Calculating the total cost of accepting payments can be complicated and confusing. For example, there are more than 300 interchange categories, and rates vary based on the type of card, the acceptance method and more.

Small and medium-sized businesses can optimize payments and unleash savings by implementing Elavon’s payment optimization solutions that help reduce or offset acceptance costs.

Authorization optimization
Automated solutions help increase authorizations and lower the cost of payment acceptance.

  • Commercial Card Optimization is ideal for any business that sells products and services to other businesses or government agencies. It automates data transmission to qualify the transaction for lower interchange rates on purchases made with corporate credit cards and purchasing cards. This reduces the errors that occur with a do-it-yourself approach and frees staff to focus on customers and business priorities. There is no cost to enroll and no need for special equipment.
  • Debit Optimization saves merchants 10 percent to 25 percent by automatically prompting customers who pay in person using a debit card to enter their PIN. Transactions are routed through lower-cost debit networks. Automated PIN prompting speeds transactions by eliminating manual prompts and reduces fraud by authenticating the cardholder.
  • Account Updater reduces declined transactions and improves cash flow for recurring payments by automatically checking the expiration date of customer cards on file before they are authorized. This eliminates delays associated with contacting customers to obtain updated card credentials.

Cost acceptance relief
Fee programs help offset acceptance costs while complying with card brand regulations.

  • Credit Card Surcharge(1) is an effective way for businesses to save money by passing credit card acceptance costs to cardholders. A surcharge adds a fee—typically about 3 percent—to the purchase price when a customer chooses to pay with a credit card. The cardholder can avoid the surcharge by paying with cash, a check/ACH, a debit card or a prepaid card. Elavon’s program ensures compliance with all card brand rules regarding enrollment, fees and customer disclosures.
  • Dynamic Currency Conversion allows merchants to collect a conversion fee when international customers elect to pay for purchases using their home currency. Customers better understand the cost in their home currency, and they won’t be assessed an additional foreign exchange fee typically charged by their card issuer.

In addition to the above programs, following these payment acceptance best practices helps avoid transaction downgrades that carry higher rates: Include ZIP codes with keyed transactions, settle transactions daily, ensure authorization and settlement amounts match, and separate purchase amounts from sales tax and tips.

(1) Credit Card Surcharge applies to credit cards only, not available on debit cards. 

This article was originally published in Elavon’s Payment Smart newsletter. The Washington Hospitality Association’s payment processing program is backed by U.S. Bank/Elavon.