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Happy October, everyone!

Halloween is fast approaching and while it is one of my favorite holidays, as a kid I was a bit confused by the whole concept. All throughout the year my parents would say “never take candy from strangers!”, but then Halloween would come around and they’d take me door to door so I could ask strangers for candy. I never questioned it, though. What kid is going to question free candy?

So what has L3 Payments been up to lately? Well, we just flew in from the European shows and, boy, are our arms tired! (Is that joke still funny in 2012? Oh well, I’m running with it.) Seriously though, we had a great time meeting folks from all over the world and sitting in on some very informative panels.

Apropos of October, and specifically Halloween, I’ve also noticed some frightening stories being reported recently. Peanut butter being recalled for Salmonella…terrifying! Matthew Perry has a new sitcom!? Dreadful! But another piece of news that was a main topic of discussion at the EU shows is one that may be scary for IPSP’s, but potentially beneficial for merchants: MasterCard’s Payment Facilitator. This new concept has recently appeared in the MasterCard regulations (http://www.mastercard.com/us/merchant/pdf/BM-Entire_Manual_public.pdf#page44) and while it is not currently being enforced, it is something merchants should be aware of.

In short, the Payment Facilitator concept would mean merchants need to register directly with MasterCard, just as they do with Visa when using an IPSP. This would also mean merchants would be more transparent to MasterCard, as they would be able to identify each merchant’s transactions at an IPSP, just like Visa can. But perhaps the biggest impact would be that merchants processing more than $100,000 per year with MasterCard would be required to have their own direct merchant account. For IPSP’s, this is akin to that part in The Exorcist where Linda Blair’s head spins around. Horrifying! But while the IPSP’s would lose a lot of clients, the silver lining for you, the merchant, is that you would enjoy all of the perks of having your own merchant account: better pricing, more flexibility in your business model and total control over your customer database.

We will see in the upcoming months if this Payment Facilitator concept comes to fruition, as the aggregators are currently attempting to convince MasterCard that this is unfair competition. But the bottom line is, any time the major credit card associations release rule changes or enforce new regulations, it’s always a reminder that merchants should have multiple billing options in place to ensure the continued health of their business. L3 Payments is always happy to discuss ways in which we can facilitate that, so please feel free to hit us up for more information on expanding your billing options!

Meanwhile, October is shaping up to be a busy month for us here at L3. We are working on several exciting and innovative projects that we cannot wait to share with you! Keep an eye on our blog for more information and make sure to “Like” us on Facebook if you haven’t already!