Summary of options for accepting credit card payments
The QuickBooks merchant option would keep the processing of county council transactions within the county’s normal operating processes. The MU Off-Campus Credit Card System option is provided as a way to assist county councils who are dealing with particularly tight budgets who feel they are not able to incur the additional cost of doing business associated with adding credit card functionality make a step in that direction with very little cost.
Both base options provided to counties would implement a virtual zon environment, which means that University or council employees would enter payment information into an on-line system for processing. This approach was chosen as it has the lowest overall upfront costs. With the QuickBooks option it is possible to purchase equipment that would allow for swiping of credit cards rather than data entry of the credit card number and expiration date.
Both options are simply methods to receive funds through the additional mode of credit cards. All the appropriate accounting and reporting requirements that apply to the current handling of funds received by cash and check will apply to these funds as well. (For example: taxable items, recording of receipts, handling of gifts, etc.)
Option 1: QuickBooks Merchant
QuickBooks merchant is an add-on service to the current county accounting system. As a result of our current relationship with QuickBooks we are able to offer this option with the setup fees waived.
A contract and merchant ID will be required for each county. There is a minimum total monthly fee of $34.95. Of the minimum $14.95 is the base fee for the service. The monthly minimum in transaction fees is $20.00. Transaction fees accrue at a rate of 2.20% of the transaction amount and 27 cents per transaction. Counties would need to have approximately $900 in sales to exceed the minimum transaction fees of $20.00.
MU Extension will pay the base $14.95 per month/per county fee for one year to allow counties time to assess the volume and feasibility.
Revenues will be deposited directly into the council’s bank account within 24-72 hours of the transaction.
Transactions will be recorded in the county accounting system without the need for duplicate entries.
QuickBooks has been upgraded to version 2010 as is required for this option. Security and application training will be developed and delivered for CPDs as well as bookkeepers. In addition, policies and procedures on appropriate handling of personal financial information and segregation of duties would be addressed in the training.
Option 2: MU Off-Campus Credit Card System
A virtual zon application will be developed by the ETCS group. There is currently a similar application that has been successfully used by the TCRCs for a number of years.
Counties would participate under the one merchant ID for MU Extension. Monthly fees and minimums are met collectively by all those who make use of this option, thereby reducing the overall fees in comparison to the QuickBooks option. Counties would be responsible for transaction fees of $.25 per transaction and 2% of the transaction amount. If there are no charges, counties would not have any financial commitment.
By virtue of the fact that this option is working as one cooperative the funds are distributed by the vendor to just one account held by MU Extension. A payment voucher for each county with transactions will be processed on a monthly basis, the amount paid will be the total of transactions less the transaction fees. Refunds would also be handled centrally. For counties with transactions that amount to significant sums of money in any one month this timing of payment could be an issue.
Counties are encouraged to enroll in direct deposit with the University to facilitate faster receipt of funds.
Security training is required to allow access to the application. Training on entry will be developed and delivered as well as policies and procedures on appropriate handling of personal financial information, segregation of duties, entry into QuickBooks and reconciliation. Since this is a separate system there will be some minimal amount of duplicate entry of information in comparison to the QuickBooks option.