What Every Merchant Needs to Know About Business Credit Repair

Small- and medium-sized businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to navigate today’s complicated credit landscape. Maybe you’re negotiating vendor payment terms or searching for a business loan. Perhaps you’re planning upcoming equipment or building investments, or preparing for a national product launch.

Or, you’re simply trying to improve your business’ financial picture as you project future growth. Regardless of the reason, a good business credit profile is key.

Background on Your Business Credit Score

Your company’s business credit score gauges the overall creditworthiness of your business. The business credit score is derived from the data in your business credit report.  

Four major business credit entities play major roles in your credit report. Dun & Bradstreet, FICO SBSS, Experian, and Equifax are well-known names in the business credit industry. Although each credit bureau scores items a bit differently, they all emphasize your business’ ability to meet its credit obligations on time.

Business credit scores generally fall within the 0 to 100 range, although a few scales show higher numbers. High scores are regarded as good business credit scores, as they appear to indicate a low business credit risk.

High-scoring companies are given a reduced chance of making delinquent payments. In turn, this designation makes them more attractive to lenders and business partners.

Implications of Substandard Business Credit

If your credit profile contains some inaccuracies, or questionable items that could raise a red flag, you should take them seriously. For example, maybe one of your regular vendors paid you late for the first time. Or, your account has gone to collections because you’re waiting for a resolution on a large order that contained numerous inaccuracies.

These financial issues may have impacted your credit profile in ways that aren’t apparent. At the same time, prospective employees, clients, and industry partners may be evaluating your company in preparation for future employment or business transactions. They may rethink their choices based on potentially erroneous information.

5 Business Credit Repair Strategies

Before you contact a business credit repair service, take five steps to improve your business’ credit profile. Remember that it takes time to see measurable results.

Restructure Your Outstanding Debt

If you’re tight on cash, contact each lender and/or creditor, and negotiate your account repayment terms. In most cases, your debtors would rather revise your payment terms rather than risk losing all of their money if your business filed for bankruptcy.

Address Your Account Delinquencies

Contact your lenders and/or creditors. Ask them to delete any negative reports on your account after you’ve made at least six to nine consecutive on-time payments.

Reduce Your Business Credit Usage

Don’t utilize any more than 30 percent of your total line of credit. For a $10,000 line of credit, for example, keep your credit utilization under $3,000 at all times.

Report Your Credit Line Paydowns

When you drastically pay down a line of credit, report that positive action to the four credit reporting agencies. This helps to counteract any negative marks on your credit profile.

Submit Favorable Trade References

If you always pay your vendors on time, ask them for a letter that emphasizes that responsible behavior. Send those letters to the four credit reporting agencies.

How Business Credit Repair Services Work

With your business’ credit profile impacting several areas of your operations, and so much uncertainty about the records’ accuracy, you’re naturally concerned about resolving potential problem issues. Enter business credit repair companies that offer to solve your credit problems (for a fee, of course).

3 Steps of a Business Credit Repair Cycle

1)  The company asks for copies of your credit report. You’ll obtain the report from the four major credit reporting agencies: Dun & Bradstreet, FICO SBSS, Experian, and Equifax.

2)  Once the company receives the reports, they’ll analyze them with credit repair business software. Next, they’ll create a list of items that should be disputed.

3)  Assuming you’re in agreement on the disputable items, the credit repair service will contact the credit reporting agencies. The service will dispute any inaccurate or questionable items on the report.

How Long Will the Process Take?

The length of the credit repair process depends on your business’ credit profile complexity. If only a few erroneous reports are impacting your credit score, the business credit repair service may be able to resolve them within a couple of months. If you have a long history of delinquencies, however, the process could take at least six months.

Beware of Questionable Credit Repair Practices

Credit repair companies have gained a checkered reputation over the years. Although some credit repair businesses may operate in an ethical manner, others appear to have made unrealistic promises to their clients.

As the Federal Trade Commission states, some companies promise to conceal your bad credit history or even a past bankruptcy (for a small fee, of course). You may even be encouraged to engage in fraudulent entries on credit or loan applications. These practices can get you in serious legal trouble, resulting in fines or even prison time.

How to Identify a Credit Repair Scam

The Federal Trade Commission lists numerous “red flags” that point to a credit repair company’s lack of legitimacy. Most importantly, if the business doesn’t insist on a written contract, they probably don’t engage in ethical business practices.

Signs of a Consumer Credit Repair Scam

In addition, if the company takes any of the following actions, there’s a good chance they’re running a scam operation. For the sake of your legal and financial best interests, avoid any interactions with them. Here are the warning signs:

  • The company wants their service fee before doing any work.
  • The company doesn’t want you to monitor your credit or contact the credit reporting agencies.
  • The company urges you to dispute negative items on your credit report even when you know the information is correct.
  • The company wants you to furnish inaccurate information on loan or credit card applications.

