How does card reader and pin debit pad with Skipjack compare to CenPOS?

Credit card processing is evolving from dial up terminals to web based virtual terminals, even for the retail environment. These hosted solutions are not all alike. Addressing just the pin debit function for payment processing, CenPOS and SkipJack perform differently. The hardware set up for each in this scenario is a virtual terminal, magnetic stripe card reader and pin pad.

  • The Skipjack user must look at the consumer card and ask if it will be ‘debit or credit’.
  • The CenPOS user will automatically prompt the customer for their pin number IF it fits the merchant settings.

What’s the difference?

With Skipjack, employee decisions at the point of sale impact merchant risk and cost of accepting credit cards. With CenPOS, the customers and employees are prompted automatically to achieve the desired result at the point of sale. CenPOS is an intelligent payment platform that routes transactions based on merchant settings for risk tolerance and payment costs.

Statistically, CenPOS merchants achieve a national average of over 75% pin debit conversion. Merchants can verify this information for their account in the executive dashboard, and also create alerts for their conversion rate, such as if it falls below a certain percent.  While I don’t know other product statistics, published reports of aggregate retail merchants are substantially lower- less than 30%; most businesses I encounter  have under 10%.

What’s the merchant benefit to increase pin debit conversion?

  • 14 days for a dispute period vs 120 day for signature debit.
  • Tougher to lose disputes.
  • Dues and assessments do not apply.
  • Additionally, the Durbin Amendment requires 2 debit networks on every card. With CenPOS least  cost routing, the debit transaction will be routed to the lower cost network, according to all applicable rules.

DISCLAIMER: This review uses publicly available information posted on the competitive product web site as of 7/01/2012. The article does not address all features, just the pin debit conversion. Skipjack is a registered trademark of Skipjack Financial Services, Inc.


  • According to their web site|4347063|2831168, “PIN-based debit is currently available only for Canadian merchants.” However, I don’t think that is accurate.
  • Regardless of the features you need, CenPOS generally outperforms Skipjack when all the facts are compared, especially for automotive and business to business applications.
  • API is available to integrate into ERP and other software packages.


Contact Christine Speedy of 3D Merchant Services, authorized CenPOS reseller.  Click here to become a customer or call the hotline at the top of this web page.

How can you improve collecting payments for large outpatient bills?

When a patient has a large medical bill, do you ever agree to multiple payments? How do you handle it? For some operations, the answer is for the customer to call back each month to phone in their payment. The most frequent reason cited is to avoid risks associated with credit card fraud and identity theft.

This scenario is bad for multiple reasons:

  1. The patient may not call back.
  2. Your staff might have to make more calls to collect later.
  3. Staff has to key enter the transaction each and every time a payment is made.
  4. Staff has access to credit card data over and over again. (risk)
  5. Staff may be writing down card information to keypunch in later, each time creating a period of risk.

All of these can be avoided with a virtual terminal solution that meets all medical billing needs. Your computer can be a virtual terminal simply by logging in to a secure web page. Some think there is more risk with this, however, there is actually less risk.  Unlike desktop terminals, administration controls and manages access remotely on demand. This eliminates risk associated with wrongful use of hardware by cleaning personnel, repair crews and unauthorized employees, plus you can instantly remove, restrict, or expand credit card processing access.

We put the virtual terminal on steroids so you also receive these benefits:

  • Save gobs of time! When a customer agrees to multiple payments, enter the customer data one time only and then set the payment schedule. Eliminate the follow up phone calls and other activities. (Recurring Billing)
  • Reduce receivables and predict cashflow- Since payment is on ‘autopilot’, collection is more predictable. Dynamic real-time graphic report shows future receivables.
  • Instant alerts based on thresholds you set can be transmitted via email to multiple personnel to reduce risk. For example, every refund over $50 sends an email.
  • Create a one time payment for a different amount, then future fixed payments. No other virtual terminal allows you to do this! (Token billing)
  • If a customer has multiple bills from different dates, enter the card data one time. Then simply add more ‘contracts’ for billing.
  • Add multiple cards for a customer and multiple billing addresses- every possible option you need to collect payments are available.
  • Least cost routingeliminate human error and hardware settings from impacting the cost of accepting credit cards.
  • Improve workflow. Enter payments from immediate work area.
  • Optional integration with patient check-ins- customers can make partial payment at hospital on arrival, and agree to rebill same card for balance. You get swipe rate at hospital and phone rate in the future.
  • Pay a bill online- create a payment page quickly and easily with just 3 lines of html code to put on an existing web page. Web page creation available for a fee.


