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.
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
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 19 - Reading a Processing Statement?
vocabulary of truth and simplicity will be of service throughout your
- Winston Churchill
Effective rates are helpful. They illustrate what percentage
of merchant sales is ‘surrendered’ to the processor compared to the
sales generated by accepting credit cards.
Many merchants prefer to look at this figure as it most
accurately portrays ‘final cost of sales’ and in effect
sidesteps the more detail driven (and more confusing) aspects of card
If you are paying attention, there are several ways processors
assess fees. They can:
1. Add fees which in effect pay the acquiring banks (the
players are the associations, and through them the issuing banks are
compensated as well)
- Dues and Assessments
2. Add fees which pay the processor, ISO, MSP and Agent (the
sales channels outside of those mentioned above)
- Statement Fees
- Batch Fees
- Transaction and Discount rate Fees above interchange
- Warranties, Customer Service Fees, Network Fees, etc.
Additionally, the fees can be displayed in such a fashion as
to “complicate” or “marginalizes” the fees in question…and some fees
are simply inaccurate. Refer back to the statement:
- Placing fees in the
various sections of a statement can complicate the process of
identifying the fees being charged. Some statements are even designed
that a portion of the fees appear in one months statement and the
remaining fees may fall into the next months statement!
- Notice how “Discount Fees’ are on page 1 and then the
additional processing fees are assessed on page 3 of the statement we
- Notice how additional fees are passed on to the merchant
with little explanation as to ‘what’ those fees are? Page 3 shows
interchange being passed onto the merchant, yet there is no explanation
as to what the various terms represent.
- Dividing fees
and naming them in such a fashion that independently the fees look
small, yet collectively the fees are significant is another way to hide
fees in plane sight.
- Discount P/I on page 1 is a transaction fee of 20 cents per
sale that was added to the discount. Yet on page 3 another ‘transaction
fee’ called an ‘authorization fee’ was added to the mix. Collectively,
this merchant is paying 55 cents a sale ON TOP OF DISCOUNT RATES!
- Network and statement fees on page 3 could be the same
situation where a simple ‘access fee’ from the processor is divided and
renamed in one or more variations to justify additional income to the
processor/ISO/MSP or agent.
fees are more common than one would think in this day and age of high
tech computers and automated billing - this is a good argument why an
agent relationship between merchant and sales facilitator is a clear
- Notice on page three how a ‘Monthly Minimum’ fee was
assessed which was completely inappropriate
- PCI fees on page 3 could be negated with the assistance of
a sales agent.
is a key point: understanding statements and using the issues inherent
in most can provide a significant tool to prove your value and win a
As discussed in a previous chapter, merchant fees are
typically assessed in one of two fashions - ‘interchange plus’ and
Option 1 – Interchange Plus (also called ‘Pass Through” and
(Note: We are showing statement sections as there is no need
to display Section 1 - Processor Identification Data or Section 2-
Merchant Identification Data again)
The least common type of PPS, these statements may appear
imposing to the merchant and those new to the processing field (due to
the many lines of interchange displayed on the statement), yet are
arguably . . .