First Data e4 gateway vs CenPOS payment gateway review for business to business

This article scope is focused on business to business (B2B) payment needs, primarily for industrial manufacturers and distributors, a vertical market I interact with. The three key areas examined in brief are PCI compliance, interchange management, and efficiencies. Rather than review all the good parts of each solution, the focus is on ‘what’s different’.

VERTICAL MARKET OVERVIEW: While there are exceptions, the small to mid size  businesses typically share these common financial traits:

  • No retail storefront or mostly phone orders vs walk-in
  • No ecommerce store or if there is a store, payment is not processed
  • Credit card data taken over the phone- salespersons and A/R accepting payment information
  • Credit card data stored for recurring billing (usually paper)
  • Very few disputes and resulting chargebacks
  • Very low fraud
  • Customers exceed 30 days to pay
  • Majority of customers pay via check or EDI
  • Settlement amount is often for a different amount than initial authorization
  • Settlement may be weeks after the initial authorization


Interchange management: These merchants pay higher than average fees not just because of the types of cards their customers use, but also because of poor interchange rate qualification.

PCI Compliance: it’s virtually impossible to maintain PCI compliance when card data is stored on paper.

Inefficiency: Customers frequently for past payment records, manually key entering card numbers wastes time, cards expired when they’re needed to process, customer can only pay during business hours if card is not on file, but this is often inconvenient for customers

e4 vs CenPOS solutions:

Payment Gateway Features As Listed on First Data 4/1/2014
Payment Gateway First Data e4 ® CenPOS
Differentiators Online Retail MOTO Mobile Online Retail MOTO Mobile
Interchange optimization to improve interchange qualification * checkmark yes checkmark yes checkmark yes checkmark yes
7 years data storage and retrieval, including signature capture no icon no icon no icon no icon checkmark yes checkmark yes checkmark yes checkmark yes
Level 3 data for business, purchasing & corporate cards ** no icon no icon checkmark yes no icon checkmark yes checkmark yes checkmark yes checkmark yesintegrated only
Token billing *** checkmark yes no icon checkmark yes no icon checkmark yes checkmark yes checkmark yes checkmark yes
Payment Gateway Features DIFFERENTIATORS
* Note 1 CenPOS’s payment optimization is patented. There are many nuances to increasing ‘qualified’ transactions, which lowers fees. While e4 does have some tools to help merchants, employee actions are still largely in control of resulting merchant fees, a significant differentiator.
** Note 2 While e4 supports level 3, it’s up to the user to enter the data after the sale is complete; CenPOS does not leave decisions up to employees and makes easy to comply.
**** Note 3 CenPOS empowers merchants to swipe the first transaction, and securely store payment data, encrypted and tokenized for future billing. A receipt with signature line for authorizing future charges is automatically generated regardless of where the token is created. This increases security and mitigates risk of lost disputes and resulting chargebacks.

Disclaimer: readers should do their own fact checking. While believed to be accurate at the time researched, both entities will continually evolve their technologies.

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