications needed to get paid from invoice; automate journal entry updates. (Eliminate BillTrust and similar.)
  • Communicate the way your customers want, both text and email.
  • Automate rate qualification. A payment gateway with Level 3 processing is not enough; merchants can only qualify for level 3 (corporate, purchasing, business card) interchange rates if all the rules are met. The two most common rules B2B businesses struggle with are “Settlement within 72 hours” for card not present sales, and “Authorization amount and settlement amount must be equal”. CenPOS automates compliance, most gateways cannot.

    interchange rate qualification

    The same transaction can process at different rates, depending on which rules you follow.

  • Compliance with Visa Stored Credential Transaction framework and mandates effective October 14, 2017. Merchants need record of customers opt-in to storing and use of the stored card terms and conditions, among other items. For example, a checkbox. There are many nuances including identifying merchant initiated vs customer initiated. CenPOS automates compliance, most gateways cannot.
  • 3-D Secure cardholder authentication- increase approvals, shift fraud liability risk, and for some card types qualify for reduced interchange rates.
  • Virtual Encrypted Keypad – segment your network, software and devices from payment processing for reduced PCI Compliance scope and burden.
  • Accept payments wherever you need in AX- free text, sales orders, payment journals and more.

Improve Efficiencies, Cash Flow, Customer Experience:

  • Invoice delivery via text and email
  • 2-clicks to pay for repeat customers
  • Customer managed wallet for payment methods.
  • Invoice portal – on demand access 24/7 to view and pay invoices
  • Automated collections reminders to pay

AX Solution for all payment types:

  • ACH and check, with and without guarantee.
  • Wire- eliminate inefficiencies matching deposits to invoices and returning unidentified wires.
  • Credit card
  • Paypal and more

Depending on your current AX set up, businesses can be live in less than 2 days.

Christine Speedy, CenPOS authorized reseller, 954-942-0483. B2B cloud payments solutions and CenPOS enterprise cloud payment solutions expert. 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.

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.