Signs of a Business Credit Repair Scam

As a business owner, you should also note these additional caveats that specifically apply to business credit repair issues. Avoid companies that make the following promises:

  • The company states that they will establish or improve your business credit in under three months.
  • The company does not have a website. If they do have one, there’s no client login on the home page. In addition, there aren’t any ratings, reviews, testimonials, or client feedback on the site.
  • The company boasts about business contacts or network relationships that they’ll use to help improve your business’ credit.

How the CROA Can Protect Your Business

The Credit Repair Organization Act (CROA) provides important protections against credit repair scams. The Federal Trade Commission enforces this law, which requires all credit repair companies to provide explanations on five important issues:

  • The company must issue a written contract, in which they explain your legal rights and list the services they will perform.
  • The company must discuss your three-day “right to cancel” without being assessed any fees.
  • The company must explain how long it takes to obtain results.
  • The company must state the total amount they will charge.
  • The company must explain any guarantees that it offers to clients.

Finally, under the CROA Act provisions, it’s illegal for credit repair companies to lie about the services they can perform for your business. In addition, it’s also illegal for the company to charge you before they’ve actually performed the services your business needs.

Source: https://paymentdepot.com/blog/business-credit-repair/

Visa Report: 3.7 Million Merchant Locations Accept EMV Cards

The number of locations that accept EMV cards in the United States increased from 3.1 million to 3.7 million during the first six months of 2019, according to an infographic recently released from Visa. In total, some eight in ten storefronts now accept chip cards, an increase of 12 percent since December 2018.

Banks issuing Visa cards put 10 million EMV-enabled cards in the hands of American consumers between December and June 2019, Visa said. That brings the total number of chip cards in circulation to 521.7 million in the U.S., or 72 percent of total Visa credit and debit cards.

Overall U.S. payment volume is overwhelmingly spent on EMV cards; 99 percent of overall volume in June 2019 occurred on EMV cards.

Unsurprisingly, counterfeit fraud losses continue to drop. According to Visa, fraud losses have dropped 87 percent since September 2015 for merchants who have completed the chip upgrade, and 62 percent for all U.S. merchants. Card-present fraud overall has declined 40 percent, Visa said.

Source: https://www.electran.org/publication/transactiontrends/visa-report-3-7-million-merchant-locations-accept-emv-cards/

Why Every Business Can Benefit From a Point of Sale

There was a time, not long ago, when point-of-sale (POS) systems were almost exclusively for large, well-funded businesses. Large retail operations had the staff and funding to develop or buy such systems, as well as maintain and update them. This meant that the many added features that made a point-of-sale system so valuable were only available to large businesses.

Today, the reach of the point-of-sale system has changed. Turnkey options and customizability mean that POS systems are available to businesses of every size. And yet there are still huge numbers or sellers nationwide that have barebones terminals or even remain cash-only.

Business of all sizes in every industry can benefit from a point-of-sale system, but many don’t realize why. Here’s how the landscape has changed, and why every business can benefit from a point-of-sale system.

The Benefits Are Clear

It’s always been clear that there were huge benefits to well-made point-of-sale systems, but the question was previously an economic one — did the benefits outweigh the costs?

The main benefit of a point-of-sale system is how much it can simplify your business operation. When small business owners start up, they are often surprised at how much of their time is taken up by tasks that are well beyond their core expertise.

A good point-of-sale system can simplify or, in some cases, go well beyond merely accepting payments and virtually eliminate those tasks. A modern point-of-sale system can help with inventory, time-clock and employee management, taxes, discounts and pricing, and more.

The landscape is far different than it was a decade ago, when only large businesses could afford a point-of-sale system. Now, more businesses can afford and benefit from a point-of-sale system to make life easier for themselves, their customers, and their employees.

The Economics Have Changed

So while the capabilities and power of a point-of-sale system have long been undeniable, the economics of the purchase could not be justified by SMBs.

Times have changed. point-of-sale system prices are now far lower, which has made the tools that were once exclusively available to retail giants affordable for even small businesses.

Today POS systems come in various models, ensuring that a business doesn’t have to pay for a machine that gives them functionality they’ll never use.

POS Companies Know: One Size Does Not Fit All

A major benefit to modern POS systems is that they are often customizable. A one-location food truck, for instance, does not need the same tools as a major nationwide retail chain, yet in the past, this was often irrelevant as POS providers offered the same tools to everyone.

