Interchange Plus Vs Flat Rate Pricing

Flat Rate Pricing programs with NO monthly fees like Square, Paypal, Payanywhere*, etc. are best for businesses processing less than $1500.00 per month and with individual sales under $10.00, including tip.

*Note: Payanywhere is our product and at 2.69% its the lowest cost Flat Rate program.

NEW, Cost Plus or Interchange Plus pricing programs are the best solution for any business processing over $1500.00 per month, even with tickets over $10.00

There are always exceptions. To be sure, give us a call today for a FREE analysis and consultation.

Flat Percentage, Bundled Rate Programs

When it comes to markups, some payment processors bundle everything into one or two fixed percentages that are high enough to make sure the wholesale cost is covered and they never lose money. Unfortunately, these fixed rates are usually much higher than the wholesale costs and businesses are usually paying way too much.

Examples of this are Square, Paypal, Payanywhere*, etc. These plans offer 2 or 3 high percentages for either chip read cards, keyed in cards or cards paid via emailed invoice, while the processors are paying a lot less on the wholesale side.

NOTE: While the percentages are very high, these programs have no monthly or annual fees which make them ideal for business startups and those doing less than $1500.00 per month. Once your monthly volume regularly exceeds $1500.00, you should switch to a Cost-Plus account to maximize savings. And, because there's no transaction fees, flat percent programs can also be ideal for businesses with low tickets under $10.00.

*Payanywhere has lower costs than Square, Paypal, etc. It's the same program only cheaper.

Only 2.69% for card present and 3.4% and .19 for Key Entered, no monthly fee, FREE reader.


The most important thing to understand about pricing is that the Wholesale Costs ARE THE SAME FOR EVERYONE. No one gets a better deal than anyone else. Regardless of how big the processor or business is, everyone pays the same.

These rates and fees are regulated by the industry, adjusted twice a year, and closely monitored to accurately reflect the actual cost for risk and overhead to handle the transactions. These fees vary dramatically depending on the type of card and manner in which it was processed, so there are literally thousands of price points because of all the different types of cards. ex: Credit, Debit, Rewards, Business, Purchase, Keyed in, etc.

There is also special pricing for certain industries. ex: Retail, Small ticket retail, eCommerce, Grocery stores, Utilities, Charities, Large ticket, etc.

Cost-Plus means the wholesale costs are passed to the business with no markup. You get to pay wholesale, plus the processor markup.


Interchange Plus Pricing means that the credit card processing fees a business pays goes to three different places. The wholesale costs for payment processing are broken into 2 categories.

Dues and Assessments are simply the fees charged by the Networks. (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express) The networks have the brand and they move the money for the card issuing banks and regulate everything. They carry no risk and therefore they charge a minimal fee of approximately .14% and .02 per transaction.

Interchange are the fees charged by the banks that issue the credit cards. (Capital one, Chase, etc.) The banks carry all the risk so they make the lion's share of the money.

Interchange is where the thousand price points are. These rates can range from .05% and .22 for most debit cards to over 3% and .10 for high end rewards, corporate and key entered cards without address info entered.

Note: The main reason for the switch from Tiered programs to Cost Plus programs was when the Durbin Amendment reduced the fee for most debit cards from approx. 1.1% and .15 to .05% and .22! This dramatic decrease meant that tiered programs starting at 1.8% were simply way too expensive. Prior to this, Cost Plus was reserved for large, high-volume businesses where the slight differences between cards would add up to a lot of savings each year.

Nowadays, everyone is doing cost plus pricing because it's the most cost effective program for most businesses.

So, if all the wholesale costs are regulated and everyone pays the same, then it really doesn't matter what the wholesale costs are, correct? If you take credit cards these fees have to be paid but now, you're paying the cheapest you can for each card so let's move on.

Processor Markup
Ok, since businesses can't deal directly with Visa and the other 3 card brands, they need a processor. The processor charges a markup. This markup is usually a percentage of the sales plus a transaction fee and also monthly and annual fees. It doesn't matter what type of card you take; the markup is the same.

