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Archives / 2011
  • Happy New Year!

    As we head into 2012 we want to once again take this opportunity to Thank You for choosing Vantage.

    This year we blogged about some of the most pressing issues in the payments industry impacting merchants accepting card payments. 2011 saw major industry changes enacted, including new PCI security, IRS reporting, and the Durbin Debit regulations.

    Thank you again for the privilege of being your payment solutions partner and for the opportunity to earn your trust, loyalty, and business every day. It is very exciting to be able to work with so many great entrepreneurs! We would like to extend a special thank you and our sincere gratitude for all your referrals and testimonials. We pledge to continue to build upon and maintain the Vantage reputation for the high level of personal service you … 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

  • Small Business Lending Down; Demand Up

    In the news this week were several stories about small business lending. In “Bank loans to small business fall to 12-year low” an analysis of FDIC data showed that the number of small loans to business of $1 million or less have been shrinking consistently.

    Small businesses rely almost exclusively on credit provided from banks. One reason small business lending is down was covered in another article, “Why Aren't Small Businesses Getting Loans From Big Banks?” which points to the big banks' new stringent credit policies. Bankers seem to be denying that lending standards are an issue, but small businesses report that borrowing has changed dramatically and has become an extreme process. The evidence seems to support the fact that there has been a fundamental change … more

  • Vantage Powers Card Processing for Today Show Steals and Deals Clients

    Congratulations to Vantage clients Moss Mills and Pure Fiber on their recent appearances on NBC’s Today Show as featured in Jill’s Steals and Deals. The Today Show segment "Steals and Deals" airs every other Tuesday morning to millions of viewers. Needless to say, both events were very successful and resulted in a huge surge in sales volume.

    For Moss Mills, December 6th was their second Today Show sales event. Their previous Steals and Deals appearance was February 8, 2011. As part of the process and with the help of a skilled design team with previous Today Show Steals and Deals experience, they created a secure ecommerce website specifically for this event called www.todayshow.mossmills.com to support the millions of hits to the site within the first few hours of the … 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

  • 2nd Annual Small Business Saturday

    American Express is building on initial success with this year's 2nd annual Small Business Saturday® on November 26th. On one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year, Small Business Saturday is sandwiched between and inspired by Black Friday by Black Friday for the big box retail and Cyber Monday for e-commerce stores. Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to " Shop Smallsm " at local brick and mortar businesses. Nearly 2.4 million have pledged to shop small on Nov 26 with a 'Like' on the Small Business Saturday Facebook page.

    Small businesses can make the most of this day with tools to promote their business with siganage, marketing materials, and by creating and sharing offers. Visit http://smallbusinesssaturday.com/ and http://www.facebook.com/ … more

  • Banks steer customers towards credit cards

    According to the latest data from Visa, more people are starting to use credit cards, not for the line of credit, but as they would a debit card. And this is just what the banks are hoping for.

    Visa reported for its fourth quarter that spending on Visa-branded credit cards in the U.S. grew faster than debit cards. The initial driver may have been punitive debit pricing, and even though that strategy failed to stick, one could argue that it did accomplish getting consumers to consider other payment options including credit cards.

    Banks are increasingly promoting credit over debit in the face of shrinking debit Interchange. Both credit and prepaid cards are exempt from the recently imposed Fed regulated debit Interchange fee caps. To maximize Interchange fee income, banks will try to move … more

  • Will Bank Transfer Day Impact Merchants?

    News story after news story are reporting the same thing – a lot more of us are switching to credit unions and community banks. This spike in activity is being attributed in part to the scandal over announcements by the mega banks to impose new cardholder debit fees. In fact, November 5th (that’s this Saturday1) – has been organized as “Bank Transfer Day”, a movement encouraging big bank customers to close their accounts and make the switch.

    For those following the Durbin Amendment’s debit card Interchange regulations, and the impact on small merchants like we are, we have to ask - what good does it do merchants to have consumers switch to financial institutions who were made exempt in the Durbin Amendment from the Fed's regulated debit rate? Bank … more

  • Durbin’s Debit a Trick or Treat for Small Merchants

    Merchant statements soon to reveal who gets savings from lower debit Interchange.

    Next week, most merchants will get their first chance to see if they saved money on their card processing fees due to the Fed’s mandated lower debit rates that took effect October 1st. Typically merchants receive monthly statements at the beginning of each new month showing both processing activity and how fees were applied. Some merchants don’t open their statements and many merchants don’t understand how to read them when they do, but clearly if there was ever a statement to pay attention to, it would be the October statement that’s about to be delivered.

