Interchange Optimization


Save on Interchange Fees

Many businesses are leaving money on the table and don’t realize it. The fees from credit card acceptance are a part of doing business, but most businesses are unaware that card brand programs exist to help reduce these fees. A common misconception is that the payment processor’s mark-ups are the only place to save on fees. The more significant savings potential is actually in the interchange – do not assume you cannot influence these costs! Interchange is essentially the hard cost of payment card acceptance. Interchange fees are those collected for the card-issuing bank and cover the operational costs and risk associated with issuing credit cards. Payment processors charge merchants a mark-up on top of interchange, which covers their operational cost and risk associated with processing electronic payments.

There are over 300 levels of interchange with rates ranging from as low as .05% to as high as 3.25%. What determines the cost of interchange is based on many factors, including benefits given to the cardholder and perceived risk. While each interchange level might have static costs pre-determined by the card brands (Visa/MasterCard), many transactions are eligible to qualify at lower-cost tiers.

By optimizing interchange qualifications, transactions can land at the lowest possible interchange rates. Interchange Optimization does this by collecting additional information to reduce the risk associated with each transaction. Most merchants collect Level I data, which includes the minimum information required to authorize and process a payment transaction. Collecting less data increases the mitigation risk for fraud, which is why Level I data carries the higher fees.

Level II and Level III transactions are enhanced data capture levels that provide more in depth information, usable by the card brands and their issuers. The additional information has value to the card networks, their issuers and the merchant customer and could qualify the merchant for reduced interchange fees if the enhanced data is presented with the transaction authorization.


Elavon Interchange Optimization

Providing Level II and Level III data points can be a challenge for businesses for a variety of reasons:

  • Businesses may not reliably collect the required information from their customers
  • Lack a solution that can transmit the data in the required format
  • Their current payment processor is not certified to process Level II and Level III data

Elavon’s proprietary Level II and Level III data enrichment programs circumvent technology limitations by populating all of the data for the merchant with no up-front cost to the merchant.

About Elavon


For more than 25 years, Elavon has been the leader in payment processing, leveraging the world’s best technologies for our customers from large worldwide enterprises to locally-owned small businesses. We extend powerful payment solutions for all payment types and processing environments, ensuring that your business is well-connected. Elavon is consistently rated among the top global payment providers, with more than 1 million customers. We’re ready to do the same for you.

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