Restaurateurs may have another reason to use pay-at-the-table terminals from Ingenico S.A., which has added software to the devices to help lower the interchange rates for credit and debit card transactions.

The terminal maker has added the BINsmart software to the Ingenico I7780 terminal, according to Merchant Warehouse Inc. The Boston-based independent sales organization developed BINsmart and is reselling the Ingenico device (see story). 

BINsmart software identifies the type of card used and estimates the lowest interchange category the merchant should apply to the transactions. The issuing bank determines the correct interchange rate it authorizes the transaction, Merchant Warehouse says.

Enabling merchants to get the best card rate may help them accelerate how quickly they can pay for their payment terminals, Henry Helgeson, Merchant Warehouse co-CEO, tells PaymentsSource. “[BINsmart] is a least-cost routing tool,” he says. “It can take a $200 sale on a debit card and save the merchant $3 to $4 with a debit transaction versus a credit transaction.”

The Ingenico I7780 terminal with BINsmart works with many POS systems restaurateurs prefer to use, Helgeson says. Two other Ingenico terminals, the i5100 and Aqua, also can use BINsmart, Helgeson says.

Sales pitches typically focus on the pay-at-the table terminals’ ability to increase the frequency in which new customers get seated at tables and on the customers being able to hold on to their payment cards instead of giving them to a waiter, Helgeson says. Interchange-rate reduction via BINsmart gives merchants much more substantive numbers to consider, he says.

“Our sales agents are no longer walking in and asking to see a merchant’s processing statement,” Helgeson says. When selling on price, many ISO sales agents want the statements so they can price their offers competitively.

The Ingenico I7780 terminal is a much stronger differentiator than price alone, Helgeson says. Merchants can more accurately calculate how long it will take them to see savings that equal the cost of the device, which sells for between $600 and $800, Helgeson says.

The ideal restaurant is one with $20,000 to $30,000 in monthly card-sales volume with an average ticket that ranges from $150 to $200, he says, noting such restaurants would pay for the terminal in reduced interchange expense within a few months.

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