    Merchant service providers are not required to directly pass the reduced rates of the Fed regulated debit transactions (and the … more

  • Visa’s Network Participation Fee scheduled for April 2012

    On the Visa Q4 2011 Earnings Call yesterday, Visa stated "We're also moving forward with our modified debit economics, including the implementation of our network participation fee and the reduction of variable acquiring fees on debt, Visa debit and Interlink. As stated last quarter, we believe this offers merchants greater incentive to route transactions over our network and an opportunity to lower their per-unit transaction costs. As for details, we anticipate providing the specific pricing information to merchants and acquirers in January, which will go into effect on April 1." more

  • DepositGuard offers new and improved Property Rental Payments

    DepositGuard is a payment technology platform for property rental payments that securely collects, holds and administers the deposits and pre-paid rents for vacation and residential property transactions, benefitting both renters and homeowners (including landlords, property managers and rental agents).

    Unlike other payment methods, a merchant account is not required to accept Visa/MasterCard payments and there are no fees for homeowners to use DepositGuard.

    DepositGuard is a neutral third-party account where the rental funds are parked for safekeeping. Both the renter and landlord have full visibility into the account and must be in agreement before the account can be created, changed, closed and any money released.

    DepositGaurd gives renters more control over the payment process by … more

  • Will the banking industry apply a little Steve Jobs creativity?

    So far the initial reaction to the Fed regulated debit Interchange from the major banks has been anything but creative. Predictable yes; creative no. We've seen many regulated debit card issuers adding restrictions to free checking and ending debit card reward programs. And Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, SunTrust and Regions are all trying out variations of imposing new debit card usage fees on cardholders. These strategies are like adding a fee for paper billing statements to encourage the switch to e-statements, yet it’s hardly creative.

    Steve Jobs was a master at consumer-driven markets and a great innovator who turned iTunes into a successful micro-payment platform. Surely we should expect bank innovators to adopt more creative ideas, right? For example, we know … more

  • Interchange pricing is the key to merchant savings

    Have you noticed the media blitz over what’s being referred to as ‘Durbin Dollars’, the savings from lower Fed regulated debit Interchange rates? Of course the best way for merchants to realize the benefits of this legislation is to have an Interchange pass through pricing plan. At Vantage we have been evangelizing direct Interchange pass through pricing schedules (and working with merchants on managing their Interchange qualifications to lower their bottom line card processing costs) for over a decade. In the first paragraph of our October 2000 home page we advised merchants on the concept of “Interchange qualification management”. Seriously, who else was talking with merchants about managing Interchange back in 2000?

    Your card processor is not required to … more

  • Visa ends Credit Voucher Interchange for debit transactions

    Another over looked consequence of the debit Interchange revisions, effective October 1st, is the impact on cardholder refunds due to changes in the Visa ‘Credit Voucher’ program.

    Visa has made modifications to its Credit Voucher Interchange fee program to coincide with other operational changes to comply with the new debit regulatory requirements ushered in by the Federal Reserve such as capping regulated debit card Interchange rates.

    Credit Voucher Interchange fees are paid to the merchant acquirer (processor or service provider) by the card issuer when cardholder refunds are processed. This is the reverse of what happens during a sale transaction where the merchant pays a discount rate to accept the card payment.

    With this Visa adjustment, the processing volume for debit … more

  • More signs of unintended consequences from government debit Interchange intervention

    Interchange fees have evolved over the years to be priced at the transaction level depending on factors such as a merchant's industry category, the card product accepted (credit, debit, rewards, commercial, prepaid, etc.) and the method of acceptance (think card present or card not present). In addition to other nuances, special rates where also introduced for small ticket transactions less than $15.

    However as a result of new government regulations impacting debit cards starting October 1, merchants accepting small ticket debit transactions are likely to experience higher rates.

