By: Gerald Kadish
Traditionally small to mid sized businesses have been set up with what is called multi-tier pricing for their credit card processing. This system is usually set up with three tiers (qualified, mid-qualified, and non-qualifed.) Occassionally, if the business owner has negotiated well, there will be a fourth tier for qualified offline debit cards. While this system has worked well for many years, the increasing number of rewards and corporate cards being issued has made this type of pricing obsolete.
Visa and Mastercard have many different interchange categories for the multiple card types that are issued. Tier pricing takes a large number of these categories and lumps them into one of the three tier buckets available to the merchant. If the merchant only ever takes standard credit cards then this system will work well for them. Once they start to see more debit, rewards, and corporate cards being used in their place of business they will notice that their merchant services bill has increased dramatically. This is because many of these transactions are falling in to the mid or non qualified transaction categories.