Ascent is dedicated to saving our clients’ money, which we do in many ways, including by offering interchange pass thru pricing. We have always utilized this pricing program because it is the most transparent model for you to know exactly what you are paying for each card type, along with the service fees, dues, and assessments that are passed along by the banks. For example, Visa has more than 300 interchange categories and MasterCard more than 600 with different rates. You receive the benefit of paying the interchange rate for each card type your guest uses. Independent sources agree that this pricing program allows merchants to achieve optimal interchange rates, better than other pricing programs like flat rate or tiered.

Don’t be fooled by processors now attempting to offer a “new interchange model” that groups different card types into levels by rounding all those card rates up to one rate. While this method may make your statement a little easier to read, you would pay unnecessarily higher fees for many transactions.

Another way to take advantage of the potential savings is to let your guests know that you prefer debit. The interchange rate on most debit cards is significantly lower than credit cards, and we pass those savings along to you. (Please note: Merchants that accept Amex are technically prohibited from “steering” consumers to a different payment product, such as debit).

Here are some general tips to get the best interchange qualifications possible:

  • Batch transactions every night. If you aren’t already, consider getting set up with auto-batching, which takes care of having to worry about this requirement
  • Never force a transaction without having received an authorization, or settle for an amount different than the authorized amount
  • Ensure the correct data is being passed with each transaction
    • We take care of this step for you. Barring issues with third party (eg. Gateway) capabilities to pass data, we ensure that the correct data for your account setup is sent with the transaction
    • In some cases, to get the best rates, a change in your manual processing practices might be needed (eg. Passing data such as address verification (AVS) or lodging data (check-in and check-out). We will alert you if any changes to how your employees enter credit card data is required
    • In our industry, Level II and/or III data is not generally necessary for transactions to qualify correctly

If you have questions on interchange, contact your dedicated Account Executive or