Credit Card Processing Helpful Hints

12 Minutes read

Credit Card Processing Helpful Hints

Janet:                    Hi. This is Janet with Stillwater Payments. I’m talking with Jeremy Ochsner today to go over some credit card processing tips.

Jeremy:                Hey Janet, thank you for the opportunity and time. Today, we’re going to be going over some helpful hints, which will help save people more money on their credit card processing fees, and help them run transactions more smoothly and efficiently, on some common EMV credit card terminals and payment gateways.

Janet:                    Fantastic, Jeremy. We get some common questions, regarding processing. Do you have any quick tips?

Jeremy:                Yeah, Janet, actually I have a few tips here. Some on troubleshooting, some credit card terminal tips, and transaction tips. So, let’s start with the troubleshooting.


Verifone Vx 520 EMV credit card terminal

VX520 front shot

Verifone Vx 520 EMV and NFC (Contactless) credit card terminal.

My Verifone Vx 520 isn’t working, what do I do?  How do I fix my Verifone Vx 520? . One of the quickest ways to trouble shoot a Verifone Vx 520, is to:

  1. Unplug the terminal from the power source, let it sit for about 30 seconds,
  2. Plug it back in, and allow the terminal to reboot and go back to the soft pay screen, and then they select the sales screen. If that doesn’t fix the problem, then go ahead and call your support number, but that’s a real quick way to kind of reboot and reset the terminal.

More information is available on setting up your Verifone Vx 520 credit card terminal.

Ingenico iCT 250 EMV and Contactless credit card terminal

Ingenico iCT 250 credit card terminal

Ingenico iCT 220 and iCT 250 EMV credit card terminals

With Ingenico credit card terminals, you can unplug the terminal and let it sit for 30 seconds, also, or the Ingenico’s have a reboot function.

To Reboot an Ingenico iCT 220 or Ingenico iCT 250:

Push the pound and the yellow button at the same time. It will reboot the terminal.  We use that a lot if, say the internet has gone out, or there’s just something that, maybe there was a power outage or something like that, and that typically will help. If that doesn’t help, then call the support line and get some support, because it maybe something a little more complicated.

More information is available on setting up your Ingenico iCT 2xx terminal.

How do I load paper in my EMV credit card terminal?

One of the other common questions is, how do I feed the paper in my EMV credit card terminal, or how do I change the paper in my EMV credit card terminal. So, one of the things that we’re just trying to share with folks is that, unlike the old terminals where you had to, in some of the printers, you had to feed it and press the feed button at the same time, and all the different things. These are just real basic clam shell design, where the paper drops in, you pull it up, and it works. I want to go over that real quick, if that’s all right with you, Janet, for both the Verifone and Ingenico credit card terminals, and in fact, the PAX devices, as well.

There’s typically a little tab that’s either black or dark gray, and you simply lift the tab, and the pulls up the cover. Once the paper cover has been pulled, they just simply remove the old roll, and then there’s usually that pinkish looking stuff, which warns that the roll is running out, so pull that stuff out. Now, we’re going to figure out which side of that thermal credit card processing paper roll am I going to put in. One of the easiest ways to do it is, you can take the little tab off, or the sticky, or whatever it is, and rub your fingernail on the shiny side. If it makes a dark or a black mark, then that is the thermal side.

Drop the paper roll into the clam shell. You put the black side, or where you made the mark, face down, or on the paper cutter.   Then you can close the back, the paper cover. You should see that, when the paper flops back up, you should see the little black mark.

Another way to think about it would be, the paper needs to come from the bottom of the roll. So, if the paper is coming up and then over to the paper cutter, you have it done correctly. Either one of those ways or thought processes to put the paper in the terminal, and then you’re going to have yourself, your thermal paper, with the heat activation and everything, working the correct way.

So, then you can just select reprint, or run a test transaction, and when it prints out, then you know if it’s done correctly.

