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ResourcesFrequently Asked Questions


 

General

Payment Processing refers to your ability as a company to accept payments and when necessary refund said payments as well as the ability to make payments to outside entities such as homeowners and vendors. Generally, when we use the term Payment Processing, we refer to your ability to accept credit/debit cards and the process in which those monies are deposited in your account. It also encompasses such items as your ability to accept and if needed send monies through ACH/E-check. 

Fully electronic data-flow helps in reducing the physical cash hold, makes book-keeping simpler and opens up a heavily used source of funding to your business with seamless process to help streamline operations.


Offering your clients, the ability to pay monies owed to you offers many advantages to both your company and your clients. First and foremost, it is a convenient and quick way for you to get paid and for your clients to be assured that they have completed the process needed to secure your services. The monies are deposited in your bank account in short order, removing the need to wait on checks that may or may never come in the mail allowing you to confirm the purchase. Your clients do not have take extra steps to mail payment via check (which they probably do not do for any other bills) and they can rest assured they don’t have to rush to meet a deadline. This process also allows your accounting team to easily track payments and deposits. And in the case of refund, it is a simple process on your end.

An integrated payment platform should not only help you accept payments faster and more efficiently, it should give you access to key features that can help you view and manage the health of your business.

The second consideration is the cost. All payment processors charge different fees for credit card processing. Ascent offers a simplified and transparent pricing structure for payment processing platforms and a surcharge program where available.

A merchant account is simply a bank account that is set up for a merchant (you). The big difference between a merchant account and a regular bank account is that a merchant account provides support for one or more processors to deposit funds made by credit card transactions processed through them from customers.

Since a merchant account is a financial service involving the exchange of funds, you will need to complete an application for the underwriting bank. The application information includes:
•    Name, address, and telephone
•    Checking account (for funds to be deposited/withdrawn)
•    Federal Tax ID (for Corporations, LLCs, and Partnerships), and your Social Security number (for Sole proprietorships)
•    Type of business
•    Credit card processing history, if applicable
•    Additional financial information, if requested from the underwriting bank

The Merchant of Record (MOR) is the entity or business that holds the merchant account with the processing bank. This business has a direct contract with the processing bank to deposit the payments processed to the business’s checking account. 

Larger businesses (i.e. property managers who represent more than a few rental properties) benefit from holding a Merchant of Record processing account in many ways. Their funds are protected by the FDIC throughout the transaction settlement and funding process, their rates are more customizable, and MORs have direct access to the processor for chargeback help and security compliance.  Being the Merchant of Record puts you in charge of your money. 

In most cases, your approval takes 7-10 days after we have received your signed application and supporting documentation. This is subject to satisfactory completion of our risk assessment procedures. We can then work with your software to point to your new processing account, or set up a stand-alone virtual terminal.

MID stands for Merchant ID or Merchant Identification Number. This number is unique to each merchant account. This is the number that identifies each merchant to their processing company to fund your local bank account.

Debit and Credit Cards from Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express, Pre-paid Card, ACH, installment financing plans, and surcharge.

Your statements are available online. Part of ensuring you are charged the lowest possible rate on each individual transaction sometimes means that the merchant statements can look complicated.  We are happy to help you review them! Contact clientsuccess@ascentpaymentsolutions.com or call 888-721-9301.

Reach out to us at clientsuccess@ascentpaymentsolutions.com, and we we will help you get your password reset.

Email clientsuccess@ascentpaymentsolutions.com or call us at 888.721.9301.

Your service fees can be calculated and withdrawn from your bank account once per month or they can be deducted from each daily deposit. You can also cover most fees, by using Ascent’s proprietary surcharge program AscentZeroCost.

Processing banks are required to supply a Form 1099-K to merchants who processed more than 200 transactions and more than $20,000 in the previous calendar year. For more info: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/understanding-your-1099-K  

We cannot accept non-US businesses for our domestic merchant account services.


The requirements for a business to be able to process through a domestic merchant account are an American bank checking account and a main physical location in the U.S. Once these requirements are met, a business can apply for a domestic merchant account.

