Credit Card Processing

RezStream Support -

Overview - Credit Card Processing

Processing credit cards in RezStream Professional is an in-depth topic that has an entire manual dedicated to it. The RezStream Professional Credit Card Processing Manual can be downloaded from the RezStream website using the following link.

 

http://www.rezstream.com/documentation_rezstream_professional.htm

 

In order to set up credit card processing in RezStream Professional, you must first apply for a third party merchant account and payment gateway. Please contact our Sales staff at 866-360-8210 or sales@RezStream.com for more details.

 

Once your application is approved, you will need to complete a few basic setup steps. First you will need to complete the setup process for your new payment gateway by logging into the credit card processing gateway website. For more information on this process please see the documentation referenced above and contact our Merchant Account Manager at 866-360-8210.

 

Once the gateway setup has been completed, you can set up credit card processing in RezStream Professional.

 

This section provides an overview of credit card processing, including the following topics.

 


Credit Card Processing - Best Practices

In this section, we will address some commonly asked credit card processing questions.

 

1. What type of credit card processing account should I obtain?

 

Transactions processed under a lodging account are eligible for the lowest credit card processing rates. Retail accounts are useful for businesses that take a majority of their payments prior to arrival or at check in.

 

2. What is the difference between a lodging credit card account and a retail credit card account?

 

Lodging accounts offer the lowest credit card processing rates because they are compliant with VISA and MasterCard credit card processing guidelines. In order to get the lowest rate, you must pre-authorize a guest’s credit card at check in by swiping the card and using the Pre-Auth feature within RezStream Professional. You must then use the Post feature within RezStream Professional at check out. You may take advanced deposit payments, and other types of payments, with a lodging account, but the credit card rates are always higher for these types of payments. Lodging accounts are best for properties that want the absolute lowest rates and are willing to follow these guidelines to get the lowest rates. Retail accounts are designed for non-lodging businesses or lodging businesses that take full payment in advance of the arrival date or at check in. Retail accounts do not offer rates as low as lodging accounts, but do offer lower rates than using a lodging account improperly. Call RezStream at 866-360-8210 if you are not sure which type of account is best for your needs.

 

Credit Card Processing - Best Practices

In this section, we will address some commonly asked credit card processing questions.

 

1. What type of credit card processing account should I obtain?

 

Transactions processed under a lodging account are eligible for the lowest credit card processing rates. Retail accounts are useful for businesses that take a majority of their payments prior to arrival or at check in.

 

2. What is the difference between a lodging credit card account and a retail credit card account?

 

Lodging accounts offer the lowest credit card processing rates because they are compliant with VISA and MasterCard credit card processing guidelines. In order to get the lowest rate, you must pre-authorize a guest’s credit card at check in by swiping the card and using the Pre-Auth feature within RezStream Professional. You must then use the Post feature within RezStream Professional at check out. You may take advanced deposit payments, and other types of payments, with a lodging account, but the credit card rates are always higher for these types of payments. Lodging accounts are best for properties that want the absolute lowest rates and are willing to follow these guidelines to get the lowest rates. Retail accounts are designed for non-lodging businesses or lodging businesses that take full payment in advance of the arrival date or at check in. Retail accounts do not offer rates as low as lodging accounts, but do offer lower rates than using a lodging account improperly. Call RezStream at 866-360-8210 if you are not sure which type of account is best for your needs.

 

3. If I have a lodging account am I guaranteed the lowest credit card processing rate?

 

No. The mere possession of a lodging account does NOT guarantee the lowest credit card processing rate. In order to guarantee the lowest rate, transactions must be processed using the Hotel Pre-Auth and Post methods.

 

4. What if my business requires partial or full payment prior to check in?

 

If you must collect a partial or full payment prior to check in, your property may still want to use a lodging credit card processing account. For example, if you take a one night deposit in advance, but take the remainder of the payment at check out, you can still get lower rates on the final payment by using the Hotel Pre-Auth and Post option. However, if you take full payment in advance of the arrival date, or take all full payments at check in, you may be better off using a retail credit card processing account.

