Friday, November 25, 2016

Interchange Plus Benefits and Cost Savings

How Interchange Plus Saves Money When the Markup Becomes Too Expensive

When you have a business, whether it is a retail store, grocery cart or lawncare service, you have to be able to take payments. In today’s world, this means being able to take credit cards easily. Most of your customers are not likely to have cash or even a check on hand to make a payment for products or services. You must be ready to fulfill their need and accept a form of payment that is convenient for them. However, accepting credit cards comes with its own issues, like fees. How do you best handle these fees? Many businesses are finding that interchange plus is a solution to this problem.

What Is Interchange Plus?

Typically, you will have a few options on how your fees will be structured for credit card payments. Common options include bundled or tiered pricing. Interchange plus is another option. With this, you get a pricing structure that allows you to see the components of the costs. It is reported much more clearly and allows you to plan your costs much more easily. It is available for Visa, MasterCard and Discover. 

How Does It Work?

When you process a credit card, the credit card brand will set an interchange rate that you are charged for this transaction. You are also charged a processing fee by the processor. The amount of what you are charged for processing can vary by industry. 

How interchange plus works is it allows you to see the basic processing fees and interchange fees individually instead of bunching them into one basic fee, which is how other methods do it. It allows you to see exactly what you are being charged for every transaction, so you can optimize your credit card related expenses. This is compared to other systems that lump everything together so you do not get to see what is being charged where, so you may never really know what processing or interchange fees you are paying.

What Are the Benefits?

The main benefit here is that it is clearer than other options. You get to see what you are paying in a very easy to understand format. Because you are able to see all the fees, this opens doors to getting lower fees. Companies are more willing to lower costs, which passes the savings onto your business. In addition, you can better choose a processing company because you will know what they are charging you and immediately see the best offer. 

How Do I Find the Best Deal?

The rates you are offered can vary quite a bit. They are based upon many different factors. So, what may be great rates for one business may not be for another. You have to consider things like what industry you are in, how much risk your business poses and your average transaction amounts. There really is no one answer to the question of what is the best deal. The best thing you can do is choose a processing company that has your best interests in mind and who is willing to work with you. They should be open to the idea of interchange plus, too. If a company is used to this method, it will often be very happy to offer you the best possible rates. 

This guest post by Brian Thompson has been provided by our friends at Transaction Services.
Brian Thompson is a business man who means business.  He has helped several companies thrive in the business world, and in his spare time writes for several blogs.
Follow him on Twitter @Biz_Gab

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Troubleshooting Chip-Based Transaction Terminals

The following is a guest post from Brian Thompson at Transaction Services:

With the recent rollout of chip-based credit and debit cards with next-generation security precautions, many merchants have found themselves coping with the troubleshooting that comes with new technology alongside trying to educate customers about the transition to the new technology. Between that and the uneven nature of the upgrade, it can be very difficult to make transactions go smoothly and to keep your registers moving at a regular pace. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your terminal so that you can concentrate on helping your customer.

Connecting the Terminal

Most companies these days are opting for high-speed transaction terminals because they can piggyback on the data connection your company already pays for, and on top of that they also run much more quickly and with fewer dropped attempts. If you’re trying to make a new terminal work, it’s important to start by troubleshooting the basic connection and testing it before you open for the day. To do that, follow these steps:

  • Check to be sure that you have the data cable plugged into the appropriate port.
  • Look at the indicator lights for the model. If any are not lit, consult the owner’s manual to see what to do next.
  • If the terminal still does not work, reboot it by shutting it down and unplugging it for thirty seconds or so before powering it up and letting it initialize itself.
  • Last but not least, confirm that the internet connection itself is working correctly by checking to see if a connected PC or mobile device can access the internet through it.

Troubleshooting Your Digital Services

Sometimes, the connection and the hardware are both in great shape, but it is still impossible to get information through. This tends to happen when high-speed terminals are put on the same connection as a VOIP communication device. For technical reasons, VOIP tends to complicate the ability of the terminal to perform downloads. When that happens, you may need to connect the terminal to an analog phone line to let it download the new software it needs via dial-up.

To coexist well with VOIP services, it is important to know how to switch between VOIP and regular data connections on the device and to use the actual data connection for downloads and transactions. The reason is because the VOIP service will not provide the same kind of network connectivity that an analog phone uses, and the terminal is not able to make use of its analog data connection to send a signal along VOIP. Instead, it needs the regular data connection that other computers use.

The simplest way around this is to connect the high-speed terminal directly to the router instead of going through a VOIP device, but if that is not possible, then the next best choice is to remember to switch from voice to data when you are attempting to process transactions or downloads.


There are a variety of other issues that might pop up besides those with digital services, including problems stemming from needing to dial an outside line to use an analog phone system. To find out how to troubleshoot those specific problems, consult your terminal manufacturer’s literature. That way, you will have all the information you need to successfully implement your chip reader.

This guest post by Brian Thompson has been provided by our friends at Transaction Services.
Brian Thompson is a business man who means business.  He has helped several companies thrive in the business world, and in his spare time writes for several blogs.
Follow him on Twitter @Biz_Gab