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Credit Card Processing for County Offices

County extension councils have two options for accepting credit cards:

  1. Stand-alone Xon machine
  2. QuickBooks Merchant, an add-on application of the accounting software

 

 Information for selecting a credit card option

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    Summary of Options for Accepting Credit Card Payments

    The QuickBooks merchant option would keep the processing of county council transactions within the county's normal operating processes. The MU credit card terminal option is provided as a way to assist county councils who are dealing with particularly tight budgets who feel they are not able to incur the additional cost of doing business associated with adding credit card functionality make a step in that direction with very little cost.

    The Quickbooks option uses a virtual Zon environment, which means that county office staff would enter payment information into an online system for processing. This approach was chosen as it has the lowest overall upfront costs.  With the QuickBooks option, it is possible to purchase equipment that would allow for swiping of credit cards rather than data entry of the credit card number and expiration date. The credit card terminal option would allow staff to either swipe credit cards or enter card information manually.

    Both options are simply methods to receive funds through the additional mode of credit cards. All the appropriate accounting and reporting requirements that apply to the current handling of funds received by cash and check will apply to these funds as well. (For example: taxable items, recording of receipts, handling of gifts, etc.) Security training is required for all staff who process credit card receipts, regardless of the option chosen, and policies, procedures, and training will be developed and delivered to cover appropriate handling of personal financial information, segregation of duties, QuickBooks data entry, and reconciliation. Annual security awareness trainings will be mandatory to complete for all office staff who will be accepting credit card payments on behalf of the county and counties accepting credit cards will be required to be compliant with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS) as set forth by University of Missouri Extension.

    Option 1: QuickBooks Merchant

    QuickBooks merchant is an add-on service to the current county accounting system.  There are no setup fees with QuickBooks to offer this option.

    A merchant ID will be required for each county. There are two options to choose from: either a pay-as-you-go plan or pay a set monthly fee for service. The set monthly fee is $19.95; this is the base fee for the service and there is no monthly minimum transaction fee for this plan. Transaction fee rates range anywhere from 1.75% to 3.4% per transaction, depending on which option you choose, but transaction fees accrue at a higher rate for the pay-as-you-go service.  In addition to the transaction fee percentages, there is also a  25 cents per transaction fee associated with each usage for both options. Counties would need to have approximately $830 in sales to exceed the monthly fee of $19.95.

    Revenues will be deposited directly into the council's bank account within 48-72 hours of the transaction.

    Transactions will be recorded in the county accounting system without the need for duplicate entries.

    Option 2: MU Credit Card Terminal

    Counties would participate under the one merchant ID for MU Extension. Monthly fees and minimums are met collectively by all those who make use of this option, thereby reducing the overall fees in comparison to the QuickBooks option. Counties would be responsible for transaction fees of approximately 2.5% of the transaction amount. If there are no charges, counties would not have any financial commitment.

    By virtue of the fact that this option is working as one cooperative, the funds are distributed to just one account held by MU Extension. A payment voucher for each county will be processed on a monthly basis and the amount paid will be the total of transactions less the transaction fees. Refunds would be handled by the county office and all fees would be deducted from the transaction total for the month.  For counties with transactions that amount to significant sums of money in any one month the timing of payments could be an issue.

    Counties are encouraged to enroll in direct deposit with the University to facilitate faster receipt of funds.

    Since this is a separate system there will be some minimal amount of duplicate entry of information in comparison to the QuickBooks option.

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    Example of Costs Associated with Accepting Credit Cards

    Monthly Credit Card Charges

    Credit Card Fees

          QB MU Credit Card Machine
          Per Transaction Rate Per Transaction Fee Per Transaction Rate Per Transaction Fee
    Description Date Amount 2.20% $0.25 2.50% N/A
    4H Camp registration 3/1/2010 $100 $2.20 $0.25 $2.50 $0
    4H Camp registration refund 3/10/2010 -$100 -$2.20 $0.25 -$2.50 $0
    Stay Strong, Stay Healthy program 3/16/2010

    $75

    $1.65

    $0.25

    $1.88

    $0

    Soil Test 3/16/2010 $30 $0.66 $0.25 $0.75 $0
    Master Naturalist training 3/25/2010 $100 $2.20 $0.25 $2.50 $0
                 
    Total CC charges for the month   $205 $4.51 $1.25 $5.13 $0

    QB - Rev/Exp Summary

    Total Charges $205
    Total Transaction Fees $20
    Net Revenue for the Month $185

    *Counties receive revenue within 24-48 hours of the charges; fees assessed monthly.

    ***Example did not reach $20 minimum in fees; therefore $20 assessed and not $5.76.

    MU Application -Rev/Exp Summary

    Total Charges $205
    Total Transaction Fees $5.13
    Net Revenue for the Month $199.87

    *Counties will receive net revenue after the first of the following month either by check from the University or by direct deposit (preferred).

Before a county office may use either of the credit card options, the county must complete a selection form signed by the council chair; the link to that form is below.  In addition, each member of the county office staff who will be processing credit card transactions must complete an initial security training and sign a Cardholder Data Processing Agreement & Annual Training Form.

To sign up, contact the Extension Extension Fiscal team at 573-882-7146 or Callie Glascock.

Credit Card Options Matrix for Comparison

 

QuickBooks Merchant - Monthly Rate

MU Credit Card Terminals (analog and wireless)

Set Up Fees

$0

$0

Monthly Fees

$19.95

$17 – covered by MU Extension

Transaction fees:

   

Keyed fee rate applied to transaction amount

3.15%

2.5% for all card types

Non Qualified card fee rate applied to transaction amount

3.15%

N/A

*Swipe fee Rate applied to transaction amount.

1.75%

N/A

Per transaction fee

$0.25

N/A

Per transaction fee when Non Qualified card is used

$0.25

N/A

Monthly minimum transaction fees

N/A

$5 – covered by MU Extension

Cancellation fees

$0

N/A

Other fees:

 

 

Equipment fees

$69.95- USB card swiper

$425 - FD130 (analog phone line)

$750 - FD410 (wireless)

*These are one-time purchase costs

Phone line

N/A

Analog phone lines vary by location

Cellular data fee for FD410 is $20.00/month