3 Profit Boosters for Lumber, Building Materials, Distribution Companies

Lumber, building materials, and distribution companies increase profits and cash flow almost instantly with these credit card processing and accounts receivable tips.

  1. Use a credit card processing solution that supports level III processing for retail. Prior to the October 2015 EMV liability shift, there were more companies that offered this, but today, to my knowledge, we offer the only solution that has both US EMV and level 3 retail certification.
    level 3 processing interchange rate

    Sample interchange rates for the same credit card transaction; Failing to qualify for level III is costly.

    Benefit: Potential 1% or more profit margin increase.  TIP: No countertop credit card terminal supports level 3 due to the data that must be sent with transactions; no bank currently offers a level 3 retail solution with US EMV. A cloud-based payment gateway is required.

  2. Ensure key entered transactions are sent for authorization with the MOTO (mail order, telephone order) transaction type indicator. If not, the transaction will default to the highest ‘non-qualified’ interchange rate possible for the card type, and in the event of a dispute, merchant must be able to produce a signed receipt.  TIP: Never key enter on a countertop terminal since it is set up for RETAIL. VX520 emv NFC verifone terminalThe best solution manages proper presentment for processing automatically so employees don’t need to understand the nuances of the best way to process any transaction to qualify for lower rates or mitigate risk.
  3. Enable online payments, with level III credit card processing. By empowering customers to pay 24/7, they’ll pay faster to clear up credit lines to buy more. Also, with cardholder authentication, payment can sometimes be guaranteed against fraud and qualify for even lower interchange rates due to lower risk; key entered transactions carry more risk and while risk can be mitigated, payment is not guaranteed. Accepting alternative methods like ACH, wire, and Paypal will also reduce friction, increase efficiency and increase cash flow.

Batch processing accounts receivable and donations- Caging services solutions

Replacing ICVerify or other legacy software for batch credit card processing? Whether you’re in the cloud, or headed there, methods of payment processing have changed to meet current and future requirements for PCI Compliance and fraud prevention. For service providers, including non-profit mail processing, payment gateway selection impacts efficiency, merchant fees, and even client PCI Compliance burden.

The first way efficiency can be increased is the batch upload process. It’s basically the same for credit card processing and check processing. Here’s comparisons for payment gateway methodology for batch upload service:

CenPOS Batch Processing File Upload

  1. Save file to configurable directory (listening folder)

CenPOS Batch Processing Response File Retrieval

  1. Retrieve one or multiple files from configurable directory (response folder)

Authorize.net, Payeezy (First Data) and similar Batch Processing File Upload

  1. Log in to your Merchant Interface at https://account.authorize.net or other
  2. Click Upload Transactions.
  3. Click Upload New Transaction File.
  4. Click Browse.
  5. Locate from your system the file that you want to upload.
  6. Click Upload File.

Authorize.net, Payeezy (First Data)and similar Batch Processing Response File Retrieval

  1. Log into the Merchant Interface at https://account.authorize.net or other
  2. Click Tools from the main toolbar.
  3. Click Upload Transactions.
  4. Click View Status of Uploaded Transaction Files.
  5. Select the desired uploaded transaction file from the Select Upload File drop-down list.
  6. Click Submit.

CenPOS increases efficiency to upload and retrieve responses, reduces friction with no login required, and also supports multi-merchant login, enabling users to toggle between accounts, creating efficiency for both the service provider and the merchant.

More BATCH UPLOAD differences authorize.net CenPOS
Custom fields (share across channels) No Yes
Reporting 2 years Indefinite
Telephone support no yes 24/7

Merchant fees are impacted when a transaction does not qualify at the lowest interchange rate possible. For example, business to business companies must submit level III data to qualify for related rates, which are often 90 basis points (0.90%) lower than without. The payment gateway must be certified for level III to each acquirer supported. Only a few payment gateways are level III certified, and even fewer of those offer an acceptable batch upload solution.

PCI Compliance burden is reduced with tokenization, outsourced payment processing, reduced vendors and reporting. The latter is critically important for forensic audits, as well as financial. The average gateway only saves data for two years, and has limited data retrieval capabilities. CenPOS audit reports cover every touch to the platform- who, what, when, and more, with records available for a minimum of 7 years to match IRS requirements, reducing the cost of on-site and remote audits.

