How To Improve Your Credit Score

Your days are numbered—by your credit score. Your credit score is something you can never get rid of. Once used for the purpose of obtaining credit cards, now your score can be used for determining interest rates for loans, for insurance premiums, employment and rentals. FICO or the Fair Isaac Corporation determines your credit score. This is the breakdown of how it’s handled:

  • 35% = payment history.
  • 30% = amounts owed.
  • 15% = length of credit history.
  • 10% = new credit.
  • 10% = kinds of credit.

The range of FICO scores are 300 to 850. Most fall into the 650 and above range. Less than 20 percent fall into the poor credit scores range, the rest somewhere in the middle. The flailing economy caused creditors and banks to tighten the reigns on credit scores and who they will lend to—what used to be a good score, may now be quantified and qualified as a poorer score depending on the creditor’s determining factors. If you can pay down your debt, you are on the road to FICO recovery.

Pay Down Existing Credit Cards
The jury’s out regarding the most effective way to pay down debt and up your credit score. You can “snowball” your debt by paying off the lowest balances first, then use that momentum to pay off your larger balance cards. You can pay off your high interest rate cards first or pay them all down just enough to up your score. This means that all cards must have a debt-to-limit ratio of no more than 30 percent. Then you have to keep it that way. For many, it’s a lifestyle adjustment and a difficult one.

Apply For A Secured Credit Card
Secured credit cards are backed by a savings account which acts as collateral for your account. Your credit line usually equals the amount of money in that savings account. Some secured cards will offer special incentives such as credit lines 1.5 times or double the savings account. Beware that fees can be quite high and that you likely won’t have the same kind of benefits that a non-secured card issues.

Don’t Use The Whole Credit Line
Keep your debt-to-credit line ratio under 30 percent. The more you inch toward your credit line, the less creditworthy you appear. Finance charges, late and over-the-limit and other account maintenance fees can bring you closer to your credit line or snag you over it. Keep your charges low by using cash or debit cards or by spreading your charges over another credit card or two.

Ask A Creditor For Forgiveness
It never hurts to phone your creditor and ask for forgiveness for making a late payment or missing a payment. Many credit cards offer payment protection plans. Read the fine print to see if such a plan is right for you. Payment protection plans can offer one or more months payment forbearance or forgiveness, especially if you have recently changed jobs, had a baby or just need a month off from payment. But such plans come with monthly price tags, some quite high.

Don’t Bounce Checks
Non-sufficient fund checks don’t generally show up on your credit report until they have gone through a legal process or judgment. If you bounce a check, you will be paying bounced check fees to all the parties involved, save yourself. This can be quite costly, especially if you are living paycheck to paycheck as most Americans are these days. This takes money away from other bills, household expenses, including food and rent. If checks are presented twice, often it’s twice the fees—and a downward spiral into indebtedness. Then you play catch-up and rarely does robbing Peter to pay Paul catch you up.

Pay Bills On Time
Don’t be late on your bill payments—not once. Some creditors will report late payments before the customary 30 days. Most wait until you are 30 days late—or whatever mandates your creditor has in writing. When in doubt, call your creditor. Ask for a grace period; get everything in writing by snail mail or email. Verify that your creditor waits 30 days to report if you need extra time to pay. Just don’t miss a payment.

Get A Collection Agency To Remove A Debt From Your Credit Report If You Pay Right Away
Once a collection agency reports to one of the three credit bureaus, the data stays on your record for seven years—bankruptcies up to 10 years. The credit bureau will only list that the account has been paid. It will still show up as negative data until the seven years is up. Many people confuse this timeframe with the statute of limitations on unpaid credit accounts, which varies by state. Bottom line: the collection agency cannot remove the debt from your credit report.

Avoid Constantly Switching Employers
Job-hopping may look like you are rising in the ranks on your resume—but not to a creditor. Your credit score may suffer a hit if you appear to be unstable in the job market. Creditors like to see routine: routine job habits, routine payment habits. Changing jobs to them usually means that you may be starting with a new budget to acclimate to the new income system. Five years is a stable appearance.

Avoid Constantly Changing Residences
Just like avoiding job changes; you should avoid changing your address too often. Credit bureaus list address changes on your reports. Too many changes make you appear less creditworthy and unstable to potential creditors. The more years you appear to stay at one address, the more reliable you appear.

Review Your Credit Report Once A Year
There are three credit bureaus that keep tabs on your credit usage. Experian, Equifax and TransUnion catalogue your credit history, payments made or not made, credit inquiries and legal issues regarding your credit. They do not determine your creditworthiness; your creditor does that. The credit bureaus simply record data as well as your FICO credit score. It’s in your best interest to review your credit report annually.

