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Department's Option to Accept Credit Cards

University Departments that accept payments for services/products that are submitted on a Deposit Transmittal and therefore not billed through the Office of the Bursar’s Accounts Receivable system, have the option of accepting credit cards as a means of payment. There are two options for accepting/reporting credit card transactions as follows: 

Option #1: As a separate departmental “merchant account”

Option #2: By collecting/submitting customer credit card information to the Bursar’s Office

Accepting credit cards usually make transactions more convenient for the University’s customers and can sometimes help increase departmental sales volume. There are however various fees which the bank charges to process credit card transactions. Under either option the cost of processing credit cards will be charged to the department’s funds.

The fee structure from the University’s credit card processor changes periodically. Based on the current rates if your department anticipates an annual volume over 1,000 transactions or $20,000, the more cost effective option will likely be #1) as a separate “merchant account”. Smaller volumes likely will be more cost effective if handled by #2) by submitting individual credit card information to the Bursar’s Office for processing. However before proceeding with either option, please contact the Bursar’s Office to discuss your departmental circumstances. The Bursar’s Office can also help you decide whether to accept only VISA/Mastercard or also accept American Express.

General procedural information about both options follow. Please contact the Bursar’s Office if you have any additional questions.

 

OPTION # 1 – PROCESSING AS A SEPARATE MERCHANT

Getting Started

A.  Contacts and Approvals

The following university offices should be contacted prior to executing an agreement with financial institutions for the acceptance of credit cards.

Treasurer’s Office

All financial or banking agreements must be in writing and submitted to the Treasurer’s Office for approval. Departments must acquire a written agreement to be submitted to the Treasurer’s Office for signature on behalf of Lehigh University prior to the Department beginning any financial or banking arrangement with a third party.   

Bursar’s Office

Will assist in determining your processing requirements and ensure the necessary procedures are followed to facilitate the processing of the transactions.  The Bursar’s Office will assist you in establishing your daily practices to ensure seamless processing.  The Bursar’s Office can assist you in determining the best option for processing which will be dependent on your volume and other specific needs. As transactions are processed, the Bursar’s Office will be responsible for posting credits to your index/account codes into the BANNER system.

Controller’s Office  - 

Will ensure the necessary index and accounts are established if necessary to ensure the appropriate banking and accounting transactions can be recorded in BANNER.  The Controller’s Office will be responsible for the reconciliation of the transactions entered from your Deposit Transmittals to the banking statements.  The Controller’s office will also be responsible for the recording of the fees.

B.  Equipment Requirements

Most departments that process credit cards as a “separate merchant” will be able to handle its volume with a small swipe terminal and printer costing around $500. (Currently most departments are using either a Trans 330 or 380X2 terminal but please contact the Bursar’s Office for information on the latest models and potential suppliers.) A separate telephone line is recommended to connect the processing terminal.

A few departments because of very high volume and unique requirements may choose to process credit cards over the internet. Such transactions require specialized software and typically have higher processing fees than swipe terminals. Internet credit card transactions must comply with special regulations and security requirements. Setting up procedures for internet processing will be handled on a department by department basis as needed.

 

Daily Operations

A. Processing Transactions

Card Swipe

If the credit card is present it may be swiped on the terminal.  This method is generally the least expensive and eliminates the need to manually enter the credit card number. 

Manual Key Entry

If the credit card is not present, the credit card information may be entered manually.  Information required to enter manually will be the credit card number, expiration date, amount to be charged and the billing zip code.  The billing zip code will ensure a lower rate for processing the transaction.

NOTE: Credit card transactions processed with this option will appear on the customer’s credit card statement with the name of the department as the merchant name.

For departments accepting mail-in orders, a template for recording the required andrecommended customer information is attached.

 

B. Reporting

Daily Settlements

The terminal must be closed out daily and reconciled to the daily activity to ensure all transactions are correct.  The daily Batch Settlement Report is generated when the machine is closed each day. The department will be charged a higher processing fee by the bank for any transactions that are not settled daily.

Preparation of Deposit Transmittal

A Deposit Transmittal is required for each daily settlement and should be sent to the Bursar’s Office by the next business day. Prompt submission of Deposit Transmittals is especially important at month end. NOTE: Credit Cards transactions cannot be submitted on the same Deposit Transmittal as cash/checks. The Bursar’s Office will record entries in BANNER to reflect the financial activity associated with the credit card processing based on information provided on the Deposit Transmittal.

A sample deposit transmittal is included for reference purposes.

The Deposit Transmittal should be completed in its entirety with the most critical information as follows:

  • Visa/MasterCard/Discover total
  • American Express total
  • Total for all credit cards
  • Six (6) digit index to credit
  • Five (5) digit account code to credit

A separate Deposit Transmittal must be prepared for each business day. A copy of the Batch Settlement Report should be attached to the Deposit Transmittal.

Monthly Bank Statements

Your department will receive a monthly bank statement for your Visa/MasterCard transactions and a separate statement for American Express transactions (if you choose to accept). Monthly statements should be reviewed for accuracy and a copy forwarded to Susan Szilagyi in the Controller’s Office. Your department will be charged for the actual credit card processing fees as listed on the monthly bank statement.

 

OPTION # 2 – PROCESSING TRANSACTIONS AT BURSAR’S OFFICE

Obtaining necessary information from customer

In order for the Bursar’s office to process your credit card transactions,  the following information will be required from your customer: 

Customer Name
Name on Credit Card
Amount of Transaction
Zip Code of Billing Address
Card Type
Credit Card Number
Expiration Date
Customer's Daytime Telephone Number
Method of Authorization (telephone, signature, etc.)

A sample template for requesting/recording this information is included for reference purposes.

Submitting information to the Bursar’s Office.

A Deposit Transmittal is required to be sent to the Bursar’s Office for the credit card information.   Registration forms or documents containing the required above information must be attached in order for the Bursar’s Office to process your transactions. NOTE: Credit Cards transactions cannot be submitted on the same Deposit Transmittal as cash/checks.

Applicable processing fees will be assessed to your budget for the transactions.

A sample deposit transmittal is included for reference purposes

The Deposit Transmittal should be completed in its entirety with the most critical information as follows: 

  • Visa/MasterCard total

  • American Express total

  • Total for all credit cards

  • Six (6) digit index to credit

  • Five (5) digit account code to credit

NOTE: Credit card transactions processed with this option will appear on the customer’s credit card statement with “Lehigh Bursar’s Office” as the merchant name.



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