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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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