How To Read A Credit Card Merchant Statement – 5 Ways To Categorize Fees

Reading your merchant statement and finding the rates and fees you’re being charged can be like playing “Where’s Waldo?”. One reason is because there are nearly as many different statement formats as there are merchant acquiring companies. Also, because of how competitive the industry has become, many monthly statements don’t completely disclose the rates being charged. And sometimes they are completely hidden.

I know of banks that don’t even send a statement out. If a merchant wants details of what they paid they have to logon to an online account to find it.

It’s War Out There!

One reason for this is the competitiveness. You have to remember that credit and debit cards make up part of a 2 trillion dollar industry. Money is like a magnet – it attracts Most merchants are being contacted continually by competing processors trying to get them to switch processors, by promising “lower rates”, etc.

So, to prevent a sales agent from another processing company from taking a merchant away – some processors make it as hard as possible for a competitor’s sales rep to walk in to a business, analyze a merchant statement, and do an ‘apples for apples’ comparison.

That being said, there are still some basic keys to look for when reading your statement. Here’s what I look for in analyzing a merchant statement, in order:

  • One: The pricing structure – how has the account been set up? Which pricing model does it employ? Is it using tiers (e.g. 3-tier; 4-tier, etc.) or – is it using “Interchange Plus”? (NOTE: most merchants are on a tier pricing model, which, in my opinion guarantees they’re being overcharged. Also, there are other pricing structures but tier pricing is by far the most common)
  • Two: The monthly fees (sometimes called “Other”) – next, I look to see what the monthly fees are. This can include: a statement fee; monthly service fee; account maintenance fee (normally, you’d only see one of these although I’ve seen two – or, you may see the equivalent fee but using a different term); PCI fee; batch fee; and gateway or access fees. Any miscellaneous, but not monthly fees can also show up here – e.g., an annual fee or semi-quarterly.
  • Three: Processing Fees – this is where the discount rates will be listed. If you are on tier pricing the best statements will print an itemized list showing the “qualified”, “mid-qualified”, and “non-qualified” (the 3 tiers) rate. If you are on Interchange Plus, you’ll see a list showing all the different cards you took, followed by the actual interchange rate for the card, the “dpi” (discount per item), plus the processors mark-up expressed as basis points and a transaction fee (or per item, depending on the term used to list it).
  • Four: Authorization Fees – here’s where you’ll find fees that go to VISA and MC. They’ll show up listed as access, authorization, and /or WATTS fees. You could also find here AVS fees (address verification); assessment fees; brand usage fee; risk fee; settlement fees, IAS fee (Issuer Access & Settlement).
  • Five: Third Party Fees – 3rd parties means networks other than VISA & MC that are included in your statement. This would include American Express, Discover, and the debit networks if you are using pin debit

Part of the problem in reading a merchant statement is different processors use different category names and different terms to identify charges. That’s why I began by saying it can be like playing “Where’s Waldo?” While there are common terms used for certain fees there is also a wide variation used, depending on the acquirer (the company you signed a merchant agreement with).

Again, part of this is due to an attempt to hide what’s being charged and make it difficult for a competitor to analyze a statement. While that’s ‘somewhat’ understandable – in my opinion it’s a disservice to the merchant. Integrity demands transparency. Maybe if processors were more merchant oriented they’d have a lower turnover and would not have to worry about competition so much. At least that’s my opinion.

Top 5 Types of Entertainment for Parties

When choosing the most memorable entertainment for parties, first take a look at what kind of party or event it is. Depending on the event, such as weddings, there are wedding entertainment ideas and for corporate events, there are corporate event ideas.

To make it simpler, you can divide the types of entertainment into a group. Remember, entertainment for parties and events can be considered an amusing type of activity from very passive to very interactive. For instance, group classifications are: children, group, public, private or corporate. You want to find the right entertainment for the specific group you would like to entertain for the event.

Here are some examples:

Public Entertainment

When you walk through the park or subway station in any big city, you can probably see a large range of public entertainers amusing the city’s bystanders and passers-by for any amount of money. There are all sorts of public entertainers from Jazz musicians, a violin soloist to mimes. Public entertainers flock to bigger cities because there are a large number of concentrated people in an area to hopefully make some kind of wage. On the other hand, once you make your nominal donation, you can enjoy the gifts these talented public entertainers have to offer.

Corporate Entertainment

Corporate entertainment is aimed specifically at corporate events, award ceremonies and product launches, and is usually private and by invite only. Corporate events can run the gambit scale-wise, from very intimate to thousands of people. Forcorporate event ideas, think about including live speakers or even consider booking live music for corporate picnics and charity functions.

