A mini-guide for merchants: how to avoid fees for non-secure payments in three easy steps
First there was the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and now there is another set of legislation that affects the way merchants collect and store their customers’ personal information, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which came into force on 25th May. With so many important changes affecting the card payment industry, merchants might be forgiven for losing sight of the everyday basics of running their business, in particular acquirer fees. Easily overlooked, these fees soon mount up and can result in a significant dent in the profits of any organisation if left unchecked.
To pay or not to pay?
Contact centres that accept debit or credit card payments are generally considered to be high risk environments because they face the dual challenges of minimising the risk of fraud and reducing the higher processing costs associated with so-called non-secure transactions. The latter could be the occasional face-to-face sign-and-swipe payments where cardholders do not have a Chip and PIN facility; telephony-based transactions where merchants have to collect the 3-digit CSV security code themselves or online orders that do not automatically undergo a 3D Secure authentication process.
The theory is that if the above transactions are done in a secure environment and now contact centres are more secure than ever, as a result of developing a tight framework that meets stringent PCI DSS requirements – no additional non-secure fees should be charged. The reality is, however, that many merchants continue to be charged these fees that often result in more losses than the initial transaction amount along with wasted time and administrative costs associated with correcting errors.
Avoiding the pitfalls of unnecessary fees in three easy steps
1. Don’t just take their word for it, push back!
Review your contract with the acquirer, take a close, regular look at the number and amount of fees you are incurring and then challenge any discrepancies. Look at any recurring payments you may have. Non-secure fees should not be charged for these transactions but only as long as they are flagged correctly as being a recurring transaction.
Look at the small print. Any reputable acquiring bank will clearly state the methods they deem to be secure and then list the charges that will apply if these methods are not employed or are employed incorrectly.
Better to check than be sorry. Vigilance is the first step to taking control and avoiding unwanted fees.