Source: https://www.hostmerchantservices.com/articles/credit-card-articles/improve-your-credit-score/


NEW DATA: Millennials Were Black Friday’s Big Spenders In 2019

Black Friday is the traditional start of the holiday shopping season and this year 151 million consumers got their Black Friday shopping groove on. This year, that groove was more online than at a physical store, but with all income groups spending at least 25 percent more this year than last. Millennials were the biggest spenders. That’s according to a hot-off-the-presses PYMNTS study of more than 2,000 U.S. consumers to find out what they bought, where they shopped and how they paid. Here’s what we learned.

What did you do the Friday after Thanksgiving? PYMNTS asked 2,000 consumers that very same question – and what they told us may surprise you.

Of course, the day after Thanksgiving in the U.S. is known as “Black Friday” — the traditional start of the holiday shopping season in the U.S. Once upon a time, that meant shoppers lining up outside brick-and-mortar stores at 5 a.m. that day to be among the first to grab those infamous “doorbuster” deals — proudly proclaiming the accounts of their retail adventures at the holiday family gatherings to come — until the smartphone came along.

Today, instead of setting the alarm for 4 a.m. to get in line, consumers go online — popping open apps and letting their fingers and thumbs do the shopping.

This year was no exception.

What our 2,000 consumers told us is probably indicative of your behavior, too.  Our findings suggest that not only is Black Friday increasingly digital, but that going digital has reshaped the holiday shopping experience in many unexpected ways.

For instance, 40 percent of U.S. consumers didn’t shop on Black Friday at all. Those who did shopped at physical stores less. And they did a lot of buying for themselves.

Black Friday shopping — in terms of the number of consumers who observed this holiday shopping ritual — is roughly the same as we saw last year. In 2019, 59.5 percent of U.S. consumers (151 million) bought at least one thing at a store the day after Thanksgiving, down ever so slightly from 61.8 percent (157 million) in 2018. Those who didn’t say they didn’t because of store crowding, that they did not need anything, could not afford it or they prefer to spend their time doing other things. Those who did went hunting for deals (more on that later).

In 2019, we saw consumers are trading standing in line at the physical store more for the ease and convenience of buying online. About one in five consumers (20.4 percent) who shopped on Black Friday only did so online, up 10 percent from 18.6 percent in 2018. One in five consumers (20.2 percent) only went to a physical store to shop on Black Friday in-store, compared to 25.6 percent a year before. That’s a decrease of 21 percent.

The Black Friday reality though is a little mix of both. The Black Friday shopper is an omnichannel shopper with 18.2 percent of shoppers buying online and in the store. That is up slightly from 2018, as a result of fewer people going to the physical store to shop.

We also observed that Black Friday shopping has also become less about shopping for others and more about shopping for “me.”

This year, more than 23.2 percent of consumers said that they spent more than 90 percent of their Black Friday shopping dollars on buying gifts for others, compared to 22.3 percent in 2018. Not quite a quarter — but close — of all Black Friday shoppers said that 90 percent or more of their purchases were for themselves.

We see some interesting differences by shopping channel too.  Slightly more than half (56 percent) of shoppers in the store spent more than 40 percent on “gifts” for themselves this year (compared to 48.2 percent in 2018), while 59 percent of Black Friday online shoppers spent more than 40 percent of their budgets on gifts for others in 2019.

All Consumers Spent More On Black Friday In 2019, But Millennials Spent The Most

Consumers across every income bracket increased their Black Friday spending by 34.1 percent between 2018 and 2019, on average. The largest increase in spending was among those earning more than $100,000 in annual income, who spent $143.70 more than last year. Black Friday shoppers earning between $50,000 and $100,000 per year spent $80.40 more than last year, and those earning less than $50,000 spent $47.10 more than last year, on average.

As a percent of their income, though, the percent of the increase in spending across each of these income brackets was similar. Consumers who earned less than $50,000 per year spent 25.9 percent more in 2019 than in 2018, while those who made between $50,000 and $100,000 per year spent 25.5 percent more. Consumers who earned more than $100,000 in annual income were the outliers here, having spent 34.1 percent more on Black Friday than they did last year.

This year, millennials were the big Black Friday spenders, shelling out an average of $509.50 on Black Friday purchases this year, compared to an average of just $382.40 in 2018. More millennials in the workforce mean more millennials with money to spend on holiday presents (as well as for themselves).

Bridge millennials, those between 30 and 40 years of age who “bridge” the age gap between Generation X and millennials, spent big, too, shelling out an average $479.40 on Black Friday this year — the second-highest average of any age group.