Today, you can find a mobile solution that fits your specific needs. Some point-of-sale options prioritize mobility while some prioritize organization among multiple locations. Some are created for restaurants while others cater to healthcare. But an SMB no longer needs to overpay for features they will never use—now, they have options available that cater to their unique circumstances.

Modern POS Systems Are Simple and Intuitive

Historically, point-of-sale system systems were too complex for a small business to bother with. The truly simple options were a cash register and maybe a card terminal, but anything more often caused headaches and constant service and troubleshooting calls.

Years of refinement have solved this problem. Today’s point-of-sale system are simple and easy-to-use, designed not for internal experts at the point-of-sale system company, but everyday workers. They update simply via the cloud and offer an intuitive user experience.

Something For Everyone

The technological tools once available only to the giants of retail are now available to all businesses. Modern point-of-sale system offer both powerful payment acceptance and other value-added features all in packages that are affordable to businesses of any size.

This technology makes life simpler and business easier. The POS landscape has changed, and today’s systems have something to offer every business.


source: https://www.tsys.com/news-innovation/whats-new/Articles-and-Blogs/Industry-Insights/Merchant/2019/why-every-business-can-benefit-from-a-point-of-sale.aspx


12 Ways Consumers Will Pay (And Be Paid) In 2019 And Beyond

The “Twelve Days of Christmas” is a holiday classic, though some of us at PYMNTS still don’t understand why anyone would want to take a partridge away from what seems like a pleasant existence in a pear tree. But in hopes of hopping on the holiday bandwagon — and providing data-backed insight in the hottest payment trends for 2019 — allow us to offer this list of a dozen ways that consumers (and some businesses) are paying now, methods that promise to play big roles in 2019.

For the most part — and unless otherwise noted — this list is built around the new “How Will We Pay” research report from PYMNTS in collaboration with Visa. The findings in the report, which is free for download, comes from the survey responses of 2,800 U.S. consumers who were asked about the devices they own and how they use them to buy things. Those consumers also gave details about the purchases they made in the past seven days, the devices they used to make those purchases and why they made a purchase with that device in that way.

The findings — reflected in the list below — take into account the newest payment technologies while also paying attention to legacy methods that for various reasons continue to command consumer and business loyalties.

So, how will consumers (and some businesses) pay?

#1: With Multiple Devices

Owning just a smartphone — which applies to 3 percent of the population — seems so ancient these days that it’s not even hip or retro (give it time, though). Merchants must appeal to consumers who shop and transact via various web-connected gear. That not only includes smartphones, tablets and other computers — 17 percent of consumers own those but no other such devices — but connected appliances and speakers (35 percent of consumers, with the smart speaker market experiencing significant growth), and wearables (whose users, on average, have annual incomes of $79,406). More generally, 36 percent of consumer own six or more devices, and you can bet that percentage will grow in the near term.

#2: With Their Voices

Voice-assisted retail is growing faster than many observers expected, and some 27 percent of consumers own a voice-activated device, up from 14 percent last year. Consumers are being well trained to use voice for web searches and other activities, and are buying voice-activated devices that can perform payment and commerce tasks. The lucrative “Bridge Millennial” consumer segment — relatively high earning and highly educated, and approaching their peak earning years — are particularly fond of this technology, with 31 percent of owning a voice-activated speaker. Moreover, Adobe projects that voice-assisted retail will prove to be a big hit during the 2018 holiday shopping season — and that consumers already devoted to the technology will buy even more gear for themselves and others.

#3: Via Automatic Payments

No one likes checkout friction, and the growth of automatic payments enables consumers to have seamless transactions and go on with their lives. In 2018, 49 percent of surveyed consumers expressed interest in making automatic payments at the gas station, up from 41 percent in 2017. That’s not all. Interest in making automatic payments at restaurants, rather than waiting for the check, increased from 37 percent to 39 percent.

#4: Via Quicker Payouts

It’s not just consumers who pay, of course, but business and other organizations. And no one likes to wait around for funds, whether they come via paychecks or disbursements. The ongoing deployment of real-time payment technology is helping to meet such demands while bringing payment infrastructure further in the digital age. Some 24 percent of consumers would like to be paid in real time, and a hefty 70 percent of consumers are interested in shorter pay cycles. Quicker payments can have wide impact: Consumers said that if they were paid faster, they would be able to better manage their cash flow (53 percent) and pay bills (53 percent).

#5: With Payment Cards

Don’t even think of counting out plastic, which still carries a wide appeal. The propensity to use credit and debit cards on connected devices is particularly high among Baby Boomers and Bridge Millennials — with 72 percent and 53 percent using these channels, respectively. Credit and debit cards are also the preferred method of paying when consumers travel abroad. Among the 54 percent of participants who had made a purchase from foreign merchants, 68 percent preferred using credit and debit cards while purchasing from them.

