Archive for the ‘Non-profits and Churches’ Category

Check out all the great classes from the Larimer County Small Business Development Center

I am really excited to teach classes on Credit Card Processing for Businesses and Non-Profits for the Small Business Development Center.

If you are a thinking of opening a business, or if you are business owner (even if you already accept credit cards), take this class!  It could pay you back in spades in saved fees and headaches.

In this class, you will learn how to:

  • When should you use something like a phone swipe versus a “real” merchant services account
  • Evaluate your statements for red flags and potential fee leaks (or hemorrhages)
  • What to watch for in your contracts before signing
  • How to avoid fraudulent charges
  • How to avoid charge-backs and what to do when you get one
  • What PCI is and why you should pay attention to it
  • The difference between Tier Pricing Structures and Interchange Plus
  • New technology and how it can affect your business
  • New industry fees and how they will affect your busines

Check out all the great classes available through Larimer County SBDC.

Read Full Post »

Visa FANF will affect many Non-Profits

Red Alert:  If you are a non-profit, you could be adversely affected by Visa’s new fees called FANF.   Read on to find out if you are affected.

What is FANF?

Fixed Acquirer Network Fee
On April 1, 2012, Visa initiated a new Fixed Acquirer Network Fee (“FANF”) assessed to acquirers on a merchant Taxpayer ID basis, which many processors started passing through to merchant’s in May 2012.

The new FANF charge will result in additional charges for all businesses that accept Visa credit and debit cards, regardless of who their merchant services provider is.  Here’s the rub:  It also will affect most Non-Profits!  It doesn’t matter what processor you use.  They may pass them on quarterly or monthly.  But they will pass them on.

How FANF rates are calculated Businesses

Separate FANF charges will be imposed on (i) merchants processing transactions where a cardholder is physically present (“CP Merchants”), with the exception of merchants primarily operating as Fast Food Restaurants and (ii) merchants processing transactions where a cardholder is not physically present (“CNP Merchants”), which shall include merchants acting as merchant aggregators for other merchants, or merchants primarily operating as Fast Food Restaurants (MCC 5814). If a merchant falls into both categories described above, the merchant will be charged the FANF charge and the MSP Network Fee as both a CP Merchant and a CNP Merchant. The MSP Network Fee will be charged to all CP Merchants and CNP Merchants regardless of the type of merchant.

For CP Merchants with less than 50% of their monthly Card Present sales volume from the High Volume Merchant Category Codes (“High Volume MCCs”) listed below, the FANF charges will be assessed on a per location basis, with fees ranging from $2.00 FANF per location per month for CP Merchants with one to three locations to over $24.00 per location per month for CP Merchants with more than 250 locations.

For CP Merchants with at least 50% of their monthly Card Present sales volume from the High Volume MCCs listed below, the FANF charges will be assessed on a per location basis, with fees ranging from $2.90 FANF per month for CP Merchants with one to three locations to over $5.00 FANF per location per month for CP Merchants with more than 20 locations.

How Charities and Non-Profits are affected by FANF 

When you set up your merchant account, you are given an assigned code within the system by your representative.  It is important to know if you have the right code entered to ensure you are accounted for correctly.

This is an explanation that just came through one of the processors I work with:

An exception to FANF involves the assignment of MCC 8398, and merchants must be eligible. Visa considers the following criteria to determine eligibility. If any of these conditions are not met or Visa should determine the merchants business model is more in line with another MCC, even if closely related to 8398, FANF applies. And if we misclassify a merchant, Visa may revisit these criteria for up to 2 years and bill back accordingly.

1. The Tax ID must be registered as a 501(c)(3) with the IRS

2. 50% or greater of the Visa volume is in MCC 8398

3. Merchant properly coded with the MCC 8398

So is your merchant 8398?

8398 – Charitable and Social Service Organizations
Merchants classified under this MCC are non-political fund-raising organizations (organizations engaged in soliciting contributions) and social service organizations engaged in social welfare services. This MCC includes advocacy groups, community organizations, and health agencies. Although Charitable and Social Service Organizations may conduct much of their business in a non-face-to-face manner, they are not considered direct marketing merchants because they do not directly solicit their business primarily through catalogs, brochures, telemarketing, etc. These merchants’ transactions should be classified under this MCC, but each card-not-present transaction must be identified with the appropriate mail/telephone order or electronic commerce indicator value.

