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Archives / 2008
  • Before Merchant Rates, Negotiate Definitions First

    Time and again we see a complex payments industry being made more confusing for merchants accepting credit and debit cards.  Examine the following examples.

    As a consumer it is better not to get trapped in a long-term contracts and cancellation penalties.  A sales rep may tell you they don't have an "early termination fee" and may be technically right because the company they work for has changed the definition and called it a "de-conversion fee".   The contract states that price changes can be made with 30 days prior written notice, yet if you terminate the agreement within the first 3 years following the date of your execution of the agreement, "you agree to pay de-conversion fees of an amount equal to" the transaction fees incurred by you during the calendar month … more

  • Don’t Overlook Merchant Rate Savings from Cardholder Returns

    Does your business provide a generous return policy?  If you do, one way to lower your bottom line costs of accepting credit and debit card payments is to look at your costs to process cardholder credits.

    When your customer pays by card, merchants pay a discount rate to process the sale transaction.  For example, if during the month, you make $1,000 in sales that ultimately result in the cardholder making a return and you issue offsetting credits for $1,000, what has it cost you?  Assuming a 2% discount rate in our example, that’s $20 in fees. 

    From our daily analysis of merchant statements, the most common thing we see is that merchants pay for processing the sales and on cardholder credits no discount rate is applied.  This is the case above; the … more

  • Vantage Card Services receives Small Business Standard of Excellence WebAward

    Vantage Card Services was awarded the Small Business Standard of Excellence 2008 WebAward for its Merchant Rates Calculator tool.The Web Marketing Association names the best web sites in 2008 in its twelfth annual WebAward Competition for Web site development. More than 2,400 sites from 45 countries were adjudicated in 96 industry categories during this year's competition. Entries were judged on design, copy writing, innovation, content, interactivity, navigation, and use of technology. more

  • Do you display credit card signage?

    Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express – some of the most recognized brands in the world - spend hundreds of millions on advertising every year to get cardholders to use their card to buy from you.  Reviewing POS signage trends, we find the practice at low levels and declining. 

    Is displaying POS signage an effective way incent card use to increase sales?  more

  • Fall 2008 Interchange Announcements

    MasterCard, Visa and Discover have all announced changes to Interchange to take effect October and November 2008. 

    Visa has announced a new Government-to-Government (G2G) program for government services merchants and a new Tax Payment program for eligible government taxing authorities, or parties acting on their behalf.  Both of these new programs require merchant registration.  Vantage government clients will automatically be enrolled. 

    Since 2005, Vantage has monitored, recorded and reported on Interchange changes impacting merchants.   Read more about the Fall 2008 Merchant Interchange Rates. 

      more

  • Google Knol - Shopping Merchant Account Rate Quotes

    Check our post Shopping Merchant Account Rate Quotes on Google Knol for help on how to lower processing costs when accepting credit & debit cards.

    ALL merchants large and small can get an Interchange rate price structure to lower their costs. And many industries have incentive Interchange rates available. Merchants can eliminate monthly minimum fees, batch fees, AVS fees, annual fees, compliance fees, non-qualified surcharge fees, and other hidden fees. Read the fine print to find these charges and avoid 3 year contracts with cancellation penalties. Month-to-Month merchant accounts at Interchange pricing are available.

    Read More more

  • Regulating Credit Card Interchange

    The Credit Card Fair Fee Act (H.R. 5546) - creating an antitrust exemption for retailers allowing them to collectively negotiate agreements for the Interchange fees assessed on credit card sales - passed out the House Judiciary Committee on a 19 to 16 vote.  

    In a recent survey, consumers showed popular support for the Credit Card Fair Fee Act.   However the Federal Trade Commission stated its belief that this legislation will reduce competition and harm consumers.  The U.S. Department of Justice also presented a case against legalizing collusion among the nation's largest retailers at the expense of consumers.

    If a merchant cartel forces down how much they pay, it only stands to reason that the costs will get shifted to cardholders (for example increasing … more

  • Merchant Survey Reveals Purchase Behavior

    Survey results show merchants least concerned about contract terms

    Merchants have sales people contact them almost every day offering "lower rates" and often switch only to find out they unknowingly signed a long-term contract with an early termination fee. Merchants have shared their experiences and report in the Vantage Card Survey that many do not properly consider the impact of contract terms and cancellation fees in the face of promised savings. Many merchants don't stop to think about cancellation fees before they sign, only after they try to get out of a contract because what was promised was not delivered.

