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Surcharging

The Do’s and Don’ts of Surcharging Credit Card Transactions

When it comes to payment acceptance, being flexible to how your customers want to pay you is important for building a successful business and loyal customer base. This may, however, bring added costs to your bottom line, and if you’re operating with already narrow profit margins, these costs can further shrink the gap between your income and your expenses. As a result, you need to be creative and find new ways to compensate for these added costs. One possible way some industries employ is by surcharging your customer’s credit card transactions.

Surcharging Credit Card Transactions

For some businesses, adding a surcharge fee to credit card purchases is an effective way to make credit card acceptance more affordable. Unfortunately, however, it is not possible or acceptable for all industries and, therefore, its implementation must be carefully considered so as to ensure your customers are not being pushed away in the process, nor are you falling out of compliance.

Here are three ‘Do’s’ and ‘Don’ts’ of surcharging that will help you gauge whether such a solution would benefit your business, or if you should avoid it entirely.

The Do’s of Surcharging Your Customers

  1. DO provide customers with full disclosure of the amount you’re surcharging at the Point of Sale/Interaction.
    It is crucial for suppliers to give their customers a clear indication during the point of sale or interaction that they are being charged, and the amount of the surcharge must be explicitly stated.
  2. DO display the sale and return amount separately from the surcharge amount on the cardholder’s receipt.
    Suppliers must list the surcharge amount on the cardholder’s receipt separately from the total sale amount and the amount of the return available to customers.
  3. DO offer customers alternative payment options in case they don’t want to pay the surcharge fee.
    Be flexible! Suppliers benefit from offering alternative payment methods like cash and debit. In this way, suppliers may still complete their sale, while their customers can still pay how they want to, but without the added fees like those associated with credit cards.

The Don’ts of Surcharging Your Customers

  1. DON’T surcharge if the cost to the customer exceeds 4% of the total sales amount OR if the charge exceeds the credit card processing fee you currently pay.
    If you apply a surcharge fee to credit card transactions, you must ensure it doesn’t exceed 4% of your customers’ total purchases or the credit card processing fees you’re currently paying.
  2. DON’T surcharge on everything you sell; only surcharge on low margin items where possible to maximize profit and maintain customer loyalty.
    Surcharging is effective for those suppliers selling product with low margins and who want to maximize their profitability. By only surcharging on low margin items, your customers should remain loyal to your business as the fee will only apply to select items that you sell.
  3. DON’T engage in surcharging if your competition is high, as you may inadvertently encourage your customers to seek out alternative supplier options.
    If the market you play in is highly competitive, and your customers have strong substitute power, do not pursue surcharging! Doing so may steer your customers away and lead them to seek out alternative solutions that better suit their needs.

A Few Things to Note

In addition to our suggestions above, there are three policies which must be adhered to should you choose to pursue surcharging credit card transactions:

  1. Prohibited Card & Transaction Types
    Surcharging is prohibited on American Express credit cards, debit cards (including MasterCard, Visa, Discover Signature, and PIN or PINless cards), and pre-paid card transactions. Should your customer choose to pay you in any of these ways, you are barred from surcharging their transaction.
  2. States Where Surcharging is Prohibited
    In addition to the first point above, surcharging is barred in a number of states within the United States, including: Connecticut, Colorado, Kansas and Massachusetts. Should your business have locations in any of these states, you are prohibited from adding a surcharge to your customer’s receipt.
  3. Processing Requirements
    Lastly, if your business plans on surcharging credit card transactions, you are required to register with each card brand individually before participating. Refer to these links for more information:

 

Surcharging can be helpful for those organizations who are looking to curb the fees associated with accepting credit card payments from their customers. Your business may be a good fit for applying surcharging fees if competition in your industry is low, if your margins are thin, and/or if you have a strong customer base. For greater insight into whether your business should consider applying surcharging fees to credit card transactions, consult your 2CP representative today to learn more.

Intacct Partner Spotlight

Partner Spotlight: Fraser Armstong-Watters from Consero

Welcome to our new Partner Spotlight series, where we feature one of our valued partners in the Intacct reseller channel. This initiative focuses on highlighting the AWESOME people we get to collaborate with on a daily basis! Take a break from the daily grind and get to know Fraser Armstrong-Watters from Consero:

 

  • What do you enjoy about working in your industry?
    Finance provides clarity and transparency to the past, present and future, facilitating an executive teams’ capability to make informed decisions. I enjoy being responsible for the information which drives decision making, while also seeking to add value through the provision of insights and perspective focused on collective business success.
  • What motivates you to come into work every day?
    Working with like-minded, ambitious and determined individuals on challenging problems gets me out of bed in the morning. Throw some office banter and coffee runs in there for good measure!
  • How do you spend your spare time outside of work?
    Sport and Family are my two pastimes outside work, you will find me walking the Lady Bird Trail (Austin) with my Fiance during the week, and lacing up Rugby boots on the weekend!
  • If you could eat dinner with any historical figure/celebrity, alive or dead, who would it be, and why?
    Being an Australian Native, I rarely get to see my family back home — once every two years which is challenging. Therefore, a home-cooked meal with my mum and dad would be my choice (they are my celebrities).

Thank you, Fraser, for sharing a little bit about yourself with us. 2CP enjoys a great relationship with the team at Consero, from knowledge-sharing to solution selling. You can follow Consero on Linked, Facebook and Twitter.

Want to learn more about becoming a partner with 2CP? Contact us HERE.