Both millennials and bridge millennials prefer to buy gifts for others online, with 48 percent and 54.1 percent of their Black Friday spend for holiday gifts happening online and not in physical stores.


Deals Drive Black Friday Shoppers To The Physical Store – But Not As Much As They Used To

Not surprisingly, given Black Friday’s roots in physical retail, retailers have trained shoppers that Black Friday is “deal day” and to expect those big “doorbuster” savings in their stores. And that is what still drives many shoppers to the physical store on that day. This year, 53 percent of consumers who bought at least one item in-store said that they did it to get access to those special deals.

But the percent of Black Friday shoppers who do that is down from last year when 59.1 percent of Black Friday shoppers said they specifically went to the physical store to get a deal.

Ease and convenience, which drives so much of the consumer’s online shopping experience every other day of the year, also seems to be driving the behaviors now of Black Friday shoppers. Deals are still key, but convenience trumps the deal for most – and mostly because consumers can now get many of the same great deals online. Sixty-five (65) percent of Black Friday shoppers who bought at least one thing online, did so at least in part because it was easy and convenient. In-store deal hunters, apparently show an abundance of patience, spending as many as 8 hours or more tracking them down.

Buying Clothes Topped The Black Friday Shopping List Again In 2019

Black Friday spending in both 2018 and 2019 was primarily driven by purchases of clothing and accessories, with a sharp increase in the number of consumers making those purchases online. Even though just as many Black Friday shoppers who bought clothes bought them in the physical store this year (57.3 percent in 2019, 57.8 percent in 2018), nearly as many made those purchases online. In 2019, 56 percent of Black Friday shoppers who bought clothes did so online, up from 49.7 percent in 2018.

Electronics came in second place again this year, but with a shift to online purchasing as well. Only 44.6 percent of respondents who shopped on Black Friday this year bought electronics in-store, down from 48.3 percent who did so last year. We found that 51.6 percent of respondents who shopped on Black Friday this past weekend bought electronic goods online, up from 47.4 percent who did so last year.

Credit cards, debit cards and cash – in that order – were what Black Friday shoppers used to pay for their purchases. And shoppers used them mostly at Amazon and Walmart.

Credit cards, debit cards and cash were kings on Black Friday as more than 50 percent of all Black Friday shoppers chose credit when checking out at the physical store or online. As seen in Figure 8, 49.3 percent of brick-and-mortar shoppers and 54.3 percent of online shoppers used credit cards to pay for what they bought in 2019, with 42 percent and 36 percent of Black Friday shoppers opting for debit cards in-store and online, respectively.

PayPal saw a big uptick online by Black Friday shoppers, with roughly a quarter of all Black Friday online shoppers using it to make a purchase. So did Amazon Pay, not surprisingly since nearly three-quarters of Black Friday shoppers in our study reported making at least one Black Friday purchase at Amazon using their buy button.

Alt credit providers, including PayPal Credit, Affirm, Afterpay, Sezzle and Klarna were among the options that a few Black Friday shoppers said they used at least once, as well.

Consumers also reported using credit cards less often online this year as they did last year. We attribute at least part of that reported shift to be the result of an increase in the use of online wallets like PayPal and the other “Pays” that have registered credit card credentials available to enable their purchases.

Even millennials used credit cards to pay for their purchases, with 49.2 percent reporting that credit cards were how they paid for their online Black Friday purchases and 46.5 percent saying they paid using credit cards for in-store purchases. Millennials also reported using debit (41.1 percent online and 45.2 percent in store) as well as alt payments providers, including the Pays and alt credit platforms. Bridge millennial payments preferences reflect nearly identical payments preferences.

As mentioned, Amazon topped the list of all Black Friday shopping destinations, with 73 percent of Black Friday shoppers making at least one purchase there. A distant second is Walmart with 38 percent and large national chains such as Macys and Nordstrom, with roughly 28 percent of Black Friday shoppers making a purchase those stores.

Black Friday Is Just The Beginning, And Not The End, Of The Consumer’s Holiday Shopping

As you no doubt noticed, the consumer’s inbox was flooded with Black Friday deals long before Black Friday. Pre-Black Friday deals and VIP access to Black Friday specials have made Black Friday a multi-day shopping event that bleeds into Cyber Monday and the mad rush to the holiday finish line.

It’s a good thing.

Eighty-two percent of the consumers in our survey plan to finish purchasing holiday gifts after Black Friday, with 6 percent saying they will not be done until after Christmas.  As long as retailers continue to deck the halls with deals, consumers, it seems, will continue to let their fingers and thumbs do the shopping.


