Credit Card Processing Blog
As many consumers struggle to understand what it is, Bitcoin is slowly emerging as a serious force in the financial industry. Regulators are scrambling to pass laws to prevent the technology from spiraling out of control and merchants are wondering if they should consider accepting cryptocurrencies as a form of payment.
While there may currently not be a substantial benefit to accepting Bitcoin as a payment, the number of users is slowly growing, especially in emerging markets. For e-commerce businesses, it may be time to consider adding Bitcoin as an accepted payment method. Since this means asking your payment processing providers to add it, providers can no longer afford to ignore this emerging currency.
Created in 2009, Bitcoin uses technology to transfer funds from one consumer to another. No bank acts as an intermediary, allowing one person to send funds to another person directly. Members of the Bitcoin community are allowed to exchange Bitcoins with other members of the community without fees.
The definition of cryptocurrencies as legal tender is still under debate, however. The IRS has chosen to define Bitcoins as property rather than legal tender, stating that the currency does not hold legal tender status in any jurisdiction. Cryptocurrency transactions are taxed similarly to the way property is when transferred to one person to another.
Preparing for Bitcoin
All types of businesses should at least be aware of Bitcoin’s growing popularity, including brick-and-mortar locations. Some shops now have “Bitcoin accepted here” signs in the front window, potentially attracting customers who want a way to use their accumulated Bitcoin savings. While a business likely won’t see a sudden rush of customers after hanging the sign or placing a Bitcoin badge on its website, it does have the benefit of making a business seem progressive and forward thinking.
Payment processing services may find similar benefits from adding Bitcoin to its list of payments. Services like BitPay and Coinbase can integrate with existing payment processing services to satisfy the small but growing demand from merchants. When businesses begin shopping around for a payment processor that facilitates the transaction of cryptocurrency, the few merchants that have that method as an offering will have an edge over the competition.
Bitcoin as Competition
Many merchants may be unwilling to switch payment processors in order to begin accepting Bitcoin. Fortunately for them, they can set up a separate interface to accept Bitcoin. Numerous shopping cart interfaces exist to facilitate Bitcoin transactions, but the feature is also now built into popular shopping cart app Shopify. Using a mobile wallet app, a business can accept Bitcoin on their mobile devices, separating the transactions from their traditional payments.
This could be bad news for payment processors, especially if Bitcoin grows substantially in popularity in the coming years. By accepting Bitcoin, businesses can accept payment without paying fees, resulting in substantial savings over time. Should Bitcoin go mainstream, it would be a huge benefit to every business’s bottom line, but it would also gradually lead to major losses for payment processing providers, who rely on those fees to remain in business.
The good news is, traditional currencies are likely to remain around for many years, since the majority of consumers prefer to stay with what they understand. While emerging markets may see cryptocurrencies as a convenient way to pay, many shoppers simply find it easier to hand over a card to be swiped. With mobile payment options like Apple Pay rising in popularity, many consumers may choose convenience over signing up for a new service. After all, 76 percent of consumers still have no idea what the currency is. Until they figure that out, payment processors have nothing to worry about.
The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas bring credit cards out, as shoppers rush to get presents under the tree in time for the Holidays. As the Christmas decorations go back into storage and shoppers rush to stores to return items, however, merchants see a spike in chargebacks. For a variety of reasons, post-Christmas chargebacks are a growing problem.
Chargebacks are a serious problem for any customer-facing business. Merchants are required to pay the fee even if the merchant is found to have done everything correctly. But most often, a chargeback case is ruled in the customer’s favor, leaving the merchant with all fees, as well as the merchandise the customer was allowed to keep. Over time, these expenses can add up, severely hurting a business’s profitability. For that reason, it’s important that a merchant does anything it can to reduce chargeback risk.
Reasons for Chargebacks
To protect cardholders, banks have made it easy to file a chargeback dispute. Unfortunately, this means all too often a customer will file a chargeback before contacting the business to allow it to resolve the issue. There are several reasons for this, including:
1. Inflexible or unclear return policies. If a customer learns an item cannot be returned for a refund or that he’ll have to pay shipping costs, he may be more likely to turn to a chargeback as a resolution.