We do also provide payment processing options for Canada-based businesses. Reach out for more information info@ascentpaymentsolutions.com 

Typically, a transaction will take place in two phases, a charge and a settlement. In the first phase, a charge is made and money for the transaction is set aside from the cardholder's account. In the second phase, that money is transferred from the cardholder to the merchant. 
In general, the first transaction takes place as soon as the card is submitted, allowing the merchant to quickly secure the funds for the transaction. The second phase takes place later and is usually done in “batches” at the end of the business day. Settlements are done in batches because it is easier and more economical to void a transaction before funds are transferred than to credit a cardholder account after the fact. If you have ever checked your bank statement to find that there is a separate total for what you have and what is available, this means that a charge has been placed on your account that has not been settled yet. A more detailed outline of a transaction is below:
A customer provides their credit card information to a merchant. Credit card information can be submitted in a number of ways; their card is swiped though a terminal, they present their card information over the phone, or they type their card information on a website. Depending on how the customer submits their information to the merchant, they can send additional information to the merchant to verify the cardholder's identity for fraud prevention. 


A merchant submits the credit card information to either a processor for approval or to a payment gateway. If the merchant submits their information to a gateway, then the gateway will in turn submit the cardholder's information to a processor for approval.


The processor runs a check on the card and will respond with an approval or rejection for the transaction to the merchant or the gateway (who will pass that information back to the merchant). The amount of funds requested will be held on the cardholder's account but will not be transferred out yet.
The merchant notifies the customer of the success or failure of the transaction. If the transaction is successful, then the merchant will ship products/provide services to the customer.


At a later time, usually at the end of the day, the merchant will settle the transactions it has performed that day.  By communicating again with the processor, the funds that were charged earlier are then transferred for the cardholder's accounts to the merchant's account.
 

The payment processor is a service that communicates transaction information between the merchant, the issuing bank, and the acquiring bank. A payment gateway is primarily used as a tool for e-commerce or card-not-present transactions. In other words, it is essentially a point-of-sale terminal for online transactions. The difference is a payment processor facilitates the transaction and a payment gateway is a tool that communicates the approval or decline of transactions between you and your customers.

•    Credit and debit card deposits are typically in your bank account within 72 hours.  
•    ACH Debits (typically guest payments) generally post to your bank account within 3-5 days from the day you entered for processing.  
•    ACH Credits (typically owner payments or guest refunds) happen in two steps – first a verification of funds is processed, and then the funds are sent to the recipient, who should receive their credited funds within 5-7 business days from the day you entered the credit for processing.  

Typically, a payment can take anywhere from 24 hours up to three days to process the payment. The reason for this time is because the transaction process goes through a number of steps to get from one bank account to another. 

Funds will be available in your bank account normally between 24 to 48 business hours from the time that a batch is received by the acquiring/processing bank. It is a common misconception that funds will be available 24 to 48 hours after a transaction, but this time is actually measured from the time of the batch.
Once a batch is received by the processing bank, the funds transfer is initiated. The funds are withdrawn from the customer’s account almost immediately, and the merchant's bank will hold the funds for 24 to 48 hours until the transfer is finalized. This wait period is also a fraud prevention measure. Sometimes a merchant's bank will have a policy to hold the funds for longer than 48 hours. There is nothing that the processor can do to speed up the transaction. 

When transactions are processed on the weekend or holiday, the funds will take extra time for the transfer. The banking systems are closed on the weekends, which causes the delay. Again, changing processing companies will not speed up the transfer of funds for transactions processed on the weekend or on holidays.

 

A pre-authorization temporarily reduces a cardholder's credit, in order to guarantee that funds are available for a pending transaction. For example, Property Managers can do a pre-authorization to see if funds are available for the vacation stay payment at that time.

Ascent is unique in the short-term rental payments space in that we credit the refund interchange back to you when possible. Typically, when the issuing bank pays negative interchange to the merchant processor, the merchant processor keeps those fees. Ascent credits those fees to you on your next statement. Another reason we are YOUR destination for payment solutions.

Ascent holds itself to a higher standard. A standard that includes trust, transparency, and accessibility. We are the only independently owned processor in the vacation rental industry and have more than 20 years of experience focusing on alternative lodging. At Ascent our clients and partners come first, and we always strive to provide the best customer service, support, and education. At Ascent we see our customers as people first, and never let them become an account number. With extensive experience in not only payment processing, but also years of lodging management experience, our team provides you with the best possible solutions suited to your business model. We offer full chargeback support at no cost and net billing when possible. We have no set-up fees, no contract length and no early termination fees. Let us work with you and show you the Ascent difference.

