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Huge savings possible with Level-3 processing

For B2B and B2G merchants using corporate cards or purchasing cards, Level-3 data is key to ensuring you’re paying the lowest possible interchange rates, just by including more detailed information about the purchases as part of the transaction.

To put it simply: This interchange benefit is provided by financial institutions to balance and grow the payment system for the benefit of all participants. As a result, they’re willing to give a merchant a better interchange rate on B2B and B2G payments using qualified cards.

3DSI’s products include support for Level-3 processing, including the Payment WorkSuite payment gateway, CardVault tokenization service, and EC-Pay buyer-initiated payments. The interface makes it clear which fields are required to gain Level-3 savings. And if you want to ensure you get the best rates, you can even choose to make those input fields required on their account — meaning your users cannot submit a transaction until all the data is there correctly.

Level-3 data examples

Most payments include basic data, such as the transaction amount, the customer code and sales tax. But Level-3 data provides more information.

Level-1 card data is typically associated with consumer transactions and provides limited purchase data back to the cardholder.

Level-2 data adds more information to benefit the corporate/government/industrial buyer, but the number of fields is limited because of the restricted data capture capabilities provided by most hardware-based POS terminals.

Level-3 line-item detail, which is equivalent to the information found on an itemized invoice, requires greater system capability and is provided through 3Delta Systems' payment applications. Including this level of detail can help transactions qualify for the lowest available interchange rates.

Large ticket rates, offered by MasterCard and Visa, are even lower than the Level-3 interchange rates. Large tickets automatically apply when the ticket reaches a certain size if you have the proper required data on the transaction.

This table illustrates some of the data required for each type of transaction:

Data Type Level-1 Level-2 Level-3 Large Ticket
Merchant DBA Name
Transaction Amount
Billing Zip Code
Tax Amount  
Customer Reference Value  
Merchant Postal Code  
Tax Identification  
Invoice Number  
Order Number  
Product Code    
Product Commodity Code    
Product Description    
Product Quantity    
Product Unit of Measure    
Product Extended Amount    

* This table is provided only for illustrative purposes and should not be construed as a listing of all the possible fields associated with each data level or that every processor will support all the possible data elements.

Entering Level-3 data

Card terminals don’t typically prompt for additional data, and most terminals have only numeric keypads, making text entry nearly impossible. So merchants who want Level-3 savings need a way to input transaction information. That’s where 3DSI’s solutions come in, prompting — or even requiring —users for the necessary information. 3DSI’s cloud-based solutions can easily integrate into your existing technology, whatever processing platform you’re using, and even give you a means to add more security with tokenization.

How much you'll save

You can try our Level-3 calculator to get an estimate of your annual interchange savings. Depending on the size of your business, you could literally save millions. Some of our customers do. Here’s a general breakdown, based on the MasterCard interchange schedule:

  • The commercial standard interchange is 2.70% plus 10 cents.
  • The Level-3 rate ranges depending on the size of the transaction and is evaluated and possibly adjusted twice annually. For example, the rate might be 1.90% plus 10 cents if the transaction is less than approximately $7,500. The rate drops as the transaction amount grows.
  • The higher the transaction amount, the greater the savings over the standard interchange category. Here are some savings examples, rounded to the nearest dollar, using Mastercard's fee structure (Visa savings are similar):

Transaction Standard Fee Level-3 Fee (Visa) Savings
$500 $14 $10 $4
$1,000 $27 $19 $8
$1,500 $41 $29 $12
$2,000 $54 $38 $16
$2,500 $68 $48 $20
$3,000 $81 $57 $24
$4,000 $108 $76 $32
$5,000 $135 $95 $40

Conveying Level-3 information provides a significant financial opportunity for merchants accepting corporate or purchase cards from their commercial customers. Even just one large P-card transaction per year can justify the investment in the capability to transact in this manner.

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