    With over 11,000 merchants polled, contract terms ranked at the bottom with only 16.7% of merchants considering it an important factor when shopping for merchant services. … more

  • Alert! Risky business to operate insecure payment software

    By now all merchants should understand the importance of securing cardholder data.  Like other industry leaders, Vantage has been communicating constantly the need for merchants, particularly those using any type of PC based point of sale payment system connected to the internet to accept credit and debit cards, to secure their systems and networks and comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards.  

    Our intent with this blog entry is to make clear to the merchant community the full financial risk of a breach.  If mag-stripe data is stored on your system's hard drive or log files and this data is stolen from your system, criminals can manufacturer counterfeit cards and use these counterfeit cards at stores to buy … more

  • FTRANS, Corp partners with ISO Vantage Card Services, Inc.

    Atlanta, GA, May 20, 2008 – FTRANS Corp., a provider of business-to-business and business-to-government payments processing solutions, announced its partnership with Vantage Card Services, Inc. today. This partnership brings new opportunities for both companies as Vantage Card Services will be offering FTRANS® Trade Credit Express™ to its clients, and FTRANS will be gaining new relationships with businesses and banks through Vantage Card Services.

    This partnership between FTRANS and Vantage Card Services, Inc. demonstrates FTRANS’ ability to provide not only one of the newest, highest recurring revenue opportunities available for independent sales organizations (ISOs) that traditionally provide merchants with bank credit card services but also offer ISOs an … more

  • PIN Debit Requires Analysis

    Effective April 4, 2008, Interlink and Pulse PIN networks dropped the max calculation from their fees for retail merchants. PIN debit has been a low cost alternative to signature debit (check cards) specifically on high ticket items. The primary reason was that the PIN networks capped the costs (ex. $0.65 max). PIN network "Interchange" has continued to increase to compete with signature debit (remember Interchange is paid to the issuers and issuers prefer to issue and promote cards that pay more when used). PIN networks continue to publish more complex Interchange charts with more categories based on type of industry.

    While networks like Star continue to have max fee caps in place, the recent removal by Interlink, the largest PIN debit network, will put further pressure on all networks … more

  • The Aegenis Group Partners With Vantage Card Services to Provide eLearning

    PARK CITY, UT--( April 22, 2008) - The Aegenis Group and Vantage Card Services have partnered to provide data security eLearning to merchants. The partnership leverages The Aegenis Group’s eLearning materials and data security expertise and combines it with the unique, high-touch approach to merchant services offered by Vantage Card.

    “In partnering with The Aegenis Group, we are able to provide our merchants a quality educational experience that is in keeping with our dedication to servicing the merchant,” said Ty Hardison Vice President of Business Development at Vantage Card Services. “We are excited about being able to offer our merchants education that will enable them to increase the security of their customer data.”

    Chris Mark, CEO and co-Founder of … more

  • Discover Network Card Processing

    Vantage Card Services, is pleased to announce that we now offer Discover Network card acceptance as an integrated processing solution to merchants, which includes one source for settlement on a single statement as well as one source of customer service for your authorization, chargeback processing and risk management needs. Check your Discover rates at MerchantRates.com now.

      more

  • Tax bill proposal for finding merchants’ supposedly underreported cash receipts

    Tax Bill Could Be Greater Threat Than Interchange Proposal... Digital Transactions

    A proposal, which is still being refined in House and Senate iterations, would force “qualified payment facilitators” to disclose information (file forms similar to current 1099 income forms) about each of their merchant clients’ receipts to the Internal Revenue Service for tax purposes with the idea to help identify taxable but unreported or under-reported sales. 

    With this bill, merchants and businesses can simply expect more tax code complexity and higher tax compliance costs.  We would all be better off under the FairTax (www.fairtax.org)! more

  • The Costs of Card Payments

    Charges fly over shops' credit-card feesCNNMoney.com - USA

    The public debate continues over government regulation of the card payment networks built by MasterCard and Visa. 