 

5. What if my property records all payments prior to the guest’s arrival and utilizes a lodging account?

 

In this scenario, your property will be setting itself up to pay the highest credit card processing rates. Please note that RezStream strongly recommends either changing your deposit rules or applying for a retail account.

 

6. What happens to the guest’s credit card when my property uses the Hotel Pre-Auth method?

 

During pre-authorization, a portion of the guest’s credit limit is reserved to cover the expenses that will be incurred at your property. Although the guest’s credit card is not charged until check out, the pre-authorized amount cannot be used elsewhere and can affect the guest’s ability to use their credit card on another transaction. For example, if the guest’s credit card limit is $500 (with a $0 balance) and your property pre-authorizes $350, the guest’s credit card would be declined if another purchase exceeding $150 is attempted.

 

7. When my front desk clerks are pre-authorizing a credit card, is it possible to authorize it for more that the room rate in order to cover incidental charges?

 

Yes. All VISA cards are automatically pre-authorized for 150% of the anticipated room charge. MasterCard and AMEX cards must be manually pre-authorized for an amount in excess of the room charge. VISA actually automatically pre-authorizes the card for 150% of whatever total amount is due on the invoice. Adding a higher pre-authorization amount is useful if the customer makes additional purchases during their stay.

 

8. When does the pre-authorization disappear from the guest’s credit card? The pre-authorized amount disappears from the guest’s credit card when the amount becomes a real charge posted at check out, or typically, one week after the pre-authorization.

 

9. In order to prevent cards from being declined, should my property decrease the Address Verification Status (AVS) in the credit card gateway?

 

No. Although decreasing or disabling the AVS can reduce the number of declined credit card transactions, this will also increase your credit card processing rate. 

 

 

Credit Card Processing Terms

The terminal, gateway, and processor work together in order to capture and process credit card information.

 

The terminal is the device that is used to capture the credit card information and the amount of the charge. For our purposes, RezStream Professional is considered the terminal. The terminal passes the credit card information to the gateway.

 

The gateway is responsible for obtaining an authorization code and then passing the authorized transactions to the processor for payment. The gateway “batches” the transactions at the end of the day, which sends the transactions to the processor. All users have the ability to log in to the gateway via a web site (www.onlinemerchantcenter.com) to see all transactions that were authorized, as well as batched.

 

The processor is responsible for receiving and processing the “batches.” The processor then transfers the payment to your bank account. 

 

 

Advance Deposit Credit Card Transactions

This section describes the process of recording advance deposits in RezStream Professional. Please note that credit card transactions processed prior to check-in are charged at a higher credit card processing rate. If possible, RezStream recommends altering your property’s deposit rules to allow you to follow the Hotel Pre Auth steps described in the following section. If your property is unable to alter its deposit rules, RezStream recommends obtaining a Retail credit card processing account. With a Retail account, credit card processing rates will be higher than when using the Hotel Pre Auth rate described in the following section, but lower than the advance deposit rate. For additional information, please contact RezStream sales at 866-360-8210.

 

After making a reservation, the guest’s personal information is displayed on the Contact Data screen. Click the Record Transaction button to take an advance deposit.

 

An alternative method for taking an advance deposit is to click the Add button in the Payments tab at the bottom of the Contact Data screen.

 

The Payment Information window is displayed (example below). First, use the drop-down field to specify the credit card type. Then, either enter a payment amount in the payment amount field or select one of the Quick Amount Selection buttons to choose Full (the total amount due) or Dep 1/Dep 2 (a default deposit percentage).

 

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After specifying a dollar amount or clicking one of the Quick Amount Selection buttons, click Save. The Online Credit Card Processing window is displayed along with a popup window prompting you to swipe a credit card or click Cancel. In the case of advance deposits, the guest is not normally in front of you with a credit card to swipe. Use the following steps to record an advance deposit.

 

  1. Click the Cancel button.
  2. Enter the card number and four-digit expiration date (mmyy).

    2013-03-22_16_51_36-RezStream_Professional_Help.png

    The red square to the right of the credit card number indicates that the card was NOT swiped.

  3. Click the Process Transaction button. Upon completing the transaction, a Transaction Successful window is displayed. Click OK. 

