Technology Meetup Recap: Gravity Payments [4]

On Thursday, April 8, the American Booksellers Association presented a Technology Meetup on credit card processor Gravity Payments.

A recording of this session can be found on the Education Resources page on BookWeb.org [6].

ABA recently partnered with Gravity Payments [7] to offer credit card processing services to bookstore members. Gravity Payments currently offers special rates and terms for ABA members.

During this session, representatives from Gravity Payments discussed their service and provided a short presentation. Guest speakers included: Monique DeChaine, director of sales at Gravity Payments, as well as Nicole West and Jason Butler of the Gravity Payments sales team.

Here are some of the key points from the session:

  • The goal of Gravity Payments is to help small business owners get better deals when it comes to making payments.
  • There are two types of payments to distinguish between: card present (shown an actual card) and card not present (online, over the phone, or manually entered).
  • Payment fees are based on percentage of sales volume, amount spent per transaction, and whether or not a card was present at the time of sale. The bulk of payment fees go to card brand companies and the various banks accepting a transaction (also known as interchange or wholesale fees). The processing fee (also known as discount rate) covers the process and authorization of payment, in addition to whether or not the card was present.
  • Wholesale fees are calculated based on how risky or not risky a transaction is. This means that card-present transactions can be slightly less expensive than card not present transactions.
  • There are three major pricing models in the industry:

    • Flat Rate: fees have one rate no matter the card type (simple, but not always cost-effective)
    • Interchange Plus: wholesale costs pass-through, plus small fixed processing fee (most simple and transparent)
    • Tiered: cards fall in specific cost buckets based on type (considered opaque and complex)
  • Working with Gravity provides access to certain benefits, such as ongoing customer support, with an average call wait time of 20 seconds. The company also promises to never raise pricing or sneak in fees.
  • ABA members receive exclusive offers from Gravity:

    • Online transactions: 2.4% + $0.23
    • Card present transactions (non-integrated): Interchange + 0.11% + $0.06
    • Card Present (integrated): custom pricing
    • All new Gravity Payments customers may qualify for a free card reader and/or contactless payment device.

At the end of the session, booksellers participated in an extensive Q&A that broke down the specifics of payment fees, what Gravity can offer, and more. Watch the recording for full details.

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