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JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
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Any idea what this is? First time seeing it on my merchant statement (cc processor)

mc cross-border fee .55

 

I will give them a call, but wondered if anyone had this or knew what it was?

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I've never heard of them charging a "termination fee" if it wasn't an "early termination fee..."  That seems really strange, although in the world of cc processing, I guess nothing would surprise me.

Reconciliation is really in two parts - of course making sure you got paid for what you sent through, but the second is matching the dollars and cents.  Since you don't get the exact dollars and cents in your bank account that you have on every reservation, your bank statements do not match your reporting.  At some point you need to make sure that what is in your bank is aligned with the reservation in your PMS, and that is a very manual process since each transaction gets hit with different fees.

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swirt's picture
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We do get the full payment, then the fees come out through a monthly withdrawl from the processor.  That makes it pretty easy to keep track of.

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JBanczak wrote:

I've never heard of them charging a "termination fee" if it wasn't an "early termination fee..."  That seems really strange, although in the world of cc processing, I guess nothing would surprise me.

Reconciliation is really in two parts - of course making sure you got paid for what you sent through, but the second is matching the dollars and cents.  Since you don't get the exact dollars and cents in your bank account that you have on every reservation, your bank statements do not match your reporting.  At some point you need to make sure that what is in your bank is aligned with the reservation in your PMS, and that is a very manual process since each transaction gets hit with different fees.

I don't get into that much detail. Daily transactions=Daily deposits (only a few days off). The EOM statement that shows what the cc processor took in fees is a waste of time to reconcile. Just look at JBJ's original post, they make up the fees as they go along. They change the discount rate whenever they want without telling anyone.

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JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
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Since we are on this subject, how much of a pain is the reconciliation process at the end of each month?  I ask because we have something lined-up to address this issue.

What do you mean by reconciliation each month?

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Monthly reconciliation would be where you sit down with your merchant statement and make sure what they gave you is what you should have received.  Meaning, checking to see that each transaction you had actually went through.

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swirt wrote:

Monthly reconciliation would be where you sit down with your merchant statement and make sure what they gave you is what you should have received.  Meaning, checking to see that each transaction you had actually went through.

OK, that's what I thought. I do that everyday. Which is why I caught that double billing so fast.

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swirt wrote:

Monthly reconciliation would be where you sit down with your merchant statement and make sure what they gave you is what you should have received.  Meaning, checking to see that each transaction you had actually went through.

Okay, I was hoping there was not this very important thing that I had not been doing for years!

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The credit card companies are making it from both ends. They charge the cardholder usury interest rates and charge the merchant almost as savagely. There is no way to tell a debit card from a credit card which sucks since if we could tell, although we cannot refuse to take it, could as I do if a guest tells me "I will just use my debit card" - why don't you just write a check since it is the same thing...... Often times they will do just that and I save the cc fees. Be aware that Corporate credit cards have a bigger bite than one held by John Q Public.

For that reason alone, I do try to use check or cash at small businesses. I have actually had guests who told me they are aware of the fees we get hit with (one said she tried to set up a cc donation for a 501(c)3 until she found out what the fees were) and therefore would be paying cash or check to save me the fees.

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It is nice to see some innkeepers keep an eye on this cc processing stuff.  We spend SO MUCH time trying to stay on top of it and get it right.

There will definitely be a solution out there always - as long as it is a lodging gateway you will wind up being fine.  The problems without one generally are chargebacks (with no date info, retail gateways have no proof of service rendered - and since they are retail - you are not supposed to be providing service in the first place), fraud (you can get into trouble if you are not doing it properly, and the liability issues are greater if you are misrepresenting yourself), and the issues with cutting over (i.e. non-referenced refunds, deposits, etc) to a new processor can be greater as well.

Since we are on this subject, how much of a pain is the reconciliation process at the end of each month?  I ask because we have something lined-up to address this issue.

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and the issues with cutting over (i.e. non-referenced refunds, deposits, etc) to a new processor can be greater as well.

As soon as I can get back from Conferences and have 5 minutes I am going to have to call my former processor again to fax me the goodbye forms. I cannot find the ones faxed earlier (I know - decrapify). The rub is although I have been beyond the contract period for several years, they are going to charge me $295 to say goodbye. I don't think so. Since when does someone have  to pay to not use a service after the contract period is over! It would be like me charging people because they do not choose to stay here an extra night....

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gillumhouse wrote:

and the issues with cutting over (i.e. non-referenced refunds, deposits, etc) to a new processor can be greater as well.

