New feature – integrated credit card processing with QuickBooks

Posted by: Curtis Stevens on January 26th, 2010 is pleased to announce that we are now able to offer integrated credit card processing within the QuickBooks software program.  Merchants now have a choice in processing companies and not left with only one company to choose from (Intuit).  There are other solutions available that have been around for years, but you must export the data into QuickBooks.  What we have is totally different.  It is a plug-in that you download onto your computer and works the same way as if you had the processing done through Intuit.  So now you have choices in processing companies, which means you win as there is now competition.  We are providing this software FREE of charge as a courtesy when you choose to do business with  You must be running QB version 2004 and later.  2010 compatibility isn’t available yet, but should be released soon.  From the user standpoint, there is no difference if you use us to processor your cards vs Intuit.  The difference would be the level of personal service you receive and the pricing.  Please review our pricing on our web site and I’m sure you will see that we advertise much more competitive pricing than the competition.

Intuit®, the Intuit logo, and QuickBooks®, among others, are registered trademarks and/or service marks of Intuit Inc. in the United States and other countries. is in no way affiliated with nor sponsored or endorsed by Intuit.

Are you taking advantage of referral business

Posted by: Curtis Stevens on January 26th, 2010

referralAre you having a hard time taking your company to the next level?  Are you currently taking advantage of the powerful referral business? I can’t speak for most companies in the credit card processing arena, but puts 100% effort in obtaining as many referrals from current customers as possible. You can too and here are several ways of doing it. I will skip the reasons as to why you should go after referrals, but simply put, they are the best leads any business could ask for. 1. Be cautious with the timing of your referral request. You want your customers to experience your service before you ask for referrals. 2. Always remember, not all clients are referral candidates, only about 20% generally are. 3. Offer incentives for your customers to refer your products or services.  Such as, we offer our clients $50 for anyone they refer that signs up and gets approved.  4. always sends out hand written thank you cards after a customer signs up.  This may be a great time to ask for a referral. Also, be sure to ask for referrals whenever your customer needs assistance in the future and you have helped them with their problem.  People love to spread the word about a company after they have fixed their problem for them.

Image thanks to

Retail survival strategy tips for 2010

Posted by: Curtis Stevens on January 26th, 2010

retailcovx-largeThe recession is starting to push hard against the retail industry and is having a big impact on sales.  This usually has a trickle down affect for the credit card processing business. Many retailers are getting their chips in-line to be able to market itself efficiently during the new, tougher economy. This past holiday season was a good test for the retail industry on the new less is more buying mentality. Former JCP CEO made a statement that described this perfectly and I quote “I never saw anyone go out of business because they didn’t have enough of something.” So what are retailers suppose to do? You can only cut prices so low. Retailers should create themselves a niche or leg up over the competition. Such as JCP has created over 20 different private label brands that you will not find anywhere else. Having an exclusive brand keeps your customers coming back time and time again. Being green is another business concept that is on the rise as well. How retailers operate and the products they sell are becoming more green than ever before. Organic goods is one popular item that is increasing in demand. Many retailers like Wal-mart and Target are also  incorporating as many green products as possible in their building’s designs when creating or renovating a store.

Jelly Belly now offering online pin-debit transactions

Posted by: Curtis Stevens on January 26th, 2010

1_nodeIt appears that is now offering its customers the ability to pay with a debit card in two ways.  The first option has always been available and that is to process it  like a credit card.  The second choice has never seen the Internet era and that would be as a pin-debit transaction like you perform in a retail store.  Pin-debit transactions have always been kept in a retail environment and never introduced to the Internet world because of security concerns.  Honestly, I never thought this day would surface in the credit card processing industry. Merchants do save money by processing a debit card using one of the debit networks instead of Visa/MC, but the customers pin number is the only security the card has. For me, I don’t see how one would want to enter their pin number over the Internet to process a transaction. The transmission can be secure over the Internet, but it is the consumer’s computer where the vulnerability lies. The consumer’s computer could be compromised and anything they input with their keyboard or move with a mouse could be recorded by a hacker.  One could probably say this is no different than banking online, but I’m not sure how consumers will take to the idea, if they will feel comfortable enough to enter their pin-number online.  I suppose it is only a matter of time.

VP-ASP cart review

Posted by: Curtis Stevens on January 19th, 2010


I’m reviewing the VP-ASP shopping cart this time.  The great thing about this cart is we are their featured merchant account provider!  The cart allows for an unlimited number of users.  It is one of the oldest carts on the market.  It was developed in the 1990′s with Amazon & eBay and released in 1999.  Since then, they have been constantly updating their software to meet the ever changing demands of Internet merchants.  Even though it comes from Australia, its main customer base is the USA and UK.  It is also very scalable and can support small merchants doing $20K to businesses doing $20 million a year.  It doesn’t matter if you have 100 items or 100,000.   It comes in two flavors, licensed based and semi-hosted option.   The price starts at $295 for the basic version.  According to VP-ASP, their biggest weakness is the shopping cart is open source, which they have missed out on more fancy technologies that are starting to hit the market.  This all should change when they develop their new hosted version.   As I mentioned before, the best part about this shopping cart is they have partnered with as their preferred merchant account provider.

