Choosing a PIN debit settlement network need not be a guess-and-hope process, says Richard K. Crone, head of Crone Consulting LLC, San Carlos, Calif., but he notes that a lot of credit unions are not well versed in selection techniques. They should use three verifiable tie-breakers, he advises:
1. Assess the network’s acceptance coverage. This is the number and distribution of merchants and ATMs where your debit card will be accepted. “The networks are not all alike,” he notes. “They have regional strengths and weaknesses. They have different growth strategies.” Reliable coverage numbers are available, he adds.
2. Look for integration. Buying a bundled service is one way to get it.
3. Check out pricing and service-level commitment. Be sure to ask for the earned discount schedule, Crone advises. It costs a lot to build a PIN debit settlement network, but it costs almost nothing to run a lot of traffic through it, he explains. Additional volume is gravy, and the networks crave it. The bigger your volumes, the greater your discounts, which is what the earned discount table will tell you.
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