Batch credit card processing refers to settling a group of credit card sales transactions at the same time, usually at the end of a merchant’s business day. Typically, a merchant will use the same credit card sales terminal that processed consumer transactions all day to collect all of the crucial sales data and send the “batch” to the payment processor. Once the batch has been settled, the information confirmed by the service provider is sent back to the merchant to check against the individual sales records.
This process is an alternative to real-time processing or transactive processing, which takes place concurrently with the sales transactions. Batch processing is a necessarily delayed process that can be set up at varying intervals and is sometimes automated.
Real-Time vs. Batch Processing
Real-time credit card processing typically has the advantage of great processing speed since the transaction is processed almost instantaneously. However, this benefit comes with the disadvantage of a lower amount of security and thus a greater risk of credit card fraud, simply because of the number of connections made throughout the day.
Batch credit card processing, on the other hand, works well with smaller scale business enterprises in which several (or many) credit card transactions are processed simultaneously, in a batch. With this process, there is a measurably lower risk of credit card fraud and you will be able to offer your customer and your business greater of transaction security.
The term “batch processing” originated in a time when computer operators ran programs on paper punch cards, which were the equivalent of software today. These users would hand a batch of these programmed cards over to a system operator, who would, in turn, feed them into the computer for processing. Batch jobs were, and can still be, stored up during working hours and later executed at night or whenever the computer is not active.
Convenience for All
Batch processing is particularly useful for operations that require the computer or a peripheral device for an extended period of time. Once a batch job is started, it continues until it is finished or an error occurs. Batch processing usually implies that there is no interaction with a user while the program is being executed.
The act of batch credit card processing is convenient for several reasons, for merchants and consumers alike. First is the aforementioned security. It also allows merchants to accept credit card sales transactions, uninterrupted, throughout the entire day, and then settle them all at the same time. It allows merchants to focus on their customers during business hours, and then handle the settlement of the transactions after the business is closed for the day.
Another good reason for credit card batch processing is fees. Credit card processing fees are nominal individually. However, these fees easily add up if a merchant processes a high volume of sales transactions. Batch processing allows the entire batch of sales transactions to occur at once and reduces the number of batch processing fees that can ultimately be incurred.
Credit card batch processing also helps to streamline your business for more efficient operations. Credit card transactions that are processed in a batch are significantly easier to find if merchants need to trace a particular transaction in order to resolve a problem or issue such as a refund or customer card concern. Of course, having fewer batches to be reviewed makes it easier to regularly keep finite track of sales and sensitive information.
If a merchant has a mail order, direct marketing account, or telephone order, they must authorize transactions and deposit money in an effective way. Many merchant service providers offer online batch processing services in which the merchant can transmit substantial numbers of payments that will be acted upon. After a matter of seconds, these merchants can have each of their credit card sales transactions authorized rapidly, then deposited by means of a safe online connection, with only a single office computer in many cases. If the merchant also has recurring transactions, such as monthly subscription fees, each month they can upload a file containing all their customers’ transaction information and process all the charges simultaneously.
When merchants have batch credit card processing capabilities enabled, many merchant service providers offer incentives, like not requiring a merchant to purchase certain kinds of equipment. With all reputable firms offering reliable 24/7 customer service, prompt payment of merchant funds, loss prevention specialists to protect a merchant’s business, secure 24/7 online transaction reporting, quick merchant account approvals and voice authorization services, it is in the area of “above and beyond the call of duty” services such as batch processing incentives where the competitive battles may rage the most fiercely.