 

 

Credit Card Processing Contact

Contact First National Processing at 708-492-1030. Before calling, you should have your merchant number available. This number is printed on your monthly statement. For questions specific to the Merchant Partners gateway or virtual terminal, visit their website at:

 

http://www.onlinemerchantcenter.com/

 

 

Credit Card Receipt Printer

RezStream Professional includes the ability to print to a credit card receipt printer.

 

Any standard printer is supported, but if you would like to make use of all of the receipt printer options, then you must purchase an Epson TM-U220D printer with a USB interface. Please contact RezStream sales at 866-360-8210 for more details on purchasing a printer.

 

Click Tools > Print Options to change settings for the Credit Card Receipt printer.

 

Installing the Epson TM-U220 Receipt Printer

Important: Do not plug the printer into the system until the software has been installed.

 

  1. Download the correct Epson print driver from: http://www.rezstream.com/download/EPSON_APDTM301.exe
  2. When prompted choose "SAVE", and save the file to location on your hard drive (e.g. My Documents).
  3. Locate the file called EPSON_APDTM301.exe and launch it. Change the Unzip to Folder path to C:\EPSON. Click Unzip then Close.
  4. Browse to C:\EPSON. Locate ATM_301E.exe and launch it.
  5. Choose (Ver. 2.XX compatible APD) EPSON TM-U220 Receipt
  6. Click on “Printer Port Setting”.
  7. Set the Printer Port Setting "Port Type" radio button to USB.

    2013-03-22_16_52_30-RezStream_Professional_Help.png

  8. Finish the installation by restarting the computer.
  9. Plug in the printer. 

 

Hotel Pre Auth Credit Card Transactions

The Hotel Pre Auth method of authorizing a credit card at check in and then posting the charge at check out is the recommended way to process credit card transactions for the lowest possible rate.

 

With this method, the guest’s credit card is swiped at check in and the card is authorized for a specific dollar amount. This “holds” the stated credit amount and makes it available for actual approval at check out time. However, this charge is not actually posted to the guest’s credit card until check out.

 

To make Hotel Pre Auth the default credit card transaction type, click Tools > Configure > CC Processing and enter a checkmark next to the "Default to Hotel Pre Auth/Post Auth on qualifying transactions" field.

 

Use the following steps for processing a Hotel Pre Auth transaction.

 

  1. From the Daily screen, right-click a reservation and select Check In/Out.
  2. Enter a checkmark in the Record Transaction checkbox and click OK.
  3. The Payment Information window is displayed. Here, use the Quick Amount Selection buttons or enter a dollar amount in the payment amount field. Whatever amount is specified in the payment amount field is the amount authorized on the guest’s credit card. Many times, this amount may include not only room charges but also a percentage in addition to room charges in anticipation of incidental charges.
  4. After clicking the Save button in the Payment Information window, swipe the guest’s credit card.
  5. The box next to the card number turns green indicating that you have swiped the card. In addition, because the transaction is being processed on the guest’s arrival date, the Hotel Pre Auth Charge Type is available. Hotel Pre Auth is the default RezStream Professional Charge Type and should not be changed.

    2013-03-22_16_53_05-RezStream_Professional_Help.png


  6. Click the Process Transaction button. Once the charge is successfully processed, a "Transaction Successful" message is displayed. Click OK to complete the Pre Auth.
  7. The authorized charge is posted to the guest’s credit card at check out. To check the guest out, right-click the reservation on the Daily screen and select Check In/Out. In the Check Out window, be sure the option for Record Transaction is selected and click the OK button.
  8. The Payment Amount window is displayed. Click the Full button to display the total balance due. With the Visa credit card type chosen, click the Save button.
  9. The Swipe Card window is displayed. Because the card was swiped at check in, click the Cancel button. If the guest’s credit card is swiped at check in, it does not need to be swiped again at check out.
  10. The option for Post Hotel Pre Auth Charges is selected by default in RezStream Professional. Click the Process Transaction button to post the guest charges.
  11. The charge is posted to the guest’s credit card and a message is displayed indicating that the transaction was successfully processed. Click OK to complete the transaction.

 

New Card Presented at Checkout

From time to time, a guest may ask to check out with a card that was NOT presented at check in. In this scenario, a payment can be recorded for the amount due using a Charge Type of “Retail Sale Charge.”