2. Confusion over the charge. A customer initiates often chargebacks after seeing an unfamiliar name on his account statement.
3. Late shipments. This is especially relevant during the holiday season, when receipt of an item in a timely manner is essential.
4. Lack of responsiveness from the company. A chargeback may be filed when a customer sends an email or tries to call a business to no avail. A customer may also have tried to return the item to the store, only to be turned away for lack of receipt or having an item in poor condition.
5. Ignored requests for cancellation of recurring charges. Companies that continue to charge customers after a request for cancellation has been filed are at high risk for a chargeback.
Chargeback Reduction Practices
While it may be too late to reduce your current round of chargebacks, you can begin to prepare yourself for next Christmas.
1. To reduce chargeback risks, offer free shipping on returns and provide a printable shipping label. For local stores, print your return policy on the receipt and state it at checkout.
2. Make sure the name on customer credit card statements matches your business name as closely as possible.
3. Be honest about the shipping turnaround for items. If an item is unlikely to arrive by Christmas, alert the customer to this as soon as possible. Provide a link that allows a customer to track his purchase each step of the way and if an item looks like it won’t arrive in time when it was originally promised it would, offer a full refund, including shipping costs.
4. Set up your systems to send auto-responses when tickets are placed. Review your return policies and make sure they’re strict enough to protect your interests without being so strict that they encourage chargebacks.
5. If you offer a recurring service such as a subscription box, take cancellations seriously. Send a confirmation email to reassure the customer his card will not be charged after the current billing period.
Chargebacks should be a last resort for customers, after all attempts at a resolution for a dispute have failed. Unfortunately, customers are often filing a chargeback dispute before even attempting to contact a business. This means merchants must be proactive to avoid a chargeback. If a business does everything it can to honor its promises, including its stated refund policies, the cardholder likely will find in that merchant’s behavior if a dispute is filed.
Credit card transaction fees are an unavoidable cost of doing business. Placing limits on the type of cards your business will accept can actually hurt you, since most customers will choose to shop somewhere else if their favorite cards aren’t accepted. This is especially true in an era of decreasing cash usage. If frequenting your establishment means an extra trip to an ATM or not earning points toward a reward, customers are likely to choose the competition.
Some cards go beyond simply charging a slightly higher fee for swipes, though. Premium cards, available primarily to high-end customers with big bank accounts, lure elite members in with promises of higher credit limits and perks, like exclusive access to airport lounges. The Visa Black Card, Citi Executive Aadvantage World Elite Mastercard, and the Discover Premium Plus all give their high-dollar cardholders the VIP treatment. But for a standard business, the fees for accepting these cards can be a bit tough to take.
Growing in Popularity
Recent attempts by credit card companies to increase the prevalence of these cards have ignited a wave of merchant complaints across the globe. If more consumers begin using premium cards, businesses will see an escalating increase in fees. In Canada, Visa and MasterCard agreed to lower fees after active lobbying by businesses, who said increased premium card usage would force businesses to increase prices for all customers.
For the average business, the only benefit to accepting premium cards is that it draws in wealthier customers, who would presumably spend more. However, for a business like a gas station or coffee shop, this isn’t necessarily the case. Even if a premium cardholder does spend more at a shop like this, it often isn’t enough to make up for the increased fees.
Declining Premium Cards
When a customer hands over a premium card, a business owner’s first instinct may be to recoil. That business owner’s second instinct may be to hang a sign refusing to accept certain cards. Unfortunately, if a merchant accepts one type of card, it must accept them all. In other words, a business can’t prohibit the use of a Visa Black Card while accepting every other type of Visa. This is in violation of a merchant’s cardholder agreement.