Can I keep the same credit card processor? Yes. The Virtual Terminal is compatible with all major processors.

Where is the card data stored? It is encrypted and stored on remote PCI Compliant servers with redundant back-up. Once the card data is entered, you’ll never have access to the card information, other than the last 4 digits, again.

How long will it take to learn? The basic tasks are learned in under 15 minutes. Users of advanced features will probably spend a few hours over the course of a week.

Do you provide phone support? Yes, 24/7. There are also dozens of 15-25 second videos for instant answers for every situation so your customers don’t have to wait. Phone support is included in the service.

How much does it cost? A better question is, how much will you save? Reduced credit card processing fees, reduced staff time, and improved cash flow. All agreements are per quote and may include a per transaction fee and or percentage of transaction fee. We custom quote so your business pays a fee relative to your business size, and not a penny more.

What are the computer requirements? Windows XP and above or any Mac OSX, with high speed internet.  There is no software to install. This is a host-based solution.

Can I see a demo? Yes! Call 954-942-0483.  If you want to know what your credit card processing savings will be, please send two consecutive merchant statements for analysis.

Do you offer credit card processing? They are two distinct agreements and we offer both.

How does this work if we also have a billing company handling our lockbox? The set up is very flexible. You can have one account that all users can see data for ie patient payment history and contract set up or not. You’ll have total control as to which users can see what data and what functions they can perform. You’ll never have to wait for a report again because you’ll have real time access to all transactions- on your schedule, and in a format that works for you.

How can we protect against fraud if we don’t ask for the CVV; don’t we save money by getting the CVV? The security or CVV, CVV2, CID code is not required for MAIL/PHONE payments. CVV never impacts cost. There are many other fraud protections such as address verification. Since CVV cannot be stored electronically, we do not collect it for recurring billing or token billing.

What about risks from computers? No data is stored on your computer. To meet PCI Compliance your individual computers or network will need PCI Scanning.

Why low cost debit card processing might not matter

The vast majority of businesses are offered a low QUALIFIED RATE, also known as a debit card rate, and then other rates kick in. This rate may be meaningless for your merchant account costs, especially if an ecommerce busines or if you have a high dollar ticket average.

To start your review, you need to know what types of cards are typically received in your operation. I call this credit card processing transparency. If you don’t know where you are, you can’t manage it. If your statement doesn’t break out what interchange categories you’re hitting, you need a new processor immediately.

Looking at your statement, what percent of your transactions hit your price plans lowest QUALIFIED RATE? What percentage of your revenues does that equal? I prefer the number of transactions as a key factor since a few unusually large or small dollar transactions could sku the importance of hitting qualified rates.   In a typical card present RETAIL operation, this number is probably in the 20% to 60% range. In that case, you need to focus on ways to reduce your debit card processing, including least cost routing.

But what if you have very little debit card usage? A lot of people won’t use their check card online. A lot of people like to use rewards cards, frequently 50-60% of transactions,  especially if higher dollar purchases. Businesses rarely use check cards.  Your focus should not be on the qualified rate, but on the overall effective rate. I don’t suggest just focusing on the rewards card rate because there are many of them and the most important aspect in controlling costs is the right pricing for all types of cards received.