#6: With Person-To-Person Mobile Tech

It’s been a year of P2P payment gains, and all signs point to even more growth in 2019. Zelle — the P2P service backed by Bank of AmericaJPMorgan Chase and other financial institutions (FIs) — said in its Q3 results that transaction volume increased 16 percent year over year, and that the total amount of money moved increased 13 percent during that same time frame. In PayPal’s recent Q3 financials, Venmo played a significant part in the positive nature of that report, with Venmo’s total payment volume increasing by 78 percent year over year. Such growth has led to payment services providers making sure in incorporate P2P in their offerings, including for restaurants.

#7: With Biometrics

The promise of biometric payments — closely tied to biometric authentication and ID verification — was demonstrated recently in China on Nov. 11, otherwise known as Singles’ Day, a big online shopping event in that country. According to one report, some 60 percent of customers paid by fingerprint or by taking a selfie during Singles’ Day. India-based Paytm, meanwhile, has started working on a facial recognition tool to enable digital payments.

#8: Via PayPal

The 2018 holiday shopping season has been more than kind so far to PayPal. For the first time in the company’s history, mobile payment volume topped $1 billion, and did so on both Black Friday (Nov. 23) and Cyber Monday (Nov. 26). On Black Friday specifically, mobile payment volumes exceeded that of Cyber Monday, though Cyber Monday still had a higher total payment volume. Black Friday mobile payment volume increased 42 percent year over year. And that’s not all. Braintree, acquired five years ago by PayPal, recently announced that it had processed more than $500 billion worth of transactions since then. It was only three years ago that Braintree achieved $50 billion in payments volume.

#9: With a Sense of Enjoyment

Let’s be honest: Until recently, payment was mundane, not fun. No one likes handing over hard-earned money to other people, not really, no matter the purchase. But that’s changing in this era of mobile and digital commerce. That’s because connected devices can make purchasing experiences more enjoyable for the consumer — assuming the user interface is not counter-intuitive and designers and merchants put serious thought into the customer experience. There was an increase of more than 13 percent in the number of consumers who told PYMNTS that they used connected devices to pay for things because they enjoyed them, growing from 47 percent last year to 60 percent.

#10: With Contactless Cards

It’s alright to be skeptical about contactless card adoption in the U.S., given the years of promise that regularly fell short of reality. But this year brought proclamations from Visa and others that U.S. consumers are finally ready to take up contactless transactions. Lower costs of card issuance, increasing consumer demand and speed are among the factors behind that. In fact, PYMNTS found that 26 percent of consumers expressed interest in using contactless cards at physical stores. Of those consumers, 84 percent see grocery as the predominant use case.

#11: Without Cash

Make no mistake: People are indeed moving away from coins and bills, and doing so rapidly. A big part of the reason is the increase in digital and web connections — 36 percent of consumers own six or more connected devices, which is hardly an optimistic data point for cash, not when there are so many other relatively easy and seamless ways to pay via mobile and the web. Those connections also mean that merchants and payment services providers keep working harder to meet consumer demand for digital payments (and, more often, not just payments, but also payment experiences, something cash cannot offer). Indeed, consumers are eager to move away from cash, with 77 percent of them wanting to use contactless payments at gas stations. Digital payments continue to make inroads everywhere. More than half of consumers used connected devices to make a purchase in seven of the 13 categories queried: 28 percent said they bought clothing and accessories, and 20 percent said they bought groceries. Sure, consumers do carry cash: Half of them carry between $10 and $15 in their wallets. But that cash is largely reserved for tipping — 39 percent of consumers said that — and purchases from smaller merchants that do not accept cards. But with the increasing deployment of relatively low-cost, low-hassle point-of-sale systems for even the tiniest of merchants, that doesn’t seem to promise a bright future for cash, either.

#12: With Growing Caution

No one has to tell PYMNYTS readers that consumers — and lawmakers and regulators and the media — are paying a lot more attention to online security and privacy, and that it’s almost certain that 2019 will bring more efforts to craft more laws to address those problems. When it comes to how people pay, 79 percent of consumers expressed concerns over data security when using connected devices to enable payment, an increase of 11 percentage points. Almost as many, 78 percent, expressed concerns over the privacy of their data. That means merchants, financial institutions and payment services providers who can address those concerns while also offering relatively friction-free transactions will gain an edge.

The coming year will bring new entrants to this list — new trends and experiments. But these dozen ways to pay provide a strong look at what’s in store for 2019.

Source: https://www.pymnts.com/news/payment-methods/2018/consumer-trends-mobile-voice-biometrics-cash/


POS Terminal? What’s That?

Cloud connectivity, apps, and features beyond payments are shaping the next evolution of the point-of-sale terminal.

