How to Read A Heartland Merchant Statement

Thursday, June 02, 2022

As a small business owner, time is your most valuable asset. Reading through a merchant statement every month may not seem like a good use of your time. But believe it or not, your statement gives you actionable, easy-to-read data at your fingertips. Each month, you have a peek into how your business is performing – which can help you make money-saving decisions.

At Heartland, we pride ourselves on making merchant statements that are easy to read and most importantly, transparent. We want you to feel confident in knowing where every dollar goes, without having to decipher lengthy and complicated invoices. Each month Heartland payments customers get a statement at a glance. It’s a straightforward overview that includes the cover page — where you can plainly see fee and deposit totals — and important messages. Heartland merchants can dig a little deeper into their data in their online merchant statement, available through Heartland InfoCentral.

Let’s walk through what you can expect to find on a complete Heartland merchant statement any given month –– to better understand where your money goes and make more informed decisions for your business.

Merchant statement

Merchant Statement Cover Page – the big picture

Here you’ll see the entire cost for processing during the month, including total deposits and total fees.

  • Total deposits: All the money deposited to your account that month

  • Total fees: All fees paid to credit card brands, card issuers and Heartland for processing that month

With this data, you can calculate your effective rate: total processing fees divided by your total deposits (your sales volume during the month). The effective rate is the best way to see the overall percentage you pay for processing.

Let’s look at the math for our friendly fictitious merchant, Wally’s Widgets. They had an awesome December thanks to a holiday marketing push:

Total Fees / Total Deposits = Effective Rate

$2,301.28 / $85,448.53 = 2.69%

So for each $1,000 Wally’s deposited in December, they paid $26.94 for processing.

Important messages

What you can do with this data: Calculating your effective rate can give you a gut check each month on your processing spend. Concerned about your effective rate? Call the dedicated Client Management team to get a better understanding of what’s going on.

Important Messages – the news you need

Get all your Heartland news that’s fit to print each month on this page. We’ll keep you in the loop about changes in the industry, including news related to PCI, EMV as well as interchange adjustments from card brands that could affect your business. We’ll also include any changes to your Heartland account.

What you can do with this: You can take a deep dive into your business' data to see if – and how – upcoming changes could affect you. If you're unsure about anything on this page, you can call the Customer Service number listed on your statement to get answers.

Your business

Your Business and Fee Summary – the brass tacks

These sections break down the fees you pay so you know where every penny goes.

Your Business

These handy-dandy graphics show you:

  • How your sales activity (volume) has changed over the past 13 months

  • The card types you accept by sales volume

What you can do with this data: This may help you determine if a surcharge program or PIN debit are good options for your business. Generally speaking, PIN debit transactions are cheaper for merchants with higher average tickets. Signature debit transactions may be cheaper for merchants with lower average tickets.

Fee Summary

Here we go, everyone. Your Fee Summary will always make up the bulk of your statement by far. Why? It lists every single transaction fee that month. Every. Single. One.

Before we translate Wally’s transactions, let’s talk about where each cent in this section goes.

Three main entities collect fees to facilitate the acceptance of credit cards

There may be other organizations collecting fees if you’re using a payment gateway or other third-party service, but the three below are standard. These members of the credit card network charge and collect various fees.

Card issusers

Banks charge interchange fees to cover transaction processing costs

Now that we know where the cash is going, let’s take a look at the elephant in the room: interchange rates. They determine the interchange fee amount merchants pay to cover the cost of moving a payment transaction through various stages of the authorization network and moving money from one account to another. Interchange rates are:

  • Set by the credit card brands

  • Non-negotiable for merchants or processors

  • Public knowledge – many credit card companies list them on their websites

  • Determined by your MCC code

  • Generally updated twice per year

Heartland doesn’t receive any portion of interchange fees – which include dues and assessments, discount per item (DPI), and discount % rate fee. Unlike other payment processors out there, we pass through the true wholesale cost to merchants without inflated costs, markup or hidden fees.

Which fees go to who?

Card brands

Your Fee Summary key

We could never list every single card type you’ll encounter in the wild. But here’s a key to help you understand some of what you’ll see when reading your Fee Summary.

Explaination

How to read a Fee Summary line by line

Let’s go back to Wally’s Widgets’ December statement. Use the key and take a look at the “Visa Pass-thru Interchange & Fees” lines from their Fee Summary.

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Mastercard, Visa, Discover and American Express transactions and fees are shown in their own sections under the Fee Summary. Each card has its own discount rate, DPI, and dues and assessments.

What does this tell you about Wally’s December statement?

  • Wally’s processed 255 basic Visa debit cards from various banks

  • Total Fee = (Total $ Amount x Discount % Rate) + (DPI x # of Trans) $64.15 = (.0005 x 16,164.58) + (.22 x 255)

  • Wally’s processed one Visa corporate travel service card this month

  • Wally’s Total Fee for that transaction was $21.03 = ($789.60 x .026500) + (1 x .10)

  • Wally’s paid a Visa transaction fee for 632 transactions (dues and assessments)

  • Wally’s paid a Visa processing fee on 563 transactions (dues and assessments)

If you’re scratching your head at this point, don’t worry. Heartland’s client management team is always here to answer your questions.

