Play by the rules
The discussion thread published [in "What makes a business card compliant," The Green Sheet, April 26, 2010, issue 10:04:02] regarding business card compliance was interesting. One point where I am very concerned is what seems to be a prevalence of MLSs openly advocating circumvention of card scheme and/or sponsor compliance guidelines with the general notion that "Visa/MasterCard does not have much, if any, of a police force that enforces the rules."
This is precisely what is wrong with our industry and what Anna Solomon is trying to address with her efforts regarding MLS training and registration. We have a unique opportunity to self-police our industry and, to be perfectly frank, I have no use for an MLS that advocates violation of the actual operating rules and guidelines or the spirit in which they were created.
Also, The Green Sheet is a must read. I bookmark and refer to its contents frequently. Keep up the great work.
We, at The Green Sheet, are delighted that our publication is an effective resource for you, for it is our mission to support the education and success of industry professionals such as yourself.
We agree that following the rules established by Visa Inc. and MasterCard Worldwide is the prudent, ethical thing to do. We endeavor to help clarify what is expected of ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs) so they do not run into trouble simply because they don't know about certain requirements. We also believe that those who purposely skirt the rules are doing themselves and their colleagues a disservice and should be strongly encouraged to shape up.
By the way, another discussion thread pertaining to compliance with Visa and MasterCard rules began May 13 on GS Online's MLS Forum. It's titled "MLS/ISO (unregistered) & Advertising/Marketing? How it works?"
From GS Online's MLS Forum
The premier online network for payment pros
GS Online MLS Forum member hester recently asked, "What is the AVS [address verification service] fee and who ultimately gets it? Also, could someone please give a breakdown of who gets what fees, i.e., interchanage fees, batch, voice authorization, etc.? Who makes what money in the transaction and how?"
Here are excerpts from responses he received:
"You need to get with your processing partner - someone you trust - and ask for this info. ... AVS is a function required on key-entered transactions. The fee to you may be different than the cost. In some cases there is a very small fee, some none."
"Most of the time, if a front- or back-end charges fees, it is essentially a fee for using their system, whether this be AVS, voice auth, transaction fees or anything else. These fees generally cover a lot of the expenses required in maintaining the physical systems, and there are often fees that these companies pay to have access to the necessary networks and platforms.
"Interchange is the easy one; it essentially goes to the issuer. Dues and assessments go to Visa/MC, as well as the new access fees, APF [acquirer processing fee] and NABU [network access and brand usage] fees.
"As far as a generalized breakdown goes, ISOs/acquirers get paid for servicing accounts and taking on the risk of processing; the platforms get paid for use of their IT systems; Visa/MC get paid for existing; and the issuer, who gets the most money, gets paid for selling the cardholder on their card and for providing incentives to their cardholders.
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