The Sonder Payments Blog

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a category of business management software—typically a suite of integrated applications—that an organization can use to collect, store, manage, and interpret data from many business activities. Most often ERP software includes tools for accounting, HR, CRM, sales, purchasing, inventory, project management, manufacturing and supply chain, and sometimes marketing.

ERP systems track business resources—cash, materials, production capacity—and the status of business commitments: orders, purchase orders, and payroll. The applications that make up the system share data across various departments (manufacturing, purchasing, sales, accounting, etc.) that provide the data. ERP facilitates information flow between all business functions and manages connections to outside stakeholders.

Enterprise system software is a multi-billion dollar industry; since 2011, IT investments have become one of the largest sources of corporate expenses in U.S.-based businesses. ERPs enhance business efficiency by facilitating error-free transactions and production. 

There is also ERP software made for small businesses. While it seems contradictory to the “E” in “ERP”, some software companies have started adapting the ERP model to a smaller scale– and for a more affordable price. 

 ERP systems typically include the following characteristics:

  • An integrated system
  • Operates in (or near) real time
  • A common database that supports all the applications
  • A consistent look and feel across module
  • Installation of the system with elaborate application/data integration by the Information Technology (IT) department, provided the implementation is not done in small steps
  • Deployment options include: on-premises, cloud hosted, or SaaS

There are several different types of ERP softwares, namely Locally-Installed, Cloud-Based, Hybrid, and Open-Source. Locally-Installed is ERP software that is downloaded onto your computer. It’s ideal for businesses with in-house IT and who need stronger security. Cloud-Based is hosted on the cloud and can be accessed from any computer with an internet connection, making it ideal for businesses with more mobility. Hybrid is a combination of Locally-Installed and Cloud-Based. Lastly, Open-Source is locally-installed ERP software that is downloaded onto your computer and has a source code that can be edited and enhanced. This is ideal for businesses with developer experience in need of strong and personalized customizations.  

Most ERP systems incorporate best practices. This means the software reflects the vendor’s interpretation of the most effective way to perform each business process. Systems vary in how conveniently the customer can modify these practices. In addition, best practices reduced risk by 71% compared to other software implementations.

Use of best practices eases compliance with requirements such as IFRS, Sarbanes-Oxley, or Basel II. They can also help comply with de facto industry standards, such as electronic funds transfer. This is because the procedure can be readily codified within the ERP software and replicated with confidence across multiple businesses that share that business requirement.

Perks of having an ERP software include: 

  • Increased Efficiency
  • Better Communication
  • Scalable Growth
  • Key Business Insights
  • Cost Savings
  • Global Support
  • Ensure Compliance
  • Better Security

Signs you’re ready for an ERP software:

  • Your accounting system is too complex
  • You have too many spreadsheets
  • You have difficulty sorting through business data
  • Your software programs don’t communicate
  • You’re spending too much money on multiple software programs
  • You want to expand into an international business
  • You can’t keep up with compliance
  • You’re ready for an IPO
  • You’re spending too much time on business processes

Switching over to an ERP software doesn’t cost much in the long-run, either. Your ERP will grow with your business, rather than being a source of complication when you try to expand. Having all your information in one secure database allows you to save time sifting through file cabinets in order to focus on more important things affecting your business. We highly recommend investing in ERPs if you identify even one of the signs that you’re ready for one. For more questions about saving time and money for your business, speak with a Sonder Payments consultant today. 

Interchange Fees make up the majority of the cost involved in accepting a credit card payment. Though interchange fees are collected by the card networks, they are paid out to the bank that issued the payment card. The average interchange rate for a credit card payment is around 1.81%, while the typical interchange for debit cards is 0.5% + $0.21.

For those who might not know, an Interchange Fee generally consists of a percentage of the total transaction plus some fixed amount, for example 2% + $0.10 per credit card transaction. Whenever a credit card or debit card transaction is processed, funds are transferred from the issuing bank to the acquiring bank (sometimes called the merchant bank). Card associations, like Visa and Mastercard, facilitate the process. For the service they provide, associations collect a fee from the acquiring bank.

