- Merchant Services: The company responsible for your league's credit card processing. Your league has an operating agreement with your merchant services provider that governs the processing and per-transaction rates charged to the league.
- Payment Gateway: The 'back end' of any merchant services account is a payment gateway that is responsible for "settling" transactions every day. The gateway is the connection between the merchant services account and the issuing bank for a particular credit card. There are only a handful of payment gateways that most every merchant services provider uses, e.g. Authorize.net or Firstdata.
- Unsettled Transaction: When a credit card transaction is submitted, it joins a "batch" of the day's transactions at your payment gateway. At the end of every day (and sometimes sooner), the payment gateway will "settle" the transaction with the issuing bank for each card in the batch. A transaction that is unsettled may be voided - this cancels the processing of the transaction and means that the league will not be charged for processing it. This is different than a refund or a return, which can only be processed on settled transactions and which may incur normal fees. When issuing refunds within inLeague, you will have the option to void a transaction if it was submitted on today's date; typically, when the option is available, it is best to use it (and sometimes required).
- Settled Transaction: After the payment gateway has cleared the day's transactions with the issuing banks for each card, the transaction is settled. At this point, it can no longer be voided; refunds are issued via the normal return or credit mechanism for your merchant service provider.
Whom do you recommend?
inLeague's current recommendation for Merchant Services is Flagship Merchant Services:
- Account Contact: Mathieu Olivier (indicate that your league is a client of inLeague)
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 866-416-0244 (x119)
inLeague's Role - Transaction Broker
The inLeague system is designed to broker transactions between leagues and participants (parents and volunteers). This means that we package up all the relevant data for a transaction and send it to your credit card processor, and then record the response. We do not charge a fee for this service; it is part of your regular subscription to our software.
inLeague does not ever store credit card or billing data beyond the absolute minimum required to facilitate transactions between your league and your merchant account.
inLeague does not have a relationship with any merchant services provider and receives no incentives for steering leagues to one provider over another. Given the importance of processing credit cards to every organization that collects fees, we do have an interest in a smooth and successful business relationship between our constituent leagues and their merchant services provider -- and to that end, we periodically act as a consensus-gatherer and representative on our leagues' behalf so that we might leverage the buying power of all of our customers. This is a service we provide as a courtesy; inLeague does not process credit cards, collect fees for processing credit cards, or hold any capacity beyond advice with respect to your league's merchant services account.
May we use any merchant services provider?
There are dozens (if not hundreds) of companies providing merchant services on the Internet. It makes no difference to inLeague which merchant service provider you use; however, they must support Authorize.net OR FirstData E4 as a payment gateway. Note that there are several 'FirstData' payment gateways; E4, also called 'PayEezy,' is the only one supported by inLeague.
Leagues using a merchant services provider other than Flagship are responsible for their own PCI compliance surveys and scans.
Special Note on Refund Windows: Please be aware that, while inLeague supports Authorize.net as a gateway, they will not refund any transaction past 120 days. If you need to refund any payment after 120 days, please ensure that Flagship uses FirstData's E4 product as your payment gateway.
How much does it cost to accept credit cards?
The rates depend on your merchant services provider, the type of agreement your league has with that provider, and the type of card being processed.
Most merchant providers will offer two types of pricing structures. Please note that the following examples are meant only to illustrate concepts; please consult your merchant services representative for an explanation appropriate to your service.
- Interchange Plans are typically promoted as the most cost-effective, but it can be difficult to determine your average rates. There are dozens if not hundreds of different rates not just for the major card brands like American Express or Mastercard, but also significant variety in rates between product lines and issuing banks. For example, instead of "the Mastercard rate" or even "The Capital One Mastercard rate," there might be one rate for "Capital One Professional" and another rate for "Capital One Quicksilver Rewards." Under an interchange plan, the merchant services provider charges a fixed percentage over and above the applicable rate set by the issuing bank for the particular card used in the transaction. The advantage is that you know your merchant service provider is only taking .05% of each transaction; the disadvantage is that you have no way of knowing what rates the issuing banks are charging for any particular card until after the transaction has settled. Not only are there hundreds of interchange rates, but they can and do change all the time. Nevertheless, most merchant services providers will recommend interchange plans for leagues that do not expect corporate, government, or international credit cards to be used very often.
- Tiered plans divide all cards into a much smaller number of categories, typically qualified and unqualified transactions, where qualified transactions might consist of any card that is not a government or international credit card; these receive a preferable rate to unqualified transactions. All transactions will be billed at one rate or the other, regardless of the rate charged by the issuing bank. This seems (to us, anyway) more manageable, but at the cost of what might be higher rates across the board.
Is it possible to maintain multiple merchant accounts?
Yes. inLeague has the following mechanisms to collect funds:
- Registration payments (submitted by registered users)
- Event payments (submitted by registered users)
- Team-level or 'tournament' payments (submitted by registered users)
- Standalone donations (submitted by anybody)
- Sponsorships (submitted by anybody)
Unless otherwise specified, all payments will be submitted by the merchant account configured in your inLeague control panel as the system default. Team-level payments, also called tournament payments, may be configured to use separate merchant accounts in the Competition Setup function for each competition -- in other words, you can have funds submitted for teams in your travel program processed separately from funds submitted for teams in your core program.
Similarly, individual events may be configured to use any available merchant account on the 'new event' or 'edit event' pages.
To segregate donations or sponsorships into separate accounts, please contact inLeague Support.