Online Transactions: Past Present Future

This last year has been a record breaking one for the closing of traditional brick and mortar retail stores.  Considering that 2018’s projection numbers expected to exceed 2017’s, it is becoming difficult to see how stores like Toys R’ Us and K Mart can possibly survive.  Online transaction market places like Amazon and Alibaba continue to pull market share away from traditional retails shops, bringing more customers online to take care of their purchasing needs.  Many of the retail stores have responded to the pressure accordingly, causing them to grow their online presence in an attempt to compete with the current giants.

Online Transactions

This continued growth of online transactions each year has also bought with it a growth in the number of security threats.  Where the upgrade from magnetic strips to the EMV chip in 2015, gave cardholders the increased ability to protect their personal data when making swipe purchases, little has changed in terms of online security to combat the growing statistics.  This has caused a shift in fraud activity from physical transaction information grabs, to online ones.  Since the card information is being entered onto the site manually by the purchaser, there are many things that could put the data at risk.  These threats range from keystroke logging, online scams or any sort of trojan horse virus.  These threats are very much present in our every day lives, so what kinds of things can be done to prevent the possibility of becoming a victim to fraud?  For more information on payment security, the ETA put together a slide presentation on the current security landscape in the payment space.

First and foremost, it is important to know who you are buying from.  You will be giving the merchant you are making the purchase with, some very important and highly sensitive information that could put your identity at risk.  Presenting a online transaction from a fake shopping website can be a fast track route to having your identity compromised.  Choosing relatively well known sites and ensuring that the old adage of “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” is always is in the back of your mind will help you make the right decision when moving forward with your purchase.

In terms of your computer security, using an anti-virus and a secure Wifi connection are additional walls that a potential threat may have to go through to attack your identity.  Many times, the bits of information a hacker or scammer needs to be able to threaten your identity are right on your computer.  A user visits a website, then either through opening or downloading some sort of link, the threat is carried back to your computer which can create a vulnerability in your system.  Additionally, having a diverse set of secure passwords, having a password manager to keep track of all your unique passwords and simply just keeping track of your banking expenses with your saved receipts to compare against them.

One alternative outside of credit cards, which could possibly assist in protecting your security as a consumer, would be PayPal.  They act as a go between for consumers and merchants, which in some cases could prove as the difference between being scammed or not.  Just like any other industry, there will always be people out there looking to scam and steal from others.  The optimistic future comes at the fact that technology is constantly growing and getting better, so will the development of security features for online transactions.  Where the EMV chip was developed to ensure the data on the card was protected for physical transactions, so too will there be a security development to protect consumers from online threats in the same manner.  Companies are already using things like SSL Encryption and multiple authentication methods to try and secure the link between you and the site.

We live in a heavily information driven world. This may be no truer than for online transactions.  Until more safety features are developed to ensure that an online transaction can be completed with little to no concern for security, the burden of security will fall on the consumer.  Using some of the tips above, and using your best judgement is the best way to move forward.  Stay vigilant folks.

Pulse of Payments: In 2018 For Small Business Owners

Small Business Payments In 2018

For  small business payments in 2018, the idea of using a merchant account service for their monetary transaction needs can seem like a very daunting task.  Thankfully, the internet has made finding merchant account services much easier than ever before.  A quick jump onto your search engine of choice, and before you know it, thousands of results are at your fingertips.  But how to tell them apart? What makes one stand out from the others?  The best way to proceed is to have a strong understanding of your business and what you are trying to accomplish moving forward.  Examining the kinds of charges you will need to process, the amount of business you will be processing per month and the venue in which the purchases will be taking place would be a good start.  The needs of an exclusively online retailer, will greatly differ from one that does 70% of its business in a brick and mortar shop and only 30% on their online store. Self-awareness is key to success in 2018.

Small Business Payments

You now have a relative grasp on the direction you want you business to be moving in and all the potential service providers are patiently waiting for your inquisitive click, the next question that must be answered is, which services are available to me and how will it affect my business moving forward?

