Smaller merchants can steer some of their transactions to debit networks with a new service from Merchant Warehouse, a Boston-based independent sales organization. The ISO announced the BINsmart Interchange Manager this week as part of its MerchantWare payment gateway, which connects transactions to processors. Upon reading the card, the service prompts the consumer to enter a personal identification number if the card is a debit card. The service looks at the first six digits of a card number, called the bank identification number, to determine whether the card is a credit, debit or corporate card, says Henry Helgeson, Merchant Warehouse president and co-CEO. "If the system identifies the card as a debit card, it will send back a response to the point-of-sale system to prompt for a PIN number," he says. Currently, BINsmart works only with integrated point-of-sale systems. For debit service, such systems must have a PIN pad, Helgeson says. He adds that BINsmart complies with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard for payment applications because it does not store card numbers. BINsmart is free to developers that add Merchant Warehouse's payment gateway, Helgeson says. Merchants could benefit from lower interchange fees for debit transactions, he says. As an example, Merchant Warehouse cited a $200 purchase that would cost a merchant $4 in fees as a credit card transaction but only 50 cents as a PIN-debit transaction. The service identifies corporate card transactions to make it simpler for merchants to identify those purchases and get the best rates for them.

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