Understanding Credit Card Processing

If you currently accept credit cards, you already have a credit card processor in place. There are many credit card processors. Some of the largest ones are Chase Paymentech and First Data. There are also many other smaller companies that resell processing services. When a consumer uses a credit card to make a purchase, the credit card issuer makes money from that purchase.

Credit card issuers (e.g., MasterCard, Visa) not only make interest income when a consumer doesn’t pay off their account balance, but even if the consumer pays it off the same day, the credit card issuer is going to take a little percentage of each purchase. For example, to make the math easy, say the percentage is 1.3%. On a $100 purchase, the credit card issuer is going to make $1.30. But, if it’s a cash-back card or a miles card (or any kind of reward card), the issuer takes a little more to cover that perk they offer the customer. This can vary depending on the card and the perk.

 The credit card processor (e.g., Chase Paymentech, First Data) also makes their little piece of the pie, say 20 cents per transaction plus 30 basis points. Basis points translate to fractions of a percent, so another way to think of 30 basis points is 30 cents on the $100 purchase. On top of that, there can be additional costs if the card is not physically present (like an internet order), or for other reasons, such as the security code or zip code does not match. Depending on the processing setup, that can make a transaction not go through, or may just increase the cost on that transaction. The higher volume of business you do, the better terms you can normally negotiate for your credit card processing fees. For example, if you are a good customer that runs a lot of non-reward cards, you might be paying 1.8% or 2.1%. American Express typically runs higher, around 3.5% (which is why some merchants don’t want to accept Amex cards). At the end of the day, the credit card companies and processing companies are all getting their chunk of the pie – and they really don’t want to deal much with internet stuff… so, in steps Authorize.net.

Using Square

Square seems to be one of the best options in processing.  They will normally meet or beat anyone elses pricing, so if you have a discount with say paypal, square will probably match that rate. They start the same as all the others, at about 2.9% but you can see if you can work it lower if you have higher volume.

Additionally, square is very fast and easy for your customers to use. We get the call all the time from customers that say “but I don’t have a paypal account…” and we would have to explain they don’t need it.  With square it will just pop up a small box on the page to allow them to input their Credit Card Number, Expiration, CCV, and Billing Zip.


To sign up for Square you go to https://squareup.com and set up an account. After the account is set up (should be very quick to set up and link to your bank) you go into your admin for Vantora to link Vantora to Square.  Click on Settings –> General, and as you scroll down you will see External Authorization.

Simply click on the Authorize button.  If you are already signed in to your square account, it may be auto log you in. Otherwise, it will pop up a window and ask for you to log in providing your square username and password. Then it will basically ask if allow Vantora to send money to your account – say yes, and you are done!

You will probably find the Admin Panel of Square easy to use after you get used to it.  You can look at any given day, it will list all the transactions, and tell you the party name of each. So to do a refund, you can simply look at the day the transaction was created in your Vantora admin, then in square look at all transactions for that day, find the party name, and refund in full or part. It will also let you text or email the reciept of the refund to the customer, just copy and paste their phone number from Vantora into the “Text Receipt box” and hit send.


Fraud Benefit

Another benefit we found with square, is it retuns to us, the last 4 and exp of the credit card for the transaction so we can make that available to you in the box when you mouse over the shopping cart as shown below.

What we did at my facilities, is added a “registration blurb” (Settings – Registration – General.  Scroll down to Registration Blurb) that tells the customer to bring their credit card they used to make the reservation, as we will need it to check them in. Then you can compare the last 4 and exp to the card to assure they have not just used a stolen number.

Using Authorize.net

Authorize.net is a “gateway” to your credit card from a web page. If a consumer wants to use a credit card to make a purchase, certain information must be gathered and sent to your credit card processor. It bounces around from processor to interchange, back through an intermediary, then back to the web page. It’s a pretty complex set of steps and Authorize.Net is the go-between that makes it all work.

At the end of each day, a batch occurs on Authorize.Net that sends the money through the processor into your bank account. If you want to process credit cards for your Vantora System, you will need to Set Up an Authorize.Net Account.

To use Authorize.Net, there is a one-time fee of $49, a monthly fee of $25, plus 10 cents per transaction. Even if  your present credit card processor has you on a low rate, this still might be your most cost effective way to go. You will need to contact your credit card processor and obtain what is known as a VAR sheet, and they will set up a new “terminal” for you – which really isn’t a terminal at all – it’s the interface numbers for Authorize.Net. The VAR sheet will supply the three numbers you enter in Authorize.Net, then you will get two codes back. Those you enter in the Vantora area for Settings –> General. Scroll down until you see AuthorizeNet Payment Info and enter the codes there.

Using PayPal

To use paypal, you set up a paypal account, then simply put in the email associated with it in the box as show in the image above.  In all honesty, over the last few years, we have had more and more problems with Paypal processing. Their systems seem to have a fair amount of problems, and go down pretty often, making processing credit cards difficult.   But for the time, we will still try to keep paypal as an option for you.