With all the discussion surrounding merchant adoption of point-of-sale systems and integrated payments, one might think the days of the conventional POS terminal are numbered. Their days as an isolated piece of equipment with a sole function as the entry point for payment transactions may be dwindling. But, that does not mean the venerable POS terminal is about to become an historical artifact, as long as it’s not in isolation.

“Any system today, whether it’s a point-of-sale or hardware device, that is not cloud-based is dying,” proclaims Jared Drieling, senior director of business intelligence at The Strawhecker Group, an Omaha, Neb.-based payments advisory firm.

Today, a conventional POS terminal may still sit on the countertop, but with increasing likelihood it’s connected to POS software. It still captures payment data, but now it may act as the citadel, protecting the integrity of the data and sharing only the minimum information necessary with the software. The POS terminal may have a PIN pad or signature-capture capability. It may enable consumers to enter loyalty-program information or redeem offers.

In instances where there is no conventional POS terminal, a merchant likely has a tablet-based POS system in place. Since 2010, when Apple Inc. debuted its iPad and POS software developers flocked to the form factor, tablet-based POS systems have steadily gained favor among merchants.

‘Very Limited’ Growth

At first, the tablet form factor, like the smart phone before it, was innovative and attracted businesses. Then, as cloud connectivity improved, the opportunity developed to bundle other services, such as employee scheduling, inventory management, pricing, and detailed sales reports, making cloud-based POS systems the preference for many businesses, especially small businesses that now could afford them and had a need for them.

That has had a dramatic effect on the market.

Even traditional POS systems, which typically had updates performed when the maker sent a technician to install new software or hardware, are losing ground against cloud-based systems, Drieling says. Some merchants avoided these updates because they might cost thousands of dollars.

“In legacy systems [POS system makers] developed the code and would try to customize it for you,” Drieling says. “Cloud-based POS systems can be integrated with new or existing systems. It allows the developer to integrate other software into that system without having to create software to bridge the two together.”

Such developments mean that the outlook for conventional POS terminals is quickly changing. “Conventional countertop devices are going to be around for a very long time, but the growth of that category is very, very limited,” says Thad Peterson, senior analyst at Boston-based Aite Group LLC.

‘Reactionary Mode’

For sure, Square is one of many to launch so-called smart terminals, which use apps and enable easy integration to POS software. Square chief executive Jack Dorsey even heralded the new Square Terminal during a November earnings call as the replacement for “dinosaur” POS devices. The same month, payments provider North American Bancard Holdings LLC launched its own smart terminal, joining competitor Poynt Co., which debuted its device in 2014.

The common denominator in all these devices is the connectivity. That is a boon to small businesses, which had to forgo POS systems of the past because of the costs. “The most critical point to why these cloud-based systems are growing, primarily in the small and mid-size space, is they allow a lot of integration,” Drieling says.

This ability to integrate payments with software that can run other business functions is much sought-after in retail. In August, for example, payments provider Global Payments Inc. paid $700 million for AdvancedMD, developer of medical-office management software.

This all points to a very cloudy future. For the likes of Verifone Systems Inc., Ingenico Group, and Equinox Payments, which sprang from the former Hypercom Corp.’s U.S. unit, their roles as providers of traditional POS terminals will change, Peterson says.

“The challenge with the Ingenicos and Verifones of the world is they are in reactionary mode,” he says. “But they’re easily disrupted by players coming in with more flexible and lower-cost offerings.”

Going Up Market

It’s not for lack of effort on their part. San Jose, Calif.-based Verifone, which went private this fall, has been emphasizing services revenue for years and launched its Carbon line of smart terminals to better compete.

Paris-based Ingenico, too, has grown its services revenue and made changes. In April, it launched the Moby/C150 ECR that features an Android-based tablet with a 15.6-inch display.

As it adapts to changes among merchants and consumers, Ingenico finds itself examining the point of interaction between consumers and merchants. While Mark Bunney, Ingenico North America director of go-to-market strategy, says there will still be customers for standalone POS terminals, the market is changing.

“Lots of the tablet or mobile POS providers are definitely changing some of the dynamics in the market­place,” says Bunney. “We have to change not only from a hardware perspective, but [in] how it’s going to impact our software and services.”

Bunney points to Apple’s own retail stores and Amazon.com Inc.’s Amazon Go locations as examples of this change. There is no POS station in an Apple store. It’s all mobile, Bunney says. And in Amazon Go stores, the consumer’s own smart phone with the Amazon app is the payment mechanism.

Of the three primary categories of POS-terminal technology—the standalone device, the integrated POS, and mobile POS—demand for standalone devices is declining, Bunney says.

