BlockChyp Releases Cash Discount Support

April 27, 2020

Today BlockChyp released another batch of new features to help merchants and developers grow during the pandemic. This is our second major release since the onset of COVID-19 and touches all aspects of the BlockChyp system from SDKs to the firmware to the gateway to the merchant and developer portal.

One of the biggest new features is cash discounting and surcharging support. Using this feature, developers can add surcharges to cover processing fees or structure the surcharges as cash discounts. There are a number of common approaches to this feature in the payments industry and rather than force developers into a single option, BlockChyp supports both commonly used models in addition to “real” cash discounting.

The Rules

For those unfamiliar with cash discounting, it’s essentially a payments industry euphemism for surcharging. (The payments industry often uses the word discount when they really mean fee.) Cash discounting was originally developed as a way to allow merchants to pass credit card processing fees onto their customers. This is permitted provided the merchant posts appropriate signage and provided that debit cards are treated like cash. BlockChyp’s cash discount tools are geared toward helping you comply with the debit card rules.

There are three ways to implement cash discounting in BlockChyp:

  • Surcharging: Under this model, a surcharge is added to all credit transactions. Debit transactions run normally with no surcharging.
  • Surcharging With Cash Discount: Mathematically the same as plain surcharging. Under this model a surcharge is added to all transactions, but an offsetting cash discount is applied to debit transactions. This is a good option if you want to show debit card holders their discounts.
  • True Cash Discounting: This model runs credit transactions normally, but applies a cash discount for debit transactions. This should be used carefully, because it reduces the total of the transaction for debit cards. Usually merchants who use cash discounting want transactions marked up to cover fees, not truly discounted.

Developers can test this functionality by enabling cash discounting in the new Test Settings page and setting some test pricing. For each transaction, developers pass in surcharge and cashDiscount flags to indicate which cash discounting mode they want. This allows developers to change modes on a per merchant and even a per transaction basis. For example, a merchant may want to apply a surcharge only for transactions below a certain amount.

The receipt suggestions section of all Authorization Responses now includes surcharge and cashDiscount fields. Developers must put these values on receipts and should be aware that with surcharging and cash discounting, authorized amounts and requested amounts may differ.

The BlockChyp API now also includes a cash discount calculation API just in case you want to calculate cash discounts for real cash transactions. This doesn’t involve the payment terminal or credit cards and BlockChyp doesn’t make any money on it. But if you implement a cash discount program the right way, you’ll probably need it.


Merchants wishing to use cash discounting or surcharging must be approved by underwriting and must be on flat rate pricing. Interchange Plus pricing cannot be used with cash discounting.

Other Stuff

This was a big release. It also includes some big improvements to the reporting systems, a direct signature capture API, configurable tip and cash back amounts - along with a number of other bug fixes and enhancements.

BlockChyp Platform Version 1.8 / SDK Version 2.3 Release Notes:

  • Cash Discounting / Surcharging: Added support for three surcharging and cash discounting modes. Self service tools to make testing this feature easy and a separate API for generating cash discount calculations for real cash transactions.

  • Direct Signature Capture: Similar to the terms and conditions system, this lower level API allows developers to capture signatures directly from the terminal and return them as PNG or JPEG images.

  • Test Settings Page: For test merchant accounts, we’ve added a new Test Settings page to allow developers to mess with settings that are normally only available to BlockChyp administrators and underwriters for real merchant accounts. This allows developers to setup their test accounts just the way they like without contacting BlockChyp support for help.

  • Default Tip Percentages: Merchants can now override the default percentages for terminal tip prompts.

  • Default Cash Back Amounts: Merchants can also override the default options for cash back amounts.

  • Volume Analysis Charts: New reporting tools make it easy for partners and merchants to monitor their week-over-week volume and easily see how their volume is trending for a given day of the week. There’s also a pretty bar chart.

  • Raised Default Contactless EMV Floor Limits: Contactless EMV floor limits have been raised to cope with increased demand during the pandemic. For security reasons, we won’t publish the limits here, but they’re available from support upon request. For most merchants, this will simply reduce the frequency of Contactless EMV transactions falling back to Contact EMV.

  • Signature CVM Override: Likewise, developers now have the option to override signature CVMs by passing in the disableSignature flag. An emergency measure for use during the pandemic that will be deprecated once the crisis abates.

  • Callback URL Notification for Payment Links: Payment link transactions can be submitted with a callback URL. This URL will be notified in real time when the customer submits a payment. Even a declined payments trigger notifications so you can track declines.

  • Forced Debit Mode: BlockChyp has long prided itself on figuring out the payment method based on what the customer presents instead of requiring the point-of-sale system to send in flags and therefore add another step to the cashier’s workflow. The spike in unemployment debit cards during the pandemic, which cannot fall back to credit, has required us to add a forced debit mode. When the point-of-sale passes in the debit flag, the card will be treated as debit. If it’s not really a debit card, it will be declined. We recommend this only be used in situations where an MSR debit card is likely to be used. There’s no need to pass in a debit flag when transactions are likely to be EMV.

  • Improved Tokenizer Rendering on iOS: We’ve modified the third party iframe tokenizer to look better on iOS and smaller form factor devices.

  • Paging and Searching: Most of the dashboard screens that deal with large amounts of table based data have been modified to support paging and searching.

Learn More

To learn more about these new features or how BlockChyp can help your software company, Contact Us.