Mobile Payments for Small Businesses: Is Your Business Field-Ready?

No one wants to turn down a sale because they can’t accept the offered payment method. That’s why credit card processors exist in the first place—because businesses need to accept credit cards to compete in the modern marketplace.

But in an increasingly mobile society, only accepting payments by POS or desktop payment integration may be costing merchants valuable business. Portable, app-linked card readers, which enable mobile payments for small businesses, are steadily gaining popularity. They give merchants the ability to take payments on the go, whether they’re at a trade show, on a jobsite, or operating a pop-up shop.

These hand-held devices not only allow merchants to close more deals, they also enhance a business’ sense of professionalism and deliver a more seamless payment experience for the customer. Without certain key features, however, mobile payment options can feel like more trouble than they’re worth. We’ve made a list of what to look for when you want to start accepting mobile payments for small businesses.

1. Accounting software integration

If your mobile card reader doesn’t connect to your accounting or ERP software, you’ll have to manually reconcile any mobile payments you take. That can seem like a massive step backward if you’re currently using a desktop payment integration that automatically posts payments to your invoices. You might be able to accept payments faster with a mobile device, but your accounts receivable and general ledger won’t update accordingly.

To circumvent the time-consuming task of manual reconciliation, you need a mobile app or reader that can integrate with your accounting or ERP software to sync your payments back to your accounts receivable and general ledger.

2. Multi-layer security

For many businesses, the chief concern when it comes to implementing new payment acceptance methods is security. Taking credit card payments in the field can seem riskier than in-store or online transactions. Many mobile payment apps employ the same security measures as desktop payment integrations, however, and mobile EMV readers are just as safe as the physical terminals used in brick-and-mortar store locations. Mobile payment options are considerably less risky than cash acceptance or credit card imprinting in terms of loss and theft.

For peace of mind and PCI compliance, find a mobile solution that keeps data secure with tokenization, encryption, and TLS 1.2 compliance. Whether you’re looking for an app or a card reader, you don’t have to sacrifice data protection for convenience. Plus, tokenization allows you to store an encoded version of your customer’s credit card number, so you can conduct future transactions with repeat customers by tapping a few buttons without having to enter their card number again.

3. Inventory and customer information access

Some mobile payment apps go beyond payment acceptance and allow you to access and update your inventory and your customers’ information while you’re out in the field. With this functionality, you don’t have to try to remember the parts you used on a job until you return to the office, and you won’t unexpectedly find a product out of stock. You’ll also be able to view and edit your customers’ information for easy communication and verification.

4. Dependable support

Implementing a mobile payment option might sound time-consuming, but a good support team will provide free training and walk you through installation and setup so that you’ll be ready to accept mobile payments in no time. Plus, they’ll be readily available to help you sort out any technical difficulties that may arise.

Look for a mobile payment solution backed by an in-house support team that’s located in the United States and available 24/7.

5. Flat rate fees

The most significant differentiator among mobile payment solutions, after integration and data sync capability, is cost. Several providers offer free swipe readers and apps, but their processing fees are often higher than their competitors’, and they may charge an additional monthly service fee. Some providers only integrate with one accounting or ERP platform. Others charge higher rates for keyed-in transactions than they do for swiped transactions.

To ensure that your mobile payment solution is as cost-effective as possible, your best option is to find a payment integration that offers a mobile POS or app for no additional charge. Your mobile payments will sync back to your accounting or ERP software, and your processing rate will remain the same whether you’re accepting payments online, over the phone, or in person.

The answer is yes

If you’re asking yourself whether accepting mobile payments for small businesses is a worthwhile endeavor, it’s definitely time for you to dive in. Use these tips to find a mobile payment acceptance method that will boost your sales without setting you back with manual invoice reconciliation or increasing your processing fees. Accepting payments on the go doesn’t have to be complicated!

Source: https://www.centurybizsolutions.net/mobile-payments/mobile-payments-for-small-businesses/


Are Millennials and Gen-Z Ditching Credit Cards for Mobile Payment Apps?

With the advent of technology, the younger generations and their methods of choice are certainly forcing countless industries to evolve with the times. The massive industry of payment processing is no exception.

Paper money is almost eliminated already, but with the increased usage of mobile payment apps and other credit card alternatives, it seems like “plastic” spending is also dying. So, how do these trends relate to Millennials and Gen-Z consumers?

The Growing Use of Mobile Payments

According to a study held by Payments Industry Intelligence, In 2017, it was estimated that over 87 million people were already signed up to and set up for Apple Pay alone. Another 34 million use Samsung Pay. Of course, China’s own mobile payment apps have all domestic competitors beat with nearly 1 billion users across their two major services known as WeChat Pay and Alipay.