One way merchants avoid paying higher fees is by excluding American Express from the card types they accept. American Express fees are generally around 3.5 percent per transaction, compared to two to three percent fees for Visa or MasterCard. This rules out the American Express Centurion Card and Platinum Card, taking two popular VIP cards out of play. Since American Express is less popular with consumers than Visa and MasterCard, it can often be discontinued without noticeable repercussions to the business.
Perks for Premium Members
If your business offers products or services that might appeal to big spenders, you may want to embrace premium cards, rather than try to avoid them. A service-oriented business could offer a deluxe package for Visa Black cardholders that gives them one of the VIP perks they want as a premium card user.
Perks premium cardholders enjoy include concierge service for booking hotel and restaurant reservations and special treatment at these locations. If your business might appeal to wealthier travelers, consider contacting one of these concierge services to make sure your business is on the radar. This could bring in business you wouldn’t get otherwise.
While premium credit cards come with higher fees, merchants have no choice but to accept it. By accepting the widest variety of card types you can handle, you’ll better serve your customer base, increasing the odds that they’ll come back.
Successful businesses place top priority on customer service, always striving to offer the best experience possible for every patron. For retailers, this commitment often focuses on the cash register, where employees have the chance to directly interact with each customer. A good experience could bring referrals and return visits, while a bad visit could result in reputation damage, both online and around town.
One aspect of customer service that tends to impress customers most is the ease of each transaction. While hospitable service is vital, a long, slow-moving line can scare people off even more than unfriendly service. By making payments as easy as possible, businesses can keep checkout lines at a minimum and create a painless payment experience that makes customers look forward to shopping with them.
Enter Contactless Payments
Thanks to the emergence of Near Field Communication (NFC) in smartphones, contactless payment technology is beginning to make its way to the consumer market. More than 40 merchants now accept Apple Pay and the company is working to add to that number. But the technology has been around for a while, traced as far back as Exxon-Mobil’s Speedpass, which debuted in 1997.
Visa has been working to expand the reach of its payWave program to include more merchants. Visa has a page with information for merchants and it encourages businesses to contact them for more information. MasterCard’s contactless solution, PayPass, has a toolkit to help merchants make the change. As many businesses upgrade to EMV to meet this year’s compliance deadline, contactless technology will likely be seen at more retail locations.
There are many benefits of contactless payment options, in addition to happier customers. One of those benefits is that the easier the process of paying is, the more likely someone is to spend. MasterCard estimates that in Canada, customers spend approximately 25 percent more each month using a PayPass than they would using a traditional card. It seems that when a customer doesn’t have to fumble for cash to make a purchase, that person spends more freely.
Because contactless payments speed up cash register lines, a business also benefits from being able to process more customers in a given day. A customer might be scared off by a long line and leave without buying, so a speedy checkout line may also increase the number of customers who purchase instead of merely window shopping.
The Mobile Connection
The introduction of contactless payments to the mobile platform introduces a competitive element. New iPhone users, for instance, may be eager to use Apple Pay, but they’ll have to go to one of the national chains currently accepting the payment. Stores like Walgreens and McDonald’s can gain an edge over the competition by winning those customers.
The availability of contactless payments may also drive a consumer’s daily purchasing decisions. A customer could get in the habit of lunching at the same place every day due to the mere fact that his or her contactless payment method of choice is accepted there. Stores like Starbucks and WalMart could lose customers by mere virtue of the fact that they are refraining from accepting mobile payments.
Businesses interested in gaining an edge should research the potential for contactless payments at their locations. Credit card processors can walk a merchant through the options available to meet its needs, as well as locating the equipment necessary to make NFC technology a reality. By serving as an early adopter, a business can position itself to win customers in the early days, before contactless payments become mainstream. It may be a year or two before consumers begin leaving their wallets in their pockets, but the industry is at the beginning of a very important transition and it’s important that businesses learn as much as possible about it.
Customers have grown accustomed to being asked, “debit or credit?” when swiping cards at the register. For the many consumers who have cards that work as either, this question seems to only differentiate between entering a PIN number or signing a name. However, there are some benefits to using credit that merchants should know about in case customers ask.
