For some time now, we’ve been discussing and testing ideas regarding how to improve the way new brand (merchant) locations are onboarded on Fidel programs. This process is one of the most important and complex operations of card-linked technology.

Here’s the challenge: to track credit/debit card transactions at specific physical locations, we need to have the address and merchant IDs of each location, link locations by brand, submit them for onboarding with VISA, Mastercard and Amex, and keep track of the status of each location. We call this process Program Sync⚡️.

Complexity arises when each scheme has a different onboarding process, API stacks, file-based systems, authentication, encryption, error codes. Also, the expected onboarding time can vary between schemes depending on the brand or the number of locations submitted. It can range from a few days to 3 weeks to onboard new locations.

Each location needs to be submitted to all three schemes, with an address, brand name and a unique identifier called 'merchant ID' that is not always easy to get for publishers or developers. These unique IDs are the data point used by acquirers and card schemes to uniquely identify individual locations that accept card payments. To make it more interesting, one location can have multiple merchant IDs, they can be different by scheme and they can change at anytime. 😱

From the start, it has been our mission to remove all complexity and make the process really easy for third-party developers. Our approach was always — let’s define what success looks like and try to achieve that by rethinking the onboarding process.

We think it should work like this: You send us the address of the locations you want to track, we do the rest! 🙌

We’re excited to release a major Program Sync update with a set of new features that will make it easier to start tracking new locations in a program, monitor and manage the sync process.

No more merchant IDs 🛑 ✋🏼

This is it! It’s the end of the road for MIDs. From now on we do not require you to send us merchant IDs, instead we only need the merchant location addresses you want to track - we do the rest. You’re welcome! 😉

Location status by scheme

We have split the onboarding location status by scheme. We have also added more information to each location, showing whether the location is real time enabled and whether a transaction has ever been recorded at the location.

Each location can have one of four statuses: 'Inactive, Syncing, Active or Failed' for each scheme. Prior to syncing, the location is in an ‘Inactive’ state. The location status is updated to ‘Syncing’ after we submit it to the schemes. It then moves to ‘Active’ when we receive confirmation from the schemes that the location has been sucessfully on-boarded to your program. If the schemes have an issue with a specific location, the status is set to ‘Failed’ and a case is opened to resolve issue.

Authorisation and clearing transaction confirmation

We have added more information to the location object and dashboard that shows if we ever received an authorisation and/or clearing transaction from each active location.

Updated location object with new scheme related properties
Updated location object with new scheme related properties

We have updated the location object to include the new information available with new visa and mastercard nested objects. amex coming soon. The first time we receive a transaction on any scheme from this location we save the transactionId on the authTransactionId and clearingTransactionId properties. auth and clearing show if these transaction types are enabled.

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These changes are also reflected on the developers dashboard. A green check ✅ means we have received at least one transaction from this location confirming the active on-boarding status. On Mastercard and Amex a 'RT' icon will show where we can track real time authorisation transaction and the 'RT' will turn green when we receive the first auth transaction from this location.

Sync progress bar

When your program is syncing, we now show a progress bar on the dashboard where you can follow the current status and estimated finish time.

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We’ll be back with more updates and improvements soon. If you have any feedback, feel free to ping us at developer@fidel.uk.

Cheers ⚡️