The Omni 3750 is a multi-merchant capable machine, often used by businesses that had one account for retail and one for MOTO. Before jumping into the next dial up or even IP multimerchant terminal, it’s time to review the related credit card processing landscape. The primary purpose of separate retail and MOTO merchant accounts has been to help larger merchants qualify for lower interchange levels for each type of transaction. This method has historically been particularly important for wholesale suppliers in the construction industry that have a storefront, plus a base of commercial accounts, most of whom do not pay at the store. Without two merchant accounts, the cost of card not present transactions cost up to 1.05% extra on a retail account.
INTERCHANGE QUALIFICATION CHALLENGE: Proper presentment of transactions regardless of method of entry (key entered or swipe) or card type (different requirements for data to submit). Proper presentment is getting more complex as regulations are changing more rapidly in the past and the card networks & card issuing banks are creating new rules making it harder to qualify for the best rate for any given card type. For example, our internal spring bulletin explaining fee changes was 32 pages long versus a more typical 2-3 pages.
ADDITIONAL CONCERN: New Fixed Acquirer Network Fee (FANF). Visa’s Card Present Fee is fixed based on the number of locations. For Card Not Present (CNP), the fee is based on monthly sales volume, and is much higher than card present. Each merchant account is counted as a location. EMV (contactless) is mandated for all merchants by 2015; Visa is offering incentives to merchants who implement beginning in the 3rd quarter of 2012.
ANALYSIS: It is my firm belief that it will be impossible for merchants as described above to continue to qualify for the best interchange rates with standard dial up terminals because of the continual need to identify needs, update programming and train employees. A manual process just won’t work. As an interchange expert, even I can’t keep up with the rules to manually oversee merchant accounts without an automated system. A host based solution is the only viable long term solution for merchants who want to control fees.
If you want to stick with a multi-merchant terminal:
- FD300 TI (PCI) Dual Com, First Data only, $499
- FD300 Wifi (PCI), First Data only, $695
- Other brands may be available, check manufacturer web sites for current models.
For a host based solution:
- CenPOS virtual terminal with automated switching. With a single merchant account, CenPOS will identify the card issuing bank, requirements needed to qualify you for the lowest interchange for that card, and automatically present properly as retail or card present with all the right data. Benefits:
- Interchange optimized, employee mistakes eliminated
- Single merchant account- potentially reduce statement fees, regulatory fees, PCI compliance fees, and higher CNP FANF fees
- Always current with latest federal and state regulations
Limitations: As of this writing, EMV is not yet approved on CenPOS, but is anticipated by July 1 when Visa’s incentives begin; hardware manufactures are still working out reliability issues with some new models. In the interim, merchants may wish to use inexpensive secure card readers for low transaction environments, or older model signature capture units that will have to be replaced at a later date.