Looking for PCCharge Alternative?

Years ago, PCCharge PC POS was a very popular solution for merchants wanting to turn their computers into a POS system. With the introduction of cloud payment solutions has the time for it and PC Payment Software solutions passed?

With cloud payments, no data is ever stored at the merchant site, and there’s never any software to update. For non-integrated solutions, merchants access a virtual terminal via a secure web page. A payment gateway works behind the scenes to encrypt and transmit data securely via the internet, just like for ecommerce transactions.


  • PCCharge is installed on Windows PC’s. For PCI Compliance, merchants should update software within 30 days to the latest version. Do they? Because of license fees and simple mistakes, not all merchants use the latest version. Records are accessible on site only unless a server solution is used.
  • With Cloud Payment technology there’s no software to update and records are accessible anywhere.  (This does not negate the same merchant requirements for all other elements to meet PCI Compliance requirements.) In the event of emergency, merchants can operate instantly from anywhere.


  • PCCharge supports credit card terminals, primarily with wedge swipers (mag stripe card readers), plus checks with RDM readers.
  • Some cloud payment solutions support signature capture terminals, including with pin debit, and mobile readers, in addition to wedges and RDM’s.


  • PCCharge supports level 2 processing but merchants can qualify for lower interchange rates, which comprise over 95% of merchant fees, with level 3 processing.
  • Some cloud payment solutions support level 3 processing for retail (and other channels such as MOTO- mail order, telephone order-  etc). Additionally, some cloud payment solutions have more options for token billing, variable installment, online payment management etc.


  • PCCharge?
  • Cloud technology solutions provide many options for merchants to protect against both internal and external fraud, with merchant configurable rules, real time alerts and more. The scale of protection options varies widely by solution. Dynamic solutions which vary response on the fly based on input variables (for example, the method of transaction such as key entered) offer maximum protection.

About PCCharge PC POS: PCCharge is POS Software product from Verifone.  Designed for stand-alone, client server or integrated payment processing environments, can turn any PC into a POS system.

About the author: Christine Speedy is an authorized reseller for CenPOS enterprise cloud payment solutions. CenPOS can turn PC’s and Mac’s into a POS system. CenPOS is a merchant centric omnichannel SaaS that supports level 3 processing in retail, MOTO, ecommerce and other channels, creating customer efficiencies while increasing customer engagement. For sales, call (954) 942-0483.

Going Paperless Checkout? PART 2 Signature Capture Payment Solution & Variable Recurring Billing

Token billing with variable payments creates efficiencies and improves PCI compliance. In a traditional retail checkout scenario, a customer swipes their card each visit. But what about customers that are given special payment terms or the owner of the card is not the one with the daily interaction with the supplier?

Automotive dealer commercial accounts and distributors are two key business to business markets that benefit from an Enterprise Payment Solution with token billing support in the retail environment. In this scenario, the merchant swipes the first transaction, creates the token or key which replaces card data, and subsequent transactions are made by retrieving the token in the virtual terminal.

payment switch card not present retail

As the illustration shows, just because a payment gateway is in the cloud is not a guarantee that the technology will return maximum benefit to merchants or their customers. At a minimum, merchants need these two features to directly impact credit card processing fees:

  • Automate interchange optimization (reduce fees for both card present & card not present)
  • Level III processing for business to business via all payment channels

The token concept can be applied to checks as well. However, merchants cannot automatically ACH a commercial checking account. Customers must self-initiate payments by echeck / ACH. Since merchants may not know which type of checking account a customer has, management needs to weigh all the options and choose the best solution for their customer base.


How to Accept Online Payments With CenPOS

There are multiple methods to accept online payments without a shopping cart. This article is for merchants who want to passively accept payments online using CenPOS, without any special form programmed, and while minimizing PCI compliance scope. In this setup, the customer goes to the merchant web site to make a payment.

The required and non-required fields are configured within the CenPOS web pay page administrator. No programming knowledge is required. If a merchant wants to add additional text, images, or fields beyond the scope of the CenPOS configuration options, alternative implementations are available. It’s best to discuss specific needs with a consultant to choose the best solution.


