Gift Cards Are Important Too!

From large chain stores to nail salons to your local hardware store, more and more establishments are offering gift cards as an option for their customers. Not just for the holidays anymore, gift cards are a great way to increase revenue and profits for all retailers, restaurants and other merchants year round.

Some of the many benefits that gift cards can bring to your business are:

• Increase Revenue Profits And Cash Flow

• Acquire New Customers

• Upsell Card Recipients At POS

• Increase Impulse Purchase Purchases

• Reduce Cash Back On Returns

• Build Your Awareness Through Word Of Mouth Advertising

So how does it all work?

Well let’s say you buy a packet of 100 gift cards customize customized with your logo and brand in branding. If your average gift card sale is $50,that’s $5000 in revenue you can generate. If you run at an average of 50% profit margin, that is $2500 of pure profit in your pocket. In many cases, card recipients add their own money at the point of sale, increasing your revenue even more!

Which Credit Card Should You Use For Your Business?

A recent article from discussed which credit cards were the most friendly for small businesses.

As a small business, National Debit Card Network understands how it’s important for you to get the most out of the type of credit card you choose for your business.

And while National Debit Card Network can help you with your credit card processing by providing you with low rates, we can also help you financially by passing the information from onto you.

  • When it comes to small business and credit cards, Bank of America seems to be the most small business friendly. It’s also the only credit card that extended the CARD act protections to business-branded cards.
  • Every major credit card company holds it’s customers liable for the usage of their business credit card.
  • Out of the eight major credit card issuers, Citibank is the only one that doesn’t report business card usage to the customer’s personal credit report.
  • All the major credit card issuers uses personal data to determine eligibility.
  • All of the major credit card companies have some CARD Act protections, which points to signs that the law may eventually apply to business credit cards.
  • The only two major credit card companies that don’t offer business credit cards are Barclaycard US and USAA.

The article also includes a overall scores and information chart, which would be helpful for any small business owner who is serious about getting a business credit card.

Getting the right business credit card is a big move, so make sure you have plenty of information to find the one that fits your needs.

Determining the Validity of a Credit Card Sale Part 1

Here at National Debit Card Network, we understand how important it is for our merchants to make sure they’re avoiding credit card fraud when handling purchases. In this two part blog series, our own Rich Placa, Manager of Underwriting and Risk Management, offers merchants tips to help avoid credit card fraud.

  • Verify address and CVV code – Verifying the address and CVV code provides the confidence that the credit card is in the possession of the cardholder you’re dealing with and a positive address match should mean that you are shipping the product to an address recognized by the issuing bank.
  • Be wary of suspicious International Sales – If Address verification cannot be performed and it is difficult for your merchant processor to verify the sale in question, ask yourself, does the sale make sense? Why does this individual have to buy the product from you and not someone closer geographically?
  • Stay abreast of fraud trends/scenarios – Take the extra step if approached on a Teletypewriter (TTY) line. Unfortunately, another popular method for taking advantage of a merchant is using this device to shield one’s identity. Look for the warning signs and take the proper steps to verify the sale.

Determining the Validity of a Credit Card Part 2

In the second part of our blog series, “Determining the Validity of a Credit Card” Rich  Placa, Manager of Underwriting and Risk Management at National Debit Card Network, goes on to offer more tips for merchants to help in avoiding credit card fraud:

  • Never send money to the cardholder – There should never be a reason you would need to refund money via bank or other wire service. If the cardholder even broaches this subject, walk away!
  • Never hesitate to contact your merchant provider and request a Code 10 – A Code 10 authorization request is to be utilized if a merchant is attempting to process a credit card and suspect’s fraud or suspicious activity. This request is forwarded to the card issuing bank from the merchant processor so information can be verified before the sale is processed.
  • Follow your instincts – Unfortunately, I have received emails and calls from hundreds of merchants who have been victimized stating that they “knew it didn’t sound right” OR “it was too good to be true” yet still completed the transaction against their better judgment.

Rich goes on to say that, “No one knows your business and the types of sales you process better then you do. If you are approached for a sale that doesn’t feel or sound right, walk away. Seek a different form of payment or at the very least, contact your risk department and have them take steps to offer you an opportunity to make an informed decision.”

Credit Cards Are Still The Best Way to Pay

In a recent article over at Daily Finance, Dan Caplinger discussed why credit cards are still worth using.

From things like better reward points, to better overall fraud protection, consumers should consider using their credit cards whenever possible. You can read the article in its entirety here.

With the recent economic troubles consumers have been facing because of a rough economy, it might be hard to believe that consumers should use their credit cards to make purchases.

Credit cards though, offer consumers better cash back rewards, and if you have the money to successfully pay them off, using a credit card over a debit card will yield better overall results for a consumer.

So what does this mean for a merchant who just started a small business? Credit cards are an invaluable part of business, and will not only give your consumers more options when it comes to payment, but being able to process credit cards will give you added security.

Credit cards are more secure than other means of payment, and with the benefits that come with using one, credit cards aren’t going away anytime soon. Small business who still aren’t accepting credit cards then, are missing out on a revenue that isn’t going away.

If you’re a small business and still undecided about signing up for a merchant services account, now is the time to act. Don’t miss out on the secure, quick, and consumer friendly abilities being able to process a credit card offers.