    MasterCard, Visa and Discover have all opted to support a two tiered debit Interchange pricing schedule for Fed regulated and exempt debit transactions. Yet in implementing the regulations, as discussed in … more

  • MerchantRates.com now quoting new Fed regulated debit Interchange rates

    Get an instant Merchant Rate quote based on the new October 2011 Interchange schedules and get a first look at the Fed's new regulated debit rates as mandated by legislation often referred to as the Durbin Amendment. Note that the new regulated debit rates do not apply to all debit transactions. The Fed exempted banks with assets under $10 billion from its mandated debit Interchange fee cap. Visa, MasterCard and Discover are all quoting a two-tiered debit Interchange fee to help protect small issuers. However, there are approximately 100 banks with more than $10 billion in assets and their cardholders account for approximately 75% of all debit transactions. Your card processor is not required to pass the reduced rates for these debit transactions (and the associated savings) on to your … more

  • Department of Justice Final Judgment on Rule Changes

    In October 2010, both MasterCard and Visa entered into a proposed consent decree and final judgment with the Department of Justice that required both payment card networks to modify their policies and procedures regarding the merchant’s ability to recommend any preferred card brand or card type in United States. The consent decree and final judgment requires that both card schemes direct their acquirers to provide US and US Territory merchants with notice of the final judgment and a description of the their rules changes and the POS practices that merchants are expressly permitted to engage in pursuant to the terms of the judgment. The description of the rules changes can be found at the following links:

    MasterCard http://www.globalpaymentsinc.com/MCFinalRuling.html

    Visa http:// … more

  • Debit Interchange Regulation Fallout

    ABC News reports that Wells Fargo to Test $3 Debit Card Fee. Major banks have already begun to change qualifications on free checking accounts and end debit rewards programs.

    An it appears that the anticipated result of these actions will be to steer consumers away from debit and toward reward credit and charge card products that carry more expensive merchant Interchange rates.

    "An Associated Press-GfK poll last month found that about two-thirds of consumers use debit cards more frequently than credit cards. When asked how they would react if they were charged a $3 monthly fee for their debit card, 61 percent said they'd find another way to pay. If the fee was $5 a month, two-thirds said they'd do the same. If the fee was $7, the figure rose to 81 percent."

    Our concern for small … more

  • Lower Invoice Processing Costs Through Automated Workflows

    PayStream Advisors survey shows Increasing Adoption of Automated Workflows in Invoice Processing

    Automating the invoice approval process is the next logical next step for companies that are already reaping the benefits of front-end electronic invoice systems. Organizations that have experienced successes through employing digital imaging are seeing visible improvements and are actively moving towards further AP automation.

    Research conducted by PayStream Advisors confirms these trends and notes that automation to date has been operations driven, with quicker approval of invoices being the main cited benefit. Companies in the survey also experienced lower processing costs and increased productivity.

    Automated workflow solutions in the accounts payable (AP) arena are maturing as the … more

  • A Wake Up Call for Small Business Security Concerns

    PCI Compliance Small business owners are a new favorite target for hackers hoping to take advantage of weak security in small business environments. This excerpt from a recent article in the Wall Street Journal article Hackers Shift Attacks to Small Firms sums up the new reality:

    “In the time it takes to break into a major company like Citigroup Inc., a hacker could steal data from dozens of small businesses and not get detected, says Bryce Case Jr., a former hacker who broke into several government and corporate websites a decade ago and now runs an online message board for hackers called Digital Gangster. Now that small companies use computers, "the juice has become worth the squeeze," he says. "Even a pizza place has addresses, names and credit-card information."

    Whether you store card holder … more

  • Visa and MasterCard plan changes due to new debit Interchange regulations

    In June, the Fed announced final debit Interchange rules. Now we are starting to learn more about how Visa and MasterCard will approach the transaction routing provisions that ban exclusive affiliations between card networks and issuers of debit cards.

    Under these new rules, debit card issuers must add at least one unaffiliated network to each debit card. For example, Visa has exclusive arrangements with issuers to use both its signature debit and PIN debit networks. Now debit card issuers will need to add an alternative network to Visa.

    In response, Visa says they will implement a new Network Participation fee that will be based on a merchant's size and number of locations while at the same time lowering the variable rate charged per transaction. This Visa strategy is intended to … more

  • Visa to charge new location fee

    Visa introduces a new pricing model, but provides only limited details. As reported in the International Business Times, Visa will be implementing a new fee called a “Network Participation Fee” that will apparently be a fixed site fee billed according to number of merchant locations accepting any U.S. Visa debit, credit, or prepaid card.

    While Interchange fees are scheduled to move lower in October, this new Visa fee (like other Visa fees charged to acquirers) will be pass through to merchants in one form or another. Given this fact, the idea is that the more Visa transactions a merchant accepts, the lower this new fixed location fee becomes on a per transaction basis.

    Now that the final Fed rules give merchants control over the routing of transactions, Visa hopes that this … more

  • Resilient checks fail to become extinct

    The UK has reversed its Vote to Abolish Check Clearing. In a testament to the power of the payment properties of checks, the UK Payments Council has decided to keep checks and cancel its 2018 target end date. Instead the UK Payments Council has decided to focus on payment innovations, reassuring customers that the check is staying.

