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Credit Card Acceptance Overview

USU's Cash and Treasury Services along with the PCI Compliance Officer and the Card Office work with departments to enable them to accept credit card payments for products and services. Departments or units with the ability to accept credit card payments are called "Merchants" by the Card Brands and are required to accept credit cards in a safe, secure manner that is in accordance with the University's Cash Handling Policy #530 and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) requirements for safeguarding cardholder account  numbers and other cardholder data. Throughout this website and during other processes, USU will interchange a department and Merchant term. 

As a card carrying society, our customers like the convenience of paying with a credit card as they purchase something in person or online.  A department wishing to accept credit cards as a form of payment should consider the following things before requesting a merchant account:

Will Accepting Credit Card Payments benefit my department? 

  • Potential revenue. What is the cost of the hardware or online application costs? What are the opportunity for increasing sales if a department expands to accepting credit cards?  Will the sales and time and effort justify the revenue opportunity. 
  • Frequency of Sales. How may transactions will be performed in a month? How many transactions will be done in a year? Is this a seasonal need? A one-time need? Or an ongoing payment solution need?
  • Payment Collection Methods. When reviewing and considering which payment collection method to adopt, consider what payment collection method best suit the business need(s) and the needs of the customer. Will your customer be paying in-person or online?  The "Credit Card Accepting Options" section of this site outlines the various options available. 
  • Technical Support. Depending on the method of credit card acceptance, departments will need varying degrees of technical support from their IT staff. Merchants may also need technical support to complete the required annual PCI compliance attestation. 
  • Department Staffing Levels. Accepting Payment Cards increase your responsibility in protecting your customer's information, adds business expenditures, and increase your daily office procedures for administering of the account, monitoring sales and reconciling deposits.  Departments must consider availability of staff for these functions.

What are the steps to becoming a Credit Card Merchant? 

For a department or unit that would like to accept credit cards, it is expected all enclosed information is read, options are evaluated, and a request is submitted for the option that best fits the situation. Departments or units should evaluate their business plan, revenue, and merchant fees when determining which option best meets their needs. Departments or units may want to have a discussion with the PCI Compliance Officer to review all aspects of credit card acceptance.

Once a department has decided on the option that best meets their needs, please submit a request through the "Request an Account" form in Service Now. As a request is submitted, the department/unit will describe their objectives and application use, provide contact information, provide Banner index accounts for revenue and merchant fee, etc. The request will go through an approval workflow review including the department head, the financial officer, the Controller's Office, the PCI Compliance Officer and the Card Office. During this process an account will be created. All additional hardware and online payment widgets will be coordinated with the requesting department. 

What responsibilities are associated with having a Merchant Account?  

A Merchant must maintain certain standards (PCI DSS) which serves to protect YOU as well as the cardholder. The university has established the guidelines, policies and procedures associated with accepting credit card payments for Merchants to adopt and comply. The Merchant Account Responsibility section of the website details out Merchant responsibilities and their role in PCI Compliance.

What if I only have an occasional need for credit card processing? 

For departments with an occasional need to accept credit cards, but don't have enough to justify investing in hardware or licensing costs ongoing, there is still an option.  For activities, events, or a conference held only one time, yearly, or with a limited sales amount, it may be in the department's best interest to leverage USU's Credit Card Rental Program located in the USU Card Office instead of purchasing equipment and becoming a Merchant.

Visit the USU's Credit Card Rental Program webpage to learn more about this program and to reserve a credit card device.