  1. Link from the merchant web site to a secure custom CenPOS hosted landing page. The page contains Flash, and will look very familiar to CenPOS virtual terminal users. Flash is not supported on Apple iPad or iPhone products. There is no customization for appearance with the Flash version.
  2. Link from the merchant web site to the secure custom CenPOS hosted landing page, programmed in html 5.  The fields are exactly the same as option 1, but they are programmed in html 5 to work with a wider array of devices, including Apple products. Merchants can supply CSS to match their web site. CSS is a markup language that defines the look and feel of a web page, and can be obtained from the merchant web deveoper. The fields merchants can supply are font size, font color, and background text, plus field box shape, required and non-required border colors.  If a CSS file is not supplied, it will look similar to the Flash page.
  3. Same as option 1, but paste the supplied html onto your web page. Even though the payment data is within an iframe, with payment accepted off the merchant server,  merchant will  want to install an SSL certificate for peace of mind for their customers.
  4. Same as option 2, but paste the supplied html5 onto your web page. Even though the payment data is within an iframe, with payment accepted off the merchant server,  merchant will  want to install an SSL certificate for peace of mind for their customers.

accept payments online

How do I get the pay page? Contact Christine Speedy for a CenPOS account. I’ve developed simple instruction sheets to share with your web developer.

Can I get a pay page without changing credit card processors ( merchant account) ? Yes. Your merchant account and deposit schedule remains the same. Our technology sits in front of your existing financial partners. Instructions for your processor will be supplied so that we can connect to your account.

Can I accept ACH? Maybe. This feature is available with various options. Call for more details.

Do I also get a virtual terminal to key enter transactions? Yes.

Do you offer a free trial? Yes.

What does the service cost? Call for more details.

No web payment data touches your server or web page. Add just one line of html to any web page to accept payments.  If you’re looking to reduce the burden of PCI Compliance, this is one more tool to help you.

Level III processing with PayTrace virtual terminal vs CenPOS virtual terminal

Are you looking for a payment gateway or virtual terminal that supports level III data (L3 or level 3)  processing and does not require a new merchant account? This review compares a select few features of Paytrace and CenPOS, specifically to address business to business needs with token billing. Level III data, or enhanced data, can significantly reduce credit card processing fees.  Both services are compatible with multiple credit card processors, including the big two, First Data Merchant Services and Chase Paymentech.

Watch these two videos, each of which uses stored customer payment information, and adds level 3 data to a transaction, then read my comments below.

PayTrace is a product of PayTrace, Inc, a registered trademark. PayTrace Level 3 Processing Video:


PayTrace level III processing transaction with stored card number video steps:

  1. Retrieve stored customer
  2. Key enter amount
  3. Process transaction
  4. Confirm total
  5. Transaction is approved.  Red text appears stating Level III could be added
  6. Click to add Level III data.
  7. Default data is displayed- modify & click to add.
  8. Alert remains that at least 1 item should be added. Click to add a line item.
  9. Default line item detail appears. Click to add line item.
  10. Click to add another line item or close and return to Paytrace page.

Optionally click navigation to view all level III data items – update any in red before settlement.


CenPOS level III processing transaction with stored card number (token billing): level 3 video

If the video does not automatically load, click the link to watch on my youtube channel, Youtube.com/3dmerchant

#30-B Charge a stored credit card and pass level III data video (click to enlarge video, then hit escape to return)

CenPOS Level III Processing Steps:

  1. Retrieve stored customer token
  2. Key enter amount
  3. Invoice is required (required for key entered transactions qualified interchange rates)
  4. Submit transaction
  5. Level III default template including line item appears (choose alternate template if desired) . Optionally add notes.
  6. Submit
  7. Receipt appears- review, print or close. ( Customer is automatically sent a copy of receipt to email address or mobile on file.)


There are many differences between the payment  gateways, however, these video’s demonstrate two key differentiators that are consistent when comparing level III processing services on the market.

  1. PayTrace relies on employees to do the right thing at the point of sale to help merchants qualify for the lowest interchange rates. CenPOS does not. Administrators create rules to meet company financial and risk objectives, including requiring level III enhanced data on all eligible transactions.
  2. Simplicity of function and pleasing design. The CenPOS user-friendly, graphical interface and automated prompting is unparalleled. The efficiencies gained are highly valued by CenPOS users.

What do you think? I’d love your comments.

Cloud Payment Technology Helps Equipment Distributor Cut Credit Card Costs 50%

A Florida distributor of advanced industrial automation equipment, including SMC pneumatics,  reduced the effective rate of credit card processing to under 2%, including all merchant account and gateway fees. While a small part of the overall revenue stream, it was a growing cost center, impacting profit margins.

How did the distributor reduce costs? Two changes  were required. First a change in the credit card processing price plan, and second technology to automate qualified interchange rate optimization. Interchange rates include a percentage of the transaction and a per transaction fee, and comprise the bulk of all credit card processing costs. The same card can process at different rates, depending on which rules the merchant complies with.

