The average person doesn’t consider the VISA or Mastercard in their pocket to be any different from a company or government credit card – aside from the limit, of course. But there are actually significant differences in how corporate and government cards are used and processed. Those differences mean that not all merchants can accept all types of credit cards, and they also change the way issuing banks view transactions. The result is that merchants who can process these special credit cards – known as Level 3 cards – stand to benefit greatly.
Not All Credit Cards Are Created Equal
Banks categorize credit cards differently based on what types of cards they are and, more specifically, what’s required to use them. The credit cards consumers carry in their wallets that make up the vast majority of transactions are classified as Level 1 cards. Level 2 cards are often used for B2B purchases and require extra data to be captured in order to be processed. Finally, the largest corporate and government transactions are done using Level 3 cards, which require even more data to be captured and offer additional control to the cardholder, and additional assurances to the bank.
The Benefits of Level 3 Processing
The primary benefit of Level 3 cards to cardholders is the control they offer over card use. To the bank, Level 3 cards represent more fraud-proof transactions thanks to the enormous amount of information that needs to be collected to use the card. In return, the bank offers lower interchange fees to Level 3 payment processors – a kind of reward for the work required to handle all the extra data collection. The savings on those fees add up quickly, and that’s a huge benefit to the end merchant’s bottom line. As a result, companies that deal with larger corporate clients or government agencies should really consider upgrading their payment handling to include Level 3 data capture.
Getting Set Up to Take Advantage of Level Three Payments
Processing Level 3 transactions requires the capture of 15 to 20 additional line items on top of the data normally recorded on Level 1 card purchases. Those line items include things like invoice numbers, unit prices, item descriptions, and more. It’s a lot of data to capture, and doing it manually is a headache at best, and an enormous time-sink at worst. Luckily, some electronic payment processors, like BAMS, can automate the capture and reporting of Level 3 data, allowing merchants to reap all the benefits of accepting Level 3 payments with none of the nightmarish manual data management.
With that in mind Level 3 processing isn’t appropriate for all businesses. At BAMS, checking for Level 3 optimization eligibility is part of our five-step price comparison process and one of the first steps in all of our partnerships. In addition to reduced fees, merchants that do begin accepting Level 3 cards open up a whole new world of high-end clients that other companies simply don’t have access to, so contact us today to find out how we can help your business begin accepting these valuable payments