Success factors that matters in small ecommerce merchants
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 17th, 2009

As the Internet and ecommerce has evolved, the success rate for ecommerce merchants has become more challenging.  There are six factors that can come into play.  Product line – you must have something unique.  You will have a very difficult time selling a product that a lot of other retailers like Amazon sell.  Mindset – If you are small company, use that to your advantage.  Focus on customer service and their experience when they shop with you.  Everything you do with your business matters, including the image you portray.  Abilities – if you don’t have the skills to do something, hire someone to do it.  By utilizing the Internet that feeds your business, you can find someone who can help you for a reasonable fee.  Presentation – as mentioned before, the company image your web site portrays is very important.  It must be professional and give the customers an impression they can trust you.  Technology – be sure to maximize your use of technology.  This includes using a great shopping cart and credit card processing company to handle your online payments.

Dollhouse Bettie was able to cut her credit card processing fees
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 17th, 2009

A retail merchant called Dollhouse Bettie was able to cut her processing fees with her bank, WellsFargo after making a lot of profit and giving poor service. I have seen it countless times, banks like WellsFargo take advantage of the relationship they already have with their banking customers. Would you agree this is fair, $50 a month for two years for a credit card machine that you can buy for around $200? 2.30% for swiped transactions?  This may have been ok 10 years ago, but this is 2009.
One way you could look at is, they were making over $4,000 a year from her account and look how much trouble she had when trying to negotiate with them.  6 calls back & forth isn’t acceptable in my opinion.  Why continue doing business with them if they treat their loyal customers that way? They should be bending over backwards for her and grateful for the business! I hope they replaced or repaired the credit card processing machine for free then, after making that much profit on your account.  I also recommend her checking out an Interchange plus pricing model instead of the 3-tiered pricing system most commonly found among smaller to medium size companies.

Convenience stores protest over processing fees
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 16th, 2009

There has been a lot of news lately about convenience store owners protesting over the fees they are charged for their credit card processing service.  7-eleven recently went to Capital hill with like millions of signatures from consumers contesting to it.  The problem with that is most consumers have no idea what they are really signing and what it means.  Merchants should consider several things.  For starter, it is a cost of doing business.   Just like there is a cost to handle cash as the store.  Is anyone complaining about all the other bills they have, like utilities, rent, insurance, etc?  Secondly, if they are so upset with it, why not stop accepting credit cards?  They would tell you they would probably lose too much business.  That should be enough right there!  I agree credit cards have become almost like a currency.

However, view it as a better currency.  You generally have ticket lifts vs cash paying customers, you receive your funds in a day or two and you do not have to worry about all that cash being held in the draw for employees or robbers to steal.

Palm beach merchant services claims to save money
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 16th, 2009

Palm Beach merchant services has been claiming to save merchants on credit card processing fees and exchange for a cut of the savings.  The idea itself sounds really good and that it should work out to the merchant’s advantage.  However, there are a few other ways to view this and points to consider.  First off, merchants shouldn’t contact someone else to do their negotiating.  It would be like using a third party to negotiate for you when talking to your vendors or your phone company about your bill.  Yes, they may know this business a little better and know how much they can squeeze, but with a little patience and a some talking, you can very well learn this yourself.  Simply call your current processor and see what they are willing to do.  Then call some other companies and get some rate quotes from them based on your current processing numbers.  Take all the information you have learned and go from there.

The second thing to keep in mind is you wont have to share those savings with a third party.  A little bit of your own time and some phone calls could very well save you 100% instead of giving part of those savings to someone else.  Remember, your current processor doesn’t want to lose your business!

Heartland expectations on support for merchant with Verifone Products
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 16th, 2009

Heartland recently filed a court briefing expecting all of its merchants using Verifone credit card processing terminals to contact Verifone directly for support.   Verifone has been saying due to the data breaches Heartland has been experiencing, they are eliminating any free continuous support to Heartland directly. Heartland stated that it relies on assistance from Verifone to support its merchant base that use their products.  Verifone has stated that it encourages ISO’s to reach out to its merchant base and have the customers registered with Verifone for free support from them directly.  Verifone has estimated that about 3/4 of their merchant base relies on their product technology.  Verifone has also stated that it will cease support for any system connected to the Heartland network at the end of December 31 of this year.