Yes. We have a new product AscentZeroCost that allows most processing fees to be passed along to your guest (consumer) instead of you or your owners paying the fees. Let’s check out the surcharge FAQs and more details here.

We always recommend that you consult with your legal counsel to ensure that your choice is in line with all federal, state, and local laws, as well.

Here are some additional options:

Ask for Debit Cards

  • Debit card rates are considerably lower than normal credit card rates and Ascent passes those savings along to you. 
  • Merchants that accept Amex are technically prohibited from “steering” consumers to a different payment product, such as debit.

Pass on to the owner all or part of the average credit card cost

  • To calculate the average credit card cost, take your total credit card volume and divide it by your total credit card fees.

Booking Fees

  • You can charge a “booking fee” on every reservation. This can help offset credit card processing fees indirectly by bringing in additional revenue on every reservation. Specific regulations are listed below.
  • It must be a fixed amount, not a percentage
  • It must be charged on every reservation, regardless of payment method

Cash Discounts

  • You can offer a discount to your guests that use a different means of payment, such as cash, check, ACH, or debit cards. Specific regulations are listed below.
  • The discount can be either a percentage or flat dollar amount
  • The advertised price MUST be the credit card price

Convenience Fees
You can charge a “convenience fee” on credit card payments. This gets a little more complicated than the booking fee or cash discount options. The complete list of regulations is below.

  • It must be a flat fee (not a percentage)
  • It must be associated with a bona fide convenience in the form of an alternative payment channel (not just the convenience of using a credit card)
  • It must be charged on all forms of payment within the payment channel
  • You must accept some face-to-face credit card transactions AND it can be assessed only on non-face to face transactions
  • It cannot be charged by a third party – only by the merchant that provides the good or service to the cardholder
  • It must be disclosed as a charge for the alternative payment channel convenience
  • It must be disclosed prior to the completion of the transaction with an option to cancel
  • It must be included as part of the total amount of the transaction and not collected separately
  • It must not be charged in addition to a surcharge
  • It must not be charged on recurring or installment transactions
     

We have a talented and dedicated Ascent team who is happy to help you with anything you need!  You can reach us at clientsuccess@ascentpaymentsolutions.com or at 888-721-9301.

You might have heard in the news that the card companies are moving away from requiring signatures. All 4 card brands are making similar announcements, but each has their own spin on the change. 

MasterCard, Amex, and Discover are removing the requirement of collecting a cardholder signature at the point of sale on a sales draft. Visa specifies that the requirement is only removed on EMV transactions. 

Because this requirement applied mainly to Card Present transactions, the removal of the requirement has less impact on the Vacation Rental industry or other industries that process mostly Card Not Present (CNP) transactions. 

Despite the change, you can still collect signatures and we still recommend that you do in order to help protect your business against frivolous chargebacks. 

As mentioned in our other article “How Will Visa’s Claims Resolution Impact Your Business?”, Visa recently came out with significant changes to their chargeback process that makes it more important than ever that you have proof that the cardholder authorized the transaction and agreed to your terms. 

Given Visa’s chargeback process update and the challenges of processing in a CNP environment, we still strongly recommend you help protect yourself against chargebacks by at least

  • passing AVS and CVV data and possibly declining transactions with data that doesn’t match with the issuer’s information
  • collecting a physical signature from the cardholder on your agreement, agreeing to the total due and your terms 

If you have any questions, please contact support@ascentpaymentsolutions.com.

AscentPay powered by Uplift Installment Payment Plan

  • Low, fixed monthly payments
  • Great loan options and rates starting at 4.01% for maximum flexibility
  • Only 11-day advance purchase (guests can travel now and pay later)
  • No hidden fees, no late fees, no sneaky fine print
  • Simple, instant approval with a soft credit check

Learn more here.
 