The Death of Annual Fees
Some customers have good reason to avoid credit cards. Unless a cardholder has the discipline to pay off the full balance every month, a balance can quickly add up, with monthly interest added on to that amount. With a debit card, funds are withdrawn directly from the consumer’s bank account, with no balance or interest.
For customers who effectively manage that debt, however, there are many features a credit card provides that a debit cannot. Since many credit cards now charge no annual fees to consumers, this means a credit cardholder can regularly use a card with zero fees.
They may seem identical, but as CNN pointed out during the Target breach, consumer protection laws treat credit and debit cards very differently. Depending on a consumer’s bank, a debit card theft could leave a customer liable for as much as $500 of a fraudulent transaction, whereas a credit card breach leaves customers responsible for absolutely nothing.
Even more important, however, is the immediate damage a data breach or stolen credit card number does to a customer. A fraudster can wipe out the entirety of a debit cardholder’s checking account, whereas a credit card balance simply collects until it’s paid. For debit users, this means that a vital account can be without funds as bills come through, creating a mess of declined payments that could take months to unravel.
In recent years, consumers have realized the benefits of rewards-based credit cards, with points added for every dollar spent. While some debit cards come with similar reward programs, consumers can often find a more lucrative deal, due mostly to the abundance of reward card options associated with credit cards. A consumer can access a card that provides double points on some items and even allows those points to be exchanged for cash instead of gifts or gift cards.
A big bonus to credit card rewards programs is that they may even prompt customers to spend more freely. Knowing that each dollar is one step closer to a Disney World trip or a $100 cash back reward, a customer may purchase an additional item or charge when they would have otherwise paid cash.
Because PIN-entered debit transactions often incur lower fees, businesses tend to encourage customers to pay by debit. This is done by making debit the default option and requiring customers to hit “cancel” on the pinpad to process it as debit. PIN debit transaction fees can often be significantly lower per swipe than credit transaction fees, saving a merchant money over the course of the day.
However, this could be at the expense of good customer service. If, for instance, a customer’s card is stolen or double charged, the customer is much more likely to hold it against the store if he’s liable for a fee and never return. He may also take to the Internet to tell everyone he knows about his loss at the hands of a retailer, costing that business even more money.
Credit and debit are both great payment methods, but credit transactions can bring customers a greater level of protection than those conducted by debit. By resisting the urge to encourage customers to pay by debit, businesses can improve customer service and avoid a situation where customers are angered due to lack of protection during a fraudulent transaction or data breach.
The goal of credit card processing is to accept more payments, thus boosting your company’s bottom-line, right? Well, with so many credit card companies out there trying to boost theirs, it often results in high processing fees for merchants. However, there are things to keep in mind when negotiating your contract. Let us help you out!
If you run a small business, you probably don’t have extra cash to toss in the pockets of overcharging credit card processors. The goal of diversifying your payment infrastructure should be to see more wins, not the other way around. That’s why we’re here to offer you some advice on how to best save money on your processing. We hope it helps save you a few dollars along the way.
Have you ever walked into a gas station to buy a Pepsi only to find that you had to purchase another item in order to pay with a credit/debit card? It’s one of the more annoying things for customers, but a complete necessity for many merchants. We thought we’d help demystify this process so that we all have a better understanding of why minimum credit card purchases exist.
Despite the fact that Android is the dominant mobile operating system, solutions seem to be consistently geared toward iOS. If your business runs on Android tablets and smartphones, finding the best payment processing service can be challenging, since some providers’ mobile options are compatible solely with iPhones and iPads.
As Android tablets have grown in popularity, however, this trend has begun a gradual shift. Today’s merchants have a wide variety of options for their virtual terminals. Here are some tips for setting up your Android tablet to serve as your in-store POS.
Android-Based Virtual Terminals
For a more comprehensive solution, a merchant should shop around for an all-in-one virtual terminal solution. An Android virtual terminal includes a cash drawer and credit card reader, as well as a receipt printer and PIN pad. This offers a business the professional POS setup it needs. In some cases, additional mobile devices can be added to the system to help with handling in-store customer volume.