Visa has the highest number of cards in circulation with about 52% of the market share as of 2016. MasterCard comes in at number two with about 32%, followed by Discover (about 8%) and AmEx (about 7.5%).

How Interchange Rates Vary

Every April and October, card associations Visa and MasterCard revisit their interchange rates and usually adjust them. You can see an increase or decrease in these rates, and sometimes they may not change them at all, but it’s always better to understand how these companies operate so you’re not confused when looking over your processing statements.

Another way that these interchange rates may vary is if your business changes the level at which it processes cards. Credit card processing methods fit into three levels: Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. Each level is defined by how much information is needed to complete a payment, with Level 1 requiring the least and Level 3 the most. We’ll focus on explaining how each Level works, and what information is required of your business at each Level.

Level 2 Processing

Level 2 processing helps businesses reduce their processing costs by requiring them to provide additional reporting data for their clients. Level 2 processing is oftentimes associated with B2B because higher processing levels may be required depending on the types of cards accepted, the quantity being processed and the amount of information needed to be gathered to secure the transactions. Only certain cards like corporate cards, purchasing cards or government cards qualify for Level 2 or 3 processing.

Level 2 data can be better explained by quickly reviewing Level 1 data, which includes the following:

  • Credit card number
  • Expiration date
  • Billing address
  • Zip code

Level 2 requires the same data as Level 1 in addition to more detailed information for the benefit of your buyer. The data required for Level 2 processing in addition to Level 1 data is the following:

  • Sales tax amount
  • Customer code
  • Merchant postal code
  • Merchant tax identification number
  • Invoice number
  • Order number

Ultimately, Level 2 data processing saves businesses money on processing costs. Savings come from lowering the interchange rates that companies have to pay to the credit card associations per transaction. Interchange rates are set by credit card companies such as MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and Discover, and common reductions are around 0.50% lower than typical sales, but this can differ depending on the credit card association.

Thanks to the extra level of information required, Level 2 credit card processing is also more safe and secure than Level 1, as it reduces any potential fraud or chargebacks to your business.

Level 2 data adds huge value to B2B organizations processing high transaction volumes. Even with credit card associations that offer smaller discounts, every little bit adds up. With more than 1 million transactions going through the business annually, these savings come to a significant amount at the end of the year.

For additional help with understanding your processing fees, statement reading softwares like Staitment exist, using AI to determine which fees are negotiable or even unnecessary. Contact a Sonder Payments expert for more information.

Level 3 Processing

Level 3 processing is ideal for companies that do business with large corporations or government entities––in fact, this tier of payment processing was originally created to prevent branches of the government from overspending.

Level 3 processing enables B2B businesses to save money by giving their credit card companies more information than Level 1 or 2 transactions. The higher the level is, the more details it requires. And the higher the data level, the less it costs merchants to process transactions.

If you do business with large companies or government agencies, it may be worth it to do the research to find out if level 3 data processing is an option for you.

In addition to the data requirements in Levels 1 and 2, Level 3 processing requires the additional following information:

  • the postal code your company is shipping from
  • the postal code your company is shipping to
  • the invoice number
  • the order number
  • the freight amount
  • the line item details of the purchase.

Since higher data levels have lower interchange rates, it is worth your time to learn to qualify for Level 3 processing–– especially if your company does a lot of B2B transactions with large syndicates, or if you aspire to start doing business with the big guys, many of which only use Level 3 cards for major purchases.

It’s important to note that Discover and AmEx do not offer Level 3 data processing. This can help explain why Visa and MasterCard are significantly more popular than these cards.

Takeaways

If you want to lower your interchange rates and have already exhausted all of your options as a Level 1 processor, consider raising your Level to 2 or 3 by demanding more information from the customer at the point-of-sale.

Furthermore, if you’re a B2B or a business that works with government agencies, you should absolutely be at a processing Level higher than 1. There are huge benefits that come with saving less than a percent on a transaction in the long-run, and every business owner- big or small- should be taking advantage of them.

At Sonder Payments, We know that accepting card payments can be confusing sometimes, so we pair each merchant with a dedicated Solutions Architect, ensuring that you’ll have someone on your side when you feel lost.