Typically, if it hasn’t printed, the paper is in backward, so just flip whatever you did, and just put the paper in the other way, and then it should work just fine.

So, those are some great common things that we might run into every once in a while. Now, three terminal tips for Ingenico and Verifone credit card machines. Let’s start with the Verifone terminals first.

Tips for using a Verifone Vx 520 most effectively            

Credit Card Processing Tips for Credit Card Processing on Vx 520

Vx 520 emv and nfc

One of the common things is the main screen. Merchants, typically, are very used to seeing Sales, Settlement, and Void, on a Verifone Vx 520 credit card processing terminal. It’s been that way for a number of years. A lot of times what happens is, if the terminal reboots, there’s a power failure, or someone happens to push the star button, the terminal will be on the main menu screen, which has soft pay, and comm server. It’s very simple

To proceed to the credit card processing menu, select the corresponding Function button next to Softpay. That will take them into what we call, the normal sales screen, which has Sales, Settlement, and Void, and they can go ahead and run their normal transactions from there.

My Verifone Vx 520 has a locked key pad.           

One of the other common things that can happen is, that someone will hold down the eight button, and it locks the terminal keyboard, and then it requires a password. How do I unlock my VX520 keyboard, if I lock it? Well, you push the eight button again, you enter the password, which is one, alpha, alpha, six, six, eight, three, one, and enter. Then select ‘no’ to unlock. That will unlock the keyboard.

Tips for using an Ingenico iCT 220 or iCT 250 most effectively            

Credit Card Processing Tips for using Ingenico iCT 220 or iCT 250 credit card terminals

One of the things just to be aware of is, if you’re keying a transaction, make sure to press one for sale, or the green button and then sale, and follow the prompts. Some folks are running into a problem where they’re used to entering the credit card information first before putting the amount it. On a Visa card, that can be a little detrimental if you do that, because if you push the four button, which is what Visa cards start with, that’s actually going to run a forced sale instead of an actual sale.

Forced sales without a prior authorization can settle.  When they settle they don’t get funded, because there is no corresponding authorization code. That can be very challenging, so make sure when using Ingenico iCT 220 and iCT 250 terminals,

  1. we’re selecting sale first,
  2. then putting in the amount of the sale,
  3. and then it will ask you to enter the card, dip the chip, or hold for the NFC transaction.

Kind of the overall thing is, for any terminal, make sure you’re doing the correct transaction. The receipt, when it prints out, should say sale, if you’re running a sale. If not, if you’re doing something and you don’t see that showing up on the receipt, call your provider and make sure that you’re running the correct type of transaction.


Three tips for transactions, specifically. Well, this might seem obvious to most folks, but in this case, a common reason for a call to support: the sale or authorization amount is wrong.

Make sure the amount is correct before the authorization is run. A lot of times there’s sort of this idea that there is a lot of pressure when I’m running a transaction because I’ve got to get the customer out the door quickly. All that’s great. We want a great customer experience for sure. Just take a second to make sure that the correct amount is being run, especially when you’re running pin debit transactions because this will help avoid any refunds, and it will just make for a great customer experience.

Accepting Tips at a retail store or restaurant

In a retail business accepting tips or a restaurant that’s accepting tips, make sure, make sure, make sure, the tips are adjusted prior to the settlement. A common call that we would receive is, “Is there any way for me to do the tips after settlement because we forgot to adjust them.” Well, the bottom line is, those transactions have been settled, so if the tip amounts have not been adjusted, prior to the settlement or the batch, as some folks call it, those transactions are sent to us for whatever they were authorized for. It’s only if the tip amount is put in that’s written on the tipline, that one would know that there’s more to the transaction than the original authorization amount.

What happens is, typically you’ll receive a phone call. Just make sure that the tips are adjusted prior to settlement. If, for some reason, tips are not adjusted, call your credit card processing provider. Your provider’s going to have to provide you the expiration date and the full card number, and then you’re going to have to run a separate transaction for those tips. That can kind of be a little different situation, depending on your clientele, because it can open you up for a charge back, due to the transactions happening on a different day and the amounts are differing from what the customer’s receipt says.

