May 12, 2005, 12:00 AM

New web-based tool helps retailers limit payment card transaction fees

Shift4, a Las Vegas provider of web-based e-payment solutions, has developed a tool for its payment application that ensures Internet retailers and storefront merchants qualify each payment card transaction for the lowest possible interchange rate.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

 

Shift4, a Las Vegas provider of web-based e-payment solutions, has developed a new software driver for its $$$ ON THE NET payment application to ensure Internet retailers and store front merchants qualify each payment card transaction for the lowest possible interchange rate.

The application, which Internet merchants can interface with directly through Shift4’s web site, routes address verification and CVV2 and CVC2 validation codes that appear on the back of a credit card through Shift4’s gateway to transaction processors for validation. “Many times, when retailers can’t capture this information the transaction qualifies for a higher interchange rate,” says Eric Hoke, director of business development for Shift4.

Shift4 is also making the software driver available to store-front merchants as part of its Micros 3700 POS solution. The Micros terminal features a high-speed, web-based connection that processes transaction authorizations in three seconds or less, compared to 9 to 12 seconds for a dial-up terminal. Once cards are swiped through a Micros terminal, the machine gathers the cardholder’s address off the magnetic stripe for routing to the processor. Employees enter the CVV or CVC code that appears on the back of the card.

Shari’s Restaurants, which has 100 locations throughout the Pacific Northwest, is currently testing the application on two POS terminals in each location. Despite operating in a card present environment, restaurants are not always able to swipe cards for authorization since dial-up terminals do go off line from the network at times or simply break down. “A web connection is lot more reliable,” says Hoke, who adds Shift4 has service level agreements guaranteeing terminal up time of at least 99.9%.

In an instance when a card terminal is not functional, merchants must gather cardholder data manually, usually through a card imprinter, and later re-enter it into the terminal. Restaurants can generate hundreds of keyed in transactions per month, according to Hoke. For restaurants such as Shari’s, which generates an average ticket of about $30, paying the higher interchange rate on these transactions can prove costly over the long run.

Visa U.S.A.’s interchange rate for a manually keyed in transactions is 1.85% plus 10 cents, compared to 1.54% plus 10 cents for restaurants submitting transactions electronically.

 

Shift4 provides gateways to such leading transaction processors as First Data Merchant Services, Global Payments, and Paymentech.

 

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