More and more businesses are using Purchasing cards to purchase goods and supplies for their business in order to simplify the payment process by eliminating the need for purchase orders, invoices, or checks. As a result many merchants are now required to or may financially benefit from the ability to process Level III credit card transactions. Level III refers to the ability to accept and pass “enhanced data”, which may also be referred to as “line item detail.”
There are three levels of data that can be passed during the transaction. Level III is what is considered enhanced or line item detail.
Level I Data – Required for all card types
• Merchant Name
• Transaction Amount
• AVS info, etc…
Level II Data – Interchange incentives for Corporate and Purchasing Cards
• All Level I data
• Sales Tax
• Purchase ID/Invoice #
Level III Data – Interchange incentives for GSA and Large Ticket Purchasing Cards
• All Level I data
• Additional line item detail such as: Item description, quantity, color, shipping/freight, etc…
Card Types and Interchange
Business Cards: Cards that are typically issued to smaller businesses. These are generally used as multi-purpose cards for both T&E and purchases. Business cards are similar to consumer cards in functionality and merchant acceptance, however, requiring Level II data for “best rate” qualification.
Corporate Cards: Typically utilized by mid- to large- sized businesses. Corporate Cards are traditionally and primarily used as T&E cards. While there are increased interchange costs for all MCCs accepting this card type, only non T&E merchants qualify to receive Level II interchange incentives and no merchants are required to pass Level III data. However, merchants may still choose to capture Level III data in order to simplify reconciliation of accounting and other systems
Purchasing Cards: Typically issued by larger businesses to Purchasing Agents within their organization, these cards minimize the costly purchase order process and allow businesses to efficiently and quickly procure products and supplies. Purchasing Cards always require Level II data in order to qualify for a merchant’s “best rate.” In addition, at this time, for merchants with large tickets, there are specific interchange qualification incentives to pass Level III data.
GSA (General Services Administration) Purchasing Cards: Virtually all branches of the United States Federal Government utilize Visa Purchasing Cards. These cards are issued exclusively by Visa and function very similar to regular Purchasing Cards, however there are special interchange requirements and rates associated with accepting GSA Purchasing Cards. Merchants do NOT need to be registered with Visa in order to take advantage of these interchange rates.