To learn more about batch credit card processing, replacing ICVerify, and cloud payment differentiators, Contact Christine Speedy for a free consultation for all your omnichannel global payment needs.

4 Credit Card Processing Tips for Consultants & Accountants

profits Following several years of regulatory and technology credit card processing changes, 2015 has been another big year of changes. As we close out 2015, what are you advising clients to maximize profits? Every consultant to distributors, especially for building materials, including lumber and millwork, electrical, marble & stone, and plumbing supply, needs to update their merchant services knowledge. These businesses tend to have both a retail and a ‘to the trade’ component, making old solutions potentially outdated, risky, and costly.

  1. EMV liability shift October 2015, shifted liability for counterfeit card, and sometimes lost and stolen card, transaction losses from the issuer to the merchant, if the merchant does not support EMV chip card acceptance. Since businesses never saw this fraud, the financial risk is unknown, but guesses put it in the 1-2% of sales range. The first acquirer (Vantiv) announced penalties effective January 1 if a retail operation does not support EMV chip card transactions. These fees will grow throughout the payment chain in 2016, and be passed down to the merchant. If profit margins are important, EMV compliance is not optional. Between growth in credit card fraud losses and new penalties, distributors need to make the change ASAP.
  2. EMV terminal selection. Retail Distributors fall into two categories: Those who use countertop terminals, and those who use anything else, including mag swipe reader or signature capture terminal. Only the latter are even capable of supporting level 3 data, critical for qualifying for level 3 interchange rates, which makes up more than 95% of credit card processing, or merchant, fees. Yet, the vast majority of recommended EMV solutions are incapable of level 3, and or there is no certification for it. While updating, add NFC for ApplePay and newer payment methods, and P2PE, which encrypts at the terminal head, further mitigating data breach risk.  The best EMV terminal selection for distributors may reduce merchant fees an average of 32% and mitigate data breach risk. Conversely, the wrong choice will directly reduce profit margins. 
  3. PCI Compliance. Internal and external data breaches are a serious growing problem (Lowes and Home Depot both admitted), and best practices are being shared among peers that are ‘risky’ at best. Top areas of concern are paper credit card authorization forms and electronically storing card data (without certified compliant tokenization such as a payment gateway). Both should be eliminated. Online pay pages and other technology solutions have negated the need for employees to ever have access to credit card data, not even for a minute. Has your own company eliminated them?
  4. Quickbooks. For operations that used Intuit Merchant Services because there was no other integrated choice, that’s no longer an issue. Third party integrations empower businesses to use any acquirer. Look for one that supports all payment methods needed (ACH, check, wire, credit card etc). If processing more than $500k annually, fees may drop up to 50%.

CHRISTINE’S RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CLIENT ADVICE TO DISTRIBUTORS:

  • Implement EMV ASAP to avoid penalties and fraud losses.
  • Only implement an EMV solution certified for level 3 processing to maximize profit margins.
  • Get PCI 3.0 Compliant to mitigate risk of financial losses from a data breach- Replace all practices that include credit card access by any employee, even for a minute, with a technology solution.
  • Replace Intuit Merchant Services to maximize profit margins.

Note: this advice is applicable to any business that has a customer base which includes some business to business and retail, even if retail is a small part of the overall payment types accepted.

Credit Card Processing and EMV For Business to Business

Are business to business merchants being steered to expensive EMV credit card processing solutions? Yes. Too many banks, acquirers and software companies have limited EMV terminal solutions, and none of them are the best solution for business to business (b2b) companies that have a retail component.

Critical Credit Card Processing Needs for Business to Business

  1. Level 3 processing to reduce merchant fees. level 3 interchange rates
  2. Card not present risk mitigation for key entered and online payments, including securing card data collection, and preventing fraud.
  3. Token billing to securely store card data for variable recurring billing.
  4. Flexibility to collect payments from multiple sources and multiple payment types.