Another option for businesses is to set an Android tablet up with a swivel base that allows it to be turned around to capture the customer’s signature. These attractive options are a great solution for retailers who solely deal with credit card transactions or have a separate system for handling cash.
Almost all processing providers offer mobile payment processing, with apps available for Android or iOS devices. All a retailer needs is a tablet, card reader, and wi-fi connection to begin processing payments. This option is great for merchants who want the dual option of being able to accept payments in store and while on the go. Some businesses even use Android tablets to allow employees to accept payments away from a fixed location. A sales clerk can cut wait times, for instance, by swiping payments for customers from wherever they are in the store.
Cayan’s MerchantWARE Mobile provides a card reader and software that can be downloaded to a tablet or smartphone running the Android operating system. The payment gateway is equipped to process payments, void transactions, refunds, tip adjustments, and a variety of payment types, including signature- and PIN-based debit cards, credit cards, and gift and loyalty cards. With Cayan’s advanced reporting tools, a merchant can get more out of a tablet-based virtual system than some traditional POS systems.
If your business is ready to start accepting payments on your Android device but your processor doesn’t offer an Android option, it might be time to choose a third-party solution. Several Android-based POS systems integrate with a variety of payment processing companies. A solution like this will let you keep the processor you prefer while also being able to use your Android as a virtual terminal.
GoPago is one of several providers that can integrate with a company’s existing processor. Under its “Keep Your Processor” plan, companies request more information to learn whether a processor’s system can be integrated with GoPago’s. If a business doesn’t yet have a processing provider, GoPago can recommend one from its list of partner processing companies. GoPago can turn an Android smartphone or tablet into a POS, providing all of the tools a business needs to get started accepting payments.
Merchants with Android tablets and smartphones often encounter challenges when trying to find a payment processing provider that will work with the technology they currently have. These options can help merchants shift to Android-based payment processing without switching providers or purchasing a new tablet. If a merchant is interested in setting up an Android-based virtual terminal and have an existing processing provider, the first course of action is to ask your current provider what options they have available to help.
As tax time approaches, retailers are preparing to deal with all of the paperwork that comes with filing. Even businesses that use a tax preparation service are forced to gather sales data for accountants to use to complete the necessary forms. Most merchants pay taxes on a monthly or semi-weekly basis, which means the big tax deadline is just a system of checks and balances.
If you’re shopping for a POS for your business, now is the time to consider a system that will do part of the work for you. For existing systems, modules may be available that will connect your POS to accounting software that will help. Your register is tracking purchases anyway, so why not put that technology to use to help you with your taxes?
While POS software can calculate sales tax and offer reports for tax purposes, a retailer needs more robust tools for handling tax filing. For the widest range of options, most merchants will need to find a solutions provider that offers integration with one of the more popular tax software packages.
Cayan integrates with QuickBooks, with the information deposited into the merchant’s QuickBooks account. With few changes on the front end, a merchant’s back-end operations can enjoy the efficiency of POS-accounting integration. QuickBooks is one of the most popular tools for tracking income and expenses for the purpose of paying taxes.
To streamline the process even further, some processing providers have advanced accounting features built in. Flagship Merchant Services provides free access to Bookkeeper 2007, a solution that not only keeps up with income and expenses, but also tracks inventory and helps manage bills and invoices. With everything integrated into one package, a merchant can easily generate the reports needed to turn into its tax preparer.
Bookkeeper 2007 has more than 115 reports, each of which can be customized to display specific information. These reports can be exported to either csv or txt format to meet your tax preparer’s requirements. This software can also be used to manage payroll and calculate rates for hourly and salary employees, which helps with estimating payroll taxes for payment.
The Search for Software
If your processing service doesn’t offer POS with advanced features like these, you can actually go a different route. Multiple software packages are available that can connect to a business’s existing POS system, often having been designed to work with the most popular solutions on the market. These packages will ensure compliance with tax regulations without requiring hours of manual calculations.
