Automated Credit Card Merchant Processing
The automated credit card processing feature is designed to process your credit card merchant payments, using the data you have already entered into TRAMS Back Office. We have formed partnerships with credit card processing companies to bring you competitive rates and an easy-to-use interface to process your credit card payments. Currently, we have partnerships with Pinnacle Payment Solutions including the UATP Card, Cardserve International (CSI), and NTC (National Transactions Corporation).
Preparing to process credit cards.
Some preparation is required to begin automated credit card processing. You are required to apply to a processing company and allow them to process the credit card payments and deposit money into your bank account.
Automated credit card processing uses the TRAMS Back Office CC Merchant form of payment. This form of payment is designed to distinguish credit card payments processed by the vendor from those that are processed by the agency. When running a query for processing, only those records with CC Merchant as the form of payment will appear in the query.
Your front office can enter CC Merchant payments either through ClientBase or interface them through your GDS, using the formats outlined in the TRAMS Back Office Interface Guide for your particular reservation system. The formats consist of one or two “accounting” lines that are entered in addition to any descriptive entries in the Passenger Name Record. The accounting entry correctly identifies (but is not limited to) the following data:
- Booking Amount
- CC Merchant form of payment
- Credit Card Number and Expiration Date
- Travel Type
For more information, please refer to the TRAMS Interface Guide for your GDS system. Be prepared to interface and test your formats prior to the implementation of automated credit card merchant processing.
Configuring the software
The credit card merchant processing feature is designed to allow you to query and process your CC Merchant payments and reconcile the results of processing back to your TRAMS accounting data. Some setup is required before you can begin processing.
Step 1: Since you are receiving deposits for your merchant transactions, you are required to create a profile in TRAMS Back Office for your processing company. This is done prior to setting up the CC merchant processing defaults. Select Profiles|Other and create the profile.
Step 2: Some agencies have a specific bank account that is dedicated only to cc merchant payments. If you are setting up a new bank account for this, add the bank account before setting up your cc merchant processing defaults. To add a bank account, select Utilities|Setup|Bank Accounts. In the "Description" field, identify the bank account as your CC Merchant account and click the “Add” button. If funds from your cc merchant processing are handled through your standard operating account, proceed to Step 3.
Step 3: Select Utilities|Setup|Global Defaults and click the "Prompt" tab. In the "Default CC Merchant Bank Acct" field, type in the bank account number that you want the CC Merchant payments to default to. If you are processing CC Merchant payments against multiple bank accounts, enter the account that is used most frequently.
Next, under the same “Prompt” tab, verify that the field Allow Client Unapplieds is not checked. CC Merchant payments that are unapplied balances will not process. Therefore, it is best to turn off this option.
Step 4: Select Utilities|Setup|GL Accts and click the “Others” tab. Enter the GL account numbers for CC Merchant Receivables, CC Merchant Fees and CC Merchant Discount.
CC Merchant Receivables: When a CC Merchant payment is entered against a client’s account, the client balance is closed and is offset against the CC Merchant Receivables account, where the balance remains until the credit card is processed. This account number should be in the asset series (1000 – 1999) of GL account numbers.
CC Merchant Fees: Some processing companies charge a fee for each transaction processed. If your processing company charges a fee per transaction, in the “CC Merchant Fees” field, type in the GL account number assigned in TRAMS Back Office for the transaction fees. This number should be in the expense series (6000 – 9999) of GL account numbers. If your processor does not charge a per transaction fee, enter the same GL account number in the CC Merchant Fees field as entered in the CC Merchant Discount field.
CC Merchant Discount: This is the GL account number assigned in TRAMS Back Office, where the credit card processing fees (i.e. the 3.0% for American Express) from the credit card companies are journalized. This number should be in the expense series (6000 – 9999) of GL account numbers.
Step 5: Select Utilities|Setup|CC Processors and setup defaults for CC Merchant Processing.
Bank Acct: Enter the Bank Account number (i.e. 1, 2, 3, etc.) that CC Merchant payments are entered against.
CC Processor: Click the arrow and choose the vendor name of your credit card processor. (i.e. PRI, CSI, NTC, etc.)
Branch: Click the arrow and choose the branch that you want to set up for processing.
CC Merchant Profile: Select the “Other” profile that was created for the credit card processing company.
Username: Enter the user name given to you by your credit card processing vendor. (i.e. PRI, CSI, NTC, etc.)
Password: Enter the password given to you by your credit card processing vendor. (i.e. PRI, CSI, NTC< etc.)
For new CSI users, pass along to Card Services International that you will be processing your transactions from TBO and need a username and password for an EFSNET account, and NOT a Linkpoint account. Without the correct username and password for an EFSNET account, you will not be able to successfully process your CC Merchant transactions.
TRAMS Reference: Click the arrow and choose what reference number you would like to appear on your client’s credit card statement. Choose “Invoice Number” if you would like the invoice number to appear on your client’s statement. Choose “Payment Number” if you would like the TRAMS assigned payment number to appear on your client’s statement.