As soon as I can get back from Conferences and have 5 minutes I am going to have to call my former processor again to fax me the goodbye forms. I cannot find the ones faxed earlier (I know - decrapify). The rub is although I have been beyond the contract period for several years, they are going to charge me $295 to say goodbye. I don't think so. Since when does someone have  to pay to not use a service after the contract period is over! It would be like me charging people because they do not choose to stay here an extra night....

Question for anyone and everyone - would the processor not charge the goodbye fee if you sold or gave the machine to someone else and they signed up?  Like buying a time share - ugh!

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I own my machine. I bought it from someone several years ago after verifying with the processor that their software would function with it. However, I called 3 times in the last 2 years trying to get the program fixed to truncate cc numbers and was told my machine did not have enough memory to install the program. Funny thing - the new processor installed it when they installed their program - suddenly I had a lodging program that I had been told I had (but it never asked for room number or how many nights) and did not.

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JunieBJones (JBJ) wrote:

gillumhouse wrote:

and the issues with cutting over (i.e. non-referenced refunds, deposits, etc) to a new processor can be greater as well.

As soon as I can get back from Conferences and have 5 minutes I am going to have to call my former processor again to fax me the goodbye forms. I cannot find the ones faxed earlier (I know - decrapify). The rub is although I have been beyond the contract period for several years, they are going to charge me $295 to say goodbye. I don't think so. Since when does someone have  to pay to not use a service after the contract period is over! It would be like me charging people because they do not choose to stay here an extra night....

Question for anyone and everyone - would the processor not charge the goodbye fee if you sold or gave the machine to someone else and they signed up?  Like buying a time share - ugh!

I'm pretty sure that's why the PO's really pushed hard for us to use the same processor...they didn't have to pay the termination fee.

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Bree wrote:

JunieBJones (JBJ) wrote:

gillumhouse wrote:

and the issues with cutting over (i.e. non-referenced refunds, deposits, etc) to a new processor can be greater as well.

As soon as I can get back from Conferences and have 5 minutes I am going to have to call my former processor again to fax me the goodbye forms. I cannot find the ones faxed earlier (I know - decrapify). The rub is although I have been beyond the contract period for several years, they are going to charge me $295 to say goodbye. I don't think so. Since when does someone have  to pay to not use a service after the contract period is over! It would be like me charging people because they do not choose to stay here an extra night....

Question for anyone and everyone - would the processor not charge the goodbye fee if you sold or gave the machine to someone else and they signed up?  Like buying a time share - ugh!

I'm pretty sure that's why the PO's really pushed hard for us to use the same processor...they didn't have to pay the termination fee.

Well that makes sense. But what makes better sense is that you buy a turn-key and have 8 millions things to do - besides the whole moving in and setting up house aspect, 8 million for the business alone.  So to trasnfer it all over to the new owners, if it works don't fix it, sort of thing, makes sense to me.

What new innkeeper knows where to turn for all of that with everything else imploding on him/her/them?  You would surely hope the po's would assist in that business transaction part of the business.

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JBanczak wrote:

It is nice to see some innkeepers keep an eye on this cc processing stuff.  We spend SO MUCH time trying to stay on top of it and get it right.

There will definitely be a solution out there always - as long as it is a lodging gateway you will wind up being fine.  The problems without one generally are chargebacks (with no date info, retail gateways have no proof of service rendered - and since they are retail - you are not supposed to be providing service in the first place), fraud (you can get into trouble if you are not doing it properly, and the liability issues are greater if you are misrepresenting yourself), and the issues with cutting over (i.e. non-referenced refunds, deposits, etc) to a new processor can be greater as well.

Since we are on this subject, how much of a pain is the reconciliation process at the end of each month?  I ask because we have something lined-up to address this issue.

Explain 'reconciliation'. The processors charge what they charge so there's no getting around their billing. They make up the codes so you have no idea what the charges are for. I've called to have things explained and to get someone who knows what's going on to look at it but they drag their feet for weeks and never call back. I actually had to have AmEx call my processor to make the processor straighten out an issue they created. 2 weeks later ('We'll have some call you within 24 hours.') a rep from the processor called and said they couldn't find the problem. The processors don't care.

If you mean how easy is it to figure out that I've received all the monies from the transactions, I do that everyday.

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
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They want my money, they will not cut me off cold turkey, no way in the world.  So whatever happens there will be a solution available.

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That's good to hear as well.  I'm guessing that folks on this forum are probably much more well-informed than most innkeepers.  We find it extremely rare for innkeepers to even know that there is a difference, since most processors don't bring it up for obvious reasons.

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I think you are right.  The people on this forum are typically ahead of the curve.  Eye-wink

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It's helpful to bring it up, especially for the aspirings.  Sometimes you don't even know what questions to ask when you are getting started.  I would warn anyone about any long-term contract for processing until you've checked all the options thoroughly.  Too many people (us included) take the PO's contract or the first one to come along and then find out later there are better programs out there.

