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Chapter 18 - What is a Processing Statement?


Transitioning to the card payments industry is often a two-edged sword: potentially a financially rewarding endeavor, yet often difficult for the sales professional new to an unfamiliar industry. This program is designed to assist both new and seasoned veterans attain true financial success by employing a simple and effective sales process.

WHAT IS A PAYMENT PROCESSING STATEMENT?

Payment processing statements are monthly recaps of merchant sales activities tied to credit card purchases that provide important data for the business owner. The ‘processing statement’ shows important data such as sales activity, deposits into the merchants bank account, charge back occurrences, and processing fees.

HOW DO I ‘READ’ A PAYMENT PROCESSING STATEMENT?

Understanding payment processing statements (PPS) is a key skill set sales professionals in the payment industry must eventually master. This section will provide you a strong introduction to ‘making sense’ of a merchants ‘statements’. We will break a statement down into it’s four constituent parts and take our first look at specific industry fees.

WHERE CAN I FIND ADDITIONAL HELP?

Only so much can be gleaned from one chapter. Where can you go if you have additional questions regarding payment processing statements? We conclude this chapter with several recommendations, as well as outlining a process designed to assist you in growing your ‘statement analysis’ capabilities. Demystifying statements is a huge key to becoming a pro.

Chapter 18 - What is a Processing Statement?

A vocabulary of truth and simplicity will be of service throughout your life
- Winston Churchill

If there were but one physical item that defines the card payment industry, it would be the payment processing statement.

Take great care to use the proper term. Merchant’s receive many statements  from many companies including their bank. A ‘payment processing statement’, or ‘merchant services statement’ is not the same thing as their ‘bank statement’. You need the former.

It is an unfortunate fact that too much emphasis is placed on acquiring a merchant’s payment processing statement and less time and effort is invested learning the sales process. iProcess will address this issue.

Later on iProcess through PATHFINDER will discuss the sales process in depth. First, you must become familiar with the data found in a processing statement.

Payment Processing Statement – A monthly accounting of the merchant’s card based sales activities and the associated fees assessed by the processor.

Payment Processing Statements (PPS) were introduced initially as a supplement to the business checking account statements a merchant receives from his or her bank.

Years ago, credit cards were issued banks that also managed the acquiring aspects of the transaction. All fees were displayed on the merchants business checking account statement. As the acquiring piece became ‘outsourced’, it fell upon the processors to provide a detailed reporting to the merchant and in so doing disclose the fees incurred while accepting credit cards.

That is how it works today.

PPS are not regulated. There is no ‘standard’ by which all companies must adhere when it comes to the layout, design, and information provided in a statement. The most that can be said is that ‘statement’ formatting is fairly consistent within any given processor.

Take heart. If you are able to read a ‘merchant statement’ or ‘PPS’ (your choice) from one company, then all others from the same company should be fairly simple to decipher.

Below are a few other facts regarding payment processing statements:

Inconsistent terms and descriptive items. Some terms used by one processor may mean different things to the next; therefore, what is called one thing with one processor may be identified under a completely different heading with the next processor. Example ‘transaction fee’ and ‘per item fee’.
Payment processing statements are not typically designed to be ‘simple to read’. Most processors do not want to make life easy for competitors trying to steal business nor do they wish to make the process of ‘comparing rates’ easy on a merchant
Statements are available from the processor. If a merchant has no merchant statements don’t panic. Contact the processor while at the merchant location and have the business owner handy to request PPS to be emailed (or faxed) to you.
Critical data to close deals. A PPS not only provides key processing data such as sales volume and transaction counts. It also discloses items such as charge-backs (more on this later), types of transactions, and potential ‘additional fees’.

The variations of payment processing statements and the lack of consistency can make statement analysis and review a daunting task to the sales people new or seasoned.

Furthermore, some merchants may misunderstand your need for a PPS, thinking you will merely ‘undercut’ their current vender.

A PPS is a requirement to switch a merchant from their current service provider to your company, end of story.

It is important to demonstrate to those accepting card payments that you can provide a financial advantage. A PPS provides the data necessary to accomplish this task. Be prepared to play the role of a detective, both in obtaining the PPS and then deciphering the data hidden within!

Cracking the code of the payment processing statement

Beyond the data, a PPS can help building . . . .

iPros have access to all of the Pathfinder modules.  Join today!

iProcess - Sell Payment Processing Like a Pro!