Six Reasons Why You Should Be Accepting Credit Cards

Pile of Credit Cardsby Axis Payments

If you are a business owner still thinking about offering a credit and debit card payment option to your customers and clients, here are six reasons for you to consider. They can all help your bottom line by bringing more money to your business.

1 – Fostering the Image of Your Business

Small business owners who display the familiar logos of payment networks such as MasterCard, American Express and Visa seldom realize how attractive they are to customers and clients. The reason for this is simple: when consumers see those logos, they see brands they can trust. When they see that you do business with these trusted brands, they will think of your business as one that is legitimate and trustworthy.

2 – Enabling Online Business

Even if your business is exclusively a brick-and-mortar operation at this time, you should not discount the possibility of doing e-commerce in the future. By getting a merchant card system in your business now, you are essentially preparing for more productive days ahead since you will be prepared to accept payments.

3 – Checkbooks Are Disappearing

For some reason, the United States has been a stalwart of the paper check era. This is not the case in Europe and Latin America, where checks have been mostly phased out in favor of electronic payments as well as credit and debit card transactions. American consumers are warming up to a life without checks, and this is good news for business owners who are always at risk of getting bad checks. With a merchant processing system, card transactions are approved or declined on the spot, thereby reducing the risk of bad checks.

4 – Happy Customers = More Money

Americans are abandoning checks and turning to credit and debit cards because of convenience. Many consumers dislike the idea of carrying cash; what they like is being able to pay securely with a card that they can track spending with and perhaps score points or frequent flier miles. If you want happy customers, give them the option to pay with their cards.

5 – Card Shoppers Are Bigger Spenders

With more banks combining credit and debit features into a single card, retail analysts are noticing greater patterns of spending. Consumers who run to the ATM or cash checks do not spend as much as those who have a payment card at their disposal. With the American economy improving, credit lines are becoming more generous, and thus many shoppers are spending more on their purchases.

6 – Electronic Payments Are Cheap

The merchant processing industry is very competitive these days, and this makes it very attractive for business owners. Rates, fees and high-tech terminals that process card and electronic payments do not require a major investment, particularly when considering the boost in sales.

Copyright 2015 Axis Payments

Will This Be The Most Secure Holiday Shopping Season Ever?

by Axis Payments

Last year, over one hundred million Americans had their sensitive financial data breached when they did their holiday shopping at a popular discount store. That is a lot of angry people and they slapped the retailer with at least two class-action law suits.

More criminals are targeting the U.S. for credit card fraud these days. That is because we have been slower to transition to a new, more secure system that Europe and other parts of the world have already embraced. We are beginning to make the change, though, and this may be the most secure holiday shopping season ever.

The “change” I am talking about is the introduction of EMV systems. The term simply means Europay, MasterCard and Visa, and the new cards are referred to as “chip cards or “smart cards.” What makes them smart is the chip that is embedded in them in place of the magnetic strip that older cards have. The problem with the strip is that the data stored there just doesn’t change. That means a crook can get your information when you swipe your card through the reader and replicate it, using it again and again to wish himself a very merry Christmas indeed. The chip, however, generates a different transaction code every time the card is used. If the criminal tries to use the card again, it is denied. EMV cards don’t stop the transfer of data, but they make it harder to profit from the information. You use the card in a different way, too. Instead of swiping it through a magnetic-stripe card reader, you either deposit it into a slot and wait for it to process, or you tap an NFC-enabled device against the reader.

Why has the U.S. been so slow to bring the new technology on board? Part of the reason for our tardiness, no doubt, is the cost associated with putting a reader at every point of purchase and retailers don’t see the value in the investment. Another reason U.S. retailers have not brought the new system on board is that they don’t understand their liabilities. Up until now the card issuing bank has been responsible for fraudulent charges, but new regulations shift some of that financial responsibility to the retailer if he doesn’t have an EMV system in place. The company that saw the huge holiday breach last season faced huge losses through the suits brought against it by irate customers. If the EMV system is in place and a “not-so-smart” card is used in it, the liability belongs to the company that issued the card.