Common B2B EMV terminal solutions

There are two types of terminals. The most common type has software loaded on the terminal. For example, the Verifone VX520 with Vx820 EMV & NFC pinpad.

Verifone VX520 VX805 EMV terminal

Verifone VX520 with VX805 EMV terminal

The second type requires an internet connection to a payment gateway. The gateway  manages the terminal, which is essentially a slave to the gateway.

ingenico isc250 signature capture terminal

ingenico isc250 touch signature capture terminal with EMV and NFC.

The first option above doesn’t meet any of the critical B2B needs, yet is the most common solution offered to every company, without regard to business type. The second option is capable of meeting critical B2B needs, but only if the payment gateway supports them.  The only payment gateway with EMV certified terminal and level III processing retail certification is CenPOS. 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’s secure, cloud-based solution optimizes acceptance for all payment types across multiple channels without disrupting the merchant’s banking relationships. 3D Merchant Services is an authorized CenPOS reseller.

Business to business merchants with a retail business element are advised to consult with a payments expert who offers level III processing for retail. The rest doesn’t matter if this need cannot be met, so it’s an easy way to differentiate those who are selling whatever they have to offer and those who are solving problems to make your business more profitable.

Level 3 Gateway

Level 3 payment processing requires a level 3 gateway, but most merchants don’t realize how big an impact gateway selection has on merchant fees paid.

Merchants selling to other businesses or the government benefit from Level 3 processing and the savings this provides on commercial, purchasing and government transactions by processing level 3 Data. What gateway companies won’t tell you, is that not only do you need to send special data, but there are a bunch of rules to qualify for Data Rate III interchange rates as shown in the image below. Don’t follow the rules, and you’ll pay Data Rate I or Standard.

level 3 interchange ratesWhat are the rules? For starters, there are additional fields that must be submitted with the transaction. All the level 3 gateways support submitting the data, though they may do it in different ways. There are other rules such as the authorization and settlement amount must match. It’s unrealistic to expect any user to know all the rules for any transaction to qualify at the lowest interchange rate, so a payment gateway that automates that process is critical. This is where most payment gateways fail. They can submit data, but have no intelligence to help merchants comply with qualification rules.

What gateway supports level 3 for retail, kiosk, mobile or any swiped transaction? CenPOS.

Gateways must certify level 3 to each acquirer, also known as payment processor, or credit card processor. The certifications can include for retail, retail EMV, MOTO (Mail Order Telephone Order), and ecommerce. Very few gateways certify level 3 for all sales channels. The only one I’m aware of that’s certified retail and retail EMV is CenPOS.

Gateways supporting level 3 for MOTO:

What level 3 gateway is compatible with First Data? CenPOS, First Data Global Gateway e4 – now called Payeezy. While CenPOS automates level III processing, First Data has multiple optional steps after the sale, leaving compliance up to the individual user; additionally, their method does not guarantee that all rules will be met to qualify for level III interchange rates. Authorize.net and Payflow Pro offer level III with certain API’s only.

What level 3 gateway is compatible with Vantiv or NPC? CenPOS

What level 3 gateway is compatible with Chase Paymentech? CenPOS, Paymentech Orbital, PayTrace. Paymentech and Paytrace have optional extra steps, leaving compliance up to the individual user; additionally, their methods do not guarantee that all rules will be met to qualify for level III interchange rates. Authorize.net and Payflow Pro offer level III with certain API’s only.

What level 3 gateway is compatible with Tsys? CenPOS, eProcessing Network, Authorize.net and Payflow Pro offer level III with certain API’s only

What level 3 gateway is compatible with Moneris? CenPOS

What about Revolution Payments, Vantage Card Services and other gateways not listed here? In most cases, the company is a reseller of a gateway listed above, not a gateway manufacturer. Network Merchants, LLC (NMI) distributes a white label solution that supports level 3 data, but there’s no public information about acquirer certification; BluePay and 3DSI also offer level 3, but it’s unclear what acquirers. Please add your suggestions in comments.

As of September 15, 2015, of the brands listed in this post, only CenPOS has both certified EMV terminals to accept chip cards with their gateway, and has also certified level 3 processing for all sales channels via any method, including API, virtual terminal, and online payments.