Archive for January, 2010

Donate to various Haiti Charities

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Friends of The Transaction Group have set up a blog that links to 30 reputable organizations accepting donations for Haiti charities. Most of the sites have online credit card processing capabilities so you can make a donation to Haiti relief with the ease and safety of using your credit card. EVERY DOLLAR makes a BIG difference so please give in some way if you can. Click on Haiti charities to visit their blog.

Merchant Account PCI Compliance

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

The payment industry is complex, and business owners need more than the basics to manage a merchant account effectively. Its also important to keep up-to-date with the latest regulations from compliance agencies, and understand how rulings impact your merchant account.

What is the PCI Security Standards Council and What Do they Do?

The PCI Security Standards Council was formed in 2006 by five major payment brands including American Express, Discover Financial, JCB, Mastercard International and Visa Inc. They create a standard body and security framework for how to protect cardholder data based on its transmission — whether its processed, stored or just transmitted over a network. In addition, they create security programs to protect cardholder data.

The council felt it would be easier for merchants with a set of rules and industry-accepted best practices, and offer additional data and financial protections. Each individual payment type still has a specific compliance program, but the PCI Council offers the merchant an opportunity to voice their opinions and ideas about those requirements how they comply directly with merchant or payment banks.

What do Merchants Need to Know?

Each business model has different security and compliance requirements. For example, if a merchant outsources all processing to a third party, the third party must demonstrate compliance with the merchant bank, and merchants then have a limited scope of operation.

However, if a merchant develops their own applications for online credit card processing and manages their own network to transfer sensitive data, they are obligated to work within stricter PCI Data Security Standards.

The PCI council offers a list of approved commercial products to reduce compliance efforts, and merchants should check the list to be sure their programs meet Payment Application Data Security Standards. This saves merchants time and the headache of spending money to retro-fit applications for compliance.

Most importantly, merchants must always think about data security. It makes sense to outsource to a service provider with a security skill set and fundamental understanding of the payment process. This saves time and money, and the need to create a dedicated IT department.

Why your business needs a merchant account

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

When a consumer is looking to make a purchase, they expect a certain level of professionalism, security, and trust from the merchant they decide to do business with. Consumers also understand that by paying by credit card, they’re adding additional layers of protection to their purchase.

Standard Benefits of Accepting Credit Cards

Credit Cards Increase Sales: An increasing number of people use credit cards for convenience, simplicity and impulse purchases. If your business has a merchant account, you automatically extend your customer base, perhaps even worldwide with e-commerce. It’s also much easier to up sell someone paying by credit card vs. cash or check.

Credit Card Terminals and E-Commerce Solutions are Reasonably Priced: Basic merchant accounts include affordable terminals that are easy to set up and require only a phone line and receipt roll. There are also plenty of basic e-commerce solutions available for nominal monthly fees.

Fees for Accepting Credit Cards: Credit card processing companies take a percentage of every merchant sale processed through their merchant account, but it varies based on the type of card and how it is processed. It’s best to verify all rates before committing to a contract. You’ll also want to ask if they require you to sign a long term contract and/or change an early termination fee.

Added Protection from Frauds and Scams: Card companies have protection programs and security measures to help reduce fraud via card theft or loss. Payments can be stopped by a consumer, merchant or a payment processor, and the card canceled or changed. This is a great advantage over cash that is difficult to retrieve.

Cardholders understand that if a change shows up on their credit card statement they did not authorize, they can dispute it and in most cases will get their money back. Most also understand they can dispute a transaction if the product or service does not live up to their expectations and the merchant is unwilling to resolve the problem. This last point is really important when it comes to online credit card processing transactions since the consumer is not face to face with the business or their product/service.

In today’s competitive business environment, it’s critical you provide your customers with convenience, security, and trust. Having the ability to process their credit card at checkout is a big step in that direction.