  • 100% Immediate FULL reservation payment paid to vacation rental company at the time of booking
  • 0% Risk to Property Managers, as AscentPay powered by Uplift assumes all liability risk for chargebacks, fraud, and more
  • 26% Higher average transaction value due to upgraded properties and/or longer stays*
  • 41% Earlier average booking window*
  • 50% Increased uptake on travel insurance and other ancillary services*

*in similar travel markets

Learn more here.

ascentpay benefits

AscentZeroCost

If a sale can be surcharged, the surcharge will be calculated and presented to the guest. They must approve the new amount before the transaction can be completed. If it cannot be surcharged, the transaction will run like normal and will not be presented for approval. The receipt must show the total amount of the credit card fee as a separate line item.

*Please note the surcharge calculation will automatically be applied to refunds as well, however there is an option to override if necessary.

This program allows your clients to pay the fee (surcharge) if they choose to use a credit card for convenience or rewards, or a debit card with no additional fee. Card processing fees are automatically passed to your clients who choose the convenience of paying with credit cards.

The “cost of acceptance” is also known as the merchant discount rate. Our program uses a bundled flat rate for credit cards to make this as easy as possible. We charge 3.5% and merchants cannot charge more than 4%.

AscentZeroCost is a solution that offers cost-savings throughout every part of your business.

  •     Save BIG money on processing fees
  •     Use the money saved on processing to invest in other areas of your business
  •     Remove credit card fees from your advertised pricing for a lower price point than your competitors, which also helps in SEO results
  •     Keep the transaction even if the guest/client elects to not pay the surcharge fee
  •     Clients can opt to pay by debit card, ACH, cash, or check and avoid paying this fee
  •     Clients want to rack up their rewards points on their credit cards, so many will still pay via credit card
  •      Property owners prefer a management company option with lower or no processing fees

 

We suggest communicating a message to your guests of why you are using this new payment method for them to better understand – and while your reason may vary from another merchant, providing a “why” for an additional fee to the guest assists in a better adoption rate. Merchants can’t easily increase their property rates when costs go up. They have to find new ways to cut expenses or transfer costs. We have found focusing on how the AscentZeroCost program allows card fees to be passed along to the consumer is one way to operate without raising actual rental rates or other costs and continue to provide guests the best value.

Merchants cannot profit from a surcharge fee. Our solution makes it so that the surcharge fee is NOT greater than the actual transactions and 100% compliant to card brand rules and regulations.

No. The ability to surcharge only applies to credit card purchases, and only under certain conditions. U.S. merchants cannot surcharge debit card or prepaid card purchases.

The card brands (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express) have specific rules for merchants to follow in order to be 100% compliant. Ascent, with its expert support and technology solution, makes this a simple process for you.

When a merchant elects to apply a surcharge to customers who pay with credit cards, they must provide Visa, MasterCard, and their acquirer with a minimum of thirty (30) days advance written notice of their intention to surcharge prior to implementing a surcharge. Merchants can satisfy the notice requirement by accessing the respective websites.

Visa

MasterCard

The card brands have specific rules for merchants to follow in order to be 100% compliant.  Let’s take a look at them, as well as seeing how Ascent makes this an easy process for you!

The merchant must also disclose the surcharge as a merchant fee and, for both in-store and online transactions, clearly alert consumers to the practice at the point of entry, the point of sale or transaction, and on every receipt.  Merchants should also consider whether they comply with all applicable state and/or federal laws. Currently, several states have laws that prohibit or limit surcharging. Ascent will assist in this process.

Yes. U.S. merchants that surcharge must disclose the surcharge dollar amount on every receipt. In addition, disclosures indicating that a merchant outlet assesses a surcharge on credit card purchases must be posted at the point of entry and point of sale/transaction.

For ecommerce transactions, it must be disclosed on the first page that references credit card brands accepted in a minimum 10 point arial font and again on the checkout page in a 10 point Arial font. Verbal notice from the reservationist including the surcharge amount.

We impose a surcharge of 3.5% on the transaction amount on credit card products, which is not greater than our costs of acceptance. We do not surcharge on debit cards.

Minimal font is Arial 16. Ascent recommends adding your story to help sell the need for this. This could be the escalating cost of interchange, the cost of accepting credit cards driving prices higher for debit card and ACH users unnecessarily.

Face to Face: Minimal 16-point Arial font.

Telephone: Verbal notice from the reservationist, including the surcharge amount. The first page that references the card brands accepted, in a minimum 10-point Arial font. Checkout page in a 10-point Arial font.

