Increase working capital with Commercial Card Optimization

October 07, 2021

Capturing additional transaction details for commercial card purchases at the time of payment can improve account authentication and qualify companies for reduced interchange rates.

Business-to-business (B2B) payments rank among the fastest-growing segments for e-commerce. In January 2019, Forrester Research predicted that B2B e-commerce “will reach $1.8 trillion and account for 17% of all B2B sales in the U.S. by 2023.” Covid-19 accelerated buying behavior for consumers and businesses who shifted to online and digital experiences, and this is likely to have a lasting impact.

Buying organizations are increasingly looking for convenient and innovative payables solutions that can improve visibility, security, efficiencies and savings. This has been demonstrated in the rise of commercial cards – business cards, fleet, corporate and purchasing cards.

Sellers realize many benefits from accepting commercial cards in-person and online. They streamline acceptance processes, ease the demands on staff, reduce days to receivables and improve the customer experience. The downside is that commercial cards often have the highest interchange rates of all card types. 


Commercial Card Optimization

Businesses and government agencies that accept a large volume of commercial card payments can reduce related expense through Commercial Card Optimization. By capturing additional transaction details for commercial card purchases at the time of payment – the card brands refer to this as Level 2 and Level 3 data – companies can qualify for reduced interchange programs on their commercial card payments.

When additional data is collected and transmitted on each transaction authorization, it helps to better authenticate the transaction, providing information about the underlying transaction to the purchaser and the card brand. By improving authentication with additional details, the transaction carries less risk and qualifies for a lower interchange rate. While business-to-business (B2B) companies and government agencies are an obvious fit for the program, any company that conducts B2B transactions with vendors, partners, contractors, and service providers can benefit. Some examples of B2B purchases are office supplies, computer equipment, telecommunications, shipment and delivery, consulting services and catering.

Commercial card interchange rates vary by card brand, as well as card type, input method and transaction size, but regardless, the savings add up. Typical network interchange rates from Visa for corporate purchasing cards range from 2.70% for Level 1 data, 2.50% for Level 2, and 1.90% for Level 3. Additionally, for transactions over $5,000 – considered Level 3 large ticket – interchange rates drop to 1.45%.

Providing Level 3 data does not fully guarantee that the transaction will qualify for Level 3 interchange rates. Qualification depends on multiple factors such as card type and the quality of the Level 3 data provided with the transaction.

The complexities of a do-it-yourself approach

The opportunity to save significant acceptance costs can really add up. However, the challenge is that the data required to achieve Level 2 and Level 3 savings is both specific and complicated.

  • All the required data fields must be completed with valid data. To achieve Level 3 savings, 25 data fields must be correctly entered and arranged in the right order for every transaction. 
  • Authorization and settlement must be completed within 24 hours to avoid costly transaction downgrades. 
  • Availability and knowledge of staff can result in mistakes that erase any savings. Not to mention the labor opportunity costs for time that could be spent on data analysis or other activities to support the business. 
  • The development or acquisition costs of specialized software can eat into savings 


Maximize savings with a managed Commercial Card Optimization program

Most business leaders want to concentrate on running the business – not optimizing interchange costs. With our Commercial Card Optimization program, you can tap into the knowledge of Payment Optimization Consultants and take advantage of our backend software that will automatically populate the data needed to qualify commercial card payments for the lower interchange rates.

  • Achieve the lowest rates on 100% of your commercial card transactions with no up-front costs and no change to payment acceptance systems or processes. 
  • We enter and pass along valid data at the time of the transaction authorization, so settlement windows are always met. 
  • We report interchange savings on your processing statement every month. 
  • We keep up with rules and rate changes from the card brands. Our software will adjust based on market updates to keep them processing at the best rates 100% of the time.

By proactively capturing all the data points necessary to meet Level 2 and Level 3 interchange requirements, our Commercial Card Optimization Service offers our customers a significant savings opportunity. In general, clients have realized an average of 0.4-1.5% decrease in their average commercial card acceptance rates.

Don’t leave money on the table. An estimated savings can be calculated by our Payment Optimization Consultants, based on your company’s existing payment data.


To learn more about how outsourcing Commercial Card Optimization can help, read our e-book.

Related content

How to improve your credit score

Do I need a credit card for my small business?

Webinar: CRE treasury leader roundtable

How you can prevent identity theft

Post-pandemic fraud prevention lessons for local governments

3 ways to make practical use of real-time payments

Hospitals face cybersecurity risks in surprising new ways

30-day adulting challenge: Financial wellness tasks to complete in a month

Automate accounts payable to optimize revenue and payments

How real-time inventory visibility can boost retail margins

Access, flexibility and simplicity: How governments can modernize payments to help their citizens

Tap-to-pay: Modernizing fare payments pays off for transit agencies and riders

Enhancing the patient experience through people-centered payments

Digital trends poised to reshape hotel payments

Restaurant survey shows changing customer payment preferences

Cybercrisis management: Are you ready to respond?