 

Email Invoicing with Sage Intacct

Why Digital Payments Now

Are your accounts receivables still reliant upon checks? Are your business processes still heavily manual, receiving payments by mail and dependent upon teams to prepare deposits and reconcile manually? Several macro-economic trends indicate that organizations now, more than ever, should be utilizing electronic payments. Not only to minimize manual processes and reduce costs, but to please customers who prefer the convenience. The added bonus of getting paid faster will delight finance teams who are focusing on cash flow. Read more

email invoicing in Sage Intacct

Solve the Invoice Jam and Give Customers What They Want

Your customers want to pay you how they want, when they want, and where they want… And of course, they want the process to be as easy as possible. Whether it’s choosing to accept alternative payment methods, allowing customers to pay invoices by ACH or credit card, or introducing simple financing options for larger ticket items, the more opportunities that exist to generate sales also presents the threat of increased manual processes and potential for more human error for your finance teams. Automation, however, eliminates these threats and allows you to offer a more customized user experience, in which your customers pay you according to their terms. Your Accounts Receivable process is a great place to start when looking to increase efficiencies across your business, while giving your customers what they want.

What Your Business Gains from AR Automation Tools

The right AR automation solution will transform your collections process and enable your team to do more with less, better serve your customers, and better manage your cashflow. Here are just 4 of the ways AR automation will benefit your company:

  1. Reduction in Human Error
    Invoice dates and amounts, supplier names, and payment information are all prone to containing mistakes, but when your solution is integrated with Sage Intacct and automated, your team can more feel secure in knowing they are always working with accurate information.
  2. Faster Collections
    Most AR automation tools in the market today enable businesses to accept a wider variety of payment options. With preferred payment options, your customers will feel empowered, and appreciate the ease of use your payment experience provides, allowing you to collect faster on invoices.
  3. Cash Flow Optimization
    By driving faster payments, you free up money that would otherwise be tied up in late paying or overdue accounts. This will help your business optimize its cash flow, enable you to be more competitive in the marketplace, and ultimately, make you better suited to invest in projects that will further grow and scale your business.
  4. The Ability to Navigate Economic Uncertainty
    For many businesses, the current economic environment has created shortfals lin cashflow, leading to significant new challenges. With continued uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, businesses need to make processes digital where and when they are able to. Automating pieces of your invoicing process will enable you, your team and your customers to continue transacting while working remotely, and leaves your business better equipped to navigate future economic uncertainties.

There are many options in today’s market that will automate the entire AR cycle, which is especially crucial for companies that send out large volumes of invoices. Similarly, there are steps you can take using the systems you have in place today to start automating your processes. With 2CP email invoicing, you now have the ability to include a pay link and the PDF invoice from customized email templates for your invoicing directly in Sage Intacct. Watch our video to see how 2CP takes the first step in helping you solve the invoice jam and minimizes DSO:

PIVOT! Payment Tips for Navigating a Shift in Operations

We all know the iconic scene in Friends when Ross and Chandler navigate a tight staircase with a large couch. Right now, many businesses are also yelling “PIVOT” as they transition multiple aspects of their business model in short order.  For many businesses, it’s pivoting to a work-from-home routine and ensuring their employees have what they need to accomplish their daily tasks and continue to be successful in their roles. For other businesses, its more extreme by pivoting their order and fulfillment process. Brick and mortar retailers are the most common example, who in many cases have had to shift to an online ordering and delivery system where one may not have existed before. And then there are the most extreme cases where manufacturers, distributors and retailers have shifted the very product set they make and/or sell to accommodate the changing demands of society. Through all these quick pivots, it’s crucial to not “break the couch” and ensure critical pieces – like customer payments –  aren’t broken or lost in the process.

Remote Workforce Shift 

Remote working brings about many challenges for organizations, and the AR department is no exception. For businesses that rely heavily on manual and paper-based processes, the current situation is especially tough. It’s important for finance leaders to make the necessary changes now, in order to position their company for survival in the months ahead, and an eventual return to growth. 

You’re not at your office to print and stuff envelopes. Your customers aren’t at their offices to receive invoices in the mail. Making your invoicing process fully digital enables you to deliver invoices from your at-home office and ensures your customers can receive those invoices from wherever they are working. Beyond the usual arguments for going digital – time savings, eliminate mistakes caused by manual entry, and save envelope, printing and postage costs – digital invoicing can help ensure business continuity in today’s rapidly changing market, and will help your AR department to efficiently operate and ensure cash flow is stabilized.

Extreme Pivot in Operations

We recently worked with a company that not only shifted many of their internal operations to continue to function remotely, but they truly made the ultimate pivot and transitioned portions of their manufacturing business to address the growing demand for PPE in the medical field. This new line of business required a new sales and distribution method, and it was time to introduce their first online ecommerce platform. Imagine having never sold directly to the consumer, and never having an online shopping process – to having to turn up an ecommerce platform in extremely short order?! In less than a week, we were able to work with this client and their ERP system to launch a fully integrated ecommerce site for the rapid deployment and fulfillment of PPE equipment orders to hospitals and medical facilities worldwide.

While most businesses aren’t facing a monumental task of launching a whole new division and sales workflow in 4 days, this trying time is definitely a challenge for merchants, manufacturers, distributors of all sizes. Technology is available to help the transition, and can be implemented faster than you may think.  Whether pivoting your AR to ensure it is easy for your customers to pay you and for your AR department to process payments, or implementing a shift in how you sell and receive payments, 2CP is here to help. Contact us now to find out more.