When setting up an eCommerce site for your business, security is the most critical component. It’s well documented that selling products and service online can increase revenue. It’s also becoming imperative to have an ecommerce presence if you want to stay competitive. That being the case, how do you set it up to protect your customers and your business?
Customer credit card security is important if you want to retain customers and protect your business. The first major vulnerability for an ecommerce site is the checkout page where the customer’s credit card information is collection and transmitted. At an absolute minimum you need to have your checkout page hosted on a secure server.A secure server is evidenced with a URL that starts with HTTPS:// and not the traditional HTTP://.
Secondarily, it’s a good idea to invest in an SSL or certified secure server page. Both the secured server and certified SSL will be offered by your hosting company and can easily be set up. A certified SSL comes with a certificate that customers can validate the encryption services and security of your website. Securing your checkout page limits the risk of your customer’s credit card information being stolen by identity thieves and therefor limits your liabilty.
A second and an increasingly apparent vulnerability for ecommerce sites are credit card validation procedures. It is a good idea to validate customer credit card information on as many fields as possible. Now there is certainly a balance here as you don’t want to force your customers to enter too much data at checkout, however to few and you open yourself up to fraud. Here are the minimums suggested.
- Billing Address
- Billing Zip
- Credit Card Number
- Expiration Date
- CVV Code
If you do not capture the CVV code at the time of checkout you waive your rights to fight charge backs initiated by the customer. Additionally, if you do not validate the credit card credentials you open your business up to liability from credit card testing programs. A credit card testing program is a computer generated attack on your website in which credit card numbers are tested to see if an authorization can be acheived. It is not uncommon for credit card testing programs to run 100,000 credit cards on your website overnight. The unsettling part, your business is liable for the transaction charges for the attempted authorizations. 100,000 attempted authorizations at $0.08 per transaction comes out to be $8,000 in transaction charges, over night.
Next, it is a good idea to choose a trusted merchant service provider that has tools to help limit your exposure to cyber-attacks. Let’s face it, more online business means more online criminals. The most common cyber-criminals are those attempting to steal credit card numbers to then purchase items with the stolen card numbers. How can you protect against these types of attacks?
Choose a merchant service provider that offers fraud protection tools
Fraud protection tools are cheap insurance against cyber criminals. The right tools can make the difference between a successful online presence and being put out of business. Fraud attempts can be eliminated with a rules based fraud detection application that examines each transaction before it is processed. Here are some examples of the rules that can be set up.
- If a daily, weekly or monthly number of transactions or total dollar amount is exceeded. Flag transaction for review or auto decline
- If a user tries a credit card X number of times, flag or decline
- If the first XXX digits of a credit card are attempted, flag or decline
- If daily, weekly or monthly number of transactions or total dollar amount attempted from a single IP address or block of IP addresses, flag or decline
- Ban a single IP address or blocks of IP addresses
- Ban specific credit cards
- Ban geographic areas
Last, make sure your customers know the effort you have made to protect them and their credit card information. By taking the appropriate steps to protect your customers you are laying the foundation for a very successful online presence.
ProCharge is our exciting new offer that allows existing merchants to add a mobile processing terminal to their merchant account with no additional processing charges. Typically, adding a mobile terminal would require the addition of payment gateway fees. We have worked diligently to eliminate those fees, effectively allowing an additional mobile terminal to be added to the account with only a small equipment fee (mobile swiper).
For non-existing merchants the system can be added along with existing equipment with a conversion or can act as a stand alone account. The option is yours.
The cost of the mobile swiper is $25. The ProCharge app is available for free via the AppStore. For Retail merchants, all that is needed is to enter your current merchant account credentials into the setting for the app, plug the swiper into the headphone jack and the system uses your existing account to process payments. Its like adding an additional wireless terminal to your account for a one-time cost of $25. It doesn’t get much easier or cheaper than that.
MOTO merchants are also supported by ProCharge and the system would be set up the same way as the retail merchants.
The ProCharge system also comes with all the features and functionality you would expect from a enterprise level payment gateway without the cost. Gateway features include access to transactions, batches, and reports, access via the mobile device, virtual terminal and plug-in, recurring billing functionality and much more.
ProCharge is currently available for Iphone 3,4, and 5, as well as the Ipod Touch 3 or higher, and Ipad 2, 3, and Retina. The Android operating system is not currently supported but will be in 2 months. Our development team is working tirelessly to roll it out.
For more information please call our friendly support staff at (800)917-8026
Throughout the world, more and more people are turning to buying online instead of in the store, making a business's website credit card processing system one of the most important elements of their online presence. Not only will a credit card system encourage buyers to make an easy purchase, but it opens the business's website up to an international market.