“That’s part of the market migrating to an integrated solution or going to a more tablet solution,” he says. “The other thing we’re seeing in the integrated market is merchants as well as the consumer want to have additional interaction beyond just the payment with the merchant.”

That mirrors what Peterson sees in the market. “The customer experience used to be managed by the merchant,” Peterson says. “Now, the consumer controls their own experience.”

That control has been enabled by the versatile tablet. “Now, the POS could look like a tablet,” Bunney says. It depends on the type of interaction consumers want, he says. “People want sleeker-looking solutions,” he says. “They don’t always necessarily want to have a separate payment device from the tablet.”

That’s not to say that a tablet, or cloud-based POS system, is for every type of merchant. Bunney doesn’t think large merchants would be as satisfied with a tablet-centered POS as they would be with something designed for their complex needs.

Still, some cloud-based POS system providers have made moves to go up market. Square Terminal, with its integration capability, is one example, and First Data Corp. is promoting its Clover POS system for fine dining.

Postponing Extinction

How the POS experience will adapt is uncertain, with its dependence on how consumers shop and the technology they use and how merchants react to these changes.

However it evolves, there will be integration of the payment-acceptance device into the overall checkout experience.

“The standalone device where it’s not talking to the POS is in decline,” Bunney says. Yet he doubts it will disappear completely, despite Square’s claim the older tech is a “dinosaur.” “In some areas, it may not be growing at as fast a rate,” he says. “There is still that interest level.”

The hardware side may not change too much in the near future, Bunney says, with the exception of some devices, like tablets, gaining contactless-payment acceptance. Most POS terminals shipped since at least 2015 by the likes of Verifone, Ingenico, and Equinox have contactless tech built in, if not yet activated.

Better contactless identification marks may be part of future devices, Bunney suggests. “How do you make it easier for the consumer to interact from a hardware perspective?” he asks.

POS software, in all forms, will evolve much faster, he says. Not only will industry standards from EMVCo, which sets the specifications for EMV chip-card acceptance, influence this, so will PCI Security Standards Council standards on PIN-on-mobile, which enables commercially available devices to securely accept PINs.

PIN-on-mobile is one of the trends Peterson sees influencing the evolution of the POS experience. It’s devolving the POS into smart devices that are not POS devices, he says. More use of mobile devices, especially for in-aisle checkout, and increasing awareness and availability of alternative payment methods are two other trends.

The Ultimate Payment

The so-called traditional POS makers will have to evolve, says Drieling. “They need to come out with some competitive products,” he says. “They know the POS industry very well. They probably have the capability to bring out some competitive cloud-based POS products. I don’t see them doing very much in the independent software vendor space.”

The future POS may not even resemble a POS device or tablet.

Even Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant almost qualifies as a POS device, Drieling says. Echo and other in-home devices enable consumers to use their voice to authorize orders. “The next step is unified commerce,” he says, allowing a consumer to start a transaction in one channel and go through others until making the ultimate payment.


Source: http://www.digitaltransactions.net/magazine_articles/pos-terminal-whats-that/

Pay-at-the-Table Comes to a Restaurant Group With Ingenico Devices

A restaurant franchiser is deploying Ingenico Group point-of-sale terminals as part of a migration to pay-at-the-table payment acceptance at its TGI Friday’s and Zinburger Wine and Burger Bar locations, Ingenico announced Wednesday.

The deal ultimately will see pay-at-the-table service, where the server brings the POS terminal to diners at their tables, at approximately 80 locations owned by Livingston, N.J.-based Briad Group. Each location will use approximately 10 Ingenico iWL252 devices, which accept magstripe, EMV contact and contactless and mobile payments, Mark Bunney, Ingenico North America director of go-to-market strategy, tells Digital Transactions News. The devices contain printers and a secure PIN pad for debit transactions.

Posera Ltd, a London, Ontario-based payments-software developer, provides its SecureTablePay middleware to connect the Ingenico devices to the POS systems in the restaurants. Installation begins this year and continues into 2019, Bunney says. Briad tested the pay-at-the-table service a year ago at a TGI Friday’s location.

Momentum for the pay-at-the table trend appears to be picking up in the U.S. market. In the Briad Group installation, benefits reportedly include convenience for the diner, better security, and potentially increased table turns for the restaurants. The semi-integrated nature of the system also may reduce Briad Group’s PCI-compliance scope because it segregates sensitive payment data from other software.

The pay-at-the-table routine shortens the typical payment operation from 12 to seven steps. It eliminates the need for the diner to wait for the server to return to pick up the card because the diner uses the POS terminal left at the table to make the payment. The server doesn’t have to walk back to a centralized POS system to input the payment, then return to the table with the receipt. This puts the consumer in control of the payment, Bunney says.