A typical Cost-Plus quote would look like:
Interchange dues and assessments + .05% and $0.05
$5.00 Monthly fee

In this example you would pay .05% & .05 per transaction over the wholesale cost of each card, plus $5.00 per month.

Here's how a Durbin regulated debit card adds up:
.05% & .22 Interchange
.14% & .02 Dues & Assessments
.05% & .05 Processor markup
.24% & .29 Total fee!That's it!

That's a lot less than Square at:
2.6% + .10 swipe/chip/tap
3.5% +.15 keyed
2.9% + .30 for invoices.

NOTE: The Durbin regulated rate applies regardless of whether cards are keyed in or chip read, and also regardless of whether they're run with a PIN number or without!

That makes this rate 5 to 7 times cheaper than Square, Paypal, etc.


By focusing on Cost Plus and keeping markups to a minimum, Advantage Card Services is saving hundreds of businesses, tens of thousands of dollars each year in processing fees. Our personal customer service is why our clients have trusted us with their payment processing for decades.

-ACS typically saves businesses 30% over Square, Paypal, and any fixed percent programs.
-Businesses already on cost-plus that switched to ACS in 2021 saved an average of 20% of their monthly fees.

Call today to switch out of your flat rate program!



Entering a PIN number on a debit card means that the transaction is now going thru the Debit networks instead of the traditional Visa, Mastercard networks. Examples are Star, Plus, Shazam, Cirrus, etc. The debit networks charge different rates, that are often cheaper than credit cards, so there have definitely been benefits to accepting PIN numbers.

That is, until the Durbin Amendment, which once again, changed everything.

The Durbin amendment regulated most of the debit cards to .05% and .22 regardless of PIN or No PIN so the benefits of PIN numbers now only apply to a small percentage of the debit cards a business takes. This means we need to recalculate the fees involved in accepting PIN numbers to be sure it's worth it.

Now, PIN numbers are more secure because anyone can sign a receipt and, lets face it, no one checks ID anymore. So, by getting the PIN number your chances are much better that it's the card holder and therefore reducing the likelihood of a dispute or chargeback. However, the increases in debit network fees are making it less and less attractive for the basic small business.

First of all, a lot of processors charge $5.00 per month for access to the debit networks so we need to make that up in the savings.

Second, over the last couple years, the Debit networks have each been adding annual fees of around $15.00 and that now exceeds $100.00 per year in additional fees and that negates any savings for most small businesses.

Don't get me wrong, PIN numbers still save money for merchants doing over 100K per month and doing larger individual sales.

Not sure if you should be taking PIN numbers?

Call us today for a free analysis and consultation.



If a merchant is accepting commercial cards (corporate, business, purchasing) and/or government cards (GSA) they can obtain a lower Interchange rate by submitting Level 2 or Level 3 data with the transaction. Therefore, it is always in the merchant's best interest to submit Level 2 or Level 3 data when they are processing commercial cards and/or government credit cards whenever possible.

Retail merchants will often encounter Level 2 "prompts" when they process a commercial card and the credit card terminal prompts for a "Customer Code" or "PO Number". If the merchant passes all the Level 2 data with the transaction, the transaction will qualify at a lower Interchange rate savings, on average, twenty-five basis points.

Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 Processing Credit card processing information fits into three levels: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. Each level is defined by the amount of information that is required to be passed to the card issuing bank.

Level 1 processing is very easy to be achieved through any electronic processing method as it only requires standard transaction details such as merchant name, transaction amount, and the transaction date.

Level 2 (also known as Level II) processing adds the requirement of sales tax as well as a customer code to the transaction.

Level 3 (also known as Level III) will have fifteen plus line-item details that must be sent along with the transaction. To receive Level 3 processing rates merchants must accept either commercial cards and/or government cards issued by Visa or MasterCard.

Here is a chart showing the data you need to enter to qualify for Level 2 and 3 processing.