And here are a few business types most often misclassified as MCC 8398:

8641 – Civic, Social, and Fraternal Associations

Merchants classified under this MCC are associations engaged in civic, social, or fraternal activities. This MCC includes alumni associations and clubs, booster clubs, businesspersons clubs, community membership clubs, fraternal lodges, fraternities and sororities, social clubs, veterans’ organizations, and youth associations.

8651 – Political Organizations

Merchants classified under this MCC are membership organizations that promote the interests of a national, state, or local political party or candidate. This MCC also includes political groups organized specifically to raise funds for a political party or individual candidate.

8661 – Religious Organizations

Merchants classified under this MCC are religious organizations that provide worship services, religious training or study, or religious activities. This MCC includes churches, convents, monasteries, shrines, temples, and synagogues, among others.

8675 – Automobile Associations

Merchants classified under this MCC are automobile as­sociations and clubs. These merchants provide a variety of special services to its members such as travel and road condition information, maps and guides, and special rates at restaurants, hotels, and at car rental agencies. These merchants often charge an annual membership fee.

8699 – Membership Organizations (Not Elsewhere Classified)

Merchants classified under this MCC are organizations or associations that cannot be classified by another, more specific, merchant category code. This MCC includes historical clubs, labor unions, poetry clubs, art councils, and tenant or condominium associations. This MCC does not include membership to health and athletic clubs; these merchants must be classified under MCC 7997—Membership Clubs (Sports, Recreation, Athletic), Country Clubs, and Private Golf Courses.

Take steps to protect your organization.  Make sure you are classified in the right category and be prepared to have fees assessed in addition to your regular ones should you not be an 8398 qualifying organization.

If you have any questions concerning your status, your billing, your options, I would be happy to review your current situation and offer a non-biased evaluation.

Lynda Colter-Bergh



Read Full Post »

I can help you accept credit cards and checks for your non-profit

I just have some interesting experiences lately I’d like to share. I am working with a new Zonta chapter and we had a manager of a Refugee Center present to us. She handed out slips of paper that explained what $25 would buy for the center. At the end of the presentation, there was a bit of silence. She sort of asked for a donation. But the slips were geared towards sending money in and the address wasn’t posted. She left empty handed.

Ways to Receive Donations

My heart broke. I immediately contacted her about an amazing program that is spreading nationally and is starting out in our neck of the woods (Colorado) that would allow her to offer something to provide incentives to donate on the spot. It’s called NetGreenNow. (You can look them up.) I then talked to her about the power of being able to take donations right then and there through smart phones.

Flexibility and Ease of use are Essential

I showed her how we can create a link that can be put on her fundraising website, but could also be accessed from smart phones that not only allow people to immediately donate, but give them to donate via CC, personal check or business check at any amount and with a single donation or a monthly donation. They can even put a message of who it is in memory of. I asked her how it would have felt to be able at the end of the presentation to ask people to take out their cell phones and have them go to this website and ask them to give whatever they could to help out. What a change. Her eyes lit up!

Getting Donations from Facebook

Now, take it a step further. What if we could have sent that link to our family and friends in a text message or on facebook saying we had just witnessed something that meant so much to us and we felt was so helpful to our community that we wanted to ask them to also donate whatever they could. How powerful is that? This gives anyone the ability to feel like they are helping (even if they, themselves, don’t have the funds) and increases not only the chance to get donations, but spreads the word about the organization.

Getting Donations from Anywhere

I can even set it up so you can create multiple “portals” to allow you to track who is bring in what from where all securely with nothing more than a pc, tablet. or cell phone.

You may be able to add this service and save money!

So, how much will it cost? Well, possibly nothing because I can probably save you enough with your processing to pay for the service. I help non-profits keep as much from their donations as possible and offer out-of-the-box solutions to make their fundraising more lucrative.
Interested in learning more, then just get in touch with me.



Read Full Post »