Among these early adopters of mobile pay technology, the majority fall into the 18-34 age bracket. In fact, almost “half of the smartphone users in this demographic have a mobile wallet” as stated by Payments Industry Intelligence. Nearly a third of them say they’re interested in mobile payment technology.

The Mercator Advisory Group’s CustomerMonitor Survey Series looked at usage among millennials specifically and found that as many as 70% of them use their mobile phones to pay for goods and services. Of them, 40% use mobile payment apps like Apple Pay or the growing option, Google Pay.

With these numbers in mind, it’s no surprise that the market value for mobile payment technology is rapidly rising. According to Zion Market Research, “the global mobile payment technology market was valued at around $123.5 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach approximately $3,371.6 billion by 2024.”

How Merchants Are Responding

With many mobile apps meaning reduced processing fees over credit card payments, merchants have been quick to jump on board. That’s no surprise considering that Bloomberg reported credit card swipes cost merchants over $90 billion in fees annually.

Bloomberg.com writes, “While shoppers have largely shunned mobile payments offered by third-party providers like Apple Inc., retailers are trying to persuade customers to embrace the technology by dangling discounts and other perks.” The merchants they speak of include Walmart and Starbucks, both of whom have worked mobile pay into their loyalty programs.

In all, more than 1 million merchants already accept Apple Pay, including gas stations and restaurants according to a study by MacRumors.com. At the start of the year, it was announced that over 65% of retailers in the United States were accepting it as a payment method.

Meanwhile, Google Pay isn’t far behind. At launch in 2015, over 700,000 merchants reportedly accepted Google Pay with seven out of ten Android devices being payment ready.

As of today, adoption of mobile payment technology is growing–especially among Millennials and Gen-Z consumers–but it still has major adoption ahead if it’s going to see the success that it has in other countries, like China.”

Source: https://www.electran.org/publication/transactiontrends/guest-post-are-millennials-and-gen-z-ditching-credit-cards-for-mobile-payment-apps/


Stricter Visa Rules for Trial Offers and Promotions To Take Effect Next Year

The card networks’ crackdown on negative-option billing and subscriptions with free trials is continuing, with stricter policies from Visa Inc. set to take effect April 18.

The updated Visa rules will follow by a year tightened rules from Mastercard Inc. on negative-option billers. These are billers who, after getting a consumer to sign up for a trial subscription for a product, automatically charge the customer’s card on file after the trial ends or until the consumer cancels. Mastercard’s rule change requires merchants to gain cardholder approval at the end of the trial before they start billing. Merchants also must send the cardholder, either by email or text message, the transaction amount, payment date, and merchant name along with clear instructions on how to cancel.

Mark Standfield, president of Midigator LLC, an American Fork, Utah-based firm that works with merchants and merchant acquirers to prevent and mitigate chargebacks, tells Digital Transactions News that Visa’s upcoming changes are largely similar to Mastercard’s, though there are some differences. Visa’s rule will cover physical and digital goods sold through subscriptions, whereas Mastercard’s covers only physical goods, he says.

“The biggest difference that we saw is that Visa included digital merchants, not just physical merchants,” Standfield says.

Visa posted a notice about its planned changes on a Web site it maintains for merchants. The post notes Visa has had rules to regulate negative-option and subscription merchants since 2011. The notice identifies several “pain points” in promotions and introductory offers, including cardholder complaints and confusion when customers forget or did not understand that they had signed up for a subscription, the lack of a mechanism to distinguish transactions involving promotional or trial offers from any other subscription, and a lack of card-issuer clarity on available dispute rights.

“To enable greater customer recognition, easier cancellation, and clearer dispute rights, Visa is updating its rules related to transactions at merchants that offer free trials or introductory offers as part of an ongoing subscription service,” the post says. It later adds that “upon further review of its existing rules, Visa recognizes that free trials or introductory offers that roll into ongoing subscriptions or recurring charges can lead to problems for cardholders and clients, including multimillion-dollar operational cost increases due to high call-center volumes, customer complaints, write-offs and card closures/re-issuances.”

A Visa spokesperson declined to comment for this story.

Despite a card-network crackdown on subscription billers about a decade ago, problems have persisted and led to enforcement actions by the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general. That’s put more pressure on acquirers and the networks, according to Standfield. “When events like that occur it triggers an escalated response by the brands,” he says.

