by Ty Hardison

MerchantRates wins 2010 Small Business WebAward

WebAwards Competition

Vantage Card Services was awarded the 2010 Small Business Standard of Excellence WebAward for its site. 

The Web Marketing Association is the producer of the WebAward Competition.  Now in its 14th year, the WebAwards is the premier annual website award competition that names the best Web sites in 96 industries while setting the standard of excellence for all website development.  Entries were judged on design, copy writing, innovation, content, interactivity, navigation, and use of technology. provides instant merchant Interchange rate quotes and merchant applications. also provides educational resources, best practice guides and helpful frequently asked questions and answers.  more

MasterCard and Visa Settle Antitrust Case

Visa and MasterCard have agreed to new changes that will allow merchants greater flexibility to steer their customer’s payment choice.

The Dodd-Frank financial regulations signed into law in July allow merchants to set a $10 minimum card purchase. Now, announced in a Justice Department consent decree, Visa and MasterCard have agreed that merchants can:

Offer consumers an immediate discount or rebate or a free or discounted product or service for using a particular credit card network, low-cost card within that network or other form of payment;

Express a preference for the use of a particular credit card network, low-cost card within that network or other form of payment;

Promote a particular credit card network, low-cost card within that network or other form of payment … more

Visa Adds Merchants Eligible for Small Ticket Interchange

Visa will implement changes to expand the CPS/Small Ticket program to all MCCs, except those noted below. This expansion is intended to facilitate growth for Visa and its members through increased issuance, acceptance, and innovation.  The extension of the CPS/Small Ticket Interchange program is intended to encourage faster transaction speed and enhance cardholder satisfaction at the point of sale, providing benefits to all.

Currently, only transactions from a specific group of merchant segments are eligible to qualify for the CPS/Small Ticket program. With this change, the CPS/Small Ticket program will be available to consumer card and commercial card transactions submitted with almost all merchant category codes (MCCs).   Current CPS/Small Ticket Interchange applies to … more

The Benefits of Paperless Pay

The recently signed financial regulatory overhaul bill named the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is expected to reduce the debit card Interchange fees used to support free consumer check accounts. This is on top of the loss of overdraft fee income. As a result, big banks are requiring higher minimum balances to qualify for a free checking and adding other service fees.

What will this mean for employers?  For one, employees may opt to close their traditional bank accounts. And if your employees move from banked to unbanked status, this will impact their participation in direct deposit.  Fortunately, the Dodd-Frank act offered an exemption for reloadable prepaid and government-administered debit card programs. This compromise is an attempt to protect the … more

Merchant Card Acceptance changes under the Dodd-Frank Act

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act contains two provisions that impact card acceptance by US merchants:

Using discounts to incentivize preferred payment types

Setting thresholds for the acceptance of credit cards for payment.

These items do not have explicit “in force” dates, so should be effective now that the bill was signed into law on July 21, 2010.

Under the law, payment card networks are restricted from limiting merchants’ ability to offer discounts to incentivize customers to use payment types preferred by the merchants. Merchants would have legal protection under the law to offer customers discounts to pay with cash, check, or debit instead of a credit card. Merchants would not be able to offer a discount for payment with one … more

Special PCI Alert

A Special PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards) Alert for Vantage clients.

This week the number of reported solicitations by phone and fax to our merchant community, especially medical, dental and veterinary practices, has spiked.

The common scare tactic involves being subject to fines if immediate action is not taken. Merchants are told that they have no option but to follow the instructions provided, which typically involves providing contact information, setting an appointment, or paying a fee.

Many of the tactics used will try to make it sound as if they are calling on behalf of your service provider. Please be aware that these solicitations are NOT endorsed by Vantage. We do NOT release any information to any 3rd party.

The PCI scare game has also become … more

Visa Easy Payment Service Goes Into Effect

Effective October 17, 2010, Visa Easy Payment Service will provide a better framework for conducting certain low value transactions less than $25 without cardholder verification or the issuance of a transaction receipt (unless requested by the cardholder). Drawing on the best features of each of the current programs and research, the Visa Easy Payment Service provides a broadened and consistent base for low value and everyday spend expansion.  Visa Easy Payment Service transaction rules will apply to all card technologies including magnetic stripe, EMV chip and Proximity Payment (contactless chip) transactions.  In addition, Visa Easy Payment Service will generally replace existing program rules, creating a consistent set of Visa International operating regulations. Redundant … more

New Health Care Reform impacts both IIAS and IIAS Exempt Merchants

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and/or Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) cards can only be used at drug stores or pharmacies that have implemented an IIAS system.  The IRS requires merchants selling health care eligible products to support an Inventory Information Approval System (IIAS).  

The Special Interest Group for IIAS Standardization (SIGIS) association is composed of a broad range of participants who manages an IIAS for the IRS requirements.  MasterCard and Visa requires merchant registration upon successful IIAS implementation.

On March 23, 2010 the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (collectively "the Act") were signed into law by President Obama. The Act includes a number of … more

Merchant Alert: Debit Interchange Regulation continues move forward

Update:   It's Official.  The financial regulatory overhaul bill finally became law when President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Interchange regulation makes the cut as the House and Senate reconciled their differences on Senator Durbin’s amendment to the proposed Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010. The proposed Interchange amendment compromise must still survive a bipartisan conference committee.

If the bill is passed, the Federal Reserve Board would gain the authority to establish rules and regulations related to the Interchange fees that issuers could earn with respect to debit card transactions. The Federal Reserve would have nine months to set Interchange fees and one would expect that they … more