    The biggest innovation coming soon to the paper check is the digital check. Keeping all the benefits of its paper form except the piece of paper, we expect the digital check will usher in big changes in the payments industry. more

  • Merchant rates for debit acceptance to fall in October

    Debit Savings The countdown to lower debit Interchange is on with only 11 short weeks remaining. The most important thing merchants can do now is switch to an Interchange plus pricing plan. Take a look at your current merchant statement. If you have a “qualified” rate or “non-qualified” transaction fees its time to act. No matter the size of your business or the industry you are in, it's easy to start processing on an Interchange pass through pricing plan by visiting MerchantRates.com.

    October Debit Interchange Savings

    Here we take a look at the current Visa and MasterCard charges for the processing of debit cards for retail, restaurant and ecommerce merchant categories to project possible savings for a range of transaction sizes from $10 to $75.

    For example a merchant … more

  • Fed announces final debit Interchange rules

    Breaking Interchange NewsAt the Federal Reserve meeting today the final debit card rules where announced and the debit Interchange cap has been raised to 21 cents plus 5 basis points per transaction (not to exceed a sum of these two components). The initial proposal in December called for capping debit Interchange fees to 12 cents per transaction. After taking eleven thousand public comments, the Fed has adjusted this cap to include a “fraud prevention adjustment” in order to compensate for the costs that banks and financial institutions incur to maintain security against fraud.

    The rule was slated to take effect on July 21, yet with less than one month to put in place all the mandated provisions, more time is required to implement these changes. For example, it will take … more

  • Joining Forces: Bill.com and Vantage Partner to offer Integrated Level 3 Merchant Services

    Today businesses are finding that accepting card payments is a growing necessity and often a preferred method for collecting accounts receivables. So when Bill.com, who helps small and mid-sized businesses efficiently manage their day-to-day bill payment and invoicing processes, looked to integrate credit and debit card acceptance they conducted extensive research.

    "What we found was that in addition to popular consumer oriented products like debit cards and rewards cards, today’s buyers are using several types of commercial card products including business, corporate, fleet, purchasing and GSA purchasing cards”, says Henrique Ceribelli, product manager at Bill.com. "We built our integrated merchant services solution so our clients could accept both consumer and commercial … more

  • Tester Amendment fails to get 60 votes to study Interchange regulations

    Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) offered an amendment to the Economic Development Reauthorization bill to delay by 15 months the implementation of the Federal Reserve’s rule regulating debit interchange fees and the vote this afternoon was a close one. They needed 60 votes to avoid a Senate filibuster but only garnered 54 votes.

    In a mega lobbying effort pitting mega retailers against mega banks, the mega retailers won the day and the amendment was defeated. The amendment had called for a six-month study by regulators to consider the fixed and incremental costs to the financial institutions of the new rules, whether the rules will adversely affect consumers, and whether the small issuer exemption is feasible.

    So what happens now? The Fed issued a draft rule in … 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

  • Visa backs Square with Investment

    Last year Visa completed its acquisition of CyberSource (Authorize.net) for approximately $2 billion in cash to expand its online payment, fraud and security capabilities. Since then Visa launched online shopping tool, Rightcliq; acquired PlaySpan Inc. (a payments platform to handle transactions for digital goods in online games, digital media and social networks); and signed strategic agreements to deliver P2P payments with CashEdge and Fiserv enabling U.S. Visa account holders to pay each other for the first time.

    Now Visa is making a strategic investment in Square, a mobile payments start. Square's card readers plug into the iPhone jack for swiping cards and have been criticized for lacking encryption security. Perhaps with Visa's involvement they will address this issue given on the … more

  • MasterCard announces Processing Integrity Fee

    In October 2009, Visa announced a Misuse of Authorization System Fee of $0.045 per occurrence. Now MasterCard with the introduction of a Processing Integrity Fee will begin to monitor compliance to the authorization guidelines with billing scheduled to begin on August 15, 2011. And like Visa, MasterCard has set its Processing Integrity Fee at $0.045 per occurrence.

    While the purpose (encourage proper compliance with transaction authorization standards) of the two programs is similar, there are some differences in how they will monitor compliance. While both Visa and MasterCard will assess fees when authorized (approved) transactions cannot be matched to a clearing settlement record or an authorization reversal, Visa allows 10 days (20 days for T&E merchants) while MasterCard provides … more

  • Will debit only Interchange regulation back fire?

