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Shift4 Merchant Link Acquisition (what it means for MICROS customers)

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Most Merchant-link customers running MICROS/Oracle Hospitality point of sale have received certified letters and emails explaining their system will no longer be able to process cards as of January. In this letter, explaining the Shift4 Merchant Link Acquisition, customers are informed they can switch to Shift4 for their third-party solution or for all of their processing needs. Because restaurateurs are constantly bombarded with emails and letters claiming the “end of days” is coming, there is little doubt such letters are received with skepticism.

Shift4 Merchant Link Acquisition
Shift4 Merchant Link Acquisition will affect most MICROS customers.

So, what are the
facts?

  • Shift4 did indeed acquire Merchant-link and is now actively recruiting customers over to their platform.
  • You are not required to go with Shift4 – there are several other solutions.
  • Shift4, unlike Merchant-link, is a processor themselves. They are very interested in you becoming their credit card processing customer.
  • You can use Shift4 to process through your current processor like you did through Merchant-link, but there is now going to be a $0.05/transaction fee billed separately. In the past, this fee was included on your merchant statement, or built into the back-end of your processor. It was there, even if you didn’t see it. Not all processors chose to show it. Now it will be billed through ACH monthly as a separate charge.

What does all this mean?

Why did I need Merchant-link to begin with?

Especially in the beginning of the PCI
compliance era, MICROS was so big, with so many customers on different
platforms, Merchant-link provided a third-party “clearing house” and
tokenization of credit card transactions to keep the info from residing on each
customer’s server. Rather than develop their own interface, they outsourced it
to Merchant-link as a preferred vendor. MICROS dealers resold these interfaces
and the cost to install them for $650-1500 depending on complexity.
Merchant-link had fallen behind in the updating of their system, especially in
regards to EMV chip transactions. Competitors, like Shift4, Paygistix, Clover,
et. al., developed better solutions and swooped in to gobble up those customers
by developing other third-party solutions.

Shift4 says I’ll have
to buy equipment, pay fees, installation and more if I don’t use them!

Yes, they do. Do you? Not necessarily.
You’ve heard the old adage: Nothing is truly
free.
Right? Well, that’s true. Sure, a processor (like Shift4) might
give you free, or severely discounted equipment for you switch your processing
to them, but at what cost? Usually the processor is told to recoup that cost in
6 months or less. But after that 6 months you’re still paying the higher rate,
usually for a 3 to 5 year contract. It is almost always
better to pay for equipment upfront and negotiate the lowest possible rate.
The equipment will
have paid for itself in 6 months or less, instead of the other way around.

Now what?

I like/dislike my current processor, but I definitely need to take credit cards after December 2019 or my business will close!

  • Option #1: You can keep your current processor, install the Shift4 interface, add chip readers (optional) and pay .05/transaction. This is great for those who are positive they have an amazing credit card contract. Pay the 5 cents and install fee of $800+.
  • Option #2: Switch to Shift4 processing and they’ll “give” you all that stuff. Probably not a great long term solution. Above all, as a small business owner, your total cost of ownership and processing fees will not be favorable to you.
  • Option #3: Is EMV important to your business? Some operators have opted out. There are several direct-drivers for MICROS that will connect directly to processors and are PCI compliant but will not feature EMV or P2P transactions.
  • Option #4: Throw out your $18,000+ MICROS system and replace it with something else.
  • Option #5: A customized solution which makes sense for your business.

The fact is, there are many different solutions available to small business owners with MICROS installed as their point of sale system. The best way to navigate the Shift4 Merchant Link Acquisition, is to schedule a conversation with us and we will talk through it together to determine a resolution which fits your business. Whichever solution you choose, we can help implement, program, install and support it for you.

We have several years of MICROS
programming, repair, and installation experience, as well as relationships with
multiple card processing companies.

We will help you navigate your options.

Reach out to us and we’ll set up a time to talk: http://www.eriehospitality.com/contact-us/

Shift4 Merchant Link Acquisition MICROS POS

Update on Shift4 Merchant Link Acquisition!

Some MICROS customers have been informed their credit cards will still be active until the end of March 2020. Also, Shift4 does not have an active EMV chip option for the Micros e7 platform as of the writing of this article.

Erie Hospitality

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2 thoughts on “Shift4 Merchant Link Acquisition (what it means for MICROS customers)”

  1. WE have a CBORD Micros 3700 system using Merchantlink. CBORD wants ~$3000 to replace the Merchantlink system with Freedompay. Shift4 will replace our equipment at “no cost” and say that they will match our current fees. What do you advise?

    1. Well, the old saying: “Nothing comes for free” comes to mind. If CBORD wants 3000 and Shift4 wants $0. Odds are, the true cost is somewhere in between. “Matching rates” is always a common sales technique. For how long? What type of rate, Tiered, Interchange+? Also, will either be providing EMV/Chip-reading pin pads? They are already a protection against chargebacks and MICROS has done virtually nothing to provide a solution choosing to depend on 3rd parties. Within the next several years EMV will be required for most card transactions. Is their solution compatible with pin pad readers? What about Pin-debit?
      These are the questions I would ask.
      My assumption is you’re an educational install. I believe I know a solution which does all of the above but I have to make sure it interfaces with the CBORD DB. Pin-pads cost money – about $150-300 a piece (one needed for each terminal location). They can run on WIFI, but would need ethernet otherwise. If they’re giving you equipment, they are making their money back in the rate somehow, whether they “match” or not. Many locations don’t realize they’re currently overpaying, so to match it is great for a salesperson. Personally, I’m a pay for equipment upfront guy and pay a lower rate in the long run.
      If you have any further questions, or would like me to explore some other options for you, feel free to reach out to me directly. I’ll send you my email privately. Cheers!

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