The two main ways to accept credit card payments online are:
A merchant account is set up via a bank or ISO, and is essentially an account controlled by the business, which enables it to process credit card payments. A third-party merchant takes credit card payments on behalf of the business, usually in exchange for certain fees or a percentage of the profits.
Choosing a Merchant Account or a Third-Party
Merchant accounts are subject to requirements that vary between countries and between banks and between ISO (Independent Sales Organization). Many banks charge a set-up fee in order to open the account, but their individual transaction fees will likely be lower than a third-party merchant's. Choosing an option will be dependent on the business's needs, predicted growth, and ability to sell enough products to cover all fees and associated costs. Due to the variation between companies, it would be best to get multiple quotes from different banks/ISO’s and different third-party merchants that offer website credit card processing.
Setting Up a Merchant Account
A web developer can help a business set up the credit card processing system on the business's website, but it isn't always necessary. Both merchant accounts and third-party merchants have customer service representatives and instructions to allow the site owner to set up the processing system on the site. With a lot of third-party merchants this is as simple as copying the embed code from the third-party site and placing it into the HTML of the business's website. More complex website credit card processing systems may require more time or expert help, but the result is a professional, streamlined way for customers to pay for their purchases online.
Things to Keep in Mind
All small businesses should be able to make informed decisions on what website credit card processing system works best for them. Keep in mind the following:
- Fees, including start-up fees and the cost of each transaction
- Length of time for approval when applying for a merchant account
- Length of time for setup on the site, especially in more complex systems
- Quick, efficient, and knowledgeable customer support for the business
- Length of contract and terms of cancellation
- Security and fraud protection
- Ease of use for both the business and customers
- Ability to generate reports
- Virtual terminals, shopping carts, and complete integration with e-commerce
With online credit card processing, businesses are able to increase their sales and not only attract more customers, but keep them as regular shoppers. Setting up a credit card processing system may take research in the beginning, but it provides additional benefits in sales and customer service, as well as reaching an international market.
Selecting a merchant service provider can be a daunting task. With so many companies claiming to be an expert in the industry, how do you make the right selection? Here are a few tips to guide you on your quest.
1. Ask as many questions as possible
In order to feel comfortable with the company you select you will need to ask a few questions. The more questions you ask the better feel you will get from the provider.
Here are a few questions to ask when selecting a merchant service provider:
2. Avoid a processing account from the banks
- What are interchange fees and how are they determined?
- What price structure will be set up for my business?
- What can I do to make sure my credit card sales qualify for the best rate?
- How will my fees be deducted from my account?
- If I need equipment will it be leased or do I have the option to purchase it?
- Is your equipment proprietary?
- What is the early termination fee?
- Is there a monthly minimum fee associated with the account?
- What is the annual fee for the account?
- What is the PCI Compliance charge?
Merchant services and credit card processing is a specialized industry. You wouldn’t go to your dentist to get gallbladder surgery would you? No, simply because your dentist specializes in a particular part of the body. The same is true of the banking industry. The banks specialty is storing and lending money, not processing credit card transactions. Go with a specialist and your experience will be much better.
3. Understand how the fees are calculated
Understanding the fees associated with the account is very important. The credit card processing industry has intentionally made fee calculation cumbersome so that merchants don’t understand what they are being charged. Avoid this issue by taking some time to understand how the fees are calculated. If the provider you are speaking with is unwilling to explain it, move on.
4. Avoid an account with a cap
If the processor you are working with has an account cap that can’t be exceeded, move on. Most provider will have soft limits set up on the account. The soft limit represents the boundaries the processing account is set up with. These limits can be exceeded, hence the name soft limit. If your account is not able to exceed these limits it can inhibit your business growth.
5. Ask more questions
The more questions you ask the better your experience will be. Make sure you ask about the processors better business bureau standings, ask about the history of the company and their merchant attrition rate.
These tips will help arm you with the best information so that you can make the right decision for your business.
Credit card surcharges have been a hot button in the industry for a number of years and recent changes to Visa regulations have opened the doors for merchants to begin charging a surcharge to customers that wish to pay via credit card.
Credit card surcharging is still illegal in the following states: Texas, Oklahoma, New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Kansas, Florida, Connecticut, Colorado and California. So if you conduct business in any of these states it is illegal to add a surcharge to credit card transactions per state law, which always supersedes regulation of a particular company (Visa).
The rest of the nation has limited authority to surcharge customers starting on Jan. 27th, 2013 based on the rules established by Visa Merchant Surcharging regulations. It is strongly recommended that you review these rules before instituting a surcharge for credit card use to ensure you are in compliance.
Here is a condensed description of what is going to happen:
- Your business must notify your credit card processing acquirer and Visa at least 30 days prior to establishing a surcharge.
- You may only apply a surcharge to credit card purchases. You are not allowed to surcharge debit cards or prepaid cards.
- You may only surcharge an amount equal to or less than the discount rate established by your processor.
