What Exactly Are “Downgrades” and just how Much Could They Be Squandering Your?

As an entrepreneur – whether of the retail establishment or perhaps an online shop – you know that credit card processing charges eat right into a big slice of the profits. Just glancing at the merchant account statement every month could give back right into a dizzying spin of frustration – especially when the thing is individuals crazy MasterCard and Visa downgrade charges squandering your 100’s of dollars of the hard-earned money every thirty days. However, that’s existence right?

Not necessarily. Credit card merchant account downgrades shouldn’t cause you to need therapy.

Still, while charge card downgrades might be an unavoidable a part of your statement, they don’t have to experience the dominating role you’ve grown familiar with. Credit card merchant account downgrades could be stealing your 1000s of dollars price of avoidable charges every year. Fortunately, there’s something that you can do to obtain around most of them, that will ultimately put more cold, hard sales. You want cash, right?

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What Exactly Are Credit Card Merchant Account Downgrades?

You know that each single time you process a customer’s charge card, you will pay a charge. If you’ve read our article about interchange reimbursement, additionally you realize that charge card transactions are split into different groups. No matter if you are with an interchange-plus, or perhaps a tiered (also known as bundled) prices plan, any transactions will come under a particular category (e.g. CPS/Retail, CPS/e-Commerce fundamental, etc…).

In the following paragraphs we’re going to pay attention to downgrades with regards to the tiered-prices model, because because you will see, downgrades under that model could possibly get particularly costly.

With tiered prices, processors bundle the above mentioned pointed out interchange groups even more into – qualified, mid-qualified and non-qualified tiers. The category each transaction falls into determines the speed you’ll pay the processor for your purchase. Qualified tier minute rates are reduced than mid qualified and non-qualified rates. Within the words of Captain Apparent, “You Don’t want to pay mid or non-qualified rates.”

For instance, your house your charge card processor charges the next rates:

Qualified – 1.59%
Mid-Qualified – 2.49%
Non-Qualified – 2.89%

Even though the qualified rate may appear reasonable, and possibly even competitive, it’s of little worth whether it only pertains to a small % of the transactions. To place it in perspective $25,000 in monthly charge card transactions would cost just below $400 in the qualified rate, whereas exactly the same sales charges could skyrocket to more than $1,000 in the mid and non qualified rates. That’s because every transaction is first susceptible to the qualified rate after which towards the mid- qualified or non-qualified rates that behave as additional surcharges. Within the example above, you would pay no less than 1.59% plus either 2.49% or 2.89% per transaction if your downgrade applies. It may really accumulate.

Just How Much Are Downgrades Squandering Your?

The initial step to cutting your downgrade expenses is as simple as figuring out exactly the number of of your credit card transactions are now being downgraded every month. If you’ve calculate your effective rate and see that it is excessive, then odds are, you’re coping with some downgrades. Regrettably, many merchants dig to their statements only to discover that most their transactions are being downgraded – as much as 90 % of transactions for many business proprietors!

Couple of business proprietors can handle predicting which transactions is going to be downgraded and which ones won’t. Most erroneously assume that almost all their transactions will be qualified, leading them to buy the cheapest qualified rates when choosing a credit card processor, instead of evaluating the mid-qualified and non-qualified rates too. Because the processor determines the rules through which transactions are classified, many merchants end up having to pay much more in charges than first expected.

Here’s an example statement where we’ve highlighted the various tiers as well as their rates. You’ll observe that a lot of this merchant’s MasterCard transactions come under the non-qualified tier.

(Click to Enlarge)visa downgrades, mastercard downgrades

Some statements aren’t as readable because the example above, therefore if you’re getting trouble figuring out in case your transactions are now being downgraded, let’s know and we’ll assist you.

You Skill About This

Unless of course you like helping your charge card processor obtain a little more potent every single day at your expense, we recommend taking matters to your own hands. The very first factor you could do is switch from tiered-prices to interchange-plus. Doing this will immediately eliminate the qualified, mid-qualified, and non-qualified rates that tiered-prices is well known for.

Furthermore, there are several important aspects in determining whether your transactions get downgraded. Each card you process must satisfy the needs of the charge card processing agreement and any amendments designed to it from your processor.

The following guidelines should be met:

  • Utilization of a typical charge card
  • The credit card should be swiped (for transactions personally)
  • Transactions should be batched within eventually
  • Verification information should be joined properly, including billing address and AVS (for online purchases)

If any kind of individuals needs isn’t met, a transaction might be downgraded. Examples of other actions that could cause a downgrade include:

  • By hand entering credit number/expiration information personally
  • Utilization of a non-standard charge card, like a cash-back card or card
  • Missing information for manual or online transactions


You should bear in mind that does not all charge card transactions will do not be downgraded. However, if you are at the moment discovering that you have been having to pay an additional one or two percent of your profits for your processor simply because you haven’t taken time to batch out your credit card transactions in the finish of every day, you might be reeling with aggravation at this time. No, you cannot do anything whatsoever concerning the mistakes you might have already made, however, you can take careful steps to prevent spending more income than you need to every month. Even better, you can make use of a charge card processor that won’t make the most of you with crazy charges and unpredictable tiered billing techniques. Only a thought.



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