Could Square’s Customer Service Issues Affect Their Future?

Phone SwipedSquare has been great for helping micro merchants accept credit cards and has had a largely positive impact on the merchant services industry.  However, their much maligned customer service issues seem to really be catching up to them just as they are gearing up for an IPO.  I thought this recent article with the details that was in the LA Times was important enough to share.  You can read all about it here.

I personally think they have a great concept that is great for very small business owners to accept credit cards.  These are businesses in the past that would have found accepting credit cards cost prohibitive if they were to only take an occasional card.  However, it’s important to service your clients, no matter what size they are.  I personally think that Square will listen to their customers and start providing a service, or suffer the consequences.

For customers that want the convenience of mobile card acceptance at a better rate, with actual live customer service, there are choices available.  I personally recommend Phone Swipe.  For more information, go to www.myfreeswiper.com .

 

Robert McBeath is a Certified Payment Professional and President of Cornerstone Business Solutions.  Robert has extensive experience offering merchant services and cash advances to business owners. Visit www.CornerstoneBusinessSolutions.net or call him at 888.979.4731.

Navigating Through the Risks of Credit Card Processing author Bill Pirtle

Author Bill Pirtle’s first book, Navigating Through the Risks of Credit Card Processing is the best and most comprehensive guide for credit card acceptance available, and sadly even most of those business owners that know about it will never take the time to read it.  However, many of the most professional bank card representatives have utilized it as a resource in behalf of their clients.  Personally I’ve not only given many copies of this book out, I’ve also used specific chapters to help educate potential clients.
Since first reading Bill Pirtle’s work, I had the opportunity to meet him and get to know more about his philosophy.  Over the years we’ve also shared many laughs and grown to be friends beyond the industry.  I’m very proud of his continued success in the industry and I’m excited to post this phone interview where he explains his books, passions and how it all started.  Next week I’ll be posting part 2 of the interview where he’ll share his own top three tips for accepting credit cards as well as a few entertaining stories!
For more information on Bill Pirtle and his second book, Credit Card Processing for Sales Agents, go to his site www.C3ET.net.

 

Robert McBeath is a Certified Payment Professional and President of Cornerstone Business Solutions.  He has extensive experience offering merchant services and cash advances to business owners. Visit www.CornerstoneBusinessSolutions.net or call him at 888.979.4731.

 

Ingenico iCT220 EMV Credit Card Demonstration and Tutorial

Today’s video ushers in a new generation of terminals with the EMV capable Ingenico iCT220 credit card terminal.    From the video, you’ll see a hands on demonstration of the mostly commonly used functions of this new terminal.   What I most liked is how simple and easy it is to use.  You’ll also notice that I’m far from an expert in the terminal. In fact, before the demonstration of this terminal, I’d only opened the box 10 minutes before and with just a retail quick users guide, I felt very comfortable showing the functions for this video.  Also, from the restaurant quick users guide it appears that the restaurant program is equally as user-friendly.

I’ll also admit I kept this video very short and to the point, so I left out many of the features, benefits and technical specs that can be found on the spec guide here.

These are the newest terminals highly recommended by my top technical support staff from my primary processing company, Signature Card Services.  As an extra bonus, they are continuing to offer these new terminals at no cost with a merchant account!  I’m sure we’ll be seeing more and more of these terminals in the marketplace as we get closer to the 2015 EMV liability shift.

 

 

Credit Card Payment Gateway Review: eProcessing Network

ePNTPSG_Page_01credit card payment gateway  is an e-commerce program that facilitates credit card transactions via a secure connection to a password protected, secure, hosted site.  This program was originally used largely to facilitate e-commerce transactions automatically when connected to a website shopping cart via api codes.  Payment gateways can also be used as a virtual terminal, since any computer that is logged into the internet can access the site, login and manually process a credit card transaction.   Gateways are essentially the mechanism for processing a transaction and work in conjuction with a merchant account, provided by the merchant services provider.  Fees for the gateway are in addition to the credit card processing fees, but will generally be billed on the same statement.  Fees are typically $15 a month for the secure hosting and 5 cents a transaction.

