You asked what the costs and requirements were for accepting & sending
level 3 data from credit cards. As I'm sure you're probably aware,
level III data includes detailed information of what the customer
ordered, including items, pricing, po numbers, etc.
Since I don't know if you're running a telemarketing firm, ecommerce
company, or a retail store, I will give you a very general answer.
Searching on Google (with the search term: "Level III" merchant
account), I found the following rate information from GE Capital for
their merchant accounts (they accept mastercard & visa):
[ http://www.ge.com/capital/cardservices/corpcard/suppliers12.htm ]
Application fee: $25 -$100 (Level I, II, or III)
Acceptance product (one of the following)
Purchased POS Terminal: $300 - $1000 (Level I or II) OR
Rental or leased POS terminal: $20 - $80 a month (Level I or II)
PC Software: $300 - $600 (Level III only) OR
Internet/Browser based: $200 - $500 (Level III only)
The supplier may also incur cost for implementing and training
employees on the new payment process; however, minimal training is
needed due to the equipments ease of use.
Once the user is up and running, GE Capital charges a discount rate
from 1.75% to 2.85% most likely depending on customer volume.
GE capital suggests that it takes roughly 2 to 3 weeks to get going,
although it may take individual companies longer to integrate their
order entry system with the level III data capture.
Here are some other payment processing providers who work with level
[ http://www.premiumbankcard.com/internet.html ]
They offer web-based software to integrate with your e-commerce
application. Unfortunately they do not provide their discount rates
for level III data capture.
PNC Merchant services offers support of level III data through certain
[ http://www.comerica.com/cma/cda/main/0,1555,3_A_841,00.html ]
I also found this website which has a number of hardware and software
options for level III data capture:
[ http://www.monerischargeit.com/services/b2bcards.asp ]
I found that many merchant account providers also ofer the same
As stated above, I am unclear as to what kind of business you are
operating. Please feel free to ask for clarification, and I can make
a few calls to dig a bit further for you. From the GE site, it looks
as though the discount rates are about equal to standard merchant
Request for Answer Clarification by
27 May 2002 10:49 PDT
I would like a little more clarification. For example- if I ran a
clothing store and wanted to capture and transmit line item detail
(purchaser's name, item price, item description) from a particular
purchase, could this be accomplished through existing customer credit
cards? If so, what are the minimal costs/requirements for me (if all I
have now is a basic cash register & credit card POS terminal) to get
started? Must I need the e-commerce capabilities (i.e. browser,
Clarification of Answer by
28 May 2002 05:36 PDT
From my research, Level III data only seems to apply only to corporate
purchasing cards. Nonetheless, I think you can pass the level III
data along even if the card doesn't accept it, although I'm not sure
if you will be working with a lower discount rate.
According to the GE site, PC Software is required for level III data
capture. So you will need a PC, plus a software package (a POS
terminal will not work with Level III data). While you can build an
ecommerce site for this application, it's not required to capture
level III. GE estimates the cost of the software package between $300
and $600. Different credit card merchant banks will offer different
prices, but this seems to be consistent. When you factor in the cost
of the PC, it can easily approach $1000 to get started.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you will most likely need to key
in the data for every sale. I am fairly certain that there are
plugins available for popular accounting packages (like Quickbooks,
etc), but you will need to check with the merchant bank as to what
options are available for the particular software package they prefer.
If you have to key in the information manually at the time of sale,
I'm sure you can realize how much longer checkouts will take.
My prediction is that this process will become much easier (and less
expensive) over time. I'm willing to bet consumer credit cards will
require at least level II data within the next few years for better