If your POS doesn’t offer a module specific to sales tax, you likely have reporting as one of your features. If those reports are arriving in PDF format or as a webpage, ask your processing provider if they can provide reports in a more usable format. If reports aren’t covering the information you need to prepare your taxes, request a report that is more customized to your needs. This may be an easier route than purchasing extra software or changing to a new processing provider if your provider is willing to supply these reports.
Choosing a payment processing service that helps with tax reporting isn’t difficult. There are many POS systems that integrate with great bookkeeping options. However, if you’re otherwise satisfied with your payment processing service and have no desire to change anytime soon, speak to them about your requirements. Chances are, they’ll be able to come up with a solution that will not only help, but will work within your current budget. You’ll save time on duplicate entry and manual calculations while also avoiding costly errors.
Credit card fraud cost businesses $11.27 billion in 2012, according to the Nilson Report, including the cost of lost merchandise and chargeback fees. As criminals have become more sophisticated, businesses are challenged to protect themselves, catching fraud early to avoid costly losses. If businesses can learn to spot a bad credit card number from the beginning, they can turn suspicious purchases away and avoid problems.
But how does a business reduce fraud without turning away valuable income? Spotting credit card fraud has become even more complicated in an era of card-not-present transactions, where businesses can’t verify signatures or check IDs of customers. There are a few ways credit card fraud can be detected, both in store and over the internet. Here are a few tips for detecting fraudulent transactions at the point of sale.
With Address Verification Service (AVS), the billing address of the customer is compared with the billing address entered online or given by phone. If the two come back as a mismatch, the transaction is declined. While some address mismatches can be due to customer error, often this is a sign that the card is stolen and the criminal doesn’t know the holder’s address. However, it’s important to note that a thief can still look up the address online and possibly gain access to the information necessary to get through AVS.
Another popular form of verification is Card Verification Methods (CVM), which is a three- or four-digit code on the strip on the back of a card. CVM makes it more difficult for someone to steal a bank of credit card numbers and use them online. In a card-present transaction, stores are at an advantage because they can verify that the signature on the credit card slip matches the one on the back of the card. However, too often employees are lax in verifying signatures. Employees should be trained to closely scrutinize each signature for a match before finalizing a transaction.
There are transactions that can throw up red flags for businesses. When these concerning behaviors are present, employees should be trained to handle them. If no business policies are in place, a representative may be inclined to choose good customer service over declining a sale. In person, several telltale signs may be present, including excessive dollar amounts or attempts by the customer to distract the cashier. Make sure employees are trained to reject transactions if the card isn’t present or the customer say the card belongs to someone else.
For online businesses, spotting fraud can be more challenging. Many e-tailers choose to flag transactions above a certain dollar amount or repeat transactions from the same IP address within a short period of time. When a shipping address differs from the billing address, it can also be a sign of fraud, although some customers have items shipped to a work address or PO box, so this isn’t guaranteed.
Both traditional and online businesses can protect themselves by utilizing payment processing service with built-in fraud protection. Both Flagship Merchant Services and CreditCardProcessing.com use Authorize.net to keep merchants safe. With Authorize.net’s Advanced Fraud Detection Suite, multiple filters and tools are put in place to catch fraudulent transactions. This includes an Advanced AVS Handling Filter that allows merchants to flag suspicious purchases for monitoring or hold them for manual review.
As criminals become more sophisticated, so will the tech tools used to catch them. When a business takes measures to stop credit card fraud before a transaction goes through, that business can prevent financial loss due to fraud while still retaining its commitment to high-quality customer service.
A businesses Point of Sale (POS) system is the heart of its operations, processing payments and tracking purchases. Whether a POS is installed in a storefront or attached to a on online store, it’s important that it has the right features to help a merchant maintain its commitment to customer service.