What you can do with this data: This information is purely for your benefit. It’s your way to see what you’re paying to the card brands and card issuers. Many Heartland competitors pad interchange with hidden fees and higher rates, so we want you to be able to check every penny if that’s your wish.

To ensure you’re not overpaying, compare your processing statement or rates quote to what's on the card brand websites. Make sure you’re accounting for downgrades, which happen when a transaction is routed to an interchange tier priced higher than the target tier. Downgrades usually reflect a lower level of card data security (i.e., keying in a credit card number instead of swiping it so the L2 or L3 cardholder data is included.) If you’re accruing a lot of downgrades, you’re paying more in interchange fees. Spotting them can help you take action to limit how many you have.

HPS Processing Fees: understanding Heartland’s processing charges

We show what you pay to us for being your processor in its own section called HPS Processing Fees. When your customers pay with plastic, Heartland charges fees to cover the cost of moving your money into your bank account. We typically charge four fees:

1. Discount fee: This fee is what Heartland charges to a merchant for passthrough payment processing services to debit and credit card companies.

2. Transaction fee: This fee is for the attempt at running a transaction.

3. Service and regulatory mandate: This monthly fee pays for some of the things that make the Heartland experience best-in-class:

  • 24/7/365 US-based customer support

  • Access to Control Scan, our trusted partner for validating your PCI compliance; many of our competitors expect you to find a vendor on your own and that can be expensive

  • Enrollment in the Merchant Protection Plan, which covers you up to $100,000 in the event of a data breach

  • Access to InfoCentral: an online portal through which you can easily access all of your account data, including batch information and state-of-the-art security features to keep you and your customers’ data safe

4. Monthly vs. daily discount cost: Card brands bill and settle processors daily, which can be an overwhelming task for some small businesses. We charge a minimal fee to allow businesses to settle monthly instead.

What you can do with this data: Remember the effective rate we figured at the beginning? You can use this information to calculate your Heartland effective rate so you know the percentage you pay for processing.

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Value Added Services Fee Summary – see your extras

This section shows any fees paid for your subscriptions such as Heartland Gift, Customer Intelligence Suite and more.

What you can do with this data: Seeing your monthly subscription costs can help you calculate return on investment (ROI) with any email marketing, gift programs, etc. you may have. Be sure to assess it over a period of time as gift card spending trends fluctuate from month to month.

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Processing Summary – Settled by Heartland – see your credit card processing fees visually

Break down the same data from the “Fee Summary” section by card brand.

What you can do with this data: Scan this section for additional context on whether PIN debit or surcharging would benefit your business.

Processing Summary – Settled by Others – your settled third-party transactions

If you require a third party to settle transactions based on your processing method, you’d see those here. You'd also receive a statement from your third-party company.

What you can do with this data: Compare the Heartland statement against your third-party statement to confirm everything is correct.

Deposit Detail – see every single deposit

Break down each deposit based on your batch number, showing fees taken out before the deposit. Whether you deposit daily or monthly may affect what you see. Monthly billing merchants would see that the total deposit and auto-debit/credit amount would be the same.

What you can do with this data: Compare and reconcile your records.

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This is great, but my merchant statement doesn’t look like this

Even if you accept card payments with a different processor, we hope we’ve given you a new lens to view your merchant statement through. Your processing statement may look different than Heartland’s –– but the concepts of calculating your effective rate, taking a critical look at your interchange fees to potentially take action –– are all things you can do with your merchant statement today.

It’s easy to get on auto-pilot with your processor –– but your monthly statements tell a tale. Are you listening? Being armed with information can help you potentially save money. You can better evaluate the value of payment processors and payment terminals to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

You can take action to limit chargebacks, for example. See the impact of accepting EMV chip cards to ensure secure transactions and decrease your fraud liability. (If you don’t have EMV-capable POS terminals, you can get them ASAP. Payment processors also likely offer EMV hardware add-ons at a reasonable cost so you can close the loop on in-person card fraud for customer safety – and lower your processing costs based on the interchange transaction levels.)

The right technology can make a world of a difference in lowering your processing costs, too. When considering a POS, choose a data-centric solution with unlimited fields. Then pack that POS with data, including highly detailed inventory and descriptions, as well as customer and payment data during the purchase. A cloud point of sale makes it easy to access and report on any of this data in real-time from any device, making your team able to quickly and efficiently dispute a chargeback – again, lowering your processing costs.

Could I save money? Should I compare processors? Am I getting my money’s worth – not only in my effective rate but also in my merchant services experience?

If you’re ready to answer those questions for yourself, crack open your merchant statements.


Confidence looks good on you

At Heartland, we value transparency and make it easy to get your questions answered. We like our merchants to feel confident and ready to tackle their business challenges. Our dedicated US-based client management team can walk you through your statement if you have any questions or concerns. Just call our customer service number at 1-888-727-3079