Imagine, if you’re a customer, and you had received, you know, you thought you paid $30 and you saw it on your statement, or on your online, that it was $25, you go, “Okay,” and then you never checked it, and then you saw another $5 transaction show up three or four days later. It might add some alarm and cause the customer to process a charge back against that transaction. Make sure the adjusted amount, the other thing is, make sure that adjusted amount of the tip is entered correctly, and matches the receipt signed by the customer so that the customer is charged correctly.

Save money on your credit card processing     

Get money back for using stillwater payments   

You may consider using devices that capture the tips prior to the authorization for:

  1. better accuracy
  2. lower interchange fees
  3. a better customer experience.

Run your own payment processing devices        

And, number three is, and I don’t know, this is one of those that you should just stop and think, but never let a customer tell you how to operate the credit card terminal. Always honor people and treat them with respect, and those types of things. As a merchant, you know how to run your credit card transactions. In some cases, a dishonest customer could cause some problems with the transaction. There are instances where unauthorized returns are processed, so we just really want to speak towards security. Make sure that you stick to your training as a merchant, and always keep your credit card terminal, or your credit card processing device in your possession at all times.

Janet:                    Thank you, Jeremy, those were fantastic comments, and suggestions, and helpful hints. We also receive questions on refunds, voids, and reversals. Can you provide some clarification on those, please?

Jeremy:                Oh yeah. I’d be happy to. That’s a great question, Janet. Thank you for asking. The best ways to process refunds or reversals, we get a lot of questions about this.

Refunds or Returns prior to credit card processing device settlement use the Reversal

Let’s talk about transactions where the terminal, or the software, has not settled yet. In that case, on the Verifone VX520’s and Ingenico line of terminals, the merchant is going to want to process a reversal and a full reversal. If a pin debit transaction or a credit card transaction was run for an improper amount, do a full reversal. Then rerun the card for the correct amount. That’s going to work well if the customer is standing there, and it was a $50 transaction, was supposed to be $5, you’re standing there, you tell them, “Oh my goodness. I’m sorry. I added a 0 by accident.” Run a full reversal. Grab the card again. Run it for the $5, you’re on your way.

If the mistake on the transaction was discovered after the client has left, and it’s the same situation where the authorization amount is more than what it was supposed to be. For example, a customer has left, and you had a sales receipt signed for $50, or it was a pin transaction for $50. The correct amount was actually supposed to be $25. Since the customer is actually not present, you can do a partial reversal, and you would reverse the differing amount. If you were trying to make it $25, obviously, in this case, you would do the reversal for $25 and then the net amount would be the correct amount of $25. Only use a partial reversal when a customer is not present. Full reversals make the accounting much easier for the bookkeeping staff.

Only use Void if it is the only thing offered

Never use a void unless that is all that is offered by the credit card terminal, or the credit card processing gateway. The reason is, the void simply deletes the transaction from the batch. Unlike a reversal, where a reversal actually tells the card issuing bank or the authorization network, “Hey, we don’t want that anymore. Get rid of it. There was a mistake. Get it back to 0.” When you do a reversal, it basically puts the credit back to the card quickly. If a void is done, the transaction then gets deleted out of the batch. It takes more time for the credit to get back to the card when the settlement has been completed.

Use a return or Refund after the settlement      

So those are the two options that you have if a transaction hasn’t been settled yet. Anything for a return of the product, or some sort of a refund that is happening after the credit card terminal or processing gateway or software has settled, we’re always going to issue a return or a refund. That’s simply going to be just following the prompts on the credit card terminal. If you are using a credit card terminal, you’re going to have to call the processor and get the full card number and expiration date to do a refund. If you’re processing in a card not present environment, or in a card present environment with a gateway, those transactions that are needing to be refunded, typically very easy to click on in the gateway and go ahead and refund those transactions.