    More evidence that the ill-conceived debit only Interchange regulation may back fire for small merchants this week comes from the MasterCard blog.

    In a post, The Durbin Chickens Start Coming Home to Roost we find this quote “What banks’ shying away from debit rewards is likely to do is shift volume away from debit cards to credit cards for those who pay with plastic.” Of course as merchants well know, credit and reward credit Interchange is substantially higher than debit Interchange today.

    In December 2010 when the Fed issued a proposal to set a price cap on debit card Interchange fees under new powers from the Dodd-Frank Act, we warned that “without a compelling financial incentive to develop debit that issuing resources will move away from this product line. … more

  • Banks change business models in response to regulations

    New reports about ways banks will react to the Fed's proposal to cap signature and PIN debit rates continue to emerge.

    According to the Wall Street Journal, U.S. banks are debating letting debit card transactions bounce like checks. And banks may charge more to merchants in order to guarantee debit card payments. While consumers could face bounce fees like they do for checks. Both developments could steer use away from debit cards to other forms of payment not regulated by Dodd-Frank.

    In addition it was recently reported that banks are considering a $50 cap on debit card purchases.

    Merchants that have relied on ATMs in store to avoid taking credit and debit card payments may soon find this strategy of steering customers to cash more difficult to implement as banks begin to increase ATM … more

  • Senate bill introduced to Delay Debit Interchange Regulation

    Senate bill 575 calls for a two-year delay to Fed's debit Interchange regulation. A similar bill is expected to be introduced in the House. Senator Jon Tester (D) who introduced the legislation believes they have the votes necessary.

    Read more at http://www.cutimes.com/2011/03/15/tester-introduces-interchange-bill more

  • Banks consider $50 cap on debit card purchases

    With the pending government price controls on debit Interchange fees, as predicted, banks will find ways to steer customer payment choice to higher priced cards. One method under consideration is to limit debit card purchases to a $50 max. In addition, banks may begin charging monthly or transaction fees to use debit cards.

    Read Rules could change how you use debit cards for more information. more

  • VeriFone calls Square's Credit Card Reader Unsafe and Reckless (Video)

    VeriFone has published an An Open Letter to the Industry and Consumers bringing to the forefront the issue of mobile credit card processing security. 

    At issue is the ability for criminals to use unencrypted card readers to steal full mag-stripe data which can then be use to make fraudulent purchases.   Fraudulent card use is a problem for all merchants (and in particular card not present e-commerce merchants) who shoulder the losses. 

    Square has made headlines shipping hundreds of thousands of free dongles (square card readers that plug into the iPhone jack for swiping cards).  In its announcement, VeriFone demonstrates how promulgating cheap readers enables criminals while making the point that the payments industry needs to take card data security seriously.& … more

  • 5 Small Business Concerns with Debit Interchange Regulation

    Vantage has been following the merchant Interchange rate debate and commenting along the way here on the Vantage ViewPoint blog. And that viewpoint is from the perspective of the challenges our clients, small business owners and entrepreneurs face. We take our role as a merchant advocate seriously. We believe it is important that the merchant community at least consider points of view that don’t seem to make the headlines in the over all debate.

    First some background. As a merchant services provider, Vantage collects only a very small fraction of the fees merchants pay to perform services ranging from marketing, sales, underwriting, risk management, customer service, terminal services, 24x7 help desk, transaction authorization and settlement, funding, statement reporting, PCI … more

  • MerchantRates.com Helps Small Business with Interchange Pricing

    Merchant Rates MerchantRates.com, a service of Vantage Card Services, was originally launched in December of 2000. For over 10 years now, MerchantRates.com has been providing instant merchant Interchange rate quotes!

    MerchantRates.com’s latest release is faster and more secure than ever. The user experience has been enhanced with updated content, new solutions, better organized Interchange rates by industry and the ability to easily generate and compare multiple proposals. MerchantRates.com is an award-winning small business site featuring:

    On Demand Quote and Proposal in under a minute

    Customized for your business

    Results Delivered Real-Time

    Industry specific Interchange Rate & Fee Schedule

    Ready to Sign Application

    Read complete Month-to-Month Terms

    No Hidden Fees

    Monitor your … more

  • Will Interchange Regulation Push 884 Troubled Banks Over the Edge?

    Will government Interchange regulation push 884 banks on the brink of failure over the edge?

    According to a BankInfoSecurity.com post, the number of banks on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s "Problem List" totaled 884. If these institutions are already hurting, will any survive the Feds plan to cap debit Interchange fees?