Integrating the EMV system is costly and smaller companies may have a difficult time seeing the importance of making the change. Still, the incidence of credit card fraud has doubled in America in the last seven years. The liability of making reparation for losses incurred by customers after a breach could mean a bleak holiday season for even small businesses. By the end of this year credit card issuers will send out an estimated 600 million smart cards to Americans. We are well on our way to making the change that much of the rest of the world has already embraced, and this season American shoppers may not have to worry as much about fraudulent charges on their cards.

 Copyright 2015 Axis Payments

 

Which NFC POS Platform Is Best?

Are you using mobile transactions yet? This encompasses mobile point-of-sale services like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay. They all work using NFC (near field communication) technology and you now have several options…but which is the best?

It’s difficult to say, but the top 3 platforms all have their pros and cons. Apple Pay, for example, seems to have the most brand-recognition yet they’re battling the perception of being susceptible to fraud. Samsung Pay seems to have the widest reach in terms of retailer acceptance as they have built mag-stripe technology into their platform, but it only works on Galaxy S6-series devices which limits the size of their user-base. And Android Pay works across all of its devices which gives them a big advantage over the others, but their existing Google Wallet customers have been complaining about compatibility differences and the process of switching from Google Wallet to Android Pay.

Most of us will simply go with whatever works on our phones. If you’ve got an iPhone, you’ll use Apple Pay and so on. I’m sure there will be cross-platform apps like CurrentC or PayPal that bring strong offerings using NFC, as well.

 

Copyright 2015 Axis Payments

America Is A Little More European Now

by Axis Payments

US-EU-chipDespite our close political and economic ties, Americans have traditionally considered themselves distinctly different from Europe. However, when it comes to credit cards, on October 1st America became more like Europe and that’s probably a good thing.

Smart Cards

Our friends across the pond have for years benefited from a new generation of chip-enabled smart cards that make credit card processing much less susceptible to fraud. As of the first of October, any American business that cannot process a credit card using smart card technology faces new liability issues and could find themselves forced to accept responsibility for the fraudulent use of the card.

No Small Problem

Credit card fraud takes many forms and is one of the biggest issues facing businesses today. In fact, the amount of fraud adds up to a staggering sum of $10 billion lost per year. That means the use of the best card technology is imperative to protect both businesses and their customers, especially since failure to employ that technology can now expose businesses to new risks.

Slow to Act

Despite these risks, many American businesses have been slow to embrace smart card technology. Surveys show that as of October 1st, 2015, less than a third of U.S. merchants were able to handle smart card transactions, thereby needlessly exposing themselves to avoidable fraud risks. This is even more puzzling considering the ease and low expense of adopting the technology, leading some experts to conclude that many business owners are simply ignorant of both the risks and the solution.

Not Mandatory

Despite their effectiveness in combating fraud, embedding microprocessor chips in credit cards are not mandated in the United States. The technology simply has not caught on in America as it has in Europe and Canada. Yet, it remains in the best interest of every American business to upgrade their equipment and software as quickly as they can.

Liability

One reason why many merchants have not adopted smart cards is because it may require replacing processing techniques and upgrading point of sales terminals. However, under the new liability rules, the party with the lowest processing technology must assume liability, in contrast to earlier procedures where the card issuer simply assumed liability. Therefore, failure to adapt smart card capability can leave businesses on the hook for fraudulent activity.

Time to Act

Chip-embedded smart cards offer the best protection to businesses trying to combat fraud. The technology is neither complicated nor expensive to install, with it possible for a service provider to make the technology conversion in less than three days. Don’t get caught holding the bag when credit card fraud occurs. Instead, join our wise European friends by adapting smart card processing technology now.

