by Ty Hardison

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

Visa, MasterCard Settlement Order Appeal Rejected

Upon preliminary approval of the largest antitrust settlement ever at $7.25 Billion, the end is nearing for the Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation battle now in its seventh year. But some large retailers oppose the deal claiming they are being forced to forfeit their rights to sue over the card companies’ practices in the future. Filing their concerns in a federal appeals court to challenge the preliminary approval, a decision allowing plaintiffs to begin signing up more than 7 million eligible merchants, the court decided to defer the matter until after final judgment in the case had been issued, a decision expect late in 2013. more

Swipe-Fee Settlement Wins Preliminary Approval

As expected, the federal judge has now granted preliminary approval of a $7.25 billion class-action settlement in the Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation case saying opponent’s arguments were not persuasive enough to derail the deal.

Calling opponent’s concerns voiced so far "overstated", the U.S. District Court Judge did note the bar for preliminary approval is significantly lower than for final approval, a decision not expected until next year.

Under the settlement, millions of merchants would receive payments totaling $6.05 billion. Those merchants on direct Interchange pass through pricing will also see a temporarily reduced swipe fee by an amount equal to $1.2 billion. And merchants in states that don’t prohibit by law will be … more

Hurricane Sandy reminds small businesses importance of disaster preparedness planning

With Hurricane Sandy bearing down across the east coast, small businesses are reminded of the importance of disaster preparedness planning. And direct deposit paycards are an important part of any such plan.

Both local and non-local emergencies can make receiving pay on payday difficult if not impossible for workers who aren't on direct deposit. When natural disasters occur in a hub city from which paychecks are mailed or air traffic is grounded, employees can not receive paper pay checks in a timely manner.

Yet according to a recent NACHA study, small businesses account for nearly 50 percent paper checks written in the U.S., not including government checks. Research suggest that many of the paper checks written in the US are small B2B payments but 12 percent are for small business … 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

Vantage a proud sponsor of Small Business Saturday 2012

American Express’ Small Business Saturday is scheduled for Saturday, November 24, 2012. Small Business Saturday falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and is dedicated to driving sales to small businesses on one of the busiest holiday shopping weekends of the year.

This year, American Express is giving small merchants that accept American Express® Cards free advertising and motivating consumers to make this the biggest day of the year for small business. Be one of the first to know when you can sign up for free ads and get your marketing materials for Small Business Saturday at

Vantage is encouraging all merchants to sign up early and to promote Small Business Saturday. If you don't accept American Express currently, simply … more showcases new payment technologies

Vantage Card Services launches BankcardTerminals [+] as a new merchant service resource focused on the latest payment technology recommendations.

Our passion has always been consulting with clients to help them identify, select and implement payment solutions to best meet their needs. With BankcardTerminals [+] we take the homework and feedback from working with others to showcase the best in class offerings on the market today. can help you plan your roadmap to the next generation of payment technology.

Mobile commerce options are plentiful which means there is plenty to consider when making a decision.

Virtual terminals and electronic invoicing solutions are delivered from the cloud providing feature rich solutions but deciding which one can be tricky.

There … more

Interchange Lawsuit Update

In the seven-year old Interchange lawsuit (Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation case), a proposed settlement was announced on July 13, 2102, with an October 19, 2012 deadline to formally request approval from the court. If a preliminary approval is given at that time - a notice of the settlement will be sent to about 7 million U.S. merchants who accepted Visa or MasterCard credit cards since 2004. Then the judge overseeing the case must give a final approve before it can be implemented, which is not expected until the second half of 2013.

In the meantime, opposition to the settlement has grown claiming the settlement doesn’t do enough for merchants. Some trade groups have announced plans to fight the settlement in court. Both Target and Wal-Mart … more

Will the Visa/MasterCard Interchange Fee Agreement Hold?

If the proposed settlement in the Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation case is approved, merchants will receive billions of dollars, a temporary Interchange rate reduction and the ability to surcharge card payment transactions. In return, the agreement releases Visa and MasterCard from future legal claims regarding Interchange, network rules, merchant fees and related issues by merchants.

Both the National Grocers Association and the National Association of Convenience Stores say they will oppose the agreement on the basis that the agreement does not address how Interchange is set or the complexity of Interchange fee schedules. Target and Wal-Mart are not plaintiffs in this case, but have criticized the proposed settlement for similar reasons and … 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