Ecommerce: The first page that references the card brands accepted, in a minimum 10-point Arial font. Checkout page in a 10-point Arial font.

Yes. One of the regulations stipulates that the 3.5% Surcharge fee must be on a separate line item during checkout and on the receipt.  The total of the package with the additional surcharge is then processed as ONE transaction.  So, if there were a refund, the total amount of the transaction is refunded back to the customer.

Yes. The chargeback can be for the full amount of the transaction, including the surcharge amount.

While U.S. merchants currently have the option of applying surcharges at the “brand level” or just to particular types of cc transactions at the “product level”, the AscentZeroCost Program is designed to support Brand Level Surcharging.

Yes. If a merchant is prohibited from surcharging in one state, Card Brand rules do not prevent the merchant from surcharging in other states that allow the practice. Surcharging is not currently allowed in Colorado, Connecticut, or Massachussetts.

Ascent is the last independently-owned payment processor in our space. We utilize our more than 20 years of experience in the lodging payment space to offer a dedicated support team to expertly handle any issues your business may have. Customer Service is what our reputation is built on. Our technology allows us to separate ourselves from our competition to offer this surcharging program.

We will assist you in registering with the card brands and the set-up process either in tandem with your reservation software partner, or as a stand-alone product.

Chargebacks

NO. When you receive a chargeback notification, you have already been debited and the cardholder has already been credited for the amount of the chargeback. If you also issue a refund, you risk being out the money twice.

A chargeback is a financial transaction in which the customer is disputing a charge listed on their credit card statement. A chargeback may get the customer their money refunded, but it is not a refund. We recommend putting in place policies and practices to avoid chargebacks from happening up front and to respond to chargebacks you might get. Chargebacks are more than just annoying and costly to your business, if not addressed correctly, they can ultimately end up in a merchant losing the ability to process credit cards completely.

The customer contacts their credit card issuing bank to notify them that they want to dispute a charge. The card issuing bank requests a chargeback from the processor who takes the amount of the purchase from the merchant’s bank account. The merchant will then be sent a letter that notifies them of the chargeback and requests further information from the merchant. The merchant will need to provide the requested information to the processor. The issuing bank or card brand will then make a decision on whether the customer deserves to get a refund. Ascent can help you review the information and make recommendations to dispute or not.

Chargebacks can be initiated for a variety of reasons. The most common reason is that a customer doesn't recognize or doesn't remember the name of a merchant listed on their credit card statement.
 

image courtesy of VISA

Generally, a cardholder has up to 120 calendar days from the date of transaction, service, or discovery of the issue, whichever is latest, to dispute the transaction. This means that if you provide a service (like a vacation stay) that will occur 10 months after the payment is taken, the cardholder can dispute the transaction up to 4 months after the service is completed. This could mean that you get a chargeback a year and a half after the sale was made. This is why chargebacks are more common with long term or customer services. 

  • Fraud
  • Cancelled Services
  • Not as Described 

Ask us about the tools Ascent has available to prevent or reduce your exposure to these common chargebacks, or click here.

The best way to challenge a chargeback is to gather the required paperwork together and send it to the processor for review. This information must reach the processor within 10 days of receiving the chargeback letter. The required documents will be listed on the chargeback letter. It is important to cooperate fully with the processor to resolve the chargeback. Remember, it is not the processor that is issuing the chargeback, it is the card issuing bank or the customer. 

You may not win every chargeback and your business may never get a chargeback, but operating your business under good standards and having good customer relations will improve your chances of not getting a chargeback in the first place. Also make sure your customers know your business name and return and refund policies, to avoid simple misunderstandings. Ascent is always here to help with your rebuttal. In fact, recently we have seen an average of 20% increase in chargeback wins from new merchants that switched to Ascent.
 

There are several different chargeback reason codes, each with their own set of guidelines for disputing. Ascent has chargeback specialists who can help you every step of the way. We also have educational information related to chargebacks available for our clients. Learn more here.

Many of our clients charge guest credit cards for damages, if there are any, and find that in most cases there are no issues. But occasionally merchants will see a dispute of the charge and, without the required signed documentation, you might receive a chargeback you can’t win.