 

In this scenario, the credit card processing rate will be slightly higher than a Hotel Pre Auth charge. Due to the higher rate, RezStream recommends asking the guest at check in to provide the card they plan to use for final payment at check out. 

 

 

Processing Transactions to Receive the Best Rate

There are different requirements based on whether you are swiping the card (“card present”) or keying the card (“card NOT present”).

 

  1. Swipe cards whenever possible from the Online Credit Card Processing window. Note that if you swipe a card from the Contact Data screen, then only the card number and its expiration date are stored. Typically this option is only used if you want to hold a credit card number for the guest at check in without processing any charges.
  2. When keying in credit card numbers, ask for the billing address on the card. Note that this may be different than the customer’s home address, especially in the case of corporate cards.
  3. When keying in credit card numbers, it is recommended that you request a CVV or security code. This may or may not affect your credit card processing rates, but can be helpful if a guest contests a charge. Contact your third-party processor for more details.
  4. Make sure that your third-party gateway is configured properly. For example, you should have “Address Verification” set to “active” or “on”. While you do not have to require an Address Verification match, some properties do choose this option to make sure that they are getting the best rates possible. However, this may cause cards to show as “declined” even when the card is otherwise considered “good.” 

 

 

Recording and Processing Transactions

Use the following steps for recording and processing credit card transactions.

 

  1. From the Daily screen, highlight the reservation, right-click and select Record Transaction.

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  2. Choose a credit card type from the drop-down field.

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  3. Enter the payment amount and click the Save button. The Quick Amount Selection buttons can be used to record a full payment, a deposit that is based on system defaults, or any other amount entered into the payment field.

    2013-03-25_14_25_14-RezStream_Professional_Help.png

  4. The Online Credit Card Processing window is displayed. A pop-up window is also displayed prompting you to “Swipe Credit Card or Click Cancel.”
    For the lowest possible processing rate (the “Card Present” rate), swipe the credit card.

    2013-03-25_14_25_22-RezStream_Professional_Help.png

    If the credit card is not present, click the Cancel button and enter the card information manually.

    2013-03-25_14_25_28-RezStream_Professional_Help.png

  5. Click the Process Transaction button to receive an approval code.
  6. To “post” the charges (and receive the lowest possible processing rate), check out the guest on the date of departure and record a second payment. At this point, there will be an option to “post” the charges. 

 

 

Refund Credit Card Transactions

Payments processed through the credit card interface cannot be deleted from the Contact Data screen. If a credit card transaction is highlighted in the Payments tab and the Delete button is pressed, the following message is displayed.

 

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Use the following steps to refund a payment processed through the credit card interface.

 

  1. From the Payments tab on the Contact Data screen, click Add.

    2013-03-25_14_34_06-RezStream_Professional_Help.png

  2. In the payment amount field, enter the amount that will be refunded and click the Save button. Be sure to either select the “Refund” button to process a full refund or use a minus symbol before any dollar amount that is manually entered.

  3. The Choose Transaction to Credit window is displayed. Highlight the transaction that is being refunded and press the Process Credit button.

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  4. A message is displayed indicating that the refund was successfully processed. Click OK to complete the refund. 

 

 

Retail Charge Credit Card Transactions

Retail charges, including full payment at check in, boat rentals, gift shop sales, horseback rides, and jeep tours (just to name a few), can be processed through the credit card interface. Use the following steps to process a retail charge.

 

  1. From the Contact Data screen, choose either the Record Transaction button or the Add button on the Payments tab.
  2. The Payment Information window is displayed. In the payment amount field, enter the dollar amount for the retail sale and click the Save button.
  3. The Swipe Card window is displayed. For the lowest possible credit card processing rate, swipe the credit card being used for the retail sale. If the card is not available for swiping, press the Cancel button and enter the card manually in step #4.
  4. The Online Credit Card Processing window is displayed. Set the Charge Type to Retail Sale Charge and click Process Transaction.

    2013-03-25_14_35_17-RezStream_Professional_Help.png

  5. The Transaction Successful message is displayed. Click OK to complete the Retail charge. 
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