Most of all, we hope to offer merchants peace of mind. Any business owner can have confidence in a partnership with Sonder Payments — our backend technologies process over 40 billion transactions annually. Visit our website to speak to an expert, and to learn more about your options when it comes to payment processing.

Natasha Peebles, Director of Operations, Named One of St. Louis’s Best Bosses by St. Louis Small Business Monthly

Posted August 1st, 2019

St. Louis Small Business Monthly announced their best bosses in the St. Louis region this morning, including our very own Director of Operations, Natasha Peebles. Natasha has been with Sonder Payments since March 2019 and quickly became one of our most valuable employees. We are so proud of the hard work she’s put in to improve the experience of our customers, as well as the work environment here at Sonder Payments. Congratulations, Natasha!

Read the entirety of Natasha’s profile here.

 

Sonder Payments Team Feature: Cannon Elkins

Posted July 3rd, 2019

Meet Cannon Elkins, Business Development Manager for Sonder Payments. Cannon joined the team in January 2019.

Hometown:

Phenix City, AL

Education:

BA in History from Huntingdon College.

Tell us about yourself:

My nickname around the office is Boom Boom. I play guitar, as you can see in my picture. I’ve been really loving the flamenco sound lately. I have a Golden Retriever at home.

Why did you choose to work at Sonder Payments?

I really enjoy meeting new people and solving problems. At Sonder, I get to do both while getting paid!

What’s your motto?

“Better to pull my weight than push my luck.”

Anything else we should know?

I’m single so ladies, shoot me an email and I’ll get back with you. I’m a Scorpio, and I just bought three new pairs of pants at Target.

Sonder Payments Expands to Kansas City, MO

Posted June 26th, 2019

Sonder Payments is proud to announce that we’re officially expanding into Kansas City! Our new KC office, located within the WeWork building on Walnut Street, will be our first foray outside of our home market, St. Louis. 

After starting in St. Louis almost exactly one year ago, we’re thrilled to be expanding our reach within the state of Missouri. We hope to help businesses all across the state to simplify their processing statements, know what they pay, and get paid fast. Kansas City is a big step toward that goal.

Director of Strategic Partnerships Trent Epple explains: “Even back when we first started, expansion into KC was at the top of our list. We love the city and there is so much potential for us in this business community. We can’t wait to get more involved.”

In preparation for the expansion, the Sonder Payments team is visiting Kansas City this week (June 25-27). We’ll not only be setting up our new space, but we’ll also be touring the city and meeting business owners — both current and future Sonder Payments members — throughout the week.

The Sonder Payments Kansas City office is open now — if you’re interested in learning more about our unique membership-based payment processing, please reach out by calling (314) 722-6424, emailing info@sonderpayments.com, or visiting www.sonderpayments.com.

Sonder Payments Now Offers Poynt Terminal Hardware

Posted June 19th, 2019

We’re proud to announce an expansion to our hardware offerings for Sonder Payments members. As of this month, members will have the option of selecting a sleek Poynt terminal to pair with their Sonder Payments merchant account.

Poynt offers two hardware options, the Poynt Smart Terminal and the Poynt 5, a mobile reader. Here’s a bit more about each:

Poynt Smart Terminal

About the size of your average tablet, the Poynt Smart Terminal is the most complete wireless payments solution on the market. Merchants can use the terminal to accept card swipes, EMV chips, or even contactless card payments without need for any additional hardware.

The system boasts a battery life of 8 hours and operates through 3G or WiFi, meaning there’s no need to keep it plugged in all day. The terminal also houses two touch-screens, making transactions quick and easy for the customer.

You can learn more about the Poynt Smart Terminal here.

Poynt 5

The Poynt 5 terminal offers much of the same functionality of the Poynt Smart Terminal in a more compact form factor. About the size of your average smartphone, the Poynt 5 is made to be carried with you so you can accept payments anywhere, whether in your store or on-the-go.

Like it’s larger brother, the Poynt 5 operates over 3G or WiFi and can accept card swipes, EMV chips, and contactless card payments. However, the Poynt 5 sacrifices its second screen to achieve its portability.