Webinar: CRE Digital Transformation – Balancing Digitization with cybersecurity risk

Fight the battle against payments fraud

Webinar: Approaching international payment strategies in today’s unpredictable markets.

Digital Onboarding helps finance firm’s clients build communities

What applying for store credit card on impulse could mean

What is financial fraud?

Webinar: CSM corporation re-thinks AP

Rethinking common time management tips

How COVID-19 is transforming healthcare payments

White Castle optimizes payment transactions

Increase working capital with Commercial Card Optimization

The latest on cybersecurity: Mobile fraud and privacy concerns

The password: Enhancing security and usability

Ways prepaid cards disburse government funds to the unbanked

Government agency credit card programs and PCI compliance

BEC: Recognize a scam

Fraud prevention checklist

Government billing survey: The digital transformation of the payment experience

4 tips for protecting your business against Coronavirus-related scams

Unexpected cost savings may be hiding in your payment strategy

Authenticating cardholder data reduce e-commerce fraud

5 Ways to protect your government agency from payment fraud

Benefits of billing foreign customers in their own currency

Top 3 ways digital payments can transform the patient experience

The surprising truth about corporate cards

Why Know Your Customer (KYC) — for organizations

ABCs of APIs: Drive treasury efficiency with real-time connectivity

6 timely reasons to integrate your receivables

5 unique ways to take your credit card benefits further

Cybersecurity – Protecting client data through industry best practices

Want AP automation to pay both businesses and consumers?

Higher education and the cashless society: Latest trends

Payment industry trends that are the future of POS

How to save money in college: easy ways to spend less

Business credit card 101

5 ways a business credit card program can grow your business

When your spouse has passed away: A three-month financial checklist

Modernizing fare payment without leaving any riders behind

Test your loan savvy

Why credit cards should be the first choice for business payments

Learn to spot and protect yourself from common student scams

How-to guide: What to do if your identity is stolen

3 ways to secure purchasing power

What is a CLO?

4 benefits to paying foreign suppliers in their own currency

Why a mobile banking app is a ‘must have’ for your next vacation

Colleges respond to student needs by offering digital payments

Webinar: Digitizing receivables to transform B2B rent payments

Improve government payments with electronic billing platforms

Webinar: Robotic process automation

Proactive ways to fight vendor fraud

Webinar: CRE technology trends

How to improve your business network security

Escheatment resources: Reporting deadlines for all 50 states

Three healthcare payment trends that will continue to matter in 2022

Luxury jeweler enhances the digital billing and payment customer experience

How to improve digital payments security for your health system

3 benefits of integrated payments in healthcare

Automate escheatment for accounts payable to save time and money

Webinar: AP automation for commercial real estate

Understanding and preparing for the new payment experience

ABCs of ARP: Answers to American Rescue Plan questions for counties

Overcoming the 3 key challenges of a lump sum relocation program

Streamline operations with all-in-one small business financial support

Checklist: What you’ll need for your first retail pop-up shop

How mobile point of sale (mPOS) can benefit your side gig

Using merchant technology manage limited staffing

How to apply for a business credit card

What kind of credit card does my small business need?

How a small business is moving forward during COVID-19

5 tips to help you land a small business loan

How Everyday Funding can improve cash flow

How to accept credit cards online

How to keep your assets safe

How to build credit as a student

Keep your finances safe and secure: Essential tips for preventing check fraud

Webinar: How to stay safe from cyberfraud

Protecting elderly parents’ finances: 6 steps to follow when managing their money

4 ways to outsmart your smart device

How to spot an online scam

Money muling 101: Recognizing and avoiding this increasingly common scam

Webinar: Mobile banking tips for smarter and safer online banking

3 awkward situations Zelle can help avoid

How to choose the right rewards credit card for you

Dear Money Mentor: How do I set and track financial goals?

5 reasons why couples may have separate bank accounts

5 tips to use your credit card wisely and steer clear of debt

P2P payments make it easier to split the tab

5 tips to use your credit card wisely and steer clear of debt

5 steps to selecting your first credit card

7 steps to keep your personal and business finances separate

How to use credit cards wisely for a vacation budget

Dear Money Mentor: How do I begin paying off credit card debt?

Money Moments: How to finance a home addition

How to spot a credit repair scam

6 essential credit report terms to know

Myth vs. truth: What affects your credit score?

Credit: Do you understand it?

Should you give your child a college credit card?


Start of disclosure content

Loan approval is subject to credit approval and program guidelines. Not all loan programs are available in all states for all loan amounts. Interest rate and program terms are subject to change without notice. Mortgage, home equity and credit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Deposit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Member FDIC.