3 Things Accountants Must Advise B2B Clients in 2020

Credit card processing may be a big part of the revenue stream or a small part. It doesn’t matter. B2B companies all suffer from the same issues that impact EBITDA and risk. Compliance, cost and security. It’s fair to say, most businesses have no idea what the hot buttons or repercussions are.

Three things every B2B company needs to know about credit card processing right now:

  1. If you store credit cards, you must be compliant with Visa Stored Credential Framework. I posted this in 2017. Guess what? Most payment gateways (if you accept payments online from an invoice or any other source, a payment gateway is involved) are still not compliant! There are significant financial and risk consequences for non-compliance, including penalty fees, fines, and issuer generated chargebacks.
  2. Failure to settle transactions with a proper authorization will be even more expensive starting in April 2020. For example, many Visa credit card rates will go to 3.15%, reflecting upwards of 0.75% increase in some cases; that’s strictly interchange fees, nothing more. Instead of assuming you’re already settling properly, go to your merchant statement and look for DATA RATE I (instead of Data Rate III), STD/Standard, and EIRF. Do you have any of these? See also https://3dmerchant.com/blog/merchant-processing-services/credit-card-transaction-fees-checkup
  3. It’s a Visa rules violation to request the card security code on a paper credit card authorization form, or any digital form where the business can decrypt and view it. It can’t be stored, period. Not by the merchant nor service provider, including payment gateway. Yet even the AICPA

Why these 3 things? Because 100% of B2B companies I talk to will fail on at least one, and usually two or three. That includes CPA firms. Among the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants missions is to provide “the most relevant knowledge, resources” etc. Yet as of this writing, AICPA affinity credit card processing partners include a long list of technology solutions that are not compliant with all three of the above.

86% of all data breaches in 2016 were from level 4 merchants, defined as “Any merchant processing fewer than 20,000 Visa e-commerce transactions per year, and all other merchants — regardless of acceptance channel — processing up to 1M Visa transactions per year.” By complying with the three items on my list, B2B companies will harden their systems and increase profits. The latter occurs because compliance with rules reduces fees. 

If your current acquirer could truly fix all the problems above, why haven’t they taken the initiative to help you in the past? By the way, if someone ever says they help you qualify for level 2 rates, run! All B2B companies should have the right technology to qualify for level 3 rates. Why pay more?

Christine Speedy, 954-942-0483. For a fast, free checkup on your merchant account, contact us today for a secure, cloud-based solution optimizing acceptance for all payment types across multiple channels without disrupting banking relationships.

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