You can learn more about the Poynt 5 Terminal here.

If you have any other questions about these terminals or if you are interested in using a Poynt terminal in your Sonder Payments setup, contact info@sonderpayments.com or call (844) 575-3216.

Sonder Payments Team Feature: Blake Higdon

Posted June 12th, 2019

Blake Higdon works in Strategic Partnerships and has been with Sonder Payments since Feburary 2019. Get to know more about him below!

Hometown:

Lebanon, Kentucky

Education:

Eastern Kentucky University; Bachelors of Business Administration in Marketing & Professional Sales

Tell us about yourself:

Two days after graduating college, I moved from Kentucky to St. Louis to take the first step in starting my career. Most of my days consist of grinding it out at work and coming home to relax with my girlfriend, Betsy, and our dog, Willett. I enjoy Kentucky basketball, being the underdog in office Ping Pong, and riding Lime scooters. I prefer my bourbon on the rocks!

Why did you join Sonder Payments?

I walked in the door one day with the intention of selling to Sonder when I was at my old company. After 10 minutes of talking with the team, they started selling me. I quickly realized that this team was doing exactly what I wanted to do and that these were people I wanted to surround myself with. 6 months later, I trusted my gut, gave Sonder Payments a call and they welcomed me in. At the end of the day, I joined Sonder Payments because I believe in the vision we’re chasing, and knew this was an opportunity I had to take.

What’s your motto?

“Be uncommon amongst uncommon people.”

Sonder Payments Team Feature: Natasha Peebles

Posted June 6th, 2019

Get to know Sonder Payments Director of Operations Natasha Peebles. Natasha joined the team in March 2019.

Hometown:

St. Louis! Or Webster Groves, to be exact.

Education:

Drury University; Bachelors in Advertising and Public Relations. If you’re also from St. Louis, you are probably wondering where I went to high school: Webster Groves High School.

Tell us about yourself:

I’m a capricorn, married to a scorpio. I’m also a musician! I play the piano accordion, my husband plays guitar, and our dog Chauncey plays with the ping pong balls in the Sonder Payments office.

Why did you join Sonder Payments?

I worked at a few startups before, but when I walked into the office for my interview, it immediately felt right. I can’t get away from the start-up atmosphere and the team here is amazing!

If you could choose any celebrity to adopt as your grandparent, who would you choose?

Audrey Hepburn. She’s chic and fabulous. I am pretty sure she is my real grandma.

Sonder Payments Team Feature: Trent Epple

Posted April 29th, 2019

 

Get to know Trent Epple, Director of Partnership Development at Sonder Payments. Trent has been with Sonder Payments since June 2018.

Hometown:

St. Peters, MO

Education:

Missouri State University; Bachelors in Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management

Tell us about yourself:

I’m an only child and currently in the market for a new pup. I am a huge sports fan; my favorite team is the St. Louis Cardinals. On most days, you can find me walking to Busch Stadium after work to see the Birds. I’m also a dominant force at the office ping-pong table. Blake Higdon is my go-to doubles partner.

Why did you join Sonder Payments?

I had worked in sales before, but the opportunity to have a true impact in a company built to empower its clients was too good to pass up. Not to mention the fire the team had when I visited for the first time. Five minutes into my first interview I couldn’t wait to start.

What’s your motto? 

“’You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.’ – Wayne Gretzky” – Michael Scott

Sonder Payments Now Offers Free PCI Validation for Members

Posted March 2nd, 2019

If you’ve been processing credit cards for a while, you’re probably familiar with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (or PCI DSS for short).

The PCI DSS ensures that every business protects their customers’ payment information from theft and fraud. Merchants who do not complete a Self-Assessment Questionnaire, or SAQ, to certify compliance with the standards face a non-compliance fee ranging from $20 to $50 per month, depending on the size of their business.

Sonder Payments now allows its members to complete PCI validations totally free of charge rather than requiring third-party certification.

If you’d like to avoid a PCI non-compliance fee on your monthly statement, contact support@sonderpayments.com.