Level 1 and 2 can be done thru a typical credit card machine while Level 3 needs to be done thru a Virtual Terminal.

Level 1,2 and 3 Processing

Business Cards vs Corporate Cards vs Purchase Cards

Businesses issue cards to employees to use for business expenses, most often travel, dining, and entertainment costs, as well as supplies. The primary difference lies in who is ultimately on the hook for the purchases made with that card. With a business card, the cardholder is usually liable (or jointly liable with the business) for the money. (The technical term is "personal guarantor.") With a corporate card, the corporation is usually liable, and individuals aren't - a personal guarantor is not required.

Purchasing cards (also called P-cards) essentially take the place of a purchase order, streamlining the process for authorized employees to buy approved goods or services for a business. Employers can impose restrictions on P-cards, such as capping spending or restricting purchases at businesses with a certain merchant category code (MCC).

Business cards, corporate cards, and purchasing cards can all be used in person (also called card-present) or online, over the phone, and by mail such as to pay an invoice (also called card-not-present.) However, level 2 and level 3 data primarily help with card-not-present transactions. While there are solutions available for card-present transactions, businesses that processes card-not-present commercial transactions will see the greatest benefit from enhanced data.

Visa, MasterCard, and American Express have programs for Level 2 enhanced data, while only Visa and MasterCard offer Level 3. Discover does not participate in any enhanced data programs.

In order to process Level 2 transactions with American Express, you need to contact them for approval. Level 2 and Level 3 data for Visa and MasterCard are available through interchange without having to notify the card brands

Sending Level 2 or Level 3 Data with a Transaction
When sending level 2 or level 3 data with a transaction, it's important to provide all the complete information to qualify for the lowest Interchange rate. If only partial Level 2 or Level 3 information is sent, the transaction will not qualify for a lower Interchange rate. Level 2 data can be sent via a credit card terminal or a payment gateway. Level 3 data can only be sent via a gateway that supports it and Advantage Card Services has access to several of these.

Do you take a lot of business cards?

Call us today to see if Level 2 and 3 would benefit your business

Below are breakdowns and comparisons of our Cost Plus and Flat Rate pricing programs.

"New" Cost Plus Pricing
Rates as low as .05% + $0.05

Choose from 2 programs to meet your volume level!

Cost Plus Pricing

For businesses expecting to process LESS than $1500.00 per month.

30 Day FREE Trial!
High Risk and CBD OK!
NO Contracts or Cancel Fees!

Rates starting at:
Cost Plus .05% + $0.05 Trans. fee
$5.00 Monthly fee

$4.99 Month PCI, Optional, Includes $100K in Data Breach Insurance!

-FREE Verifone Credit Card Terminal!
-FREE Lifetime Warranty!
-FREE Virtual Terminals!
-FREE Mobile Apps and Readers!
systems, Websites and software.
-Next Day Funding!
-Quick Setup, Easy Approval


-POS Software starting at $199.00 per year!
-Hardware packages starting at only $500.00!
-12 month payment plans, all accounts qualify!
-Short term rentals available!

Call Today 970-222-6016

Flat Percent Pricing

For businesses expecting to process MORE than $1500.00 per month.

30 Day FREE Trial!
NO Monthly Fees!
NO Contracts or Cancel Fees!

Flat Rates:

2.69% for Swiped, Chip, Tap
3.49% + $0.19 Keyed Entered

$4.99 Month PCI, Optional, Includes $100K in Data Breach Insurance!

-FREE Virtual Terminal!
-FREE Mobile App and Reader!
-Next Day Funding!
-Quick Setup, Easy Approval
-3 Minute online Application


-POS Software starting at $199.00 per year!
-Hardware packages starting at only $500.00!
-12 month payment plans, wac!
-Short term rentals available!

To apply for the Flat Rate program
Paste the link below:

**Keep us as your agent! Be sure to stay on this link when applying!**

For POS software and equipment, please CALL US directly or CONTACT US via email.