The Life-Cycle Of An Electronic Payment

by Axis Payments

What happens after you “swipe,” “tap” or “provide” your credit card for the purchase of products or services? Who actually sees your financial information? What can you do if your credit card is declined?

Credit Card Payment Characteristics

The credit card industry divides payments into whether the physical card is “present” or “absent.” Sliding and tapping are card “present” transactions and online purchases are card “absent” transactions. When you provide your credit card information, the vendor sends the data to a credit card processing company.

What Do Credit Card Issuing Banks Check?

Your data is sent via these networks to the credit card issuing bank to verify that the account number and PIN are correct. Also, the bank will check to see if the owner had reported the card stolen. This is the “authentication” step to check if your credit card is real.

When this is verified, then the credit card issuing bank will “authorize” the transaction. If there are any problems, then the bank will reject the card. Your merchant is initially only told that the credit card was rejected.

What Do Merchants See?

Usually, the merchant does not see a whole lot if you swipe your credit card. For an online transaction, his website will record your account number and PIN. For the online payment process, when the card is “absent,” the customer has no other recourse after rejection.

If you have your credit card with you during the “face-to-face” transaction, then the vendor can look at the actual card or request you to provide extra verification. This is when you might be asked for the numbers on the back of your card. This is a “fail-safe” security check when the card is “present.” Vendors also might ask for your address.

Each month, the merchant will receive a summary of all credit card transactions, including those which failed. The credit card processing firm is more likely to discuss why the transaction was rejected in greater detail on this monthly statement.

“To Err is Human”

While we are all doing our best to make sure that the life-cycle of an electronic payment flows smoothly and accurately, all humans are prone to make mistakes. If your credit card has been turned down, then contact your credit card issuing bank. Perhaps, you just moved or your account information was confused with someone else.

Most electronic payments only take seconds to complete. We want the entire process to be fast, efficient and accurate, so you can enjoy your life.

 Copyright 2016  Axis Payments

What To Look For In A New Payment Processor

looking forby Axis Payments

Whether you have been in business for some time now and are already accepting electronic payments or you’re just about to begin, the question always comes up; what should you look for in a payment processor?

In no particular order, the list below might come in handy.

24/7/365 Live Customer Support
Depending on your business, you actually might need assistance in the middle of the night sometime, or, perhaps you’re open on Christmas Day. What happens if you run into a problem? It’s always great to find a processor that supports your business hours so you know you can count on them when you need to.

Competitive Rates
Money matters, right? Your rates and fees will largely depend on the type of business you run and the processing volume you do each month. That said, it’s important to read all of the fine print and make sure you’re getting a good deal.

Choose An Established Provider
This might sound like common sense, but it’s always prudent to go with a processor that has been in business for awhile and has a good reputation. Every industry has the shady “fly-by-night” shops that appear then suddenly disappear. You don’t want to entrust building your business to companies like these.

EMV Compliance Across The Board
The EMV liability shift has come and gone and while no reputable processor should offer you equipment that lacks this capability, be warned…some still will!

NFC Capable
Services like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay that use near-field communication are becoming increasingly popular. As you weigh your point-of-sale equipment options, make sure to consider this growing segment.

Mobile & Online Processing Capability
Do you ever need to process away from your brick and mortar location? Do you have a storefront online? These are things to consider as you’re evaluating processors. Ask about the solutions they provide and make sure they can accommodate your needs without breaking the budget.

Next Day Funding
Many merchants depend on getting their deposits quickly for a multitude of reasons. Processors tend to have different requirements and capabilities in this regard. If you do heavy weekend processing, for example, it’ll be worth discussing with you new potential processor.

Equipment Warranty
Today’s point-of-sale terminals are high-tech and can get quite pricey. Explore your options about equipment warranties just in case your customer decides to spill that cup of coffee right on your shiny new keypad.

So, take these points into consideration as you navigate your way through the competitive landscape that is the electronic payments industry. There are a lot of providers out there. Some do certain things very well, but might not offer the complete solution you need. The main thing is that you know what you need and what you’re getting yourself into when you choose a provider.

Copyright 2016  Axis Payments

 

Protecting Your Business – The Real Risks of Fake Money

Counterfeit moneyby Axis Payments

 

We talk a lot about electronic payments here because, obviously, it’s the service our business provides. However, because we are constantly consulting small businesses on how to maximize their profits through accepting these types of payments, we should probably spend a little time talking about the most familiar form of payment: cash.

