Archives / 2009 / October
  • Keys to a Level 3 Merchant Account

    Accepting Commercial Cards

    Commercial credit cards are being used to replace inefficient and expensive paper purchase order processes by businesses, corporations and government agencies with payments estimated to reach $185 Billion by 2010. Accepting commercial credit cards like Corporate, Business, Purchasing and GSA cards are an important component of a company’s payment policies.  Optimize your commercial card acceptance with a Level 3 merchant account. 

    Keys to a Level 3 Merchant Account

    Insist on an Interchange pricing structure Interchange is the largest cost component of delivering merchant services and for merchants accepting commercial cards, eliminating non-qualified surcharges are especially important. Direct Interchange pass through pricing is the most … more

  • PIN Debit Punishment Pushed Back

    Visa and MasterCard set a mandate effective July 1, 2010 to ensure that all installed PIN pads are using the most up to date triple data encryption standard (3DES) for processing PIN debit transactions.  In an effort to enforce this mandate, fines were slated to be imposed on those deemed out of compliance.  While technically, the July 2010 deadline is still in place, the threat of punishment has been pushed back.  The new policy isn’t threatening fines until Aug. 1, 2012, however Vantage will continue working with our clients to ensure compliance by July 2010.

    The most interesting part of the article as reported on StorefrontBacktalk was that several of the nation's largest chains were threatening to abruptly cut off PIN debit at the deadline, possibly switching to … more

  • US Financial Transactions Exceed 100 Billion in 2009

    As reported by BUSINESS WIRE -- For the first time in US history, the number of consumer and business transactions including checks and electronic transactions for debit cards, credit cards and automatic payments will exceed 100 billion by the end of 2009, according to Moebs Services. 

    Type of 100B Transactions in 2009:

    Debit card transactions, 33 percent

    Paper checks, 24 percent

    Credit card transactions, 23 percent

    Automatic Payments (ACH), 20 percent

    Mike Moebs, CEO provides noteworthy analysis:

    Based on current transactions, our projections show that debit cards and automatic payments are taking over at an increasingly rapid rate from the traditional checking account for most Americans

    Over the past 30 years, paper check usage has dropped from 85 percent of all … more

  • An Inconvenient Tax

    An Inconvenient Tax - Official Trailer from Life Is My Movie Entertainment on Vimeo.

    An Inconvenient Tax sheds light on one of America’s messiest problems — a fundamentally broken tax code that affects every part of people’s lives. With the U.S. Congress making over 16,000 changes to the tax code in the last two decades alone, many Americans want something better, but few know where to start. This feature-length documentary film reveals the many ways Congress uses the tax code to achieve political goals that have nothing to do with raising revenue. It also tackles the controversial issue of tax reform through a non-partisan presentation of U.S. tax history and current proposals to fix the code. In a time when America faces fiscal crisis, An Inconvenient Tax brings a … more

  • More Intelligent Merchant Rates

    As a merchant, do you feel the fees you pay for accepting card payments are too high?  I’ve not talked to anyone in business who thinks they aren’t paying enough for merchant services.  If you’ve been following the Interchange debate, you realize the Interchange fee paid back to the issuing bank is the target of reform.  And while Interchange reform is a healthy debate, for most businesses, it’s beside the point.  They don’t get Interchange pricing.

    Most small and mid sized businesses don’t pay Interchange pricing, they pay discount rates and service fees set by their service provider, processor or bank.  The most common pricing structures are based on formulas, bundles, tiers and definitions invented by their payment … more

  • Establishing Payment Acceptance Policies

    Does your business have policies in place for each of payment method you accept? Payment policies are critical in protecting the financial health of a business. Small businesses without payment acceptance policies are vulnerable to fraud.

    We strongly advise that the best practice before accepting any form of payment is to know your customer.  Be mindful, watch for any red flags and take action to delay delivery until you gain a comfort level with the validity of your customer and their payment method.

    It is especially important for merchants to understand that card payments are a convenience form of payment, not a guaranteed form of payment. Since the rules and regulations are written in favor of the cardholder, merchants must be diligent in protecting their business against … more

  • Not all Prepaid Debit Cards are alike

    Recently I’ve seen a few stories like this one in the New York Times: Prepaid, but Not Prepared for Debit Card Fees. In the article, author Andrew Martin explores the numerous fees many card companies are charging their customers. The moral of this story from my perspective is that it pays to shop around. Not all prepaid debit cards are alike.

    Avoid buying a prepaid debit card. We advise consumers wanting a prepaid debit card to get a payroll debit card instead. Consumers can get a payroll debit card from their employer or sign up directly with a payroll card provider (for example online at and then simply provide the card’s routing number and account number to their employer for direct deposit.

    Payroll cards have lower costs than prepaid … more

  • Go Green With Your Pay

    The American Payroll Association is part of an initiative to eliminate the use of paper paychecks nationwide. Currently, employers can go paperless in about 20 states. We’re tackling the rest state by state, and we need help from employers! We’re posting sample letters pre-addressed to the state officials in those states that currently keep employers from enjoying a paperless payroll. If you are an employer, please download a copy of the letter, personalize it, and send it on company letterhead.

    The focus of the request is to allow employers to mandate direct deposit. Where employees do not provide their bank account information, employers should be able to provide paycards instead of paychecks.

    Please join the effort!  Sample letters can be downloaded from the “ … more

by Ty Hardison

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