This is very dependent on your type of business and the credit you or the company has. These variables will dictate whether you can use a standard merchant account or if you will need a high risk merchant service provider.  Unfortunately, certain industries and businesses will automatically fall under the “high risk” category because of the nature of the processing that will be associated with business operations.  A couple examples of what may constitute a business as high risk would include an industry that has frequent chargebacks, ones that may be an easy target for fraud or that may require payment being accepted in advance.  Fortunately, on the opposite end of the spectrum, there are companies that can be considered lower risk, such as ones with longevity and a stable financial history. This tends to assist in paying a lower amount and percentage for fees and rates.

Now that you have identified the type of risk category your business falls under, the next challenge you will be faced with is, which service provider is best for you and what will be the rates and fees structure.  These tend to vary from service to service, and in the case of a business categorized as high risk, it will likely have higher rates and fees comparably.  Other factors that can come into play are the amount of transactions that are being processed, whether the business is retail or internet and, in the case that there are monthly/yearly minimum charges that must be met, that those numbers are reached.  Reaching out to service providers to get as much information as possible will help in choosing the best one that can provide you the most valuable service.  Then comes the application.  This will require you to fill out information regarding your business and the owner applying for the services.  Once the application process is completed and the service is in operation, the benefits of the service become evident very quickly.

First and foremost, the ability to increase sales for most businesses would be considered the greatest benefit of being able to accept credit cards and money electronically.  As a world, we are moving more towards the digitization of our money and away from the paper and metal currency of old.  This makes it imperative for businesses to move with the market towards accepting payment electronically.  Secondly, for most customers, this eases the process of purchasing by making the process simple and convenient.  A quick swipe (or dip, if you have a chip), sign and another happy customer is on their way.  This is no more evident than he ease in which someone can purchase goods or services in store or online. Something that would have been impossible had it not been for the digitization of currency and the infrastructure supporting it. Included in this is the use of POS Point of Sale Systems, which utilize the service and capitalize on the ability to track and organize the information pertaining to the sales and exchanges of money.

Today, because of the advancements made in technologies that allow for merchant services to work, a label company in Upstate New York is able to sell their product to a factory that produces industrial turbines in the furthest corner of China.  Your business has been given access to the world as its marketplace.  With the proper exposure and marketing, the ability to reach customers outside of your immediate market has grown exponentially and will keep growing as the technological world spreads outwards.  So, for all the small business owners utilizing the merchant services that are moving the global market into the future.  Sky is the limit! Good Luck!

 

Marijuana Laws | Walking the Fine Line Weed Payments Space

Marijuana Laws May Be Enforced

Colorado and Washington have been flourishing with exceeding tax revenue in the last few years because of the major growth of the marijuana industry of each state.  But is all this growth going to potentially come to a sudden and abrupt halt?  In a memo recently released by Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General of the US, he explains to the US Attorneys that marijuana is a dangerous drug and should be dealt with as a serious crime.  Sessions’ memo was specifically aimed at rescinding the Cole memo, which allowed states who made producing, selling and purchasing marijuana legal, not have to worry about the federal government intervening.  Based on his statement he is clearly doubling down on his longstanding view of the substance and the interpretation of federal law.  What this could mean for the progress of high risk credit card processing in the specific industry and the individual businesses has yet to be seen.  Needless to say, quite a bit is hanging in the balance.

Marijuana Law

In the early days, distributors had very little, to no options in terms of mmj merchant accounts or other avenues in which they would be able to process their sales.  The major banks refused to touch them because of the possible legal recourse by the government.  In true capitalist fashion, when there is a need in an industry, businesses spring up to fulfill that need.  Enter small banks and credit unions to pick up the slack left by the bigger banks and credit processing companies.  Although there is a higher amount of scrutiny and the potential for legal issues, due to the nature of the industry, these companies still persist.

