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European Merchant Services Review 2017

European Merchant Services, also known as EMS, was formed in 2005. The organisation is a joint venture between International Card Services (ICS), a major Dutch credit card company, and First Data, a payment services and e-commerce services provider. The head office is Diemen, Netherlands,

Initially EMS focussed on Dutch and Belgian EPOS payment solutions, but has now branched out to encompass the whole of Europe and incorporating e-commerce. Currently EMS serves 13 European countries.

Review
European Merchant Services ReviewRating
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Products and Features

EMS provides a comprehensive range of services for businesses that work locally and internationally. These include electronic point of sale (EPOS) terminals, services for online shops and dynamic currency convesion. Their credit card processing encompasses all major card providers. All prices are on application.


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Point of Sale Merchant Services

EMS provides payment services to businesses that wish to accept credit and debit card payments from their customers. They also help merchants select the best PDQ terminals for their business. Additional services include Dynamic Currency Conversion and sophisticated reporting tools.

Credit Card Processing

EMS process the following credit and debit cards:

  • MasterCard (including premium cards such as Platinum MasterCard, MC World Signia, MC World Elite, and BijCard
  • Visa (including premium cards such as Visa signature, Visa Infinite, Visa Platinum)
  • American Express
  • Discover – there are now 50 million Discover cardholders worldwide and it has become a major credit card in the US. Currently it is accepted by over 4 million merchants mostly in the US and Mexico.
  • Diners Club – used by over 8 million customers globally and accepted by 9 million merchants.
  • Maestro – used mainly by foreign customers; over 500 million cardholders pay using Maestro globally
  • Visa Electron – real time balance check is made on each use and payment is processed immediately.
  • V PAY – the new VISA European debit card that uses only Chip and PIN technology.

Price: EMS provide pricing only on a one to one basis, though they are believed to be competitive with similar players in the industry.

Dynamic Currency Conversion

Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) allows customers to pay in their own currency. This makes it much easier for customers to understand exactly how much they are paying; without DCC they won’t know the final cost until they receive their credit card statement. DCC can be implemented on POS terminals for accepting payments using MasterCard, Visa, Maestro and V PAY. Note that the terminals must be CCV C-tap certified terminals

The payment is settled in the EMS account in Euros, so the merchant avoids any currency risk. As most customers prefer to pay in their own currency, this can give merchants who have POS DCC a competitive advantage. An additional advantage is that merchant profits are generally increased as the DCC exchange rate is advantageous to them.

Price: DCC has a negative cost as the merchant can offset the exchange rate advantage against credit card processing fees.

Online Shops

EMS provides a wide range of services to merchants who sell goods and services online. These include credit and international debit card processing; EMS reporting; Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC), 3D Secure; and Forex

Online Payment Processing

EMS online payment processing provides merchants with an end to end debit and credit card processing solution for MasterCard, Visa, Maestro and Visa Debit cards in 13 European customers. This allows merchants to combine and centralise their cross border selling processes. Specific advantages include:

  • Merchant need only one acquirer rather than one for each country
  • There is a single contact point
  • All statistics and reports can be accessed at once
  • A pricing advantage as sales are aggravated, allowing volume related discounts
  • The customer pays in his own currency and the merchant account is settled in the merchant’s local currency

Verdict

European Merchant Services is likely to appeal to merchants who trade online internationally, and especially in Europe. The main advantages are the ability to have a single acquirer rather than multiple acquirers, and being able to take advantage of volume related card processing charges.

EMS is also attractive to merchants that operate in European tourist hotspots and transport hubs where they can gain a competitive advantage by being able to offer foreign tourists Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) right at the point of sale (POS).

Next Steps

EMS is certainly an attractive option for European merchants, but is the price an attractive one for your business? To find out more, simply complete our web form and several similar merchant service providers will contact you with pricing information relevant to your particular business needs.