    With more than a million new merchants signing up to accept payment cards in the past year, it is argued that the network effect balance of setting Interchange high enough to provide the banks an incentive to issue the cards, but not so high that merchants won't accept them, is working. 

    A major factor behind retailers' objections is that as consumers use credit and debit cards more frequently and that the fees have also increased as the card companies have upgraded more consumers to rewards cards, which carry higher fees. more

  • Discover Network joins the Vantage Points program starting May 2008

    We are pleased to announce more ways for merchants to earn rewards in the Vantage Points program, a unique merchant loyalty program. Starting May '08, merchants will earn one Vantage Point for each MasterCard, Visa and Discover sales transaction processed OR one Vantage Point for every $50 in MasterCard, Visa and Discover sales dollar volume processed, whichever is Greater!

    Vantage Points are redeemable for over 250 great rewards from distinguished program partners like: American Airlines, Marriott, Hyatt, Staples, The Home Depot®, Starbucks Coffee and more. In addition, Vantage Card Services has teamed up to help support the tremendous efforts of the Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB) with a fund raising initiative to donate a percentage of the value of each reward to the ACFB.

    If … more

  • Credit Card Fair Fee Act would regulate fees

    Credit-Card Wars The Wall Street Journal: At the behest of a coalition of U.S. retailers, House Democrat John Conyers of Michigan and Republican Chris Cannon of Utah have introduced the Credit Card Fair Fee Act that would regulate fees that the credit-card industry charges to retail stores.

    As more consumers choose payment cards for purchases, retailers push for government regulation.   Is this a good thing? more

  • Important MasterCard and Visa Interchange Updates

    April 2008 Interchange Overview

    Visa and MasterCard have announced Interchange modifications to become effective April 2008.

    Visa

    Visa is implementing an International Service Assessment (ISA) fee on U.S. acquired transactions when the issuer country is foreign for both international purchase and cash advance transactions except on a U.S. military base, embassy or consulate.

    Visa will modify Visa Signature Preferred card Interchange for Card Not Present (CNP), Retail and Corporate Electronic charge types as well are certain credit voucher rates.

    Changes to the No Signature Required Program (US issued card transactions less than $25), which provides chargeback protection on eligible transactions for fraudulent transactions in a card present environment, is being expanded to include … more

  • Vantage Card Services Launches Trade Credit Express Service

    Trade Credit Express is a business payment platform to outsource your accounts receivable administration and trade credit financing. With Trade Credit Express you are in a position to extend more flexible credit and longer payment terms to your buyers.

    Increase your sales by extending your customer’s trade credit terms to 60 days and beyond

    Outsource your credit administration overhead including underwriting, credit monitoring, lock-box, payment matching and collections.

    Reduce your personal risk associated with your current line of credit and reduce bad debt with payment guarantees

    Increase your cash flow by closing the gap between sale and payment to as little as 4 days

     

      more

  • February 08 MerchantRates.com News Alert

    Technorati Profile

    Important PCI Update

    Effective January 1, 2008, Phase 1 of the Visa Payment Application Mandates stipulates that no merchant may be boarded that uses a payment application identified as storing vulnerable data. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) prohibits the storage of the full contents of any magnetic stripe, CVV2 or PIN data. Merchants are at high risk of being compromised if they use payment applications that store prohibited data or have security weaknesses. A good resource is available at www.visa.com/pabp, where you will find a list of validated payment applications (make sure your POS is on the list) and best practices. We also recommend www.pcisecuritystandards.org and www.visa.com/cisp.

    Tackling PCI

    The primary threat has to do with … more

  • Shopping Merchant Account Rate Quotes

    It can be difficult to compare quotes from one provider to the next. The problem is that most merchant account providers quote a qualified “rate as low as” price then surcharge “non-qualified” transactions. If you’ve been asking "what's your rate?" then you are likely contributing to the problem.

    First recognize that as a merchant, you will accept a diverse mix of credit and debit cards for payment and failing to find out how specific card types like signature debit, rewards, enhanced, world, business, corporate and others will be billed leads to higher bottom line costs.

    Action Steps

    The best contacts and resources to help you get it done

    Start with an understanding of Interchange

    Interchange fees are paid to cardholder-issuing banks and these rates are … more

by Ty Hardison

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