Till there is some sort of agreement between states and the federal government on how the country is to proceed with the distribution and legalization of marijuana, the future for credit cards being used in the purchasing process is still very obscure.  The major credit card companies have listed marijuana dispensaries as illegal businesses and will not process transactions for them. But, with the potential for huge earnings in a growing industry, there will always be entrepreneurs looking for avenues in which to capitalize on these earnings and assist where assistance is needed.  In comes Point of Banking Systems.  POB systems process in terms of a digital cash withdrawal.  The transaction is rendered, the system draws from cash cards in the same way an ATM would and the difference from the transaction is returned to the customer as change.  This lack of physical cash increases the safety of the dispensaries, by ensuring there are not large amounts of cash in one, potentially vulnerable, location.  Plus, adding to the ease of the purchase for the customers who may not be carrying cash with them.  Another issue that presents itself when processing marijuana transactions is the legitimacy of the entity claiming to be a distributor.  There is little doubt that by legitimate dispensaries being able to use merchant services, that it will increase the security of the industry and weed out the potential law breakers that tend to use cash only businesses to their benefit.  In the end, having the digital paper trail would only assist in keeping the accountability of the industry at the highest levels possible.

With the growing approval for the legalization of marijuana, by both government representatives and the people, there is no doubt, that in time the credit card companies will move into the industry.  If not by the legalization, then by the market itself through subsidiaries.  After all, they are in the business of making money on transactions.  Something that the marijuana industry is in so shortage of, since it is one of the fastest growing industries in the country.

This fine line that financial organizations are choosing to take in order to service a rapidly growing industry is exactly what the capitalist system is designed to do.  Where a need exists, a business is created or repositioned in a way to fill the gap.  With new states hopping on board the “legalize it” bandwagon each year, it seems only a matter of time before the legalization of marijuana becomes a reality.  Where merchant account services go next will be up to the regulations that could potentially follows and the risk that each provider is willing to take.  Definitely an industry that the high risk merchant services industry should be keeping an eye on the horizon for.

American Express to Remove Signature Requirement

American Express to Remove Signature Requirement at the Point of Sale

For many years now, merchants throughout the world have had to obtain a signature for purchases to be authorized at the point of sale. But, with the advancements in technology in recent times, American Express have stated that it will stop requiring signatures. This is a huge step forward for the popular payment processor, and the changes will commence in April 2018.

American Express Card

Now, this will not only benefit the merchants, but it will also benefit the consumers that often use their American Express cards. On the merchant side of things, it will drastically reduce their overheads in terms of the cost of storing customer signatures. Whereas, on the consumer side of things, it will significantly speed up the checkout process.

When asked about the venture, executive vice president of global network business for American Express stated – “The payments landscape has evolved to the point where we can now eliminate this pain point for our merchants.”

He went on to say – “Our fraud capabilities have advanced so that signatures are no longer necessary to fight fraud. In addition, the majority of American Express transactions today already do not require a signature at the point of sale as a result of previous policy changes we made to help our merchant.”

But, American Express were happy to admit that this change has been a gradual transition, rather than something that has emerged all of a sudden. You see, plenty have merchants have adopted contactless card payments and EMV chip technology, while also capitalizing on the ever-growing eCommerce. However, with this change, there needs to be more robust security measures in place to protect their users.

American Express have identified that, and that’s why they’ve enhanced their machine learning algorithms to prevent any fraudulent activity. The progression in their algorithms isn’t only for security purposes though, it’s also to ensure cardholders don’t experience any disruption during checkout.

The brilliant aspect of this change is that it will cater for any amount, so the process will be smooth whether you spend $5, or whether you spend $50,000. American Express are the first company to roll this out on a global scale, and come next April, merchants and consumers will prosper without the need for signatures.

Since they announced the changes, other companies have decided to follow in their footsteps, and recently, Discover claimed they were also removing signatures. They announced that those who use debit or credit cards to make purchases in the Discover Global Network in the US, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean will no longer need to produce a signature. Similarly to American Express, they’ll be launching these changes in April 2018.

Ultimately, the removal of signatures from the point of sale is advantageous for all involved; American Express will become more desirable, merchants will have a more efficient checkout, and consumers will have a better shopping experience.

High Risk Merchant Account LLC
915 Folly Road, Suite 49
Charleston, SC 29412
1-877 493-4622
https://hrma-llc.com

Credit Card Fraud On The Rise

It is now easier than ever to start an online business, and subsequently it is now much simpler for people to purchase things on the internet. As a result, the risk of falling victim to fraud is constantly rising, according to the Consumer Fraud Task Force. If we look back at 2016, the Better Business Bureau reported that online purchase scams were the fourth-highest during that year.