For charges for damages, Visa’s regulations state that the cardholder must expressly agree in writing to pay the specific charges after the loss, theft, or damage has occurred, and after receiving all required disclosures and amounts from the Merchant.

In order to have the best chance of winning chargebacks for payment for damages, you would need to provide a receipt signed by the cardholder stating that he/she agreed to and authorized the charge to his/her card, before the charge was assessed, but after the damage occurred.

Other options available to cover the cost of damages within card association regulations:
1.    Continue to process charges for damages, expecting to lose a certain percentage to chargebacks you  can’t win. For some merchants, it is most desirable to keep their current procedures in place, especially if you decide that estimated losses due to this type of chargeback are in the tolerable range.
2.    Offer guests Rental Damage Insurance, which covers most damages unless deemed intentional. There are several insurance carriers that work with the vacation rental industry.
3.    Consider assessing a Booking Fee on every reservation up front. You can then pool the income to cover damages that occur. Some merchants find that this ends up being an additional source of income because they make more than they spend on damages.
4.    Some merchants collect security deposits and return any unused portion after the unit is found to be without damages. If you choose this option, we recommend you use a payment method other than credit card (personal check, cashier’s check, money order, or cash) to collect the security deposit. This process can be more labor intensive but means that the card companies’ regulations regarding charges for damages would not pertain to your ability to cover the cost of damages.

Interchange Plus Pricing

Interchange Plus (aka “cost plus”) Pricing is a straightforward way to price. If you have cost plus pricing, it is more transparent because it is much more difficult to have hidden fees. In interchange plus pricing, processors take all the bank fees, card brand fees etc., pass them straight through to the merchant, then add a small fee (basis points) for their services.

Interchange is the percentage assessed to each transaction. It is paid by the merchant to the bank that issued that particular credit card to help offset the issuing bank’s cost of carrying the cardholder debt for the merchant. The processing bank and/or processor do not receive any part of interchange fees. The interchange fee structure is quite complex, with each card brand assessing different interchange rates based on the type of card used, size of sale, fraud deterrents used at the point of sale, whether the card was present or not, rewards provided, and type of merchant, among many others.  Interchange rates are set by the card brands (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, Amex) and are the same for every processor.  

Ascent primarily uses interchange plus pricing. Overall, the best way to tell what you are being charged is to take all your fees and divide that by how much you processed in credit card sales. This is known as your effective rate. We can help you calculate your overall effective rate here.

The international fee is charged for transactions from credit cards that are from out of your home country. These are sometimes called “cross-border fees” or “international acquirer service fees”. International fees are assessed by the card brands and passed through, already included in Interchange Plus Pricing.

A basis point is a unit of measure frequently used to express interest rates and other small percentages. One basis point = 0.01%. Interchange Plus Pricing, used by Ascent, means that a number of basis points will be added to the interchange assessed by the card brand on a transaction to determine the rate.

We offer surcharging through AscentZeroCost. Ascent offers a product allowing rental managers to pass along credit card interchange processing fees to guests, and to be completely compliant with federal and state laws. Learn more here

Our gateway can AUTOMATICALLY populate Level III data for the best rates on qualifying cards, so you don’t have to input the details.

Payment Card Industry Information

PCI Compliance or the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is an information security standard for organizations that handle branded credit cards. The PCI Standard is mandated by the card brands but administered by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. 

No matter the size of your business, you must comply with PCI standards. They are put in place to ensure all companies maintain a secure environment to take credit card transactions reducing the risk of fraud. We are here to help assist you in becoming PCI compliant within 30 days of signing up with us (at no cost to you). We believe that it is our job to ensure your business is as secure as possible. Contact pci@ascentpaymentsolutions.com.

This questionnaire is used to assess a merchant's card acceptance and processing environment. It includes questions to assess your risk level and compliance with card association requirements for cardholder data policies, procedures, administrative controls, access controls, and physical security measures. We have in-house experts to assist you with completing this questionnaire. Contact pci@ascentpaymentsolutions.com

If you are non-compliant, you are subject to additional fees each month and potentially fines from the card associations.

If your security is compromised because of your non-compliance, you risk financial loss, additional fines, loss of business, damage to your company’s reputation, and other loss of critical systems.
 