Pay-at-the-table also means the credit or debit card doesn’t leave the cardholder’s hand. That may be important to many consumers because data compromises continue to plague the hospitality industry. Ninety-three percent of the data compromised at hospitality POS systems involved payment data, Verizon said earlier this year.

The other potential benefit is the ability to improve table turnaround times. Bunney says tests by Posera found that, on average, table turns increased by 15%, or nine minutes per table.

Briad also said its chargebacks decreased in its test of pay-at-the-table technology. “Lowering our costs was good enough for us to decide to deploy the SecureTablePay and Ingenico Group solution; the positive feedback we got from customers was icing on the cake,” Tom Cornell, Briad director of information systems, said in a press release. “Our servers like using it too, as it allows them to spend more time at their customers’ tables and less time going back and forth to their terminals.”

Pay-at-the-table technology is not new, having been used internationally for decades. Ingenico itself has shipped more than 10 million pay-at-the-table devices, Bunney says. What makes now an opportune time for U.S. restaurant operators to adopt the technology is a combination of EMV, the surge in digital transactions, both in-store and online, and consumer affinity for mobile devices, he says.

Source: digitaltransactions.net

Affirm is partnering with Expedia and Eventbrite so you can pay for experiences over time



Affirm has made it no secret that its success will hinge on its ability to offer customers a wide range of retail partners where they can frequently use Affirm to pay.

While the lending startup originally launched with niche partners like Casper mattresses and Boosted Boards, they have expanded partnerships to over 700 retail merchants with the hopes of tempting a more diverse range of shoppers to try the service.

But today at Shoptalk Affirm announced they are partnering with Expedia and Eventbrite to offer 3-, 6-, or 12-month payment plans to customers buying intangible “experiences” like a vacation or concert ticket.

On the surface, the benefits for both sides are clear. Affirm gets a large, pre-existing customer base with whom it can offer financing, and Expedia and Eventbrite get to offer their customers a new payment option, which Affirm says typically leads to increased sales performance by retailers.

But are one-time experiences really something consumers should finance? The answer is probably that it depends on when the actual experience is in relation to when you made the purchase.

For instance, it would be nice to pay over six months before you fly to that exotic country you’ve always been dying to visit. But on the other hand, who wants to be stuck paying for six months after you’ve experienced the trip?

Financing experiences also raises the question of whether or not shoppers will still repay Affirm after they already went on a vacation. With a tangible good, you continue to gain utility every day for months or even years after you’ve repaid the company. But with a vacation, shoppers may be more likely to leave Affirm on the hook for the balance of the trip when they are still paying a year after the experience they now barely remember.

The company’s response to this is that they will be treating travel and ticketing the same way as material goods, and still will use “thousands of data points” to assess a consumer’s ability to repay. And, if repayment trends do change, they will “adjust their models accordingly to ensure they approve consumers in ways that maximize repayment rates”.

As we’ve discussed before, high-interest rate financing plans like the ones offered by Affirm can be a sticky situation.  On one hand, there is a risk of customers using the service irresponsibly to finance nonessential items that they can’t afford. But, if used responsibly,  Affirm can empower consumers to stretch their dollar – so they don’t have to settle for goods or experiences that they don’t really want, but are the only thing they can immediately afford.



Visa Tweaks Chip Card Processing Protocol; Says EMV Debit Cards Now Surpass Their Credit Brethren



Many consumers and merchants adjusting to using newly-issued EMV credit and debit cards may undergo a perception versus reality check as Visa Inc. prepares to debut its Quick Chip for EMV program. Visa also provided updated chip card issuing and acceptance data.

Announced Tuesday, the program enables consumers to remove their EMV cards typically within two seconds of inserting them into compatible point-of-sale terminals. The program addresses a perception issue that chip transactions take more time than those made with a magnetic-stripe payment card, Stephanie Ericksen, Visa vice president of global risk products, tells Digital Transactions News.

“With more and more cardholders and merchants using chip cards as part of their lives we have heard concerns about chip transactions,” Ericksen says. The move will enable consumers to put away their cards quicker while the merchant rings up purchases.

Unlike mag-stripe transactions, the chip card must be inserted and left in the POS terminal until authorization. That is a measure to ensure the card is not counterfeit. The Quick Chip program does not alter the speed or components of an EMV transaction, Ericksen says. What it does is to enable the consumer to remove the card from the reader prior to the authorization response.

“From a card perspective no changes are required,” she says. “It works on all our cards today.”

What does need to change is the instruction sent to the POS terminal. “There’s a small change to the terminal to allow for the prompt to remove the card in advance of the authorization response,” she says.

