by Ty Hardison

Visa Changes Debit Debate, Backs Contactless

Visa changes the signature vs. PIN debit debate with policies to support contactless payments. 

In an interview in the June/July 2009 issue of Cards&Payments magazine, Ellen Richey, global head of enterprise risk for Visa, discussed the adoption of chip technology to make purchases more secure. Richey said “the U.S is not going to be adopting a chip-and-PIN credit card or debit card any time in the very near future” suggesting that in the U.S., the deployment of a contactless-chip card network may not include a PIN component.

In October 2009, Best Buy announced that it would discontinue it’s acceptance of Visa contactless payment cards. Why?  Best Buy reportedly took issue that Visa contactless lacked the option of PIN acceptance, while payment industry … more

Visa's Debit Rates Converge

Visa has announced additional changes for April 2010.  Visa will adjust the following U.S. Visa Debit Interchange reimbursement fees.  The significance here is that for many merchants the underlying Interchange costs for accepting a Visa signature debit (check card) will be the same as accepting a PIN debit transaction. 

Visa Signature Debit

Fee Program Current Fee April 2010 Fee

CPS Retail Debit 1.03% + $0.15  0.95% + $0.20

CPS Supermarket Debit 1.03% + $0.15 ($0.35 max) 0.95% + $0.20 ($0.35 max)

CPS Service Station Debit 0.70% + $0.17 ($0.95 max) 0.75% + $0.17 ($0.95 max)

CPS Automated Fuel Dispenser Debit 0.70% + $0.17 ($0.95 max) 0.75% + $0.17 ($0.95 max)

Interlink PIN Debit

Visa has announced changes in the pricing for Interlink debit transactions.

Fee … more

Visa extends Small Ticket Interchange to more Merchants

Visa has announced additions to the CPS/Small Ticket Interchange Program, currently available to Local Commuter Transport, Taxicabs and Limousine, Restaurants, Fast Food Restaurants, Parking Lots and Garages, Motion Picture Theaters, Video Rental Stores, Bus Lines, Tolls and Bridge Fees, News Dealers, Laundries, Dry Cleaners, Quick Copy, Car Wash and Service Stations.

Effective October 2010, Small Ticket Interchange will be extended to most merchant category codes (MCCs).  Current Small Ticket Interchange applies to transactions less than $15.  The current Visa Small Ticket Credit Interchange is 1.65% + $0.04 and the Visa Small Ticket Debit Interchange is 1.55% + $0.04.

This is an effective reduction in the overall Interchange costs for most merchant categories.  However, … more

The Essential Merchant Guide to Card Payment Refunds

Buyers need not only an understanding of the benefits and value of what you are selling, they also need clearly stated billing, return, shipping and other policies important in their decision making process. This guide will focus on the essentials of a card payment refund policy:

Setting a Return Policy

Refund Best Practices

Handling Refund related Chargebacks

Beware of Refund Scams

Lower costs with Credit Voucher Interchange

Setting a Return Policy

A good return policy can help close sales. Your return policy or lack thereof can justify higher or lower cost as reflected by higher or lower risk of buying from you in the mind of your customer. Your return policy can even define your brand - think Nordstrom.

Handling refund requests in a way that makes good business sense and … more

The Fifth Anniversary of Reward Card Interchange

Reward credit cards are used by card companies to compete with one another for the business of affluent consumers. Card issuers attempt to influence the purchase behaviors of cardholders with higher spending limits by rewarding them to spend more at merchant locations. And by most accounts they have been successful.

This spring marks the 5th anniversary of rewards Interchange. The decision to implement a higher rate for a rewards card verses a non-rewards card was introduced in response to a growing American Express market share. The competitive landscape in 2005 found MasterCard and Visa card issuers increasingly using rewards as a key component of their cardholder acquisition strategies in order to compete with AmEx for affluent consumers.

So in April 2005, both MasterCard and Visa … more

Debit Network Fee Updates

NYCE and CU24 PIN debit networks have announced modifications to the current rates. 

Effective February 1, 2010 NYCE will implement the following changes:

The switch fee will be decreased from $0.05 to $0.0425.

Retail merchants will be billed at 0.75% + $0.2125 per transaction. The minimum transaction fee will be decreased to $0.3025.

Quick Service Restaurant merchants will be billed at 0.55% + $0.1075 per transaction with a maximum fee of $0.5425. The minimum transaction fee will be decreased to $0.2275.

Supermarket merchants will be decreased to $0.3025.

Petroleum merchants will be billed at 0.85% + $0.1925 per transaction. The minimum transaction fee will be decreased to $0.3025.

Returns will be decreased to $0.0425 per transaction.

PINless … more

April 2010 Interchange Adjustments

MasterCard and Visa have announced New April 2010 Interchange adjustments. 


Currently, MasterCard's Assessment fee is 0.095%. MasterCard will increase the Assessment fee to 0.110%.

While new rates have not yet been announced, MasterCard is introducing new Interregional Interchange programs for:

MasterCard World Card

MasterCard World Elite

World MasterCard for Business

MasterCard Corporate World

World Elite MasterCard Business

MasterCard Corporate World Elite

Effective April 2010, MasterCard is revising the qualification criteria for Commercial Face to Face and Commercial Data Rate II.  Zero will no longer be accepted as a valid tax value to qualify for these Interchange rate categories.  If a commercial transaction has no sales tax, the … more

Debit cards highly valued

According to a new survey commissioned by Visa Inc., U.S. consumers whose primary payment method is their debit card would rather give up coffee, their MP3 player, their mobile phone, email, visiting social network sites for one week than they would their debit card.

Employers issuing Visa payroll debit cards to under-banked workers not only benefit by moving all employees to direct deposit but are also providing a cash management tool highly valued by employees.  Consumers are focused on controlling spending and understand that cash purchases can be difficult to track.  The Visa survey reveals that consumers believe debit cards can help them monitor spending more closely and stay within budget.   Plus employees enjoy convenient access to their funds by using their … more

CPAs play a key role in helping small businesses implement payment best practices

Poor management of accounts receivables is the enemy of cash flow. For small businesses today, 30-day terms all too often extend to 60, 90 and 120 days before payment is made.

CPAs can help their small business clients better manage cash flow by proactively talking about their payment policies and procedures. Now is the time to help your clients set a 2010 goal of implementing payment acceptance best practices. Why?  Because by implementing sound accounts receivable policies with the objective of lowering working capital, businesses will achieve an operational advantage over their competitors.

Business is, ultimately, about getting paid.  Businesses need to have enough working capital to fund their operations while they wait to get paid.  If a company can improve its … more

Salvation Army deploys card acceptance

The Salvation Army is accepting credit and debit cards for contributions this holiday season in more regions nationwide. News articles from around the country have reported on the card terminals at the traditionally all cash "Red Kettles" which collect donations to support programs such as food for the homeless and toys for needy children.

The Salvation Army is smart to provider donors with the convenience of more payment options including Visa, MasterCard and American Express card transactions. Realizing that many people don't carry cash, the Salvation Army kettles are adjusting to the changing payment choices consumers are making.

The Salvation Army has deployed card acceptance to:

Increase overall red kettle donations

Eliminate "not carrying any cash" as an excuse for not giving … more