Processing Time Out: Enter the number of seconds you would like the program to wait to receive a response from your credit card processing vendor as to whether the record was processed or not, before the program moves on to the next record. The TRAMS recommended setting is 45 seconds.
Click Add to add the Processor’s information and then click the Cards button on the right to set up the credit card types that you are processing. Default settings are required for each type of card being processed.
Card Name: Click the arrow and choose a credit card from the list of names.
Processing Fee Rate: Enter the discount rate for the credit card chosen, as specified by your merchant contract with the credit card processing company.
Transaction Fee: Enter the amount of the transaction fee that your processing company charges.
Click Add to add the card to the setup. Repeat the steps for each type of credit card that you will process. (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, etc.)
Step 6: Click the OK button to save credit card information. Click OK again to save the setup screen.
NOTE: If your agency has multiple branches, repeat step 5 for each branch, as the credit card processing company will give you a username and password per branch.
Processing CC Merchant Payments
If you are set up for Multiple Balance Sheets, you should continue to use the old CC Merchant Utility, as processing through TRAMS Back Office does not create the journal entry correctly for Multiple Balance sheet entries.
Also, if you are processing using more than one processing vendor (i.e. both Pinnacle & PRI), you must run a separate reconciliation for each processor.
Step 1: Select Payments| Reconciliation| CC Merchant Reconciliation and enter your selection criteria.
Include CC: Select the credit card type(s) that you are processing. (i.e. Visa, MasterCard, etc.)
Bank Acct: Select the bank account number the CC Merchant payments were created under.
Branch: If processing items for a specific branch, select the appropriate branch number. Leave the field blank to process all branches.
Note: You can process multiple branches all at once as long as you are not expensing the CC Merchant fee by branch (i.e. payments were entered under different management branches but are all tied together under the same GL branch.) If the CC Merchant fee needs to be expensed by branch then you must process each branch separately. (This will be enhanced in a future release.)
CC Processor: Select the credit card processing vendor that is processing the cards.
Clearing Date: The Clearing Date field defaults to the current date. This date is stamped into the CC Merchant payment record once the record is processed. Once a CC Merchant payment has a clearing date, it will always show a cleared status and therefore will not be selected for processing again.
Stmt Balance: Leave this field blank. It is not needed for CC Merchant processing.
Max Charge Amt: If you want to process transactions up to and including a certain amount, enter the amount in this field.
Example: Agency has a certain employee that is responsible for processing service fee transactions only. Service fees for the agency are $20.00. The employee enters $20.00 as the Max Charge Amt so that only transactions of $20.00 or less appear in the query for processing.
After entering the appropriate selection criteria, click the Query button.
Step 2: TRAMS displays the query results for the CC Merchant transactions that will be submitted for processing.
Step 3: Click the Process button. Select the option All Items if processing everything in the query. Select the option Selected Items if processing certain transactions only. Once a selection is chosen, the cc merchant transactions are sent to your credit card processing vendor via your Internet connection.
Note: If processing Selected Items, highlight those transactions prior to clicking the Process button. Select multiple transactions by holding the Ctrl button and doing a right mouse click.
Step 4: TRAMS displays a status message box on the CC Merchant reconciliation screen that gives the user feedback about the charges currently being processed.
Step 5: Once all cards are sent to the credit card processor, the status message box clears the screen. Each record processed shows as "Charged" in the column labeled "Status". Also, an authorization code, a decline code, or an error code appears in the column labeled "Auth Msg". If the record is approved, TRAMS Back Office updates the payment record with a "Date Cleared" of the date the transaction was processed and the authorization code is appended to the end of the credit card number. Once the "Date Cleared" is entered, those records will not be processed again. Records that are declined or are in error are not marked cleared. The "Date Cleared" field for those payment records is left blank. The decline code or error code, however, is appended to the remarks field of the payment record for future reference.
If your processor is Pinnacle Payment Solutions, please call Merchant Services at 800 228-0210 and ask for customer support for the meaning of the code(s).
Click the OK button on the bottom left of the CC Merchant Reconciliation screen to continue.
Step 6: TRAMS prompts, “XX Payment(s) Will Be Marked Cleared and XX Will Be Marked Uncleared. Continue? Click the Yes button.
Step 7: The payment screen is displayed to create the EFT payment for the amount being deposited into your bank account (card amounts processed less fees).
The payment screen will default to a Payment Method of EFT, Profile Type of Other and name as the name of the credit card processing vendor, based on the profile you selected when setting up Utility defaults. Click the OK button to save the payment information. TRAMS prompts, “Create a journal entry?” Click Yes.
Step 8. TRAMS defaults the journal entry as follows:
Cash in Bank (1000 series)
CC Merchant Receivable (1000 series)
Credit Card Processing Fees (6000 – 9000 series)
Transaction Fees (6000 – 9000 series)
Click the OK button to save the journal entry.