The credit card networks are waiving fees for Haiti donations

Posted by: Curtis Stevens on January 19th, 2010

According to NY Times, many of the card networks are waiving the credit card processing fees associated with processing a card when making a donation for Haiti relief.  This would allow consumers to donate their funds knowing that almost 100% of their donation should be going to the intended party.  According to a report, banks make as much as $250 million a year on charitable donations, especially rising after a disaster.  The card networks have only waived their fees once before, after the tsunami in 04.  Visa stated that it would not apply Interchange fees through the month of February to a select group of charities.  The names are still being piled.  MasterCard said it would waive donations made to Red Cross, Unicef and a few others.  Amex would be waiving fees until the end of Feb.  Discover said it would also be waiving the fees, but did not disclose the details.  This is great for consumers as well as non charitable organizations.

What can poor customer service do to your business

Posted by: Curtis Stevens on January 18th, 2010

1205188352_2e0558e0b6If you didn’t know it already, I’m a stickler for good customer service.  I think most customers would say the same thing.  If after repeated attempts, you do not provide good service, they won’t come back.  Back in the day, if you were not happy with a business, you would tell a few of your friends.  Well, that was so 1999.  This is 2010 and the Internet has evolved into a word spreading machine.  With places like Twitter, Facebook and blogs, if a company doesn’t take care of their customers, that one bad apple could share their voice among thousands of potential customers.  This can also work in the merchant’s benefit too.  However, we all know too well what bad press can do.  It spreads like wild fire and good news moves like a turtle.  Unfortunately, the credit card processing business has too many companies that do not believe the same as I. There are plenty of great processors, but the ones with poor service should not be able to survive even though they do.

photo thanks to brainclots at

Bill Me later found itself some trouble.

Posted by: Curtis Stevens on January 15th, 2010

Does your business currently accept payments using the Bill Me later service in addition to credit card processinglogo-slogan payments.  Bill Me later is currently facing a law suit over the interest rate they charge for their service.  The suit was filed by a former customer of Bill Me later.   The suit is asking for 3 times the amount of interest Bill Me later charged the plaintiff and anyone else who joins.  They claimed the interest rates could be as large as 40 to 100% APR.  Since they are not a chartered bank, they are not regulated by the government.  While the service can be a very good selling tool for merchants, I think this law suit is frivolous.  People are suing companies for unjust reasons.  In my opinion, if you are not ok with the percentages that they will charge you, then do not use their service.  Simply do not buy the products if you do not have the cash and live your life within your means.  It sounds like this person was doing exactly that and instead of taking responsibility for their own choices, they decided to pass the blame onto the company and try to get some money out of it.  This ultimately then affects the rest of us as law suits are very expensive.

Cash or credit, many gas stations may be asking

Posted by: Curtis Stevens on January 15th, 2010

pump-300x240The NJ ledger reported the other day that a few local gas stations are starting to offer two tierd pricing for gas at the pumps.  Almost like how the credit card processing industry does its pricing.  One price for cash paying customers and another for credit card payments.  The gasoline industry has seen a steady incline in credit card payments usage.  Especially back when gas was topping $4 a gallon and this places a tight squeeze on the station’s profit margin.   The report stated that the pricing system is completely legal, but not an option for most gas station owners because they are not able to purchase the necessary equipment required to track everything.  The systems can cost up to $15K.  On a side note, it may be legal in terms of the law, but they may be in violation of V/MC rules.  Their rules state that a merchant can not surcharge a customer who is paying by credit cards.  The way the market has been getting around that for years is to have a cash discount from the regular advertised price.  But doing this is a very fine, tricky line that I recommend taking extreme caution with.

Image thanks to

Are you offering free shipping, part two

Posted by: Curtis Stevens on January 15th, 2010

Picture_9This is a second part to my free shipping post.   There are many shipping strategies one can use for their business.  One such example would be a fixed amount like $7.95 regardless of order size or amount.  This would however encourage large orders, but that is a good thing!  As I mentioned in my other post, offer free shipping with a minimum purchase amount.  There are a few benefits to offering free shipping, such as larger order sizes, item prices could increase and per-order cost may decrease.  Downsides are your profit margin for the heavier items may be too low and the additional profit may not justify the increased shipping expense.  You would need run some “what-if” scenarios using each pricing method and see which one works best for your business.  Click on the image to the left for a download excel sheet you may download to help you figure this out. tailors to merchants of all types including Internet, retail and wireless credit card machines. However, this really only pertains to Internet merchants running an ecommerce store.

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