Janet:                    Thank you. That was helpful. Very helpful. You also talk about minimizing processing fees. Can you share a couple of tips to save the merchants some money?

Jeremy:                Oh that’s a great one Janet, thanks for asking about minimizing credit card processing fees, because that’s really where the rubber meets the road, in our industry. We just love helping people out, helping them pay the least amount in processing fees. A couple that come to mind are AVS, and Level 2 processing.

Janet:                    Great. Can you explain or clarify what AVS is?

Jeremy:                Yeah, you bet. I know there’s a lot of jargon and sometimes we need to slow down a little bit and, sort of, explain things on a basic level and what they’re actually doing because they’re very important. What I always tell people is that, “Hey, if you didn’t know this, you didn’t know it, but you know it and that’s the most important thing because knowledge is power.” AVS stands for is Address Verification Service. Address Verification Service is  for phone orders and card, not present transactions. In a card present environment with the advent of EMV and chips and NFC payments, there’s a pretty high level of security in P2P encryption, that’s another thing. What happens when I’m not in that environment? How can I add some security to the transaction? And that’s where address verification comes into play.

On any non-swipe transactions, or card not present environments, you want to use the billing address and zip code for that card holder. It adds security, provides lower fees for the processing of these types of transactions. It’s real simple.

Janet:                    Great.

Jeremy:                Yeah, it’s super easy. When you’re on the phone with a customer, you just ask the customer for their billing address information. It’s the address where the credit card bill is sent to. For example, if I’m a business, let’s a pizza place.  A customer calls in an order.  Taking payment for the delivery is simple.  Ask the customer, “Hey, where does your bill for your card come? I just need the number for the P.O. Box or street, and the zip code numbers.” Our terminals prompt you for that information.

Then, they can also, Janet, they can enter the CVV2 code, which is the three digit code on the back the Visa, MasterCard, and Discover’s. The four digit code on the front of the American Express cards. CVV2 entry helps prevent a fraudulent transaction on a stolen card. It doesn’t help with the rates, like address verification does, but it does add some additional security into the transaction.

Level II credit card processing

Janet:                    Great, that’s good to know. Will you also clarify Level II, please?

Jeremy:                Oh yeah, Level II processing. It’s one of our favorites at Stillwater. Level II processing is adding more information into a transaction. There are two benefits of Level 2 processing:

  1. The additional information saves merchants up to .50%
  2. It helps track things for the actual card holder.

Level II processing is for business card transactions. You do not do this on consumer cards and debit cards.

Most merchants just run the level 2 transactions without the level 2 data. Our terminals and gateways prompt the merchant to input certain fields. For business cards, Level II data can be entered to significantly reduce fees paid. Larger transactions, Janet, that can be some money, and that’s what we’re getting at here, right?

Janet:                    Absolutely.

Jeremy:                Yeah, so, again, knowledge is power. Card Present Level 2 Data:

  1. Put in a customer code or a PO number.  Simply  ask the customer, “Hey, what’s the four digit code on the credit card statement?” That’s what the software on the terminal is asking for. If the customer doesn’t know the code, put a four digit code in there. That’s key. Don’t skip the prompts.
  2. Tax amount. If it’s $0, put $0.  They don’t know about it, and they’re paying significantly higher transaction fees. I mean, this is everything from automotive repair, to business-to-business. If the transactions are business cards, don’t skip the level 2 information.

CNP (Card not present business card transactions), they’re going to want to put the billing address and zip code.

For Level 2:

  1. Put the customer PO number in, or the customer code,
  2. the tax amount,
  3. the billing address and zip code.

It boils down to this, Janet. Skip the information, pay more. Put in the Level II information, pay less. You decide.

Janet:                    Thank you. Those were fantastic tips. We appreciate them. We hope this information is beneficial and helps your business be more effective in processing credit card transactions. Thank you.




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