March 5, 2013

How Superbatches Can Delay Your Funding

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No. It’s Superbatch!

OK, Superbatch is not really a crime-fighting hero. Instead, a superbatch is – much like the name implies – an extremely large batch of transactions being sent for settlement. It is made up of all the individual batches that Shift4 receives in a day for a certain processor.
As you know, at the end of each day, Shift4 merchant customers submit batches containing all their payment card transactions for that day through DOLLARS ON THE NET® to their processor. Shift4 typically routes those batches to the processor for settlement immediately, but some processors have asked us to hold all batches for the day and submit them in one giant superbatch.

How does this process affect you as merchants? Well, that depends. If your daily batch submittal time is close to (but before) the cutoff that the processors have provided to us, you might not notice any difference with a superbatch. However, if you submit your batch after their cutoff time, you may notice nearly a full day’s delay in your transaction funding. Sometimes, even if you submit before the cutoff, your processor could take several hours to review and process the data we send them. Unfortunately, that delay is totally beyond our control.

Let’s look at Chase Paymentech for an example. Paymentech’s superbatch is submitted by Shift4 at approximately 10:00 a.m. each day. If you submit your batch to us at 10:05 a.m., your batch will have to be securely held by Shift4 for more than 23 hours until it can be submitted with the next superbatch. That means your funding will come a day later than expected – which is obviously not your desired outcome.

Here’s a list of the processors that have requested superbatches from Shift4 and the approximate time we submit each superbatch. (Times given are PST.)

Fifth Third Bank – 11:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.
American Express – 1:00 p.m.
First Data Merchant Services: FDMS North (Cardnet) – 10:00 p.m.
Chase Paymentech: Salem – 10:00 a.m.

As a merchant, if you use one of these processors, your best bet is to make sure your batches are always submitted to Shift4 well before the cutoff time. That way, we can ensure we submit them on time as part of our superbatch. Unfortunately, even taking these proactive steps, we cannot control the length of time your processor will take to process the transaction and for you to get your money.

Unfortunately, the superbatch times set by processors do not fit every merchant’s needs. Luckily, with Shift4, you always have options. If these times don’t work for your business, or you’d prefer to not be part of a superbatch, remember that Shift4’s neutrality makes changing banks or processors easy.