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.

New Visa SaaS subscription rules for trial periods

Effective April 18, 2020, merchants must comply with new Visa subscription billing terms and conditions. These are, once again, big changes that merchants must take action on to comply with. The payment gateway will be critical, and not all are ready to meet the new technology requirements for authorization and receipts.

Who do the new Visa rules apply to?

  • All merchants globally
  • Merchants that offer a free or discounted introductory offer as part of a subscription service

What are key Visa SaaS subscription changes?

  • Merchants must get express consent to enter into agreement for recurring billing. For example, if an online purchase, a checkbox agreeing to the terms is acceptable.
  • Notification via text, email, or other agreed upon method (not realistic for most businesses), of the subscription terms including start date, product/service details, billing frequency, billing start date, and link to cancel.
  • Notification at least 7 days in advance of the expiration

Revised sale transaction receipts are required.

  • Details to include length of trial period, introductory offer, or promotional period, and notice the cardholder will be charged unless the cardholder takes steps to cancel.
  • Date it starts, even if no payment is due, and date subsequent recurring transactions begin.
  • A link to cancel or other simple method.

Payment Gateway and settlement changes to support new Visa Authorization is required.

Many payment gateways are not yet compliant with the October 2017 stored credential mandate and they won’t be ready with this either as it is not a simple update.

  • A new descriptor, “trial” or similar, must be sent with Merchant Name field of the Clearing Record for the first transaction at the end of a trial period. This descriptor will then appear on cardholder statements, online banking etc.

“This is another huge change that most merchants will probably have difficulty complying with because of outdated payment gateways,” according to Christine Speedy, 3D Merchant Services payment gateway expert.

Merchants must make it easier to cancel recurring billing.

This is actually an extension of rules and recommended changes over the last few years. For example, if a customer signs up online, they should be able to cancel online, not have to call on the phone. The new rule now says regardless of where they signed up, retail store or other, they must be able to cancel online.

Visa expands cardholder dispute rights for subscription billing via existing condition “Misrepresentation”.

Basically, merchants need to be able to prove that the cardholder expressly opted in, and they notified customer before processing after the trial period.

Visa will actively monitor trial period compliance.

This is huge. While they don’t state how, the advances of Artificial Intelligence (AI) make if fairly easy. Additionally, merchants that are using recurring billing properly already notify the parties in financial ecosystem that they are doing recurring billing via the 2017 recurring billing stored credential changes.

What are merchants benefits to comply with Visa rules?

Merchants can expect increased authorization approvals, better rate qualification (higher profits), and increased customer satisfaction. Merchants avoid getting shut down, fined, assessed fees, penalty fees and also reduce customer service bandwidth.

DISCLAIMER: condensed and incomplete information. Information may be quickly outdated. Follow links from our Merchant Rules web page here or click here to download Visa’s PDF with review and quick reference card. Two page PDF, 675kb.

Call Christine Speedy for compliant payment gateway solutions to maximize profits and improve your customer experience. 954-942-0483, 9-5 ET for all your recurring billing and stored credential payment gateway and virtual terminal needs.

Visa to Launch New Certification Program to Support Payment Industry Professional Development

Company will make 500 scholarships available to qualified applicants

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) today announced plans to launch a new certification program and fund up to 500 scholarships, available to qualified applicants, that can be used toward obtaining this new professional certification. Visa’s new certification program is designed to train individuals as dispute resolution professionals, a role that is currently in high demand across the payments ecosystem.

With 75 percent of HR professionals in the U.S. reporting1 a shortage of skills in candidates for job openings, there is an increased need to better align training to the types of positions that are currently available. Certificate programs offer an alternative to a traditional degree, giving candidates the opportunity to develop the skills and experiences needed for a particular job in a shorter period of time and for less cost. A Georgetown University study2 found that those who hold certificates receive a 20% wage premium over those who do not.

“Private industry has an important role to play in helping equip the workforce with the skills needed for in-demand jobs. We need employers to actively assess workforce needs, promote skills-based recruitment and hiring and commit to workers’ lifelong skills development, which is critical to economic development,” said Visa Chairman and CEO Al Kelly, who serves on the White House American Workforce Policy Advisory Board to advise on ways the public sector, private industry and educational institutions can partner to tackle the ongoing skills crisis. “At Visa, we are working to help strengthen the pipeline of qualified workers. We want to help candidates adapt to a constantly changing environment.”

This certification program builds on Visa’s longstanding commitment to cultivating a ready and able workforce. Visa is one of more than 350 companies and organizations that signed the White House Pledge to America’s workers.

—a promise to expand programs that are designed to educate, train and reskill more than 14.3 million students and workers. Specifically, over the next five years, Visa has pledged to help create enhanced career opportunities for 14,500 individuals, including through increased apprenticeships and work-based learning programs, continuing education, on-the-job training and reskilling.

Visa’s new dispute resolution professional certification program will include multiple days of training and several professional-level certification exams. Dispute resolution professionals manage payment card disputes, and they generally work for financial institutions, such as the bank that issues your credit card, or payment processors.

Training and certification programs of this type can typically cost thousands of dollars, and participants in a program of this nature are often sponsored by an employer. Visa’s scholarship program for dispute resolution professional certification is meant to help support those who may not have the means through their employer. Details for how to apply for the scholarship are anticipated to be made available in early 2020.

“We are proud to offer this new certificate and provide a pathway to employment in the payments industry,” said Karie Willyerd, Visa’s Chief Learning Officer. “This is yet another demonstration of Visa’s commitment to provide today’s workforce with 21st century skills.”