Adult Entertainment

Adult Entertainment is not only referring to the sex industry but can involve entertainment that adults might enjoy, like live concerts, sports, theater and even other activities that might be also appealing and appropriate for kids such aswedding entertainment ideas.

Live Entertainment

Live entertainment can be broad-including all ages and encompassing many varieties of entertainment. For example, music concerts, arena sports, musical theater, plays, live talk shows and seminars-practically any other activity that are aimed to bring large groups of people together and be amused. They can be for wedding entertainment ideas to corporate event ideas.

Child Entertainment

Entertaining kids is a fine balance between mental stimulation and physical activities. That’s why clowns, magicians and puppets are usually the most popular, coupled with games and races. They can be quite enjoyable for adults as well. Live music is also a hit at children’s parties for both young and old alike.

So when considering what kind of entertainment for parties or events, it is simply a matter of matching up the type of entertainment, with the type of audience or group to suit their tastes! Drawing people together with live music is almost always a sure hit! Book your live music today. Call an entertainment professional to help you choose what type of band or DJ you’d like to feature at your party or event!

Investing In Quality Auto Repair Services – Is It Worth It?

Auto Repair Services- Why You Should Invest In Quality Auto Repair Services?

Investing in quality auto repair services can help you enjoy a safe and smooth drive. While you can always take a DIY approach for the general car maintenance services such as an oil change, tune-ups or diagnostics but always hire a professional for the complex car problems. If you want to get a better value of your car in future then you should know how to take care of your car.

Choosing A Quality Repair Shop

Always get referrals/recommendations from your friends, relatives, coworkers and other people you trust. Co-workers can help you find a good repair shop in your locality. It is always a good idea to find a good repair shop before you need one. This way you won’t have to pick someone randomly.

Thanks To The Internet!

Look online to learn about the top repair shops operating in your locality. Compare the different quotes to choose the best deal. Ask them to show the license and also check whether it’s an updated license or not.

Consult local consumer protection agency to see if there is any complaint against the repair shop from the old or existing customers. Above all, you should make sure that they can fix the problem easily.

Tips

Have a look at some of the following tips to consider before you start your search for the best repair shop:-

Tip 1

Read The Car Manual

You should always take time to read the manual and understand the specific instructions mentioned in the schedule. A manual has all the necessary information. So you should go through all the instructions carefully before choosing any repair station.

Tip 2

No Quick Decisions

Remember, it’s always a good idea to shop around for the best deal before you meet a breakdown. It will help you to make the right choice because you are not choosing someone randomly. Never ever choose a repair shop/repair mechanic without checking the testimonials. A little bit of research can help you choose the right service provider for your car.

Tip 3

Word Of Mouth

It is always a good idea to get referrals/recommendations from your friends and family. Word of mouth is still considered as one of the best ways to find a reliable professional.

Conclusion

Put a little bit of effort to find quality auto repair services. It will give you many benefits in the long run.

Happy Driving!

Garden Greenhouse For a Real Budget

With the economy the way it is there are many people that would love to have the advantages of a greenhouse but do not have the money to invest in an expensive glass or plastic pane greenhouse. It's not that they do not want to get started growing as early as possible or extend the season as far into late fall and early winter as possible, it's simply a matter of money!

So for those who are financially challenged right now, I have a few ideas that you might kick around and see if any of these are capable. The first thing you can do is see if your community or city has a garden collective or co-op where you can garden, in other words, work in the greenhouse or garden and for that work, take home some of the food. This can not only be a great way to supplement your grocery list but you also are helping others.

Another way to get something going is to form a small co-op in your neighborhood and raise money to purchase a greenhouse so you can grow food year round. You will need to form this with trustworthy people and make sure the greenhouse is located on neutral ground, if possible so everyone can access it. You will also need money for water and heat so you do need to be prepared for these expenses. This can be a great way to add to your food source.

If you are not crazy about working with others in a co-op situation but would like the opportunity to grow with a garden greenhouse there are some very inexpensive greenhouses available. They will not be as sturdy and most likely will not last as long as some of the more expensive homes but they are good enough to last through several seasons in most climates.

Of course, use you head here. If you live in the Artic, these greenhouses will not do well at all. If you live in a semi mild climate and need to start seedlings early to get a good growing season or would like to extend the growing season into late fall, this might just be what you have been looking for. Most are also portable and can be used on decks and patios as well so measure and make sure they will fit before you order.

The basic lesson is if you really want what a greenhouse can give you, there are products on the market that could work for you. We all have certain things to overcome and, if the budget is your thing, there are decent green homes out here.