More Durbin Amendment Follow Up

October 14, 2011

The Official Merchant Services Blog continues its in-depth look at an interesting opinion article we found on Practical E-Commerce. We recently did a 2-part series on the differences between Tiered Pricing plans and Interchange Plus pricing plans. And in it we heralded Interchange Plus and explained why Host Merchant Services uses what we feel is the superior pricing plan to benefit its merchants. Phil Hinke’s article went beyond just the pricing plans, however, so we split our analysis up into two separate entries. This one will focus on the Durbin Amendment.

Durbin Amendment Can Bring Added Fees

Hinke’s article goes on to discuss some of the effects of the Durbin Amendment in relation to MSPs and their offerings: “No merchant should make a decision solely based on the savings analysis done by a merchant account provider, even if it is a well-known provider or financial institution. I am seeing biased and flawed savings analyses presented to merchants. The most common flaw is identifying savings that take the merchant’s existing debit and credit card volume, then showing a projected savings based on the entire volume being at the lower Durbin Amendment regulated debit card rates. Make sure all savings analyses show an accurate breakdown of credit and debit card volume for your business. Also, remember that the Durbin-Amendment-regulated rates will probably only affect 60-70 percent of your debit transactions, since it applies only to financial institutions with more than $10 billion in assets. The remaining transactions will still be at the previous unregulated rate.”

Hinke again makes a compelling point. Much of the Durbin Amendment analysis that was presented in the media solely focused on consumers and the banks. Rarely did traditional media sources delve into what would happen with the transaction processing side of things after October 1, 2011. Host Merchant Services addressed this in their Durbin Amendment analysis, however, citing the very issue that MSPs could indeed soak up savings from the Durbin Amendment“There is also speculation that the merchant won’t see much of the savings in the first place. And this speculation is tied directly to the payment processing industry. The basics of the industry are that merchants do not deal directly with large credit card issuers like Visa and MasterCard. Rather, they deal with acquirers, or middle men, who offer payment processing of credit cards and debit cards to merchants through their acquirer company’s own goods and services. The rampant speculation is that the acquirers will reap the large savings from the Durbin Amendment, since they are in line between the credit company and the merchant, and will shift high fees right back onto the merchant. This wiggle room in the middle, if it takes place as predicted, could see a large short term spike in profits for acquirers.”

Knowing is More Than Half the Battle

Hinke also suggests Merchants really get involved in a discussion with an MSP that gives them an analysis and an offer: “However, I believe merchants should ask these companies tough questions before using them. This includes asking how the third party makes money, and who is paying that company.”

Host Merchant Services is proactive in this area. The company provides articles on its web site covering specific and helpful topics. Host Merchant Services provides The Official Merchant Services Blog to keep its customers up to date on the latest news affecting their business and the processing industry. The company guarantees savings, transparency on statements, and 24x7x365 customer support. The goal is to keep its merchants happy and informed. Interchange Plus in the hands of Host Merchant Services is the perfect tool. Because it’s goals take advantage of the strengths of the pricing plan.

In Conclusion

Mr. Hinke’s article is insightful. It demonstrates some of the problems that can still occur with an Interchange Plus pricing plan and strives to get merchants to be vigilant with their statements and processing fees that are on their statements.

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