If you run a high-risk e-commerce business that uses a merchant account and payment gateway to sell online, you will need to understand the term VAR sheet. Sometimes called a parameter sheet or tear sheet, these “sheets,” or, more commonly, PDFs, are an integral piece of the online payment processing puzzle.
Unlike low-risk websites that can use PayPal or Stripe, business owners that need to process payments for online firearms or other regulated items need traditional high-risk credit card processing – which means a high-risk merchant account. In addition, connecting your merchant account to your payment gateway requires a “VAR sheet” so that your payment gateway software has the correct information in order to process payments correctly.
At Blue Payment Agency, we’re here to make online payments easy, which is why we want to bring the term VAR to your attention, explain what it means, and why it’s important.
Do you need a new payment gateway or merchant account? Contact us to get started!
What does VAR stand for?
Before we start, we want to clarify what VAR stands for since VAR is an acronym for a couple of popular terms. We’re not going to discuss the term that references a popular method of evaluating risk. Instead, we’re here to discuss the term “Value Added Reseller.” It’s essential to clear up any misunderstanding about the VAR acronym before we get going.
What’s the purpose of a VAR/parameter/tear sheet?
Most e-commerce site owners use a merchant account and payment gateway to process payments online. To integrate a merchant account with a payment gateway, your gateway provider needs access to the information found on your “VAR.”
A Value Added Reseller (VAR) sheet, also known as a tear sheet or parameter sheet, is a file that contains critical credit card processing information. It’s designed to make communication between a merchant account and any third-party CRM software or payment gateway as efficient and precise as possible.
To continue with our example from the top of this page, if you are an online FFL that needs a second amendment-friendly Authorize.Net account, you need to ensure that your payment gateway transmits data correctly to your firearms “merchant account” provider, who in turn processes the credit card payments and makes deposits into your existing business checking account.
This is why any VAR sheet contains a range of business-critical information, such as:
- Merchant account platform information, for example, TSYS, Global, Paymentech, or EPX
- Business details, sometimes including approved volume limits
- Merchant Identification Number (MID)
- Payment processor or “Registered ISO” contact information
- Descriptor (what shows on a customer’s credit card statement)
- Industry code, also known as an MCC or SIC code
This information is critical to ensuring that credit card payments are routed to the correct place and processed correctly.
When is a VAR sheet necessary?
If you’re new to the online payment processing world, you might be surprised to hear how often a VAR sheet becomes necessary. For example, you’ll need it to integrate any high-risk payment gateway.
Your VAR sheet needs can become more complicated over time, especially if you start diversifying your online sales with multiple websites or product lines. In addition, different software and gateways can demand specialized information.
When is having a VAR sheet not necessary?
Sometimes website owners have gateways that their merchant account provider or reseller sets up. In this case, although there is always VAR information securely on file, the site owner may never see it. For example, at Blue Payment Agency, we regularly assist business owners with the complete process of helping businesses all the way from application to integration. As a result, a client that comes to us for one-stop payment processing never has a need to see their VAR sheet information as we handle it all for them.
In other words, consulting a payment processing specialist to make sure the details are correctly set up is usually a best practice. Generally, there is no additional cost for this service.
Need help with online payment processing? Contact us for help.
Organized VAR/parameter sheets are even more vital for high-risk businesses
It’s especially important to ensure that you have an accurate and easily accessible VAR/parameter sheet if you sell high-risk products. In addition, in order to accept online payments for a high-risk e-commerce site, you might need to integrate more than one third-party software. Often, you’ll find that you need to do this more frequently than a lower-risk site would.
However, this process will be easier to manage and maintain with the right high-risk merchant account and payment gateway setup. It can also be beneficial to consult a high-risk payment expert that can help manage the process. Contact us any time with questions or to get started.
Can you accept online payments without a VAR sheet?
It is possible for you to accept online credit card payments without a VAR sheet. However, that’s only if you use a payment aggregator like PayPal, Stripe, or Square. The issue is that payment aggregators aren’t well suited for high-risk businesses.
In other words, if you’re selling high-risk products, you’ll need to have your VAR sheets in order or reach out to a gateway expert that can help.
What if you have different points of sale?
Regardless of the type of points of sale (POS) system you use, be it retail or online, a VAR sheet is always instrumental in making sure you’re able to accept payments.
If you’re selling products from a store, your processor integrates the VAR sheet data with the physical credit card terminal to make sure payments are accepted properly.
While the format or particulars might be a little different for your online high-risk payment gateway compared to a physical card terminal, the premise is the same.
Get expert help with your VAR sheet for online payment processing
Blue Payment Agency can help you solve a variety of problems. Including helping you organize your VAR sheets within one easy-to-use gateway. We’ll help you organize and set up a “single login” payment gateway for multiple VAR sheets, should you need them. Additionally, we offer all-in-one high-risk payment processing services including free integration help.
Contact us today if you’re just starting out and unsure how to make the first step. We can help you choose or change merchant service providers or even help you set up your e-commerce site’s shopping cart.
We can help you set up a payment gateway and merchant account that will work for your business type. After all, our mission at Blue Payment Agency is to make it as easy as possible for high-risk businesses to accept credit and debit card payments online.