FIN 2.10.03 Best practices for Processing Payment Card Transactions
These best practices are for accepting and processing payment card transactions, including refunds and chargebacks. These best practices are designed to protect cardholder data and ensure that bureaus receive the best merchant pricing from card processing networks.
Protecting Cardholder Data
- Never write down customers’ payment card numbers, expiration dates or security codes.
- Never photocopy, or imprint, customers’ payment cards for later use.
- Do not accept expired cards or cards having effective dates after the date of the transaction.
- Insert chip cards (payment card with an embedded computer chip) face up into the end of the device. Chip card transactions are more secure and less expensive to process when using the chip rather than swiping. The City’s payment devices are chip-enabled.
- Swipe non-chip cards when possible. Card-swiped transactions transmit the most card information and are significantly less expensive to process than manually-keyed, telephone order, or card-not-present transactions.
- Capture additional card information when possible. The more card information processed, the lower the likelihood of fraud, and, therefore, the lower the charge (interchange) to process the transaction. Capture cardholder billing address, zip code, and the card security code from the back of the card, if available.
- Properly classify and segregate transactions by using separate merchant accounts (MID). Using separate MIDs for retail (card-present), mail order/telephone order, and e-commerce (online) transactions complies with card network regulations and will result in lower interchange. Limited sharing, within card network specified limits, is allowed.
- Do not by-pass prompts with “enter” when using a device or other point of sale system. Instead, ask cardholder for the additional information, as prompted. The more information collected, the lower the interchange to process the transaction. When prompted for sales tax information, enter the number zero “0”.
- Verify cardholder account status with a $0.00 value authorization transaction instead of a $1.00 authorization transaction.
- Limit one authorization for each settled transaction and avoid duplicate processing.
- Refuse to process a transaction when receiving a “declined” code during authorization. Do not force settlement of any transactions without a valid authorization.
- Voice authorizations do not capture the information necessary for lower interchange rates. Data may still need to be manually keyed into the payment device.
- Make sure an imprint appears on a manual transaction receipt or that the relevant transaction information appears on the device-generated transaction receipt.
- Call Customer Service for additional authorization if you are still suspicious of the cardholder, card, or transaction after receiving an approval code.
- Void authorizations within outstanding batches if they are not going to be settled.
- Settle batches every 24 hours after getting initial authorization for purchases or deposits.
- Settle batches by 7:00 PM to assure timely interbank transfer of receipts to the City’s depository bank.
- Record receipts as soon as possible in SAP via system downloads from bureau-specific systems such as TRACS or journal entries supported by daily batch information.
Refunds and Chargebacks
- Post any special policies regarding returns or refunds visibly at the point-of-sale, and, if appropriate, printed on the transaction receipt using letters approximately ¼ inch high and in close proximity to the signature line.
- Online payment pages are required to disclose refund, return or cancellation policies, including terms and conditions.
- Include bureau’s phone number and a unique order number on each transaction receipt. Customers with easy access to phone and order numbers on their receipt may contact bureau directly rather than disputing a transaction, which may help avoid costly chargeback fees.
- Respond promptly to all retrieval requests to avoid chargebacks. Work directly with cardholders to resolve disputes, avoid costly fees and processing costs, and promote goodwill. Respond to inquiries from Customer Service with as much information as possible about the transaction in question. Note that retrievals may be requested by a cardholder's issuing bank for up to 18 months from the transaction date
Statement Review and Reconciliation
- Promptly review monthly statements for pending changes in terms and processes. Forward statements to the accounting team to record expenses. Call Treasury if not receiving statements or if something looks unusual.
- Work with Treasury to reconcile and clear open cash clearing items regularly.
Account Review and Customer Service
- Contact Treasury at 503-823-3101 to schedule a merchant account analysis to ensure bureau is receiving the best merchant pricing.
- Contact Elavon Customer Service at 800-725-1243.
FIN 2.10 Electronic Payment Processing Services
Authority In accordance with FIN 2.02 Comprehensive Financial Management Policies Overview, the City Treasurer is authorized to develop and implement procedures in support of the CFMP.
Adopted by the City Council, August 6, 2014
Amended by City Treasurer, July 8, 2016