Boulevard Offset is a program that allows you to share the cost of credit card processing with your clients. This optional program lets you charge a 3% fee on credit card payments as part of the order total. The following article provides an overview of Offset, how to opt-in, how to check out with Offset, and how to see your savings through reports.
Although credit card payments are convenient, fast, and secure for cardholders, they can be costly for merchants to process. Boulevard Offset leverages an automated and compliant surcharge model to help you recoup credit card processing costs by sharing that cost with your clients, as opposed to raising your prices across the board.
When the feature is enabled, your processing rate specifically for credit cards rises to 4%. In turn, a 3% fee is charged to your clients as part of their order total. Due to credit card brand compliance requirements, a surcharge may only be added to credit transactions - not debit or any other means of payment. Therefore, debit card transactions remain at your original processing rate. This fee structure effectively reduces your credit card processing costs to 1%.
NOTE: This feature is not available to businesses located in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and Oklahoma, or for merchants with Interchange+ processing rates.
Opting Into Offset
To opt into Boulevard Offset, please contact our Support team via Help Chat or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our team will then help you set a launch date. In the interim, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the following compliance guidelines:
MasterCard’s notification requirements direct you to use this form 30 days prior to activating a surcharge program, like Boulevard Offset. We’ve created this handy guide to help you complete each of the fields.
The card network rules also require the posting of clear signage declaring the terms of your surcharge program at your point of entry and point of sale. When you set your launch date, our team will provide you with a suggested template that you can use - or you can feel free to create your own.
Surcharge permissions vary by state, regulatory, or card network rules. Be sure to familiarize yourself with those rules.
Upon launch, the surcharge automatically appears as a “Credit Fee” at checkout, when booking online, and on customers’ receipts.
Boulevard Offset Acknowledgement:
Note that credit card surcharge permissions may vary by state, regulatory, or card network rules. Contact a tax professional or your local government for further guidance on whether your area permits surcharges. By enabling Boulevard offset, you acknowledge and agree that it is your sole responsibility to meet all legal and card network requirements, including MasterCard’s notification requirements.
Check Out with Offset
One of the main benefits of the Boulevard Offset program is that the surcharge is automated and seamless for your staff and clients at checkout. Upon card payment, Boulevard automatically detects the card type, and the Credit Fee is included when a credit card is used. The Credit Fee is calculated prior to tax, as tax must include the Credit Fee. In line with card brand requirements, the Credit Fee cannot be waived on individual transactions.
NOTE: Credit Fees are deposited to you as part of your daily standard deposits and fee revenue is reflected in your Sales and Payments Beta Reports.
Checking Out Using Boulevard Duo
To charge a card using the Boulevard Duo app and device, select “Charge card using Boulevard Duo” at checkout. The client is prompted to confirm their order total and tap or insert their card. The Boulevard platform automatically confirms whether the card is credit or debit and whether the Credit Fee should be assessed.
After the client has selected their preferred gratuity, the order total including the Credit Fee is presented. The client finalizes their payment and the order shows as completed in the Boulevard dashboard.
NOTE: For customers using a debit card that can also be used as a credit card, Boulevard uses the BIN (Bank Information Number) to identify the card as a debit.
Manual Check Out
When a card on file is selected, or when a card is input directly into the checkout window via manual entry or swipe, a banner displaying the Credit Fee prominently displays before you complete the transaction. On a receipt, the Credit Fee line item will display beneath the subtotal and prior to any tax as part of the order total.
Sample Client Receipt
Partial payments are supported with Boulevard Offset and, if a credit card is charged partially, the partial payment amount includes both the Credit Fee and tax.
Purchases through the Self-Booking Overlay
Deposits, packages, memberships, and gift card purchases made through your online booking overlay with a credit card include a Credit Fee. Card type detection occurs as the client selects a credit card on file or inputs a new credit card. The booking overlay displays a fee disclaimer prior to checkout.
Refunding a Credit Fee
The Credit Fee is automatically refunded proportionately to the refunded credit card payment amount. For example, if 50% of the card payment is refunded, 50% of the Credit Fee is included with that refund.
In reporting, a new sale type of “Fee” is visible to report on your associated fee revenue. In the Detailed Line Item report, filter to the Fee sale type to review your associated fee sales across your preferred time period. A Fee sale type is included in your Sales Summary report to allow you to cross-reference your Credit Fee sales against your merchant fees. You can also use the Merchant Activity report; a column for Offset Sales is included for each transaction.
NOTE: Credit Fee data is only visible in beta reports. Credit Fee data within the Sales Summary classic report is coming soon.
Q: Can you turn Offset off? If so, can you enable again?
If a customer no longer wishes to participate in Boulevard Offset, they can contact Customer Support or their CSM to turn off the feature (see above). Once the feature is turned off:
Clients will no longer be charged credit fees on any transaction when using a credit card
All merchant accounts for the business location will adopt the processing rates that were in place before Boulevard Offset was enabled
The customer may opt back into Boulevard Offset at any time. When opting back in, there will be no additional waiting period and the business may start charging credit fees again immediately. The customer must abide by all compliance requirements as soon as the feature is re-enabled. All merchant accounts within the business location will once again adopt a 4% processing rate for credit card transactions.
Q: Does it matter if the card is present vs. not present?
No, the credit fee and processing fee under Offset remains the same for both card-present and not-present.
Q: How does Offset work for sub-merchant accounts and multi-merchant transactions?
When a customer opts into Boulevard Offset, it is turned on for all merchant accounts within a business, including independent contractors.
When a multi-merchant transaction is processed, all fees and surcharges are applied proportionally. The client is still charged a 3% surcharge on the transaction total, which is distributed across all merchants. Likewise, all merchants still pay a 4% processing fee plus the 1% multi-merchant fee on their share of the transaction total. Therefore, each merchant will still effectively pay 1% for processing their portion of the transaction, but will also pay the additional 1% multi-merchant processing fee.