Credit Card Fraud

That’s why it is now important to perform diligent research before inputting your credit card details. Check whether they are legitimate, trustworthy and genuine before you even consider making a purchase. This will allow you to avoid the gut-wrenching feeling when you part with your hard-earned cash to receive nothing in return.

A recent study compiled by the Consumer Fraud Task Force revealed alarming statistics against a number of businesses through the US. Firstly, a St. Charles County based business have had several complaints filed against them with both the BBB and the Missouri Attorney General. This was regarding a failure to deliver products that had been paid for. Secondly, similar complaints were made against an online clothing business where they took months to complete deliveries.

Furthermore, the Task Force also offered some brilliant tips to avoid credit card fraud when shopping online. These included:

  • Install robust anti-virus software and a firewall
  • Ensure the site is secure – the web address (URL) should start with https://
  • Confirm the sites address, phone number and email address
  • Watch out for hidden costs
  • Always pay with a credit card so you can dispute charges
  • Confirm shipping dates

The Consumer Fraud Task Force that conducted the research is an alliance of local, state and federal government agencies, non-profit business and consumer groups in Missouri and Illinois. They work in harmony to ensure consumers are protected against online fraud and scams.

High Risk Merchant Account LLC
915 Folly Road, Suite 49
Charleston, SC 29412
1-877 493-4622
https://hrma-llc.com

Merchant Liability: Processing Credit Cards

As a small business owner, you’ll no doubt encounter a whole host of different challenges along your journey. However, one that often goes under the radar but can actually incur the most costs is your point-of-sale system. Why? Because if your POS terminal is unable to accept EMV cards (chip cards), then you may fall victim to fraudulent claims or contested transactions.

High Risk Merchant Accounts

EMV is actually an acronym for the global chip standard forged by the dominant players known as Europay, Mastercard and Visa. Back in October 2015, there was an initial surge in the industry to transition to chip technology and this was combined with the emergence of merchant liability. There is going to be a second push this year, and this will only strengthen the pressure on merchants to accept EMV cards.

In fact, October 2017 is the precise deadline for merchants to accommodate EMV cards, and financial responsibility will be fully placed on businesses within all industries. However, small business owners will only be completely liable if a chip card is processed as a mag card, otherwise the responsibility will be on the card issuer.

Now, it is understandable for small business owners to consider their budget and refrain from upgrading a system that seems to work adequately. But, as well as the risks of incurring costs through insufficient technology, you could also be targeted by malicious hackers. Having an outdated system generally means a lesser level of encryption and therefore more likely to be compromised.

All in all, it is wise to protect the longevity of your business by keeping your technology and POS system up to date. This will enable merchants to avoid financial penalties and potential security breaches.

Contact Us:  Call us today if you are experiencing difficulty in getting approved for high risk merchant account, we can help.

High Risk Merchant Account LLC
915 Folly Road, Suite 49
Charleston, SC 29412
1-877 493-4622
https://hrma-llc.com

High Risk Merchant Services [InfoGraphic]

All You Need to Know About High Risk Merchant Services 

Many businesses require a merchant services to operate optimally, but unfortunately many businesses get refused by the traditional banks and providers. The reason for this is down to their area of expertise; see, banks and providers refrain from offering high risk merchant services to companies that present a potential risk to them. For example, if your business is in the alcohol, drugs, gambling, payday loans, nutraceuticals or tobacco niche, then you’ll most likely get denied by the typical banks and providers.

High Risk Merchant Services

These risks are calculated with a number of a different factors; the industries reputation for fraud, your credit rating and whether your business is offshore all comes into consideration. Now, sourcing a provider that is willing to meet your needs and supply you with a merchant account is important to the vast-majority of vendors. But, if your business operates in one of the ‘high-risk’ sectors, this won’t east. However, this doesn’t mean that it is impossible!

Let’s just start by getting some of the negative aspects out of the way. If you’re attempting to get a high-risk merchant account set up, then you should expect to pay a multitude of setup fees. In addition, you should also be prepared for a minimum monthly transaction number, higher transaction fees, a rolling reserve, a longer settlement period and a hefty annual fee. So, that’s the downsides covered!