The example business was using Bank of America First Data Merchant Services with an enhanced bill-back price plan. Most credit cards accepted were and are corporate, business, or purchasing cards. All transactions are card not present, also known as card absent, and some are international transactions. On the existing price plan, the merchant paid a flat rate percent of sales for all qualified transactions, plus an additional percentage fee for non-qualified sales. The non-qualified penalty was very high, resulting in an effective rate over 4%. (Total fees divided by net sales, minus American Express, equals effective rate.)

The best price plan for merchants, commonly available for $1,000,000 in annual processing, is called wholesale interchange plus or interchange pass through. With pass-through pricing, merchants pay all costs, plus a merchant discount, which is identified as a separate line item for billing. Costs and gross profits to the merchant service provider become transparent. Even better is for the merchant account to support level 3 processing, whereby a merchant that sends enhanced level 3 data may qualify for even lower rates on business, corporate and purchasing cards.

A Bank of America representative offered the merchant an additional agreement for a new interchange plus merchant account solely for their largest corporate customer. I recommended the merchant either renegotiate all of their business with my input or go with another vendor. It made no financial sense that the merchant solve the cost concern for only one client and not all of them. To reduce credit card processing fees, first the merchant needed a new interchange plus merchant account for all customers.

Interchange is the largest component of credit card processing fees. There are many rules to achieving the lowest qualified interchange rate. For business to business companies, it’s infinitely more difficult to qualify for the lowest rate for any given card type  due to the high prevalence of business, corporate and purchasing cards, and their many rules. Because it’s virtually impossible for employees to learn all the nuances of those rules, as well as even know what kind of cards their remote customers are presenting, cloud payment technology is the break-through that merchants have needed to achieve lower effective costs while also increasing efficiencies.

The three most challenging rules merchants have trouble complying with for business, corporate and purchasing cards:

  • authorization and settlement within 72 hours for all card not present sales
  • authorization amount and settlement amount equal
  • sending correct level 3 data, enhanced data that applies only to certain cards

Without all three of the rules met, fees can run one percent or more extra vs. when all rules were complied with. The merchant needed software that would help them meet all requirements, yet there are few market choices, including among cloud payment / virtual terminal solutions.

Bank of America offered a reasonably priced desktop software solution that would support level 3 processing. The reason it was presented to use for one customer only, is because all the information needed to be sent with each transaction creates an extra burden for accounts receivable. If the merchant used it for all customers, then they’d have to enter a lot of extra information on every sale to be safe, because users would have no idea whether the card would benefit from level 3 data or not.  Additionally, the one customer was on 30 day terms, so at the time the invoices were paid, the other criteria would be met. But that wasn’t true for new and other customers who were not on terms. An authorization was obtained for those customers on order, and weeks later, the final amount would often be different. This meant the merchant would not meet all three minimum rules for the other accounts to qualify for the best rates.

I recommended the merchant implement CenPOS, an intelligent rules-based cloud payment technology that mitigates risk of employees making decisions that impacted fees paid. It automatically determines when level 3 data is required for the lowest qualified rate. Additionally, it automatically forces proper settlement rules are complied with, including authorization.

Compared to the Bank of America First Data solution, my recommendation solved these problems:

  • Increased access: Anyone authorized can process transactions via the virtual terminal because it’s in the cloud, not desktop software.
  • Lower fees: All transactions optimized for lowest qualified interchange rate, not just one customer
  • Eliminate mistakes: Intelligent rules-based solution forces proper employee actions to mitigate risk and reduce fees
  • PCI Compliance: stored tokens replaced full card data- no employee access to card data. PCI compliant custom credit card authorization forms automatically generated for customer signature.
  • Operational Efficiencies:  Quick and easy to charge repeat customer accounts using stored tokens. One reporting hub to retrieve all payments, including resending receipts to merchants. Custom Level 3 data template(s) significantly reduce burden of adding level 3 data when prompted.

The merchant chose to open a new interchange plus merchant account as well as implement CenPOS.  Within 30 days, the merchant  streamlined payment processing and reduced card acceptance costs over 50%, as evidenced by comparing before and after merchant statements. Additionally, PCI compliance burden and financial risks were reduced, providing peace of mind for the family business owners.

Example of a wew low interchange rate a merchant transaction qualified for.

Above: Example of a new low interchange rate a transaction qualified for vs 3.77% on the old solution.

ARTICLE DISCLAIMER: The details of the third party offer are based on my recollection of verbal statements by the merchant. It’s possible not all information was shared with me, or that my recollection is imperfect. Before making any financial decisions for your company, speak with a qualified representative familiar with the nuances of business to business interchange rules and PCI compliance rules.

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