Copyright 2015 Axis Payments

An Early Look At Post-EMV Readiness

blackboard

by Axis Payments

Europay, Mastercard and Visa (EMV) is a global standard for credit and debit cards. In the United States, liability shifts related to the cards went into effect October 1, 2015. However, many experts in the industry say that the migration to EMV use has been slower to occur in the United States and that many have not yet made the switch.

What is EMV?

EMV-equipped cards have a small, embedded computer chip that creates a unique transaction code that cannot be used again. Currently, the magnetic stripe on credit cards contains identifying data that remains the same each time the card is used allowing criminals to copy the magnetic stripe and use it to replicate the data since it does not change. If a criminal does get information from the computer chip, duplicating the information will not work because the transaction number is not able usable again and the transaction is denied.

Transition to EMV

According to a 2015 Debit Issuer Survey, 90 percent of financial institutions in the country have begun issuing EMV-equipped cards. However, only 25 percent of debit cards in the country will be equipped with EMV by the end of 2015. In addition, although larger retailers like Wal-Mart and Target are upgrading terminals to accept EMV cards, smaller merchants are slower to upgrade technology. The Strawhecker Group found that only 27 percent of merchants were ready as of October 1, 2015, although the number is expected to rise to 44 percent by the end of 2015.

Liability Shift

One of the biggest changes with the implementation of EMV-equipped cards is the shift in who is liable if fraud occurs. Currently, if someone uses a credit or debit card fraudulently, the payment processor or credit card issuer are liable for any losses that arise. After October 1, 2015, the liability shifts to whichever party has the least compliance with EMV. For example, if a merchant has not upgraded their equipment to EMV-compliant technology and a card is used fraudulently, the merchant will be responsible for the loss. Any merchant or payment processor who is not EMV ready could face significant costs should there be a data breach. However, automatic fuel dispensers have until 2017 to implement the new technology, so they are currently exempt from the new liability issues as are merchants who accept online payments where credit cards do not have to be swiped.

Shifting to EMV technology in the United States has begun, but not all merchants or card processors had updated their equipment as of October 1. This could mean significant expense for non-compliant companies should a data breach occur that leads to fraudulent use of credit cards.

 Copyright 2015 Axis Payments

The Hidden Margins Created By Gift Cards

gift-cardGift cards are arguably the most popular gift to give, especially during the holidays. Case in point: a 2013 study by Accenture found that 56 percent of gift givers planned to give gift cards, making it the most commonly given gift.

Furthermore, 33 percent of gift givers buy more than six gift cards each holiday season, and the average amount spent on a gift card in in the range from $25 to $50. Clearly, consumers purchase a bevy of gift cards, but do they know the reason that retailers push them so hard?

This article will discuss some of the reasons that retailers are so eager to sell gift cards, which includes their secret margins.

They Go Unused

A big way in which retailers end up making money from gift cards is the fact that they often simply go unused. This includes both gift cards never used and those partially used.

A stunning finding by CardHub, a leader in the consumer finance space, was the estimation that from 2008 to 2014, a total of $44 billion in unredeemed gift card value was outstanding for American consumers. This finding would suggest that the average American has over $100 in gift cards that they haven’t used!

Even if the gift cards are eventually intended to be used, if they are forgotten about, they can expire. New federal legislation dictates that gift cards cannot expire within five years of issue, however. In addition, a number of states– such as California– do not allow expiration of gift cards period.

Nevertheless, gift cards are often a good way to get money now, for goods or services that may never manifest.

More Might Be Spent

A classic rationale for retailers to offer gift cards is the fact that the consumer may very well spend more than the value of the card once they’re already in your store.

For example, someone purchases an item for $25, but their gift card only has $15 on it. You have essentially solicited a $10 sale without hardly any effort. It is estimated that 70 percent of customers will spend more than the value of the card.

Helps Build New Customers

Quite simply, it has been found that 72 percent of consumers who patronize a business for the first time because they received a gift card to that business end up returning to that retailer.

In other words, you are provided exposure, which is good for any business.

 

Copyright 2015 Axis Payments