Yes. We take data security very seriously and are happy to help you save money by assisting you with completing your PCI certification. You can reach our PCI expert team at pci@ascentpaymentsolutions.com.

Processing Transactions

Merchants send batches of authorized transactions to their payment processor. The payment processor passes transaction details to the card associations that communicate the appropriate debits with the issuing banks in their network. The issuing bank charges the cardholder's account for the amount of the transactions.

A sale transaction authorizes a payment service provider to initiate a payment from the cardholder's issuing bank to the merchant account. A sale is typically settled within 24-48 hours, before which time it may be voided by the merchant if there was an error or if the customer wishes to reverse the transaction.

You will need to create an account with the payment gateway, which you will use to authenticate all transactions that you send to the gateway. A payment gateway is the interface that allows an ecommerce transaction to flow from the cardholder/guest through the merchant’s website, to the payment processor/acquirer (who sends the authorization request and payment data to the issuing bank) and back.  It is the technology behind the scenes, enabling your website (or virtual terminal) to process payments.  

Slim CD, Authorize.net, and Yapstone, among others.Contact clientsuccess@ascentpaymentsolutions.com or call us at 888.721.9301 for help with getting your gateway set up.

Ascent is integrated with most of the reservation software products in the short-term rental space, as well as several in the long-term rental and additional alternative lodging space. For a list of all of our partners click here. For a list of fully integrated software solutions click here.

Even if you don’t see your software on this page, we can often still process for you. Contact us at clientsuccess@ascentpaymentsolutions.com or 888-721-9301 and we will follow up with your software to get linked up. 

You can void a pre-authorization if it has not been captured and has not expired. (Pre-authorizations typically expire after seven days.)

Voiding a sale prevents the sale from being processed, whereas a credit (refund) is applied against a sale that has already been processed. You can void a sale only if the sale has not been settled by the payment service provider.

AVS is built into the authorization process to help prevent fraudulent transactions. The numerical portion of a consumer's address and the transaction data is matched against the address on file with the consumer's credit card. A response code is sent back with the approval or decline indicating whether the numeric information matched that of the cardholders. This match (or mismatch) is provided to the merchant in order to make an informed decision regarding the status of the transaction.

The use of AVS for businesses such as mail/telephone and Internet can result in lower discount rates, as well as a potential reduction in fraud. Its use is highly recommended.

The Card Security Code is an important security feature for credit card transactions where the card is not present, like on the Internet or over the phone. This code has 3 or 4 digits and is in a different location depending on the card type. Requiring this code to be entered adds another layer of security to a transaction.

CVV is a card verification system that verifies that a cardholder is in possession of a credit card by verifying a set of numbers that is embossed on the credit card and not encoded in the magnetic strip. This way even if the card number is stolen, a transaction cannot be processed if the purchaser cannot verify the CVV number on the card.

Requiring CVV in addition to AVS, and not accepting payments from cards where the CVV and/or AVS data does not match with the issuing bank, can help to eliminate most fraudulent orders for internet and keyed entry businesses.

Each card issuer has a different name for the CVV system, but all are essentially the same thing. Visa refers to it as CVV2, Mastercard is called CVC2, Amex is CID.

The CVV number is located on the back of the card except for most Amex cards where it is on the front. Amex also uses a 4-digit verification code whereas all other card makers use a 3-digit number.
 

After you issue a refund, on average, it takes 7-10 days from the date settled for the cardholder to see the funds post back to their account. And by regulations, the issuer has up to 30 day to post the funds to their cardholder’s account. If you have a consumer asking about a refund, we recommend you first verify that the refund settled with your batch. If it did, let them know the average funding timing we just described. If it’s been more than 10 days and the cardholder still hasn’t seen the funds post, give us a call and we’ll see if we can help.

The card associations are implementing the authorization process on refunds, just like with sales. This should help increase the visibility of refund status for your guests (by allowing them to see the refund as pending on their card) and hopefully reduce their concern about refund timing. Learn more here.

From both a practical and a payment standpoint, an ACH transaction and an e-check transaction are virtually the same – both facilitate the movement of funds from one bank account to another. While there are some minor flow differences during the backend processing of e-checks and ACH, both transfer funds using the ACH (Automated Clearing House) system, which is governed NACHA.

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