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Then you should be fine - not to mention get better rates and have the chargeback benefits as well.

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Noticed there were no responses on this - does this make anyone in this forum a little nervous?

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JBanczak wrote:

Noticed there were no responses on this - does this make anyone in this forum a little nervous?

No, we've always been setup as a lodging property, never as retail. Our machine does 'check-in/check-out' not sales. Altho, I do have a button for 'sale' if someone wanted to buy something (usually they pay cash for gift items).

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I got that when I changed companies this winter - check-in/check-out no more EIRF fees.

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I also didn't feel like I needed to reply as we have had the lodging setup from the get go.

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Doesn't make me nervous - we've had a lodging program set up for most of our six years here.  PO had the retail setup - we changed over within a year.  I hadn't heard about any crackdown but I wouldn't have taken notice since it doesn't apply to me.

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Some more info on this topic can be found here: http://www.evolt.org/node/12694.

From this article: "MAs are specific not only to the merchant but to the activity where they are used. Conducting credit card sales in a manner not specified in the MA is illegal and constitutes willful fraud. All revenues from such sales are also illegal and will be refunded to the cardholders, regardless of the cardholder's satisfaction with the sale."
 

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Another thing you should consider is whether or not the service you are using is certified for lodging transactions.  We estimate that most B&B's are using cc processing accounts that are setup as a "retail" account, not a "lodging" account.  There is a BIG difference.  With a retail account - the credit card company assumes you are selling an actual item. Sales of physical goods, not services, come under much much less scrutiny.  As a service provider, you are legally supposed to be setup with an account on a system certified for lodging.  These systems pass through check-in dates/check-out dates and other lodging data.

Folks like Costco do not have a setup like this, nor do most of the cc processors out there.  In the past, before all of the scrutiny came on cc data safety, no one really seemed to care, but that is changing dramatically.  It is only a matter of time before all lodging properties that are setup incorrectly as retailers are going to either have to switch or be shut down.  eOnline Data has already terminated any lodging account they know of that was set-up.  There is a big Visa change coming out later this year, and there are rumors that this is going to be part of the crackdown.  It may not be this year, but the time when this happens is not going to be too far off.

My advice for anyone looking at new cc processing accounts is to look VERY critically at whether or not it is legally certified for lodging transactions, and make sure you don't get into a long-term contract where you claim you are a retailer and run into heavy fees if you are forced to switch when the Visa's of the world start to enforce the rules.  It is going to be a pretty rough time period if 80% of the B&B's taking credit cards need get shutdown on short notice. 

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I haven't got my machine yet but I think I am going through Costco. Right now I can only take cash,cheque(with Id or Travellers Cheques) I really wish that would be enough but I know it won't. Debit is big around here and if you have debit you may as well get Visa and Mastercard--American Express is not for sure yet. Those fees make me so ugly!

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Before you go with a machine, check out your options for phone-in credit card processing. Our rates here seem to be much lower than they are state-side for IVR processing (this is when you use your phone to manually key in the credit card numbers instead of swiping). It doesn't work with debit, but most people who have a debit card have a credit card.

I looked at going with the Costco plan and machine, but it is considerably higher than what I pay now. I might have to switch to a machine down the road as the credit cards move away from imprint to microchip. But until then I don't mind saving some money every month.

Are you a member of a local chamber of commerce? They often have agreements with the major card processors for good rates. Or meet with the small business manager at your bank to see what rates they can offer.

As for which cards to take, around here it is mostly Visa and some Mastercard. Amex is not common here but if you're expecting a lot of business from the US, you might need it. You can always wait and see what your market demands.

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Ultimately the airline makes most of the money on these too...  they charge the CC company around one cent per mile.....  so $100 transaction, 100 miles, the cc company pays 1% more or less to get them.

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I got charged an additional $6 plus the usual fees because a client 'visa' card was actually a debit card.

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I thought if the debit card had the Visa logo it didn't matter if you ran it as a credit or debit?  CRAZY!

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Nope.  You would think that because it's a debit card and the money gets sucked out right away that fees would be less to the merchant, wouldn't you?  Nope.  I was totally surprised by this.  I knew that rewards cards cost us more.  Heck, I use mine all the time!

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It also depends (I think) whether you have a pin pad to run it as a debit card.  My understanding (I don't have a pin pad) is that if you have a pin pad and if you run it as a debit card and ask the guest to type in their pin number, the fee is less.  If you run a debit card as a credit card, the fee is higher.

