According to Forrester Research, B2B eCommerce sales are on the rise due to the rapid advancement of cloud technology, platforms, API’s and integrated ecosystems. Another major contributor, according to The Economist, is that over 30% of decision makers are millenials, a group that, according to Forbes, requires an omni-channel experience with 87% of them using two to three technical devices daily. These shifts driven by consumer demand and technology are behind Forrester’s forecast that B2B eCommerce transactions will exceed 55% of all B2B transactions by the year 2017.
This shift in how B2B payments are processed will lead to a dramatic increase in B2B payment processing transactions. As this shift happens, it has become critical for CFO’s & Controllers to become educated about what benefits are available to their organization as it relates to B2B payment processing while also steering clear of deceptive billing practices in the credit card processing industry.
THE LANGUAGE OF DECEPTION
B2B companies have consistently been misled to expect credit card fees in the 3-5% range due to the fact that they are accepting credit cards in a “Card Not Present” environment. Payment processors often point the finger at Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express as being the benefactors of these high fees and often use confusing billing statements that hide the true costs that come from these card brands.
Controllers and CFO’s often enter into B2B payment processing relationships through their banks and are told “we do your processing in-house”, under a white-label payment processing relationship that usually leads to more confusion & deception. They read their monthly statements and see terms like Qualified, Mid-Qualified, Non-Qualified, Standard, or Surcharge, etc., and believe that since they accept most or all of their transactions online or by phone, they must also accept the fact that it is more expensive.
The fact is that many of these terms don’t actually exist on the wholesale rate categories created by Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. These are deceptive rate categories created by dishonest B2B payment processing companies that allow them to enhance the profitability of each merchant account without having to disclose their profit margin.
VISA B2B, LEVEL II & LEVEL III PROCESSING
What commercial businesses must be knowledgeable about are the benefits that the card brands make available to certain businesses that engage in business-to-business and business-to-government transactions. VISA B2B, Level II and Level III processing are essentially discounts that businesses qualify for depending on the type of business they are, along with additional payment data provided while processing B2B transactions. These programs can improve the cost of accepting commercial credit & debit cards by as much as 1% in many cases. This allows commercial businesses to accept credit and debit cards in a “Card Not Present” environment while avoiding the excessive surcharging and high fees they typically experience.
HOW TO CASH IN
To ensure your payments are being processed as efficiently as they can be, here are a few actions to take:
- Ensure you’re set up on Interchange Plus or Pass-Through Pricing (Fully discloses fees from card brands at cost)
- Review your statement and make sure there are no terms like Qualified, Mid-Qualified, Non-Qualified.
- Compare your current statement to a previous statement from the same provider to ensure its consistency.
- Call your payment processor and find out if you qualify for special rates from the card brands.
- Request documentation from your payment processor that fully discloses costs from Visa, MasterCard, Discover & American Express.
Cashing in on these benefits will be instrumental in helping B2B organizations control their costs so they can reinvest their profits into building quality purchasing experiences for vendors, suppliers, and customers both online and offline.
Contact us to find out if you’re overpaying for your merchant account or if you’re looking for systems that can help you process payments more efficiently.
You can also download “The Truth About Accepting Credit Cards”, a free mini-book that reveals the inside scoop on how B2B payment processing companies get paid, the untruths they use against businesses, and 25 questions you can ask to get the best payment processing relationship.