Contents tagged with Guides

  • Visa MasterCard Change Surcharging Rules

    As part of the Merchant Class Action Litigation Settlement, Visa and MasterCard will make changes to their merchant acceptance practices.

    Visa and MasterCard will change their rules effective January 27, 2013 pertaining to the surcharging of credit transactions at the point of sale. Please review the detailed communications on surcharging in their entirety at and

    In summary, and subject to any limitations identified on the above websites or in the upcoming rules changes, U.S. merchants may surcharge Visa and MasterCard credit card transactions (not debit or pre-paid card transactions) at the brand level or the product level, but not both, with the following conditions: (1) surcharges cannot exceed certain levels (generally the … more

  • IRS Merchant Services Tax Reporting Mandate

    According to the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, beginning on January 1, 2012, Acquirers in the electronic payments industry were required to report credit card payments to the IRS.

    In addition, Acquirers are also responsible for performing backup withholding on any merchants whose information (name and tax ID) does not match IRS records.

    All merchants are encouraged to confirm that their merchant services provider has the most current, up to date and accurate TIN information on file. Merchants should consider submitting a copy of their W-9 form or a copy of the SS-4 form as part of the application process or upon any changes to their businesses legal structure that shows exactly how the merchant’s name is filed with the IRS therefore substantially reducing the … more

  • Payment Card Usage Surcharges

    In the proposed settlement of the Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation case, merchants would win the ability to impose surcharges on customers who use card payments.

    However, according to analysis of the proposed settlement, the ability to surcharge customers includes numerous restrictions and requirements:

    The surcharge amount will be limited by a cap established by Visa and MasterCard and by card type (debit card surcharge allowances to differ from credit card surcharge allowances)

    Merchants will be required to notify Visa and MasterCard before surcharging begins.

    Merchants post signs notifying customers that they surcharge

    Merchants must include the surcharge amount of any fee on receipts

    Merchants are not allowing a surcharge on Visa and … more

  • Don’t Let Your Bank Hide Fees

    PayView Like his previous article discussing the merchant services industry, Michael Conticelli has done it again with a must read insightful report in the Ft. Myers Small Business Examiner titled “New trend in merchant statements hides rates and fees”.

    Michael specifically calls out SunTrust for purposely redesigning their merchant statements to eliminate all rate and fee detail, leaving merchants no clue as to how charges are calculated. SunTrust made the decision to keep merchants in the dark about their “surcharge fees, bill backs, annual fees, PCI fees, etc.” because when merchants “don’t actually see the rates and fees month after month” they can’t ask questions.

    Michael warns “Merchants need to be vigilant in monitoring their merchant … more

  • Follow Best Practices for Best Merchant Rates

    As we head into the start of a new year, now is a good time to review your card processing procedures. Many of the highest Interchange rates result from transactions that downgrade for preventable reasons. Please take a moment to review your card acceptance procedures and follow best practices as they are important in qualifying your transactions at the very lowest Interchange rates available.

    Here are the most common issues:

    If you are accepting key entered transactions, the most common cause of downgrades is due to missing AVS (address verification service) which looks to match the cardholder’s zip code at the time of authorization. Best practice: always enter the zip code. Check with your staff and your system to make sure you are entering and passing the zip code with each … more

  • Vantage Study Reveals Results of Fed Regulated Debit in October

    Prior to new Fed rules, as required under the Durbin Amendment of last year's financial-overhaul law, debit Interchange was priced based on numerous factors such as: signature or PIN; card present or not; transaction less than $15 or higher; supermarket or lodging and more. The new Fed regulated debit Interchange in effect since October 1st forced the addition of a new rate to be determined by the size of the cardholder’s bank issuing the debit card. For small banks, with less than $10 billion in assets, the existing debit Interchange rates remained unchanged. However, for the largest banks issuing debit cards, with assets are over $10 billion, the new Fed regulated debit Interchange rate did have an impact on merchant processing costs in October.

    Mega-merchants were expected to … more

  • Best Practices for B2B Ecommerce Include Level 3 Card Processing

    The B2B buying experience is being transformed by ecommerce technology to resemble that of a consumer online shopping experience. B2B sellers have traditionally used their web presence as a brochure site and to generate leads, taking advantage of buyers who have increasingly turned to the internet for all of their product research. However, as vendors have bulked up ecommerce platforms to handle the more complex B2B product, contract management and pricing rules, B2B ecommerce is pushing the final purchase online as well.

    B2B ecommerce is being adopted as a new sales channel, augmenting traditional direct and channel sales strategies, delivering on the “do more with less” mantra of today’s business environment. And a new-generation of buyers, with expectations crafted … more

  • How does Square compare?

    At Vantage we market the VeriFone PAYware Mobile iPhone reader for mobile merchants who have the sales volume to support having their own direct merchant account. (How is that for a disclaimer?) However, as a merchant advocate, I'm always trying to recommend the best, lowest cost solution for my clients, and when their situation and environment dictates, I have recommended Square’s mobile payment solution. Of course along with this I've also followed up to get a first hand account of what real merchants thought of the Square experience.

    Some cool features of Square:

    It's simple to get started.

    After entering a dollar amount for the transaction, you can add a picture from your phone or take a picture of the product you are selling.

    You can enter and report on cash transactions … more

  • A Guide to PCI Data Security and Compliance Requirements

    PCI Data Security and Compliance Requirements

    What is PCI?Specifically, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) prohibits the storage of the full contents of any magnetic-stripe, CVV2 or PIN data. Storage of this type of data is in violation of (PCI DSS) and the card company operating regulations. It also provides security requirements for transmitting card data.

    PCI is a data protection standard and it provides a lot of detail on how that protection should be implemented. This means that PCI is not only good for protecting payment card data, but also protecting your business and any personally identifiable information you may have about your customers and employees.

    The Financial Risks of a Breach are Real. As the rules & regulations now stand, once your … more

  • Recommended Reading for anyone looking to buy or sell Merchant Services

    Wow! This post on titled 5 Deceitful Tactics Credit Card Processors Use To Get More Of Your Money really captures the very points Vantage has been making now for 15 years! Everyday we work with merchants being aggressively pursued by both fly-by-night organizations and big-name-mega banks who use all 5 Deceitful Tactics.

    Tactic #1: The “Rate Game”

    Tactic #2: The Binding Contract

    Tactic #3: Early Termination Fees

    Tactic #4: New PCI Fees

    Tactic #5: The Bewildering Statement

    This post does an excellent job of explaining the pitfalls of these tactics and recommending solutions. Of course you MUST pay attention, ask questions and read the fine print for yourself to identify these tactics. You can NOT rely on “knowing the rep” or the “ … more