- You must disclose the fact that you are surcharging credit card transactions as a fee. You must clearly disclose the surcharge amount at the point of sale, online and on the credit card receipt.
- You cannot surcharge American Express
- You cannot surcharge a debit or prepaid card in any circumstance
- You cannot surcharge more than you are being charged to accept the card
These rules have been made part of the Visa processing guidelines that govern your merchant account. So, breaking these rule constitutes a violation of your card processing agreement and will result in your account being closed and your business being placed on the TMF list.
While this new regulation may seem like a benefit to your business it is strongly recommended that you proceed with caution if you intend on implementing a surcharge. The preferred method of payment for most customers is a credit card. So charging the customer more for using their preferred method of payment may alienate your business and drive customers to the competition. A good approach may be to test it for a month and pull it back to gauge the response of your customers.
Maxx Merchants is proud to announce a completely free* gift card program. That’s right free.
Gift cards are a proven method to enhance customer loyalty and boost sales. A typical gift card solution can cost between $250 and $500 to start and has associated monthly processing fees. Maxx Merchants wants to give your business the ability to deploy a gift card solution for free. The only cost associated with the program is the cost to order additional gift cards and we’re giving you 50 to start – free. That way if the program has benefit for your business you can order more cards. If the program doesn’t work, simply never order more cards. You will be charged nothing. It’s that easy.
Benefits of a gift card program include:
- Build loyalty – Offering your customers more options enhances their experience and builds trust in your brand.
- Increase sales – Plastic gift cards generate 2 to 10 times more sales than paper certificates.
- Enjoy float or slippage – On average 10% to 15% of all gift cards are never redeemed
- Rewards – Reward loyal customers with a free gift card
- Ease of use – Gift card program utilizes the equipment you are already using to process credit cards.
- Build you customer database – Gift card users volunteer their contact information that can be used to build marketing programs.
Maxx’s free gift card solution includes:
- Free 24/7 technical support
- Hundreds of card design choices to choose from or submit your custom artwork – free. No artwork set up fee.
- Front and back of cards are printed and customizable – free.
- Free electronic card proof prior to print
- The first 50 cards – free
- Free marketing package which includes
- 4” x 6” Acrylic Table Tent
- 5” x 7” Acrylic Display with Card Holder
- Acrylic Display Insert
- 2 ½” Round Stickers
- 3” x 5” Vertical Sticker Pack
- Single Card Holders or Envelopes
*Free program is available to merchants with a Maxx Merchant's processing account.
Looking for a merchant service provider in the Denver and surrounding area? Choosing a local provider can be a great benefit as a face to face relationship establishes trust on both sides of the account. With so many merchant service providers offering service it can be overwhelming to select one.
The first piece of advice when selecting a merchant service provider in Denver, allow enough time to evaluate the company, proposal and contract. Rushing into an account will ensure a bad experience. Rates for accounts in Denver can vary greatly and so can the contract term.
Here are a few items to consider when evaluating companies in Denver.
- Experience – An important aspect of selecting a provider is their experience and history. Look for companies that have been in business for over 10 years. Also, inquire as to the specality of the firm. Make sure they specialize in the type of account you are looking for.
- Merchant Attrition – This is a fancy word for merchant turn over. Ask what the attrition rate is. The higher the rate the more turn over there is with merchants that work with the provider. This is a good indication that the provider does not have the merchants best interests in mind.
- Services – What services are offered and are they complementary? Many providers will offer a number of different services and thats great if they complement one another. Problems arise with firms that try to do too much for too many. Select a firm that concentrates on electronic payment processing.
- Rates and Fees – As mentioned earlier, rates and fees can vary dramatically from provider to provider in Denver. There are also many different pricings programs that can be set up. Familiarizing yourself with pricing can be a huge savings when negotiation the account. Here is a great reference on merchant account pricing.
- Technology – The technology the provider offers will be an indication of their business investment. Make sure they offer leading technology. This is especially important in the ecommerce industry.
- Customer Support – Mentioned last in the list but is absolutely the most important aspect when selecting a provider is the support. Make sure you select an merchant service provider that offers a dedicated representative as well as 24/7 tech support.
For more help with selecting the right merchant service provider in Denver, download our merchant services survival guide.
Whether you are looking to start your first merchant account or you have been accepting credit cards for years, this post is intended to give you some simple and effective credit card processing guidelines. Following these simple rules will ensure you don’t experience any unnecessary headaches with your merchant account.
