Canadian Retailer - May/June 2009 - (Page 46)

C LO S I NG T I M E: YOU A S K E D U S Every day, Retail Council of Canada’s Customer Service team receives phone calls and e-mails from members across the country with questions about every aspect of the retail industry. If you’re not sure where to turn when you need answers about government legislation, privacy issues or anything else affecting your business — contact us! It’s just one more way Retail Council of Canada works hard to be your Voice of Retail. Cutting the cost of accepting payment © I S TO C K P H OTO.C O M “Like any retailer, I’m doing whatever I can to keep my costs down. When it comes to processing payments, what can I do to ensure I’m not paying more than I have to?” The cost of processing credit and debit card fees has been in the news a lot in recent months, and no wonder — thanks to the efforts of Retail Council of Canada and its coalition partners, Ottawa is taking a serious look at the impact of rising merchant fees on businesses and consumers. (You can find out more about this ongoing issue, and what you can do to help, at While RCC and its partners continue to pursue this issue on your behalf, there are a few things you can do as a retailer to ensure you’re paying as little as possible to process payments: • Encourage customers to use Interac debit. Since you pay a higher fee for credit, encourage in-store customers to use Interac debit whenever possible. But remember that credit card rules prevent you from offering a discount for any method of payment with the exception of cash payments. • Encourage swipe transactions. Since you pay a higher fee for keying in the information, encourage in-store customers to swipe their cards whenever possible. If a card does not swipe, it’s a good idea to ask for an alternative form of payment. • Keep your terminal in good working order. If you suspect that your terminal is not reading credit card swipes properly because of a malfunction, then you should contact your processor immediately to get the problem fixed and avoid paying higher rates. • Close all batches frequently. “Closing your batch” means settling up all transactions made within a certain timeframe. Some retailers make a habit of closing their batch every day, while others wait longer to do so. To get the best rates from your payments processor, you should review your terms of service to confirm how often you are required to close your batch. For example, RCC members who take advantage of Chase Paymentech’s preferred rates must close their batches within 72 hours to receive the lowest qualified rate. • Check your statements. Just as you should check your personal banking statements every month to ensure they’re accurate, you should check the statements provided by your payments processor to make certain there are no errors. If you find any discrepancies or charges you don’t understand, report them right away, as most processors specify a certain time frame in which you can dispute charges. • Unbundle your statement. When a supplier sells you merchandise or services, you receive a detailed invoice telling you what you received and what it cost. You should get the same thing from your processor by demanding that it “unbundle” your credit card statement. For each separate merchant discount rate applied to your transactions, you should ensure that your statement lists separately: • each transaction to which the rate has been applied; • the total dollar value of transactions to which the rate has been applied; and • the amount of the merchant fee charged (for each merchant discount rate category). You should also demand that the processor break out the components of the merchant discount fee by transaction, such as: base interchange rate, assessment fee, any additional fee for non-qualified transactions, foreign-issued card fees, and any other fees that were levied on the transaction. The “estimates of transactions for certain rate categories” that some processors have at times stated they use due to the absence of accurate data should not be tolerated. If a processor claims its systems or the systems of a card company do not provide the required detailed data, they should apply a lower fee that can be supported by the statistics. When you renew your contract with your processor, you should demand that the contract include an obligation on the part of the processor to provide “independently auditable statistics supporting the fees charged.” • Shop around. When a retailer is setting up a business for the first time or is kept busy dealing with day-to-day duties, it can be tempting to put off the research required to make an informed decision about which payments processor to partner with. But taking the time to compare the rates of different providers could save a lot in the long run. One benefit of joining Retail Council of Canada is the ability to take advantage of some of the best swipe rates in the business, with RCC and Chase Paymentech working together to offer VISA swipe rates as low as 1.62% and MasterCard swipe rates as low as 1.71% to RCC members. (Debit transaction fees are also a very competitive 7 cents per transaction.) For more details, visit benefits/merch_bank.asp. You’ve got questions about retail? We’ve got answers. Call our Customer Service Team at (888) 373-8245 or e-mail 4 6 | C A N A D I A N R E TA I L E R | M AY/J U N E 2 0 0 9 |

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Canadian Retailer - May/June 2009

Canadian Retailer - May/June 2009
Publisher's Desk
Shop Talk
Come Together
Where Green Never Goes Out of Style
Practising What They Preach
When Times are Tough
How the West was Wowed
In Pursuit of a Well-Dressed West
Sporting a Bold New Look
Bigger and Better
Back to the Future
Revved for Success
The Questions Retailers Ask
Signs of the Times
Advertisers' Index
You Asked Us

Canadian Retailer - May/June 2009