SETTLEMENT ASSETS AND OBLIGATIONS
|12 Months Ended|
Dec. 31, 2020
|Deferred Costs, Capitalized, Prepaid, and Other Assets Disclosure [Abstract]|
|Settlement Assets and Obligations||SETTLEMENT ASSETS AND OBLIGATIONS
Consumer Payments Segment
In the Company’s Consumer Payments reportable segment, funds settlement refers to the process of transferring funds for sales and credits between card issuers and merchants. The standards of the card networks restrict non-members, such as the Company, from performing funds settlement or accessing merchant settlement funds. Instead, these funds must be in the possession of a member bank until the merchant is funded. The Company has agreements with member banks which allow the Company to route transactions under the member bank's control to clear transactions through the card networks. Timing
differences, interchange fees, merchant reserves and exception items cause differences between the amounts received from the card networks and the amounts funded to the merchants. Since settlement funds are required to be in the possession of a member bank until the merchant is funded, these funds are not assets of the Company and the associated obligations related to these funds are not liabilities of the Company. Therefore, neither is recognized in the Company’s consolidated balance sheets. Member banks held merchant funds of approximately $103.8 million and $79.8 million at December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively.
Exception items include items such as customer chargeback amounts received from merchants and other losses. Under agreements between the Company and its merchant customers, the merchants assume liability for such chargebacks and losses. If the Company is ultimately unable to collect amounts from the merchants for any charges or losses due to merchant fraud, insolvency, bankruptcy or any other reason, it may be liable for these charges. In order to mitigate the risk of such liability, the Company may 1) require certain merchants to establish and maintain reserves designed to protect the Company from such charges or losses under its risk-based underwriting policy and 2) engage with certain ISOs in partner programs in which the ISOs assume liability for these charges or losses. A merchant reserve account is funded by the merchant and held by the member bank during the term of the merchant agreement. Unused merchant reserves are returned to the merchant after termination of the merchant agreement or in certain instances upon a reassessment of risks during the term of the merchant agreement.
Exception items that become the liability of the Company are recorded as merchant losses, a component of costs of services in the consolidated statements of operations. Exception items that the Company is still attempting to collect from the merchants through the funds settlement process or merchant reserves are recognized as settlement assets in the Company’s consolidated balance sheets, with an offsetting reserve for those amounts the Company estimates it will not be able to recover. Expenses for actual and estimated merchant losses for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018 were $4.1 million, $3.1 million, and $3.1 million, respectively.
Commercial Payments Segment
In the Company’s Commercial Payments segment, the Company earns revenue from certain of its services by processing ACH transactions for financial institutions and other business customers. Customers transfer funds to the Company, which are held in bank accounts controlled by the Company until such time as the ACH transactions are made. The Company recognizes these cash balances within restricted cash and settlement obligations in its consolidated balance sheets.
The Company's settlement assets and obligations at December 31, 2020 and 2019 were as follows:
(1) Amounts due to ACH payees are held by the Company in restricted cash.