- Don’t rush into an account. The credit card processing industry has many moving parts and there are quite a few things to consider when opening an account. Give yourself enough time to do the research necessary to make a good decision. Selecting the right service provider can make the difference between a great experience and a miserable one. Make sure you understand how you intend on accepting credit cards now and in the future. There are many different account types depending on how you interact with your customers. Choosing the right account type ensures the very best rates are available to your business. Make sure you understand how interchange works. The majority of the fees paid to process credit cards come from the credit card interchange networks. Understanding how the interchange fees are calculated will help you negotiate the best deal on the account. Make sure you ask questions on items you don’t understand and develop a working relationship with a service provider before you sign up. Make sure you select a provider that has a dedicated account representative for you to work directly with.
- Abide by the rules. The merchant service agreement outlines the rules and regulations for the use of the account. Make sure you understand the length and term of the contract. Make sure you understand what you have been approved to sell. During the application process you indicate the products and/or services you intend to sell. The rules for a merchant account stipulate that you are only allowed to accept credit card payments for the products/services approved on the application. Selling something else with the account can lead to the account being terminated and the business placed on the MATCH list.
- Angry customers can hurt your business. Make sure that you respond to customer billing complaints immediately. Customers that can’t get their billing complaints resolved with the business will contact their credit card issuing bank or the credit card association and initiate a chargeback. Excessive chargebacks can also lead to the account being closed by the processor not to mention hefty fines for each occurrence. The best defense is a a good offence. Makes sure your customer service number is displayed on your customer’s credit card statement along with your business name. That way they will call you first. Make sure you answer their call and help resolve their issue.
- Stay within your limits. Your merchant account will have certain limits established for the high ticket amount and total monthly volume that can be processed with the account. These limits are known in the industry as soft limits. There is always a little leniency for exceeding the limits on the account but it is always a good idea to know your limits and be proactive if you intend on exceeding them. For example if you know you are going to exceed your high ticket amount with a certain sale, call in for authorization first. This demonstrates good management and will make it much easier to increase your limit amounts in the future.
Maxx Merchants is proud to announce a new mobile processing platform that is much cheaper than Square Up, GoPayment or PayAnywhere. In addition to the cheapest rates available for mobile credit card processing we are proud to declare live human support!
Square Up has established a niche in the credit card processing industry by offering simplified credit card processing targeted for mobile businesses that process smaller monthly volume. With this simplified approach, two large pain points have been uncovered.
- The first is the fact that Square Up has no customer service. If issues arise with a Square account there is no one to call to troubleshoot the problem. This can be extremely frustrating especially if you are with a customer and have no other way to secure payment.
- The second is the fact the Square Up routinely holds merchant funds and also initiates a reserve on the account without merchant authorization. This is a legal practice as Square Up operates as a payment aggregator.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get all the simplicity of Square Up, achieve a lower rate and have a customer service organization available 24/7 that is staffed by live humans? Well now you can!
- No Registration Fee
- No Access Fee
- No Semi-Annual Fee
- No Data Breach Fee
- No Monthly Gateway Fee
- No Termination Fee
- Process on a Computer
- Free Mobile App
- Free Smart Phone Swiper (iPhone, Android, Blackberry)
- Free Customer Support with a Real Live Human
First let’s discuss what a payment aggregator is. A payment aggregator establishes a merchant account and then lets other businesses accept credit card payments and bank transfers on the aggregators account. The payment aggregator facilitates the credit card transaction or bank transfer on behalf of the business. The business is then paid by the aggregator for the completed transactions.
The benefit of using an aggregator’s account to facilitate electronic payments (Square Up or PayPal) include:
- Fewer requirements for establishing the account. Most aggregators require only simple contact information and rarely require any financial documentation or credit information.
- Simplicity of set up. Most of the time the account can be applied for and set up immediately.
- Ease of use. Most aggregators have identified a niche market and have simplified their system to accommodate their target market. For example Square Up is ideal for low volume mobile merchants that want to achieve a swiped card rate. PayPal’s niche is low volume internet businesses that want a simplified payment processing solution for website stores.
- Cheap. Most aggregators pricing, for facilitating electronic payments, is less expensive than a traditional merchant account up to a certain volume level. At what volume should you switch off a Square Up account? At what volume should you switch off a PayPal account?
Drawback of using an aggregator’s account to facilitate electronic payments (Square Up or PayPal) include:
- Money is not your money. The business receives a payment from the aggregator. The funds collected from customer’s credit card transactions or bank transfers are the property of the aggregator. The aggregator then makes a payment, equal to the total received from all the transactions, back to the business. Less fees of course. Now these businesses would not be in business long if they withheld funds from businesses that use their account. But it is very important to know that if you violate your terms of agreement they can hold your funds indefinitely. You don’t own that money.
- Expensive at higher volume levels. Once your monthly volume exceeds a predetermined level, the cost associated with using an payment aggregators service is more than a traditional merchant account. When using Square Up, once your volume exceeds $4,300 it is cheaper to establish your own merchant account. When using Paypal, once you exceed $2,000 a month you are better off with your own merchant account.