The challenge

Finding cost efficiencies is essential for any higher education institution, private or public. With an annual

transaction volume of over $56 million, this university was concerned about overhead expenses related to their payment processing. Specifically, the client wanted to ensure they secured the best possible rates for their transactions, equipment upgrades and PCI DSS compliance validation.

With hundreds of different departments, multiple services being offered by various university organizations, and many locations accepting payments on campus, the client wanted to ensure each one would be able to understand their monthly statements. The solution also had to be easy to implement across their network. As a top-tier university handling sensitive student financial and personal data, security is always a key priority.

The solution

Interchange rates are one of the primary expenses associated with accepting payments. The rates vary for each transaction and are based on the type of card used and the customer data available. Payments optimization is the process of looking for areas of improvement to secure the lowest possible rate to minimize payment acceptance costs.

Client profile

This Ivy League University has been an Elavon customer for almost 20 years. As one of the oldest, most well-respected educational institutions in the country, the university manages over 100 departments and has 288 registered undergraduate organizations. In its halls are nearly 10,000 students and scholars, almost half of which are international and represent 118 countries.

That’s why during a visit to campus, the university’s Elavon representative recommended a solution to realize cost-savings on payment processing by examining interchange fees. The solution offered a detailed analysis of the university’s transactional data to ensure that transactions cleared at the best possible rate with Level III processing. The representative also shared valuable information about Elavon’s PCI DSS compliance manager program, Safe-T security solutions, and equipment options to help offset costs.

Always mindful of expenses, the university’s Treasury Manager was interested in the opportunity to save. When she heard the solution would be easy to implement, she was eager to get started. The university’s Elavon representative worked with the Treasury Manager to explain the value and benefits of the solution to the university’s decision makers. The representative also helped the Treasury Manager learn how to explain the monthly statements to the departments, so each location can see their savings.

The results

The university reports that the Level III transaction services have been working well. The client is projected to achieve an annual ROI of over $50,000 as a result of implementing payments optimization practices.

Always searching for ways to improve and maximize efficiencies, the university is working with Elavon to consider implementing small ticket and debit optimization as well. Knowing that Elavon is a trusted partner that will proactively present ways to save allows this Ivy League University to focus on what it does best – providing outstanding education, research and scholarship.


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