Cash payments still extremely prevalent especially for smaller transactions and high-volume businesses like retail, bars & restaurants. And unfortunately, “fake money” is a huge problem. How big? Well, the US Government seized about $261 million in fake currency in 2011 alone. And it’s getting worse every year!

So, retailers must be vigilant and continually try to mitigate their losses because nothing is worse for a small business than selling their products for worthless currency. But how do you do this?

You can try to do simple things such as not accepting bills larger than $20, for example. The problem with that is, it doesn’t take very many $20’s to add up to a whole lot of money. No, the best way to avoid this is to train your employees to identify counterfeit bills and not accept them at all to begin with.

The recent advancements in digital printing has created a boon for many counterfeit “wannabees” but you don’t have to fall victim to their shady attempts. It starts with the careful visual inspection of bank notes. Consider the following 8 identifiers of genuine bills and make it become a habit for you and your employees when accepting cash.

  1. Watermark – It’s the shadow of the portrait you see when you hold a bill up to the light. It’s common for counterfeiters to leave it off.
  2. Texture – If a bill is smooth to the touch, probably fake.
  3. Portrait – It should stand out from the rest of the bill. It’s difficult to achieve and many counterfeiters create bills where the portrait blends in with the background, making it easy to identify as a fake.
  4. Seals – If they are blurred, it’s fake. The Federal Reserve and the Treasury should both be clear and sharp.
  5. Serial Numbers – it’s common for fake bills to have identical numbers. Also, it can be difficult to replicate the size and spacing. The color should be the same green as the Treasury seal, too.
  6. Borders – If the borders are blurry, it’s fake. Low quality printing often causing the ink to bleed.
  7. Paper – Real currency has very small red and blue fibers embedded in the paper, which you can see upon close inspection. This is very difficult to replicate.
  8. Color – Genuine bills turn yellow when tested with an iodine detector pen. Counterfeits will generally turn black or blue.

You can also rely on technological solutions to assist you in combating fake bills. If it becomes a problem, considering deploying watermark lamps, UV lights, magnetic ink scanners or even a multi-test scanner at the point-of-sale to mitigate your risks.

 

Copyright 2015 Axis Payments

2015 Holiday Sales and Payment Processing Review

The 2015 holiday season is in the books. Retail revenue numbers are in, and it looks like this was one of the most profitable holiday spending seasons in recent memory. If you’re like many Americans, you probably did at least some of your holiday shopping online between Black Friday and Christmas Eve. Find out more about how the season shaped up for retailers below.

2015 Holiday Sales Statistics

According to the National Retail Federation, average winter holidays spending in the U.S. in 2015 totaled around $630.5 billion. That is a significant increase over the prior year, when sales reached a total of around $608.2 billion. Average holiday spending per person remained somewhat steady, with each person spending an average of $806 total and around $594 for gifts. The previous year, the average U.S. consumer spent a total of $804 total and around $595 for gifts.

Most interesting of all, however, is the data concerning online holiday spending. On Cyber Monday 2014, online sales totaled around $2.7 billion. The previous year, they totaled around $2.3 billion. Information regarding online sales for 2015 is not yet available, but it appears that online holiday spending is on an upward trajectory.

Finally, MasterCard SpendingPulse recently published some interesting information regarding 2015 holiday spending. Retail sales were up by 7.9 percent, and online sales shot up by an incredible 20 percent. This robust holiday spending season is largely being attributed to the improving economy as well as low gas prices.

Holiday Sales and the Electronic Payments Industry

Based on the information above, it’s easy to surmise that electronic payments were being processed at extremely high volumes between Black Friday and Christmas Eve. Fortunately, Axis Payments has the technology and bandwidth that are needed to handle this type of volume without incident. 2015 also saw a significant increase in the popularity of mobile payments, with options like Apply Pay, Android Pay, Google Wallet and Samsung Pay all becoming more widely accessible. Mobile payments haven’t quite caught on yet, but 2016 is poised to be the year in which they become a lot more mainstream. Without question, mobile payments will have a profound impact on the 2016 holiday spending season, and we will be here to report on everything when the time comes.