About Visa Inc.

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network – enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of digital commerce on any device for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit About Visa, visa.com/blog and @VisaNews.

Visa Prevents Approximately $25 Billion in Fraud Using Artificial Intelligence

Since pioneering AI in payments, continuous evolution of the technology in Visa Advanced Authorization helps drive commerce and consumer confidence

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) today announced new analysis showing Visa Advanced Authorization (VAA) using artificial intelligence (AI) helped financial institutions prevent an estimated $25 billion in annual fraud—making the global payment ecosystem safer for retailers and consumers.i VAA is a comprehensive risk management tool that monitors and evaluates transaction authorizations on the Visa global payment network, VisaNet, in real time to help financial institutions promptly identify and respond to emerging fraud patterns and trends. Visa processed more than 127 billion transactions between merchants and financial institutions on VisaNet last year, and employed AI to analyze 100 percent of the transactions—each in about one millisecond—so financial institutions can approve legitimate purchases while quickly identifying and preventing fraudulent transactions.

“One of the toughest challenges in payments is separating good transactions made by account holders from bad ones attempted by fraudsters without adding friction to the process,” said Melissa McSherry, senior vice president and global head of Data, Risk and Identity Products and Solutions, Visa. “Visa was the first payment network to apply neural network-based AI in 1993 to analyze the riskiness of transactions in real time, and the impact on fraud was immediate. By striking the right balance between human expertise and technology innovation, we continue to evolve our capabilities as new AI breakthroughs expand the realm of what’s possible.”

For financial institutions, friction in the payment process can lead to the abandonment of a payment card. A study by Javelin Strategy & Research revealed more than half of cardholders affected by false declines (51 percent) used a secondary payment card to complete the purchase at the same merchant, which can push a competitor’s card to the top of wallet.ii However, removing friction cannot come at the expense of identifying and preventing fraud. As a survey by the National Retail Federation and Forrester discovered, the top payment-related challenge faced by retailers is fraud, cited by 55 percent of those surveyed.

Visa Advanced Authorization is a layer of fraud prevention that can help drive down risk and fraud for financial institutions and retailers, and help reduce friction due to false declines for payment account holders. More than 8,000 financial institutions in 129 countries use Visa Advanced Authorization.

Preventing fraud near the speed of light

Visa pioneered using neural networks modeled after the human brain to power its AI platform to identify possible fraud. This delivers faster and deeper insights through previously unknown correlations. Delivered through Visa Advanced Authorization, retailers and financial institutions benefit from:
• Machine Learning models used for real-time examination of each transaction for indicators of fraud—looking at activities, patterns and more than 500 risk attributes—all in about one millisecond.
• Risk scoring, which Visa shares with the account holder’s financial institution, where the decision is made to either approve or decline the transaction, or flag the transactions for follow up with the account holder.
• The ability to identify good transactions even when made by new or infrequent shoppers, reducing the likelihood of false declines.
• Real-time authorization using integrated, global predictive analytics to identify and prevent fraud.
Visa has kept global fraud rates at historic lows—less than 0.1 percent—through a multi-layered approach of investing in human intelligence and technology like A.I.; empowering consumers and clients with tools, resources and control to manage risk; and setting governance processes to help businesses and regulators stay nimble.iv
“Consumers identified Visa as the most trusted company to provide financial services or payments among all payment networks and we believe it is due to Visa’s unrelenting focus on eliminating fraud and protecting the payment ecosystem,” said McSherry.v

Additional Risk Solutions Using AI
Visa champions security every day to protect the payment ecosystem and offers a portfolio of risk products and services that can help consumers, merchants and financial institutions prevent fraud. This includes Visa Risk Manager (VRM), Visa Consumer Authentication Services (VCAS) and CyberSource Decision Manager (DM), among others. For more information about Visa’s Risk solution portfolio, visit Visa Security.

Additional Resources

About Visa Inc.

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network – enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of digital commerce on any device for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit About Visa,visa.com/blog and @VisaNews.

i For the 12 months ended April 30, 2019.

ii “Addressing the Threat of False Positive Declines” by Kyle Marchini and Al Pascual, Javelin Strategy & Research, October 17, 2018.

iii “The State of Retail Payments Report – Outlook for 2019” by Brendan Miller, principal analyst, Forrester, November 2018.

iv Visa Global Fraud Data, Visa Inc., April 2019.

v “Omnichannel and Branch: The Current U.S. Consumer Banking Environment,” by Peter Reville, Director of Primary Data, Mercator Advisory Group, March 2019.

Source: Visa Inc.

Verify by Visa Rebrands to Visa Secure

VerifiedbyVisa is designed to make online purchases with your Visa credit card even more secure. Visa announced via the merchant business news digest March 28, 2019 the Verified by Visa (VbV) program name will be rebranded to Visa Secure. Visa Secure uses 3DS, the industry-wide e-commerce authentication standard.

Existing VbV marks will be replaced with a Visa Secure badge across consumer-facing merchant and issuer channels, while all 3DS authentication screens will simply display the Visa logo.

verified by visa
Old Verified by Visa logo
Visa Secure logo
New Visa Secure logo

Visa developed the 3-D Secure standard—currently branded for Visa cardholders as Verified by Visa— to provide merchants and issuers a way to authenticate the cardholder for card-not-present payments.

Starting 1 October 2019, merchants must use the new badge and messaging whenever EMV 3DS technology is used.