If you’re seeing a line on your processing statement labeled “COMM CARD I/C SAVINGS ADJ,” you’re probably wondering what that is.
First Data and its sales channel Ignite Payments announced a new service. It’s called the Commercial Card Interchange Service, and the goal is to help you reduce interchange fees on certain transactions made with a commercial credit card. In exchange for helping you save money on commercial transactions, First Data/Ignite takes 50% of the reduction in costs. You may see the service and your savings listed on your statements as “COMM CARD I/C SAVINGS ADJ.” The Commercial Card Interchange Service went into effect automatically on May 1, 2017.
What is this service, what does it cost you, and will your business be affected?
If you’re not already familiar with B2B transactions or level 2 and 3 data, I suggest reading this first: B2B Transactions and Enhanced Data.
- Commercial Card Interchange Service
- “COMM CARD I/C SAVINGS ADJ” Explained
- Why does First Data take some of the interchange savings?
- Is this service the only way to get the best pricing on commercial transactions?
- CardPointe vs. Commercial Card Interchange Service
- Is the Commercial Card Interchange Service worth it?
Commercial Card Interchange Service
As the name implies, the Commercial Card Interchange Service applies to commercial credit card transactions. Commercial cards have different requirements and different interchange fees than consumer cards.
The Commercial Card Interchange Service provides required information, such as sales tax details, for you. If you don’t submit required information with a commercial transaction, the transaction may “downgrade.” That is, it may fall into a more expensive interchange category, costing you more to process. Even if a transaction doesn’t downgrade, there are situations in which providing more data can help you qualify for lower cost interchange categories than if you didn’t provide the data.
The new service helps you avoid downgrades or qualify for lower cost interchange categories, thus paying less in interchange. The “cost” for this service is 50% of the reduction in interchange. You’ll see your “savings” listed on your statement as COMM CARD I/C SAVINGS ADJ.
Note that since the “cost” for the service is a portion of the savings, you’re still paying less overall. There is no extra fee for using the service. You simply split the interchange savings 50/50 with the processor.
What businesses does this affect?
If you take commercial credit cards and process with First Data/Ignite Payments, you can expect to see the COMM CARD I/C SAVINGS ADJ line on your statement.
Business-to-business companies in manufacturing and professional services regularly accept commercial cards. But other industries such as dining and entertainment may also see commercial credit card transactions. Therefore, both could benefit from passing enhanced data and optimizing interchange.
Related article: What is interchange optimization?
“COMM CARD I/C SAVINGS ADJ” Explained
As note above, the COMM CARD I/C SAVINGS ADJ line is not actually a charge. Rather, it shows your savings for the month by using the Commercial Card Interchange Service. In the example below, the business had a total savings of $42.7410 for Visa commercial transactions. Additionally, the business saved $35.7022 for Mastercard commercial transactions.
If the business wasn’t using the Commercial Card Interchange Service (or a similar service) it would have paid $78.4432 more for commercial transactions this month.
However, remember that the savings is split 50/50 between the business and Ignite Payments, so the business doesn’t get the full $78.44 savings.
The text “.500000 DISC RATE” refers to the portion that Ignite will keep (50%) resulting in the amount the business saved in the rightmost column. Once Ignite took its cut, this business saved $21.37 on their Visa commercial transactions and $17.85 on their Mastercard transactions for the month, totaling $39.22 in savings.
Why does First Data take some of the interchange savings?
First Data/Ignite has decided to offer the service at no additional charge in exchange for keeping 50% of the savings. This allows them to profit from the service while also helping you save money.
Processors don’t make more money if you save on interchange, so there isn’t much incentive for them to help you pay as little as possible in interchange fees. If Ignite keeps a portion of the interchange savings, they see direct benefit from helping you pay less. You save on processing and Ignite gets a portion of the savings for their role in helping you save.
Is this service the only way to get the best pricing on commercial transactions?
No. It’s possible to provide the required information for commercial transactions without utilizing the Commercial Card Interchange Service. However, you’ll either need to ensure that you’re entering all the required information yourself at the time of the purchase, or use a different service that fills in the required fields for you.
One such option is the CardPointe system, which functions similarly to the CCIS but doesn’t take a portion of the interchange savings. Additionally, gateways like NMI and USAePAY work with multiple processors and can support Level II and Level III data.
Note that in Ignite Payments’ announcement about CCIS, it states that the service will only be performed on transactions that are eligible for a lower cost interchange category but for which you didn’t include the required sales tax data. You may be able to provide the required data yourself and use the Commercial Card Interchange Service as a backup for transactions where you or your staff didn’t correctly include all needed info.
CardPointe vs. Commercial Card Interchange Service
The primary difference between CardPointe or other services and the Commercial Card Interchange Service is that CardPointe doesn’t take half of the interchange savings. For that reason, CardPointe or enhanced data gateways may be a lower cost solution.
If you take a lot of B2B transactions and are curious what you’d pay with CardPointe, you can get no-obligation quotes through processors in the CardFellow comparison marketplace. Simply fill out a short business profile and contact us for assistance. Start here.
Is using the Commercial Card Interchange Service required?
No. If you’d like to cancel the service, you can do so by contacting the First Data/Ignite Payments customer service number. The number is listed on your monthly processing statement.
Is the Commercial Card Interchange Service worth it?
Yes, with a caveat. Since many businesses that accept commercial cards don’t properly pass along enhanced data, using this service can help you pay less in interchange fees. If you take a lot of commercial cards, passing required data will absolutely save you money on processing.
However, as noted above, the Commercial Card Interchange Service isn’t necessarily the most cost-effective way to save on your commercial transactions. If your choice is First Data’s Commercial Card Interchange Service or nothing, Commercial Card Interchange Service is worth it. But if you have the option to use a service that doesn’t take 50% of your reduction in costs or if you can enter the required data yourself, that will be the better choice.
Essentially, it’s better than not providing required data, but not as good as other services that don’t take 50% of the reduction in interchange.