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I think you're right.  Which is why you're seeing more of the pin pad machines at retail locations also.  The infrequent higher fees are probably overall cheaper than getting the pin pad component for me.  I don't get that many debit cards here...at least so far in my limited experience.   

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swirt wrote:

It also depends (I think) whether you have a pin pad to run it as a debit card.  My understanding (I don't have a pin pad) is that if you have a pin pad and if you run it as a debit card and ask the guest to type in their pin number, the fee is less.  If you run a debit card as a credit card, the fee is higher.

Which explains why my bank charges me use my card as a debit card, but not as a credit card -- they can make more money from the vendor when I say "credit, please" even though the money is immediately debited from my checking account.

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i got thru without waiting, it is the same as the non-qualified interchange fee, just diff working, it means those extras the guest gets back on the PROMOTION (ie miles, or rewards).  Same thing.

Which if anyone is new doesn't know, WE GET TO PAY FOR as the vendor, the guests gets the points, we pay for those points.

GeorgiaGirl's picture
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WHAT??!  The vendor pays that?  That's ridiculous!!!!  I would think the offering credit card company paid that, I'm shocked!

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GeorgiaGirl25 wrote:

WHAT??!  The vendor pays that?  That's ridiculous!!!!  I would think the offering credit card company paid that, I'm shocked!

Oh you didn't know that?

IFfI take Discover, which I don't like to, they are always jumping for joy at their points.  I tell them ENJOY IT.  Many do not know it is US paying for it.

That is why we had the discussion of offering a discount for cash, not a penalty for ccards. 

Credit card companies do not pay for anything, you already knew that, it just wasn't clear in your mind til now. 

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I honestly didn't think the merchant taking the credit card was penalized for the consumer using a point/reward card.  I always just thought that that was something the CC company did to get you to sign up for their card.   I'm amazed, I know I shouldn't be but I am.  I guess that makes me feel better when I use my check book at small Mom & Pop stores.  I've never received a discount for not using my credit card though....that would be a real bonus! 

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From what I understand, if we offer a discount for using cash instead of a credit card, the credit card companies would then drop us.

Riki 

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egoodell wrote:

From what I understand, if we offer a discount for using cash instead of a credit card, the credit card companies would then drop us.

Riki 

oh I am sure a credit card company would drop us.  LOL!

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Now you know - almost any affinity card with reward points or cash back is charged to the merchant at a higher processing rate than non-affinity cards.  That's why many don't take Discover.  Unfortunately, the branded Visa and MCs are everywhere so there is no escaping them.

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I always wondered why many merchants don't take Discover. 

I sell some on Ebay and take mostly Paypal payments and they really rip you off on fees too!  I don't know how much more (or less) than someone like you pays, but Paypal charges 2.9% +.30 cents per transaction.

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GeorgiaGirl25 wrote:

I always wondered why many merchants don't take Discover. 

I sell some on Ebay and take mostly Paypal payments and they really rip you off on fees too!  I don't know how much more (or less) than someone like you pays, but Paypal charges 2.9% +.30 cents per transaction.

We pay that and then some. W ehave to pay the monthly fee for the machine to have it plugged in, we pay $5 a monht, whether we useit or not.  Plus the "discount" which is the % you mentioned 2.9%, plus these non qualified interchange fees (points/miles), which can really add up.  On a couple cards mine were a hefty $ amount for the month.

But this is why I put everything on my visa.  I just redeemed my $15,000 points for $75 cash.  I decided to haev the check mailed to me so I can use it to go out and eat or something, instead of throwing it back on the credit card, which is what I usually do.

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JunieBJones (JBJ) wrote:

GeorgiaGirl25 wrote:

I always wondered why many merchants don't take Discover. 

I sell some on Ebay and take mostly Paypal payments and they really rip you off on fees too!  I don't know how much more (or less) than someone like you pays, but Paypal charges 2.9% +.30 cents per transaction.

We pay that and then some. W ehave to pay the monthly fee for the machine to have it plugged in, we pay $5 a monht, whether we useit or not.  Plus the "discount" which is the % you mentioned 2.9%, plus these non qualified interchange fees (points/miles), which can really add up.  On a couple cards mine were a hefty $ amount for the month.

But this is why I put everything on my visa.  I just redeemed my $15,000 points for $75 cash.  I decided to haev the check mailed to me so I can use it to go out and eat or something, instead of throwing it back on the credit card, which is what I usually do.

Heaven help you if you get a true 'European' cc! That rate is around 5%. I haven't looked at my statement yet for August when we had all those Italians, but I saw a lot of cc's that weren't US banks. And the amount I paid to the processor the other day was close to, if not over $500.

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!!

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GeorgiaGirl25 wrote:

!!

Exactly. Pay cash. Save the small business owner!

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