Alpharetta, Ga.-based acquirer Priority Technology Holdings Inc. earlier this year said it had closed 1,200 merchant accounts in order to comply with the new Mastercard rule. The processor’s problems came to light mainly because Priority is a publicly traded company; Standfield says other acquirers have encountered similar issues. “Due to their private status they largely stay off the radar,” he says.

http://www.digitaltransactions.net/stricter-visa-rules-for-trial-offers-and-promotions-to-take-effect-next-year/

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/


MASTERCARD (MDRI) MASTERCARD DISPUTE RESOLUTION INITIATIVE

MASTERCARD (DRI):  EFFECTIVE DATE 12TH APRIL 2019

MC (DRI) Is a dispute process that was put in place on 12th April 2019. The system is to enhance the capability to prevent invalid disputes from entering the MasterCard Network. Those disputes deemed valid by MC will allow for the Issuer to file a dispute on behalf of their cardholder.  A merchant may contest a chargeback via a 2nd presentment or accept the dispute. All cases that receive a response will be assessed a MC association system fee of $3.00 per case.  The fee will commence on any August 2019 case. 


VISA VCR (VISA CLAIMS RESOLUTION) ALLOCATION AND COLLABORATION PROCESS

VISA ALLOCATION:  FRAUD AND AUTHORZATION DATA DISPUTES

VISA VCR Allocation is a dispute process that was put in place on 15th April 2018. VISA reviews data and documentation submitted by an issuer for dispute. Based on the data, VISA can assign liability to the merchant or reject the issuer’s claim. If a merchant is assessed liability, the merchant may respond to the dispute via a pre-arbitration or accept the case. All disputes must be responded to regardless if the reply is an acceptance or a rebuttal with the intent to contest.  Any case that does not receive a response will have an $0.85 cent fee applied.

VISA COLLABORATION: CONSUMER AND PROCESSING ERROR DISPUTES

VISA VCR Collaboration is a dispute process that was put in place on 15th April 2018. This system is similar to the dispute process that was in place prior to VCR. The issuer files a dispute on behalf of their cardholder through VISA system to the Acquirer, and the dispute is passed onto the intended merchant.  A merchant may contest the dispute via a re-presentment or accept it. All disputes must be responded to regardless if the reply is an acceptance or a rebuttal with the intent to contest.  Any case that does not receive a response will have an $0.85 cent fee applied.


Entrepreneurs Share 7 Smart Reasons They Use Business Credit Cards

A business credit card can be much more than a convenient way to pay for purchases. These cards can also provide lucrative rewards, superior fraud protection, and smooth out cash flow. According to the Federal Reserve’s 2019 Small Business Credit Survey, 52% of firms with 1 to 499 employees use credit cards on a regular basis. 

Here, seven small business owners reveal the smartest purchase they ever made on a credit card, and why putting those purchases on plastic was a savvy move. In addition, you’ll learn strategies for making the most of your business credit cards. 

1. Travel rewards

I put all my marketing ad spend from Facebook and Google on my business credit card and pay it off monthly. It’s helped me gain an extra 30 days of cash flow at no cost and was the driver for scaling my business quickly. The biggest advantage, though, is that I’ve racked up 500,000+ miles by switching from my operating account to a business credit card. I’ve used these points to fly my family round trip, first class, to Spain for free. I don’t pay for flights anymore!”

Jeff Root, owner, Rootfin.com, an insurance comparison website

Travel miles strategy: Business travel credit cards can offer lucrative rewards, but choose wisely. If you typically fly one airline, consider that airline’s co-branded credit card as it may provide perks such as priority boarding, free checked bags, and the ability to earn status faster with that airline. Otherwise, a card that offers flexible travel rewards that can be used with multiple providers will often be best. 

2. Fraud protection

“Anytime I’m dealing with vendors outside the U.S., I find it’s critical to use our business credit card to pay them. It’s nearly impossible for a small business to go after someone for an international claim if they get taken advantage of, so using our card for foreign transactions gives us protection to dispute the payment and protect our cash on hand.”

Fraud protection strategy: Business credit cards provide excellent fraud protection. Under federal law, cardholders are not responsible for more than the first $50 in fraudulent charges, and most issuers offer zero liability. Business debit cards do not offer the same protection under federal law, so a credit card is often a smarter choice. 

—Seth Kravitz, CEO, Phlearn, an online Photoshop and Lightroom training company

3. Finance large purchases

“When we first started our business we needed some specific third-party analytic tools that we simply did not have the money for. However, we did not feel we could move forward and be competitive without them. Taking a leap of faith, we purchased the program we needed on our small business credit card and luckily it paid off 10 times over! Leveraging our small business credit cards equity allowed us to purchase something we direly needed to grow our business, and it was the smartest purchase we have ever made for the business.”