Moreover, despite the associated drawbacks, there are many processors out there today that make it easier to set up a merchant account. Many of them will work closely with you, so that your needs can be met and your budget isn’t blown. The majority of the time if you are a high risk merchant, you’ll tend to work with a high risk merchant services. Although these are not your traditional bank, they do possess worldwide banking networks to ensure you get up and running quickly.

This is essential, as in such a competitive world such as the one we live in today, being fully operational with an appropriate merchant solution is crucial. If there was a significant period of downtime whilst you got your merchant account set up, that would result in a loss of revenue and potentially a loss of customers. So, when searching for a high risk merchant service, bear in mind their process and the time it takes.

One of the leading services in the current market is High Risk Merchant Account LLC; their service makes it simple for you to receive debit and credit card payments with your online business, even if it is classed as high risk. To sum up their service…they have expert payment advisors who know the industry you operate in, so can easily arrange a merchant account that best suits your needs. Additionally, they currently have more than 2,000 organizations from a range of different sectors, such as financial services, healthcare, accounts receivable, energy, utilities and media under their wing. All of these companies utilize their exceptional billing solutions and merchant account support so their business can grow.

Contact Us:  If you are experiencing difficulty in getting approved for high risk merchant services, call us today  We can help.

High Risk Merchant Account LLC
915 Folly Road, Suite 49
Charleston, SC 29412
1-877 493-4622
https://hrma-llc.com

Same Day ACH: Phase 2 Has Been Rolled Out

Phase 2 of the Same Day ACH Has Been Rolled Out!

 The world is continuously developing, advancing and evolving; every day there is something new and innovative popping up. Now, with the way the digital environment is progressing, it is encouraging everyone to get involved and join the digital revolution. So, taking into account the rise of digitalization, everyone constantly wants things quicker and faster. Companies who offer a speedier payment service are prospering more than their competition.

Same Day ACH

This is why the National Automated Clearing Housing Association decided to launch its same day ACH debit payment method, which is segmented into three phases. Phase 1 was rolled out last year, and was designed to make credit payments smoother; this received fantastic support and despite some concern regarding fraud and other issues, no hiccups occurred. One of the main factors as to why phase 1 was so positive is due to the research done by the NACHA and the Regional Payments Associations. This ensured that the organizations involved understood exactly what was going to change.

Phase 2 commenced recently, September 15 to be precise, and it makes financial organizations accept same-day debit payments. So, this means financial institutions now have the tools to authorize faster credits and faster debits. However, it was heavily advised that both banks and companies do the research on ACH phase 2, as they make be very surprised by the changes.

Laura Steele, who is the president and CEO of the Regional Payments Association ePayResources, had the following to say… “People aren’t going to complain if you put money into their account too early, but you can rest assured people will complain, and probably complain pretty loudly, if you take money out of their accounts before you’re authorized to do so.”

This was referring to the entry date of transaction being incorrect. Banks are now putting steps into place to ensure any unintended same day ACH debit payments are avoided. However, it is important that companies also ensure that the date of transaction is listed as when they want the money to be taken out of the account; this way the huge advantages of the same day ACH debit can be capitalized on without any problems arising.

Same day ACH debits will prove to be a tremendous addition to the payments and commerce industry, as being able to make payments faster is a big attraction. Of course, the success of this current phase 2 will rest on the amount of unintended same day transactions and any other issues, but these have so far been kept to a minimum. Ross McKay, a senior vice president at TD Bank, stated, “I don’t think it will be revolutionary, but I think it will be another incremental improvement to the [payments] ecosystem.”

The final phase of the same day ACH payments will launch on March 16, 2018, and will make mandatory credit available before 5pm. Although, whether financial institutions and companies buy into phase 3 will be determined by the overall success of phase 2.

Contact Us:  If you are experiencing difficulty in getting approved for a high risk ach processing.  We can help.

High Risk Merchant Account LLC
915 Folly Road, Suite 49
Charleston, SC 29412
1-877 493-4622
https://hrma-llc.com