Many retailers are discovering the benefits that the right POS solution can bring to other business areas, as well. When integrated with other systems, daily transaction information can be input directly into an organization’s accounting software, CRM, HR management solutions and more. By connecting these systems, a business can streamline operations, removing process to save time and money.
Inventory Through POS
The best tool for tracking a business’s inventory is its POS. The right processing software ties in with a business’s inventory, removing an item as it is purchased. Many of today’s brick-and-mortar stores also have online presences that require updated inventory lists, as well. Thanks to big-box retailers, customers are growing accustomed to being able to search a business’s website for an item and learn how many are available both online and at local stores. This can drive customers to different locations, since they’ll have a guarantee there will be at least one available for pickup today.
If a business chooses to provide real-time inventory information to the public, it’s important to make sure that information is updated and accurate at all times. If a customer crosses town to purchase a product promised to be there, that customer’s trust in a business will be lost. He’ll likely also share his experience with friends and family.
Benefit to Customer Service
This technology has a benefit to merchants, as well. Without such a system in place, shops are required to field multiple calls each day from customers inquiring if a product is in stock. Each call requires an employee to take time out of his busy day to check for a product on the shelf or in the system. If customers are in the store at the time, these calls can be especially disruptive, since they take workers away from helping the customers in front of them. Having that information online reduces those calls, allowing in-store workers to focus on providing the best customer service possible to the customers in the store.
When inventory processes are automated, businesses spend less time counting products and manually entering them into systems. Many payment processing providers have solutions that automate accounts receivable, as well, allowing businesses to automatically log how many of each item is in stock by each day’s delivery. When all of these solutions work in tandem with each other, a business can put that extra time into helping customers.
Flagship Merchant Services offers a full suite of solutions, including built-in inventory management and free Bookkeeper 2007 software. Once Bookkeeper is installed, merchants can manage all daily accounting tasks from one screen. The software includes Accounts Receivables, billing, invoice management, and much more.
Many merchants also offer mobile inventory management, allowing businesses to connect to their databases from any device. This makes it easy to conduct routine inventory audits, since an employee can walk around with a tablet or smartphone, verifying the recorded inventory against what is currently available in store or at the warehouse. Mobile inventory management functionality also means store owners can verify updated inventory information while on the go.
When a business chooses a POS that captures inventory and tracks accounting information, it can not only save money but reduce costly errors. If a payment processing service doesn’t offer this functionality, often it can integrate with partner products that will create the infrastructure a business needs to automate everything.
Despite the emergence of NFC-enabled payments, cash still remains a relevant player in today’s consumer market. For low-dollar purchases especially, consumers still prefer to pay cash, despite the fact that most retailers have no minimum spending limits on credit card usage. If a purchase’s total comes to only one or two dollars, cash payment is especially likely, even when a customer is earning reward points or cash back for each dollar spent on a credit card.
As consumers begin to enjoy the convenience of credit card payment by smartphone, however, the shift away from cash may continue. By just holding a smartphone or smartwatch near a reader, consumers can pay for items without even extracting a wallet. Along with several other benefits, credit and debit cards are continuing to win the payment war.
At one time, cash seemed to be the easiest way to pay at the register, since personal checks required a great deal of writing and credit cards had to be copied using an imprinter machine. As that technology evolved, it became easier for customers to swipe and sign than dig out cash and wait for change. Smartphones promise to make it even easier. Additionally, the only way to access cash is to regularly make trips to the ATM, while a credit card eliminates that extra step.
If a thief steals your wallet as you’re leaving the grocery store, all of the cash in that wallet is irreplaceable. Your credit cards can be cancelled immediately, though, and if any purchases are made, the credit card issuer will cover it as part of the protection. Although credit card technology isn’t perfect, when a fraudster does find a way to steal a consumer’s credit card number and use it, those charges are absorbed by the bank, usually with no penalty whatsoever to the cardholder.
3. Purchase Tracking
Another benefit of using a credit card is that purchases can be tracked, with many banks providing expense reporting and connecting to financial software like QuickBooks. With cash, a consumer can easily blow through hundreds of dollars each month with no way to know where the money went. Credit card purchases make it easy to set a budget and monitor spending to make sure it’s in line with that budget.