Can there be a way to have free processing?
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 16th, 2009

A recent article raised the question, should credit card processing transactions be free to process, stating possible ways for this to happen.  What Todd failed to understand are some key points in the processing chain.  For starters, if they eliminated Interchange, that would highly discourage issuing banks to issue credit cards.  Yes, they make a lot of profit off the card holders that carry a balance,but they do incur losses on the consumers that never pay.  Interchange helps bring them a very small amount for the customers that never carry a balance.  The price for handing the money isn’t a very big price.  Banks wouldn’t be offering all these reward programs, which would in turn discourage all the consumers that use their cards solely for the rewards.

The second point he doesn’t understand is the merchant provider that must give that particular merchant an account to accept those credit cards.  They assume risk for all transactions that merchant processes.  If they go out of business or have too many chargebacks, the merchant provider is liable for all chargebacks and losses.  There is a cost associated with this.  Just like you can’t expect a bank to take on mortgage debt for free, you can’t expect a merchant provider to do the same., Inc. releases 3rd Qtr Income Results
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 14th, 2009

Ipayment recently released their 3rd qtr profit results. There are a few things I noticed that was interesting. N ot only did their revenues decrease compared to last year, but their revenue net of Interchange went down as well. However, their net income actually stayed the same. Why is this you may ask? Many companies are charging for what the credit card processing industry calls PCI Compliance. Most of your major players charge some type of fee each year, whether it is a monthly or yearly fee. When Ipayment started charging their merchant bases, they charged $30 a year for the first year. When the next year came around, they increased that to $129 a year. I understand most companies have had a big cost when it comes to implementing PCI compliance and ensuring their own company is in compliance, but the first year at $30 per client should have covered most of that costs. So the next time they charged $129, that was mostly all profit. If you multiple that times their 140,000 customer base, you can see how that possibly played a big role in their net income staying the same.

A Preferred Health Technology being featured
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 14th, 2009

A Preferred Health Technology is being featured. It is an innovative A-Claim medical payment solution that allows health care providers to increase collections and reduce costs by verifying insurance eligibility. The process is easy. Patients swipe their insurance card at the time of service. The doctor receives a response in seconds that includes insurance eligibility verification with all major insurance companies. Once their eligibility has been verified, the doctor can perform the service. Once the service has been performed, the doctor then needs to take a form of payment from the customer for any applicable co-pays. Such payments could be a credit card or debit card payment. If the doctor doesn’t have this setup, they would need to contact a credit card processing company to have this ability. Once the payment has been approved, the doctor can update their records that all financial obligations have been paid. The doctor can also accept pin debit type transactions for more secure, chargeback proof transactions.

3Delta becomes certified on Chase Paymentech
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 14th, 2009

If your business needs to process level 3 data for government credit cards, then you have one more choice when it comes to credit card processing companies. 3Delta Systems has now become certified on the Chase Paymentech processing platform. You can use their service to process level 3 transactions on that processors platform. 3Delta is already certified on numerous platforms, but this adds one more company giving merchants another choice in payment processors. This also helps 3Delta improve it’s product offerings, which should also have a direct affect on their sales.

Merchants can reduce their processing costs if they process credit cards using level 3 data. However, this only comes in handy when merchants process business or corporate cards, not if their customer base consist of mostly consumers. The main difference with level 3 is it consist of extra line item data, such as a description of what they purchased. It is exactly as it sounds, line item data or detail. There can be an extra monthly costs to process level 3, but the reduced Interchange rates can well make up for it plus much more.

New York Cabbies Welcome Credit Cards
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 13th, 2009

Taking credit card payments is becoming the norm for almost all businesses. New York cabbies didn’t like the idea, but now it seems that they are praising the extra payment method. By having the credit card processing ability, they are finding themselves with higher ticket sales as well as bigger tips. They may not have liked it at first, but it seems the yelling turned into praises. Before long, all cities across the country will be embarrassing this new payment method. Not only does it get the customer out of the cab faster, but increases their revenue for the faster they can get to another customer, the more they bring in.

One day in the near future, credit card payments may be the sole payment choice for all consumers. If cabbies do not take them, they may find themselves with a lot less customers or lose them to the cabbies that start taking them. That would in turn create a very competitive market among the transportation industry.

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