    The Independent Community Bankers of America speculates that the exemption for small banks (<$10 billion) to the Fed Interchange price cap will fail to protect these institutions for the following reasons:

    As the largest debit issuers, mega banks will influence networks to limit support of dual pricing schemes that make their cards less attractive to merchants.

    Merchants will discriminate against any high-cost cards customers present.

    Debit card … more

  • How will Google Compete in Payments?

    In a recent post Google Takes a Bite of the Apple a comparison is made between the payment system subscription pricing model of Apple iTunes at a 30% fee and Google’s announcement of its One Pass at a 10% fee on the Android platform. The difference in the fee structure is attributed to the built in user base - Apple has 160 million existing iTunes users ready to go on its platform which the start up Google platform can not offer.

    Facebook also charges a 30% fee for using Facebook Credits (with 500+ million users). So in this alternative payment space it appears that 30% is the top end regardless of number of users. Of course to buy Facebook Credits people would use PayPal. Wouldn’t it be better to simply use PayPal and skip Facebook Credits? Users would skip a currency … more

  • California merchants beware of ZIP code ruling

    In California a ZIP code is personal identification information

    In the case, Pineda v. Williams-Sonoma Stores, Inc., the California Supreme Court recently ruled that a ZIP code constitutes ‘personal identification information' as that phrase is used in California Civil Code section 1747.08 and that requesting and recording a cardholder's ZIP code is prohibited if it is requested as part of a credit card transaction.

    The California Civil Code Section 1747.08 does indicate exceptions which would allow the ZIP code to be requested, including:

    When the credit card is being used as a deposit to secure payment in the event of default, loss, damage, or other similar occurrence;

    Cash advance transactions;

    When the person, firm, partnership, association or corporation accepting the … 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

  • Will debit card fee limits be delayed?

    Stories like Congress May Slow ‘Swipe’ Cap Amid Regulator Concerns and Debit card fee limits hit a snag reported on yesterday's hearings where Congress and financial regulators discussed delaying or revising debit card price cap rules as suggested by The Federal Reserve to comply with the Durbin amendment before they are set to take effect in April.

    As I see it, this is really a showdown between mega-banks and mega-retailers. Small community banks and credit unions, small merchants in communities serviced by these community banks and credit unions and consumers should be most concerned about the hastily added Durbin amendment to the massive financial regulatory bill. We’ve raised concerns about the impact of the unintended consequences for both our merchant clients and … more

  • Vantage Card Services Celebrates 15th Anniversary

    Trusted since 1996, Vantage Card Services celebrates its 15th year providing payment processing and payment systems to merchants, businesses and community banks.

    Today Vantage is honored to service clients in all 50 states. Our philosophy of building a business one merchant at a time, with a focus on service and education - not contracts and gimmicks – is a growth strategy that has served us well over the years.

    Vantage is home to world-class payment solutions and features the best value package of price, terms, service, solutions and incentives available in the payments industry. Our passion is providing you with high quality payment processing solutions that exceed your expectations and we are continuously working on improving our programs, technology and service offerings.

    In … more

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

    Wow! This post on TheBreakFreeProject.org 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

  • Email Phishing Scams Indicators and Best Practices

    Email “phishing” scams utilize fraudulent emails that appear to originate from legitimate financial institutions, transaction processors or other business entities that routinely conduct business with merchants.

    Please review the following indicators and be on guard for scams:

    Look closely at the sender’s email address – the “from” line in these fraudulent emails usually very closely resembles a legitimate address. Close inspection may reveal unusual characters or structure that may help confirm that the email is fraudulent.

    Check email images and graphics – often images and graphics in these fraudulent emails are out of place or incorrect. This results when a fraudulent message attempts to reference an image from a legitimate entity’s … more

  • New Fees a Result of Regulation

    According to The Wall Street Journal, banks are planning to introduce new fees on basic products like debit cards, ATMs and checking accounts in attempt to recoup revenue lost as a result of regulatory changes.

    The Fed has proposed capping debit-card merchant fees, known as interchange. I’ve been concerned about the unintended consequences for small businesses and community banks. The proposed caps on debit Interchange fees will increase the cost of debit cards for consumers and potentially curtail debit card use (resulting in either lower sales volume or use of higher cost card types). On the drawing board are annual debit card fees of $25 or $30 and limits on the number of debit-card transactions that a customer can make each month or limiting the size of a purchase that a … more

by Ty Hardison

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