What payment gateways support level 3 processing?

level 3 payment gateway chart

2014 level 3 payment gateway comparison chart. Click image for PDF.

2014 comparison chart review of payment gateways that support level III data and whether or not the gateway is independent of the merchant account. Reviewed are authorize.net, CenPOS, Paymentech Orbital, First Data e4 Global Gateway, PayTrace, Payflow Pro, 3Delta Systems (3DSI), Paymentech Orbital, and Heartland Payment Systems.

Where a check is indicated, the merchant can send level III data without any special programming or integration (except API).  However, a merchant might achieve level 3 processing in another category by using an API.

The payment channels reviewed include retail, moto, ecommerce shopping cart, electronic bill presentment & payment (EBPP), online payments (hosted web pay page), token billing (recurring), API (ERP and other software). Also indicated is whether a new merchant account is required or which merchant processors the gateway is compatible with.

2014 Level 3 Processing Omnichannel Payment Gateway Comparison Chart PDF download 1.1 MB

Certification to merchant processors, including level 3 processing:

  • CenPOS: First Data (FDC Nashville), Chase Paymentech, Vantiv, TSYS*
  • authorize.net: Chase Paymentech, FDC Compass, FDC Nashville Global , GPN, Litle, RBS WorldPay Atlanta, TSYS
  • Payflow Pro: Cielo, First Data (FDMS), Heartland, Litle, Paymentech Salem, Paymentech Tampa, Securenet, TSYS
  • Paytrace: TSYS, Paymentech Tampa, Global East, Heartland, and Trident.

* Think of TSYS as a hub that provides access for transactions (traffic via payment gateway) to many highways (processors). By going through the hub, a payment gateway can securely connect to many processors (Global, Heartland, First Data etc) with one certification. Some merchants may incur a per transaction fee for using a payment gateway that connects via TSYS; this may or may not be additional to fees already being paid.


** January 2014 Authorize.net update http://apps.cybersource.com/library/documentation/dev_guides/Level_2_3_SO_API/Level_II_III_SO_API.pdf (pg 10)

*** 2/28/2014 Payflow Pro https://www.paypalobjects.com/webstatic/en_US/developer/docs/pdf/payflowgateway_guide.pdf

DISCLAIMER: If the information was unclear or not available, the field was left blank to err on the side of caution. Contact processors or payment gateway providers for specific details about availability and functionality. 3D Merchant Services is an authorized reseller for CenPOS, and most payment gateways, in addition to other services.


MOTO: mail order, telephone order. This is a transaction indicator code for card not present transactions.

EBPP: electronic bill presentment & payment. A merchant delivers an electronic invoice to their customers. The customer then pays the invoice electronically.

LEVEL III data or level 3 data:  refers to the additional field data sent for processing Visa and MasterCard business, corporate and purchasing cards.

LEVEL III data or level 3 processing: refers to a merchant account that supports the acceptance of level 3 data and passes the data onto the issuers

What’s the difference between level 3 and level III? Nothing. In 2014, and recent documents, interchange rates are more frequently referred to as level 3. However, in older documentation and marketing materials, the requirements and other items referred to it as level III.

It’s critical to note that the CAPABILITY of sending level 3 data via a payment gateway, does NOT guarantee that the transaction will qualify for level 3 interchange rates. There are many rules, and how the gateway helps a merchant meet those rules varies widely. For a free consultation on key operational differences between level III gateways, contact us.

Article feedback is appreciated!


3 thoughts on “What payment gateways support level 3 processing?

  1. We are a reseller of PayTrace and after viewing your comparison table to CenPOS and other payment gateways, we wanted to let you know that PayTrace is able to add Level 3 data to all transactions processed through their payment gateway with out additional programming or integration. They are even able to add Level 3 data to transactions processed through their mobile iOS application.

  2. UPDATE: There are many ways to interpret mobile, so the MOBILE column will be removed from the next update to avoid confusion when comparing solutions.
    Mobile could refer to a mobile application, or it could refer to using a virtual terminal on a mobile device. The results could have different merchant implications for level III processing capabilities.

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