—Mark Huntley, co-founder, Credit Knocks, an online credit information and review service

Financing strategy: You may be able to finance large purchases inexpensively by using a card with a low introductory rate or a low-rate balance transfer. Also, keep in mind that even a credit card with an interest rate of 16 to 18% is often cheaper than other small business financing options that often carry much higher rates. 

4. Save on travel 

“Booking our travel with our business credit card has to be the smartest purchase we’ve made. By using our credit card, we save on travel insurance and rental car insurance. We also earn rewards which lets us earn free flights and discounted insurance. I always make it a rule to book all our travel with our credit card as it helps us keep a record of our deductible expenses, too.” 

—Patricia Russell, CFP, founder, FinanceMarvel, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit financial planning organization

Travel savings strategy: Some business credit cards offer collision damage waiver coverage when you rent a car as primary coverage, which means you may not have to file a claim with your own auto insurer first. Some offer secondary coverage, which may provide benefits if your auto insurance doesn’t cover the full amount of the loss or damage. Read the fine print to make sure you understand your benefits.

5. Fund your startup

“We spend thousands of dollars a month running online ads and paying for them with our business credit card. When we were first starting out, we needed the credit card because we didn’t have the funds to purchase the ads right away, so it was a way for us to initially get off the ground. But now we enjoy being able to cash in on all the reward points. We go on company retreats all the time, and much of the expenses are paid for due to credit card perks. These points keep adding up because we are constantly spending on the card.” 

Sean Pour, co-founder, SellMax, a nationwide car-buying service

Startup financing strategy: Most business credit cards rely on the owner’s personal credit scores when evaluating an application, which means these cards may offer financing for new businesses that don’t have access to other forms of financing. In addition, income requirements may often be met with income from all available sources, not just business revenues. 

6. Save on important expenses

“Hands down, the best small business purchase we made on a credit card was hiring a developer to create our forum. The forum has proved very valuable since launch, because it has given our audience a platform to speak with one another, post pictures of their pets (bearded dragons, leopard geckos, etc.), and ask critical questions on how to take great care of their pets. We’re seeing an instant impact on user engagement, which has increased our repeat sales.

“Because our credit card offers 2% cash back on all purchases, we look at all credit card purchases as if they have a 2% discount. The forum was about $15,000, which made it obvious that we’d want to use the credit card to pay for the service; it yielded a $300 cash back return. This may not seem significant compared to the cost of the forum; however, over the course of a year, 2% cash back on all business expenses can cover a significant portion of someone’s salary or other business expenses.”

Jeff Neal, operations manager, The Critter Depot, an online seller of insects and supplies for reptiles

Cash back strategy: Cash back is a popular reward that every business can use. Some cards provide flat cash back rewards across most purchases while others provide a larger cash back reward for specific categories of spending. Cards with the highest rewards may charge higher fees. You may maximize cash back by using more than one card. Analyzing your spending can help you determine which card works best for you. 

7. Provide employee perks

“I charged my remote employees’ home offices on my credit card. I made sure they received top-of-the-line desks, ergonomic chairs, and brand new laptops for them to do their jobs efficiently. I immediately saw performance improvements in my remote employeesI’m not kidding! I later found that some of my remote employees had previously been working on their couches with their laptops on their lap. And not only did these employees’ efficiency improve once they had a real home office setup, but morale improved as well. 

“And, as an added boost, I used a business credit card that gave me travel rewards for my purchase: win-win!” 

Logan Allec, CPA, founder, Money Done Right, a financial information website

Employee perks strategy: Some business owners accumulate cash back rewards throughout the year and then use those rewards for end-of-year bonuses or celebrations. Others share miles or travel perks with specific employees. Still others, like Allec, make purchases that benefit employees. Any of those strategies can have a positive effect on employee satisfaction and productivity.

Use the right card 

Finally, when choosing a credit card, consider the impact to your business and personal credit. According to the Nav American Dream Gap Survey, 22% of business owners reported using a business credit card and 24% used a personal credit card the last time they needed funding. With a personal credit card, account activity will appear on the owner’s personal credit reports and can impact personal credit scores.

Small business credit cards, however, do not always impact personal credit scores, and most of them will report activity to commercial credit reporting agencies, which means they help build business credit.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/allbusiness/2019/07/31/entrepreneurs-business-credit-cards/#357fdfb75260


Top Payment Processing Trends Making Waves in 2019

Running a successful business requires succeeding at a number of important steps. For starters, you need to pick the right product or service to provide. You also need to have the right marketing and advertising strategies in place to get the word out about your offerings.