Many credit and debit cards now come with rewards programs, where each dollar spent earns one point or more. Those points can be used for cash back, prizes or gift cards. These programs are a win for both the customer and credit card companies, since they encourage consumers to swipe every purchase. Being rewarded for things they’d buy anyway gives consumers extra incentive to choose a rewards-based credit card.
5. Credit Building
Responsible credit card use can help build a consumer’s credit score, especially if monthly payments are made on time. For debit cardholders, however, this isn’t a benefit, since the money is coming from a bank account rather than being logged as a loan. If credit score building is important to a consumer, he should consider switching to a credit card and simply paying it off with every paycheck. When it comes time to buy a home or take out a loan for a car payment, a consumer will see his regular credit card payments reflected in his high credit score.
While there still are isolated instances when cash is a necessity, credit and debit cards are increasingly becoming the sole payment method for many consumers. When used responsibly, plastic is a great way to pay for items at all price points. NFC will make the process easier, moving lines along and allowing retailers to process more customers each day.
If you’re running a small business, there’s probably a lot on your plate without much help. Aside from running day to day operations, you also have to deal with payment processors and make sure not to get cheated out of funds. There are certainly things you can do beforehand to lessen the load, so let ups help get you started.
When a business sets up an online store, one of the first priorities is finding a way to allow customers to pay. Online payment services like PayPal can be great as a temporary fix, especially for startups building their businesses on sites like Etsy and eBay. However, to truly attract sales, your business’s website should make every effort to give the appearance of a full-scale operation that competes with the biggest names in the business. Accepting all major credit cards directly on your site is an important first step in the right direction for your site. Best of all, it’s the easiest task to accomplish, with processing services often handling the vast majority of the work. Within a matter of hours, a company can have credit card processing functionality on a website, allowing it to move on to other tasks. Here are a few reasons you should set up credit card processing for your website.
The goal of any online store is to sell items. No amount of marketing will help, however, if customers are turned away by your suspiciously unprofessional website. Your site’s presentation and ease-of-use are only part of the overall picture. As soon as a customer clicks “check out” and sees that you don’t take credit cards, your odds of losing that customer increase. This can be true even if your site redirects them to a third-party service to make payment. Allowing customers to enter credit card information and click “pay” can improve follow-through and reduce shopping cart abandonment.
When you begin shopping around for a credit card processing service, you may notice each one has its own fee schedule. If you’re using a third-party service already, you’ll likely find those rates are lower than what you’re currently paying. Services like Flagship Merchant Services offer free, no-contract setup, while also setting businesses up with Authorize.net for free. With Authorize.net, your business will have access to the latest technology to protect your business from fraud and data breaches, as well as top-notch customer service.
How many customers are visiting your site each day? What’s your business’s busiest day of the year? Once you’ve set up payment processing, you’ll usually have access to reporting functions that provide insight into your payment activities each month. If you use accounting software, many services allow you to link your account directly to those solutions to make bookkeeping and tax reporting much easier. When you can consistently track your results, you can tweak your efforts to be more successful. You’ll no longer have to guess at what’s working and what isn’t.
As your online business grows, your needs will change and a payment processing service can usually grow with you. You can adjust your account type as your volume increases and even implement gift cards and loyalty programs through your processing service. Many processors also provide credit card readers to allow merchants to accept payments on the go. This allows businesses to begin making sales at locations like flea markets or conferences to start building a local presence. If an online merchant operates a storefront, a virtual terminal can be set up to process credit cards through a tablet or PC by merely adding a card reader.
As you set up and grow your online storefront, the right credit card processing service can make a big difference. You’ll be able to offer your customers the security of paying for purchases in exchange for paying a small percentage of each dollar spent. Payment processors also give businesses the ability to change their payment acceptance options as they grow with just a few small tweaks to the software and hardware they use.