Case in point:

An ecommerce apparel store has average ticket of $175.  Generally targeting a wealthier demographic, many of the shoppers are executives and business owners. What’s their percentage of transactions use debit cards? 19%. This merchant is on a wholesale price plan with cost plus, also known as interchange plus pricing. Merchants on a typical pricing plan with low cost qualified rate, frequently pay a .40% to 1.0% surcharge for non-qualified transactions, on top of whatever else may apply for the transaction. Confusing? Let me reverse the language. I could charge you a higher qualified rate and still cut your costs if you have a lot of non-debit cards.


1. Your merchant statement must have complete transparency. If you don’t see REWARDS, COMM CARD, CORP DATA RATE I,  and a bunch of other rate categories, call our hotline right now!

2. What percent of your transactions are debit and non-debit? If more non-debit, do you have a great price for that? If you don’t know, call now.

3. Look at your statements every month. As the economy changes, so does card type usage. What was valid last year  may not be this year.

4. If you have more than $100,000 in debit annually, I recommend you speak to a consultant about technologies that could help you reduce your effective rate.

Low cost debit card processing might not matter. You just need to know what to look for and how it impacts your costs.

CenPOS integrated payment processing for Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System (RMS)

By pairing Microsoft’s Open Source Point of Sale Software with CenPOS transaction technology, merchants can lower payment processing costs and have long term flexibility for payment processor choices. The CenPOS PCI Compliant technology solution operates as a transaction switch, a payment gateway, and a treasury management system.

A key benefit of the CenPOS technology for merchants is Least Cost Routing, which processes any transaction at the lowest cost possible for the type of payment presented. For example, in a B2B credit card transaction, certain data has to be passed and criteria met to qualify for the lowest interchange rate. CenPOS logic will identify what information is needed, prompt the cashier or consumer as appropriate and pass that data to the merchant processor. Additionally, cashiers no longer need to be trained to ask ˜debit or credit?” since the system will determine whether the transaction is cheaper to run through at debit or credit rates, and automatically prompt for the next step in seconds.

Ecommerce stores will benefit from the same Least Cost Routing technology. Not all gateways pass on the data needed to qualify for the lowest interchange rates, even if the information is collected in the checkout form, and not all merchant processors can accept the data from every shopping cart on the market. Merchants are frequently unaware of this problem because either their merchant statements don’t show their interchange qualifications or they don’t know why they hit different interchange rates even if they are on the statement. The consulting team at 3D Merchant Services provides ongoing consulting to help merchants continuously improve their interchange qualification.

CenPOS is certified with most major merchant processors eliminating this costly merchant problem. New RMS users can purchase a preloaded CenPOS ready System through strategic partners. Existing RMS 2.0 and above users can code to the CenPOS API or CenPOS can be coded to the merchants API for a fee.

About Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System (RMS) – offers small and mid-market retailers a complete point of sale (POS) solution that can be adapted to meet unique retail requirements. Scalable from one to many stores.

ABOUT CenPOS: CenPOS offers a comprehensive suite of PCI Compliant payment solutions from credit card processing to business management capabilities, for mid-size businesses.

ABOUT 3D Merchant Services:
3D merchant blog 954-942-0483.
3D Merchant Services is the online brand created by First Payment Systems and CenPOS authorized reseller Christine Speedy to communicate a wide array of payment processing information to merchants and to develop business leads.

What is least cost routing?

Least cost routing in the payment processing world is processing any given type of payment via the route that will result in the lowest cost to the merchant. CenPOS is least cost routing solution. It’s an intelligent technology that essentially examines input, makes a multitude of decisions,  and sends back specific information to the POS terminal whether it be a signature capture or virtual terminal. This happens faster than traditional desktop credit card processing terminals. The cashier and consumer don’t have to think, they will be prompted if they need to enter a pin number, just sign, or something else.

CenPOS least cost routing works with checks, credit cards, debit cards, p-cards, and other electronic payment options.

The first reaction from many merchants is, “It sounds great, and I want it, but can I afford this?”.  Direct cash payback for merchants that would benefit most is anywhere from 30 days to a year. If you are processing a million dollars a month in credit and debit cards, you can’t afford not to have CenPOS which provides a huge array of benefits beyond direct ROI, including PCI Compliance and anti-fraud protection.