Then there’s the all-important matter of getting paid. Decades ago, setting up the payment side of things was as simple as purchasing a cash register and writing up receipts.  But it’s 2019, and we’re past the point when a simple cash register will do. There are more players and devices in the space and shoppers are increasingly adopting alternative payment methods to fit their lifestyles.

This year, we can expect some pretty exciting trends to shake up payment processing. Here are the top five we’re seeing:

Mobile payment adoption will continue to grow

Back in 2014, Apple introduced a much larger audience to the mobile wallet market. It wasn’t long before a number of other big names – including the likes of Google, Chase, and Samsung – followed suit. By 2015, there were nearly a dozen mobile-wallet platforms from which businesses could choose.

By 2017, 39% of U.S. consumers were already using smart wallets. And today, 10% of Millennialsreport using mobile wallets to make all of their payments and adoption is growing with other demographics, as well.

Some experts even believe mobile wallets will become one of the most important features consumers consider when buying smartphones.

This helps explain why mobile payment volume is expected to reach $503 billion by 2020. With just a year to go, it’s probably safe to assume that more and more customers will be taking out their phones at the cash register.

That’s why if you’re not considering mobile payments yet, it may be time to look into the technology. Do a bit of research into where your customers stand with mobile payments. Survey your shoppers to get their take on Apple Pay and other solutions. If you know other merchants that are accepting mobile payments, talk to them to see how things are working out.

Then once you’re willing to move forward, talk to your payment provider and inquire about their mobile payment solutions.

“Buy now, pay later” will become more popular

Modern consumers (particularly Millennials and Gen Z) are rapidly gravitating towards alternative payment methods.

One example? “buy now, pay later.” It’s a service that allows shoppers to immediately take home their purchase while paying for their products over a number of installments. “Buy now, pay later” has proven to be a boon for merchants (especially retailers) and consumers alike.

As retail expert Shelley Kohan notes:

With buy-now, wear-now, pay-later, the customer takes the product with them at the point of transaction and e-com goods are sent at the transaction point. The big win for retailers is they don’t have to figure out where to store layaway goods, deal with customers who change their minds and handle the mound of abandoned product.

As retailers and brands desire to capture the hearts, minds and wallets of millennial and Gen Z generations, understanding what drives their decision-making is critical. Connecting through a social cause, giving a voice in the development of a product and empowering customers with alternative interest-free payments that are convenient and simple to use are touchstones that resonate with the next gen.

What does this mean for you? If you’re a retailer selling high-ticket items, it may behoove to look into payment options such as “buy now, pay later.”

Remember, consumers want more flexibility with their payment options, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. If you’re unable to serve them in the ways that fit their lifestyle, they will likely turn to your competitors.

Zelle is moving right past Venmo

While Zelle and Venmo are primarily for peer-to-peer payments, it’s still a good idea to track trends in this space, as they may have some implications for your business.

Even though it debuted a decade ago, Venmo really only picked up steam over the past couple of years or so. People finally realized how easy it was to pay each other or split a bill in every cashless society.

Unfortunately, for Venmo, their rein didn’t last long. In just under a year, Zelle went from nonexistent toking of the payment-app-hill.

Like Venmo, it allows users to send money to someone else without using cash, wire transfers, or checks. So, what does Zelle bring to the table? In a sign that traditional financial institutions are finally “getting it”, Zelle was introduced by the country’s seven largest banks (Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan, Capital One, US Bancorp, PNC, and BB&T).

That’s all well and good for consumers,  but if you’re an SMB, why should this make the list of emerging payment-processing trends for 2019?

Here’s the thing: Zelle may be eying a move that would introduce its services to small businesses, making it easy – and secure – for them to accept payments through the app. Once that happens, it’s likely that Zelle will explode in popularity.

Obviously, nothing is set in stone yet, but we highly recommend that you watch this space. You want to be prepared from when either Zeller or Venmo decides to make bigger moves towards the SMB space.  

Payment security systems continue to evolve

As we just touched on, security is always a concern when it comes to disruptive technology.

However, security measures can be a disruption in and of themselves, too.

One example to look for in 2019 is biometric authentication (e.g. using fingerprint IDs to validate transactions).

While the idea may seem a bit far-fetched to some, it’s estimated that biometric authentication will support over 18 billion payments by 2021. That will mean a noticeable expansion of the technology – and perhaps even consumer demand for it – in 2019.

Keep an eye out for this trend — as well as other security issues — in the coming months. As we mentioned before, falling victim to fraud doesn’t just damage your finances, it erodes customer trust and could kill your reputation.

Acting on these important trends

Though adopting some of these trends may represent a major change to your company’s current operations, there’s still plenty of time to start the process. Pick one of the five above and then take the first step toward keeping up.