Breaking Down Credit Card Equipment: The Vx 520 and Vx 670

Credit card equipment can be just as important for a merchant as the rates they get from their credit card processor.

So for today’s blog, lets take a look at two top of the line pieces of credit card equipment, the Vx 520 and Vx 670.

The Vx 520 is a counter-top credit card processing device that handles encryption and decryption. the Vx 520 is also fast when it comes to transactions, thanks to the 400 MHz ARM 11 32-bit processor and expandable memory.

As far as payments are concerned, the Vx 520 can support alternative payments such as credit card and debit, and also accepts gift cards and loyalty cards as well.

It can support different connectivity options like dial-up or IP. To add to its flexibility  the Vx 520 has an optional battery, that allows to to go wherever you go.

The most important part of the Vx 520 though, is how it’s expected to be Verifone’s solution to EMV cards. While there is no current estimation on EMV functionality in the US, having the Vx 520 will keep merchants prepared and ready to accept EMV cards when the functionality is implemented.

If you’re looking for mobility though, the Vx 670 is for you. It’s an all-in-one wireless handheld payment device. It’s small, sleek and secure. The wireless functionality makes it great for restaurants, bars, or transportation operations.

Because it’s always on the move, the Vx 670 is designed to be drop and spill resistant.

Staying up-to-date on the latest credit card equipment is extremely important to us at National Debit Card Network. While we don’t stock either the 520 or 670, we do reprogram them for a merchant looking to switch their credit card processor without having to swap out their existing terminals.

Want to find out more about the 520 and 670? Check out Verifone’s site for more information.

Consumers Are Still Using Credit Cards Despite A Rough Economy

We all know the economy has seen better days over the recent years. And with a poor economy, it only makes sense that consumers would choose to use credit cards less, in order to avoid accumulating a debt they wouldn’t be able to pay off.

However, when it comes to credit cards, what may seem like something obvious actually isn’t.

An article on The Wall Street Journal recently discussed how analysts expect upcoming earnings from major credit card companies like Visa and MasterCard to show that consumers are still using credit cards for a healthy amount of their purchases.

Healthy growth is extremely important for large credit card companies because while credit card use has increased since the recession, loans haven’t grown since many consumers paid their bills off each month instead of keeping a balance. Lenders saw a loss then in the money they charge for interest.

But what does all of this have to do with you and your small business?

To put it bluntly, if you’ve been waiting to get a service merchant account, your missing out on a chance to make some real profit. Consumers are only going to continue to use their credit cards, and while a decrease in loans may end up affecting the credit card companies, the increase in credit card spending could essentially add to your profits.

In fact, in order for loans to increase, don’t be surprised to see credit card companies try to encourage consumers to use their plastic even more.

If credit card usage is increasing, don’t you want to make sure your small business is ready for it?

What to Look For in an ISO Provider Part 1: Sales Support

Congratulations! You have made the transition from being a sales rep – the feet on the street so to speak – to opening an office on your own. You are now an Independent Sales Office (ISO). Priority #1 is the evaluation and selection of the company you are going to partner with and represent and how they can help you grow your business.

This is no more evident than in the credit card processing industry. As a leading credit card processor, we see firsthand that the landscape for ISOs is constantly changing. Unfortunately, many ISO’s now find themselves in financially difficult times. Why? Because they either a) didn’t take the time to research their partner provider; and b) may simply not have known the right questions to ask. After all, picking the right partner is critical to your present and future success.

With this in mind, we are authoring and posting a series of articles on what to look for in an ISO provider in this industry. Following are questions pertaining to the sales, marketing and informational support that should be considered.

What To Look For In An ISO Provider Part 2: Comprehensive On-Demand Agent Portal

One of the most essential things to look for when selecting a provider is the information portal ISOs like yourself can access anytime online that contains all the information you need on a daily basis. Many providers today have nothing more than a simple database with minimal information.

To optimize your sales efforts, you need a partner who offers a comprehensive on-demand agent portal. For example, we provide our ISOs and direct sales reps with access to a proprietary ISO Agent portal where you can:

– Schedule daily appointments

– Track and manage submitted deals from stage 1 to activation

– Review commission breakdown in detail

– Access all training material / documents

– Receive a detailed breakdown of residual report

– Keep track of sales reps performance from month to month

Much more than a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool, the ideal agent portal should also be able to:

– Submit merchant applications online to expedite customers through the approval process

– Provide batch reporting on a daily basis

– Flag alerts to customer service issues

What To Look For In An ISO Provider Part 3: Marketing

When it comes to marketing, first and foremost is the quality and key focus of your prospective partner’s website. After all, this is generally the first place prospective customers go to. Is it a) professional and b) most importantly, is it merchant facing? Too many times, these sites can be geared more for ISO recruitment than new business lead generation. And obviously, lead generation is priority #1.

Other questions regarding marketing to consider: Do they provide you with compelling collateral that helps you communicate the benefits of your organization to your customers and prospects? Is this information downloadable in easily printable PDF format on their website to you? Can print and go when you need it? Do they supply pitch books which help you tell the story in a consistent, easy-to-follow layout? And, are the materials they do provide updated in an expeditious manner or are they using statistics from 1995?