by Ty Hardison

Small Businesses are Missing Out on Debit Interchange Savings

Small Businesses are Missing Out on Debit Interchange Savings In an article yesterday titled “Merchant service providers are the real winners under new debit fee caps”, Michael Conticelli highlights that processors are not required to pass on the lower Fed regulated debit Interchange rates – and because of this small businesses are not realizing the benefits of this legislation.

Thanks Michael for helping call attention to this small business issue. Ever since this debit Interchange debate started we have been advocating for small businesses because we knew that while they were held up as the face of this legislation by mega retailer lobbyist, that the system was rigged against them.

In October 2011 when the Fed debit rules went into effect, we posted "Durbin’s Debit a Trick or Treat for Small Merchants". … more

Paycards better for unbanked than prepaid, traditional checking

Paycards better for unbanked than prepaid, traditional checking A recent article “Why Banks Shun 30 Million Americans” makes the case that banks are uninterested in the unbanked and underbanked customer and that mega-retailers don’t offer much long-term value.

New federal regulations have impacted the banking industry’s business model of subsidizing once “free” services, driving banks to focus on “profitable” customers while discouraging others with higher fees on basic banking services.

Big retailers have stepped in to profit on the unbanked by charging fees to cash checks and by selling prepaid debit cards. Retail fees charged for these services, when added up over time, can be just as high as maintaining a checking account.

Yet one of the best solutions for the unbanked and underbanked was not … more

Searching for the Best Merchant Rates?

Best Merchant Rates It’s what all merchants are looking for; who doesn't want the “best merchant rates”? The real question for merchants is how to go about achieving this while avoiding the pitfalls of selecting a poor service provider.

To be the best, can you just claim it or buy the best domain name? The Best Merchant Rates may be an SEO search term, but a company name? Isn't that like naming your company “the best cola” instead of Coke or Pepsi? Do you trust a financial services company with a generic company name like “Merchant Services” or do you go with brand names like Bank of America or Costco?

For small businesses looking for the best merchant rates, turning to mega-banks and mega-retailers is not their best choice. For example, Bank of America Merchant … more

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 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 and … more