No additional testing or certification is necessary because this protocol is part of the EMV standard already, Ericksen says. The middleware provider, terminal maker, or potentially the acquirer or processor has to make the prompt alteration.

The process is somewhat similar to when a power outage strikes a merchant location that has EMV terminals, she says. In that case, the transaction proceeds, but the authorization response is deferred until the terminal connects again. “It’s already an existing function being used today in some environments,” Ericksen says, pointing to in-flight EMV transactions that are processed once the plane lands.

Already, some payments-industry companies are working with Visa on reduced insertion times, including processor Total System Services Inc. (TSYS), POS terminal makers Equinox Payments and Ingenico Group, and payments software and certification firm B2. No merchants are enrolled yet, but Ericksen says Visa is working with some to do just that.

Meanwhile, Visa’s update on EMV data shows that for the first time there are more EMV debit cards in issue in the U.S. than EMV credit cards. As of March 31, there are 133.9 million Visa debit EMV cards and 131 million Visa credit EMV cards. The total of 264.9 million is 86.6% higher than the 142 million cards in October 2015, making the United States the largest chip-card market. At the end of December, Visa said there were 212 million Visa chip cards, but it did not split the total by credit or debit.

Issuers delayed their EMV debit card plans while technicalities over a software tweak to enable multiple debit network transaction-routing options were worked out. The tweak was necessary to comply with the Durbin Amendment to the 2010 Dodd Frank Act.

Visa also says there are 1 million merchant locations with chip-enabled terminals, or about 20% of all merchants, Ericksen says. More than three-fourths of them are small and mid-size merchants.

Counterfeit card fraud, which EMV chip cards aim to prevent, is down at the five top chip-enabled merchants by 18.3% from the fourth quarter of 2014 to the same quarter in 2015. That contrasts with the top five non-EMV merchants, which saw counterfeit card fraud increase 11.4% in the same period.

Once at least 50% of U.S. payment card transactions are made with chip cards at chip-activated terminals—in a so-called chip-on-chip transaction—fraud rates will begin to decline, Ericksen says. “That’s where we start to see occurrences of the counterfeit card fraud trend line go down overall.”


source Digital Transactions

Vantiv takes a pass on Daily Fantasy Sports


Top 10 acquirer Vantiv Inc. seems to have done that. In the face of increased state scrutiny of daily fantasy sports operators, Vantiv decided to suspend all processing of payments for these firms effective Feb. 29, 2016. Vantiv is said to be the largest provider of acquiring services for these businesses.

Daily fantasy sports is a turbo-charged version of the original. Instead of lasting an entire season, like traditional fantasy sports games, though, participants draft players for teams that play just one game and compete for cash prizes. Several state attorneys general recently issued cease-and-desist orders to the online companies behind daily fantasy sports games, asserting the games amount to illegal gambling. And, in fact, six states have ruled the games illegal.

Vantiv President and Chief Executive Officer Charles Drucker addressed the company’s decision to exit this particular aspect of the business in a Feb. 3 earnings call. “We have decided that it is prudent to suspend processing for transactions involving daily fantasy sports due to the increasingly uncertain regulatory and judicial environment around these operations,” he said. “We may re-enter the space in the future should conditions change.

“In the meantime, we remain firmly committed to processing for online and land-based gaming operators, including state lotteries and other regulated gaming activity where the regulatory and judicial frameworks are more clearly established.”


EMV: Merchant Migration Slower Than Anticipated


Only 37% of U.S. merchant locations are fully equipped for EMV card acceptance, narrowly missing a projected 40% rate of deployment predicted by management consulting firm Strawhecker Group, according to research it published Wednesday.

The current study showed payment processor readiness, gateway readiness, and technical staff resource availability affected the speed of implementation most. The card networks set an Oct. 1, 2015 date for EMV adoption, after which non-compliant parties faced a shift in fraud liability.

Jared Drieling, business intelligence manager at TSG, anticipates a faster rate of implementation by merchants who delayed to avoid any changes to the payment process ahead of the 2015 holiday season.

“It appeared that some merchants delayed EMV migration completely until the holiday season ended to prevent friction and confusion at the checkout line,” he said in a Feb. 17 news release. “I suspect that many merchants that have delayed, especially merchants in higher risk categories, felt the impact of the liability shift last year and we’ll see them aggressively ramp up plans to migrate.”

TSG said it expects 50% of merchant locations to be able to accept EMV cards by June, and 90% in 2017.

TSG sampled 92 payments services providers that service almost 4 million merchants, or 50% of card transactions.


CardWorks Merchant Services is offering FREE upgrades to EMV equipment for all merchants new and old.  Reach out to your sales agent or our Merchant Support Team (merchantsupport@cardworks.com) for more information about becoming compliant today!



Source: PaymentSource