Purchasing cards (p-cards) are issued to large corporations and government agencies to support business-to-business and business-to-government payments. Purchasing cards possess more features, capabilities, and controls than standard consumer credit cards.
Setting up your business to accept purchasing cards for payment is different than establishing a standard retail merchant account or MOTO merchant account. This resource outlines the benefits of Level 3 purchasing card systems for business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-government (B2G) sellers and the keys to properly establishing a Level 3 merchant account.
In the oil business, margins are very thin. So we are always looking for ways to cut costs. We experienced significant cost savings by switching our merchant account to Vantage. It definitely helped the bottom line, as well as made it easier to process and track our large transactions online using their web interface. We've been pleased with Vantage.Joe Watkins
Watkins Oil Co.
Specific Interchange compliance requirements must be managed and include merchant category restrictions, authorization, clearing, timeliness and registration. For the card types that can qualify for Level 3, address verification, invoice number, tax amount, and line item detail fields like product code, item description, item quantity, unit of measure and extended item amount must be submitted with the standard sales information.
MasterCard and Visa Interchange differ for Level 3 in both rate and qualification requirements. With commercial Interchange, submitting tax amount data is important to qualify for Level 2 rates. For tax exempt transactions, Visa offers Level 3 and B2B Interchange for 35 select industry categories as the next best rate. MasterCard's commercial Level 3 program is know as Data Rate III and these Interchange rates are available for Corporate, Business, Purchasing, Fleet, World Business, World Elite Business, World Corporate, World Elite Corporate charge types. Both Interchange charts includes Large Ticket programs.
To take advantage of corporate, business and purchasing card Interchange, merchants must implement payment solutions that meet the more complex requirements of Level 3. Standard credit card terminals are not capable of supporting Level 3. Payment solutions on the market that support Level 3 include payment software that can be licensed and installed on a PC or a virtual software service that can be accessed through a secure web site application. We recommend the virtual software to avoid having card data stored on local PCs that must be secured. With evolving Level 3 requirements, the virtual software is always the most updated version and multiple users can access the service on any computer with Internet access without traditional software licensing, installation and upgrade issues.
Vantage supports multiple Level 3 compliant payment technologies to meet our clients needs including:
P-card usage is growing . As your customers implement p-card programs to replace inefficient and expensive paper purchase order processes, then you need to think about upgrading your merchant account to Level 3 processing.
Level 3 Merchant Account Benefits
For merchants, the benefits of accepting p-cards as payments include improving profitability by reducing payment time from 30-60 days to 2-3 days, reducing collection expenses and reducing the cost of floating funds until payments are received. Qualifying for Level 3 processing rates will reduce processing expenses over traditional retail and MOTO merchant processing. Having Level 3 capability will increase your competitiveness in winning new contracts and may even be a requirement of your buyers.
Keys to Level 3
Two elements are critical for properly setting up a Level 3 merchant account.