One of the earliest and still most well know examples of a payment gateway would be Authorize.net.  Although Cornerstone Business Solutions can still offer Authorize.net as a gateway solution, the preferred gateway is E Processing Network (ePN).  In addition to their competitive pricing, extremely fast and easy setup and superior customer service, their program offers many more additional options beyond e-commerce.  These ‘plug-in’ solutions include Ecommerce with integrated shopping cart, recurring billing, email integrated billing/payment, Quickbooks integration, mobile card processing and even a POS solution.  Here is a brief overview of their some of their more popular optional features for standard applications:

ePNCartE-Commerce

The ePN internet sales solution is incredibly easy to use.  A merchant can easily connect the payment gateway up to a third party shopping cart, or simply use the simple integrated ePN Cart  that is available for a onetime $69 charge.

pic-virtual-terminalVirtual Terminal

ePN is very intuitive as a virtual terminal.  You can even add a Magtek USB card reader to any computer for speedier transactions and lower credit card processing costs.  Readers can be obtained for less than $100 each.

       

ePN RecurRecurring Billing

ePN Recur is automated billing that has been used to save businesses multiple hours every month by avoiding re-entering payments.  This is a great option for businesses that offer products or services on a subscription basis or want to sell merchandise in installments.  This program comes at no additional charge with the standard Virtual Terminal program.  Advanced Recur which allows customers to set up their own recurring billing online is an additional setup fee of $25 and an extra $12.50 a month.

ePN Bill PayEmail Bill Pay

ePN Billpay simplifies invoicing and collections.  It allows a business to email an invoice that a customer can click on and automatically pay with a credit card.  This option is an additional $25 setup fee and $12.50 monthly.

 

ePN QuickbooksQuickBooks Sync

ePN PlugIn for Quickbooks integrates your payment solutions seamlessly.  Merchants can process credit card, debit cards and checks in Quickbooks or download batches from the ePN server directly to Quickbooks.  There is a one-time $65 charge for the program.

       

ePN MobileMobile Solution

ePNMobile is a smart phone application downloaded that allows for wireless credit, offline debit or check processing.  This app is a one-time $35 charge.  Typically this solution will add an ePN Mobile Pro Audio Jack Reader.  They are available at $65 each.

       

ePN JposPOS Solution

ePN JPOS is a Windows based program that can be downloaded to a computer to allow for credit, debit, check and gift card processing without accessing an internet browser.  Essentially this has the ability to turn a computer into a retail POS solution and even has inventory options.  Although the software is only $20, the hardware costs are additional, depending on needs.  Magtek card readers are under $100 and costs for printers are approximately $250.  Bar code scanners can also be utilized and are priced at about $125.

       

As you can see, the versatility of ePN makes this a fantastic choice for businesses that want all options available to them  As a business owner, it’s important to find the correct processing solution to meet the specific business needs now and in the future.  There is no reason to be overwhelmed with details, but utilizing a professional bankcard representative with experience can assist through the entire process from inception to implementation.  Authorized representative, Robert McBeath, CPP, of Cornerstone Business Solutions can be reached by calling 888-979-4731.

Merchant Account Data can Identify, Find, and Target Your Best Customers

Merchant Account Analytics for Customer DemographicsWhat if you had the ability to gain huge amounts of data on your clientele by analyzing the credit card information you process on a daily basis?  Think of the possibilities.  I’ve got great news!  There is a bank card processor out there that is already offering such services, and the best part is, most of Cornerstone’s clients already have access to it!

 

Signature Card Services, an Independent Sales Organization (ISO) that I represent, found that they could take all the data collected from merchants via their credit card processing, analyze and sort it and give the information back to the merchant.  This information has proved to be invaluable from a marketing stand point alone.

They started analyzing date for a small e-commerce company based in San Diego.  The kitchen ware business wanted to know to whom and where they should be targeting their marketing. Using information they gained from credit card processing, Signature began gathering and analyzing all the data.   Signature’s analysis showed that the company’s best business was coming from Minnesota, of all places.  After receiving the priceless information from Signature, the small company reevaluated its marketing and began targeting that specific region.

Due to this unique service “Signature has been gaining clout among merchants…There is huge interest from prospective merchants,” says executive vice president of Signature Card Services, (and longtime, friend), Anush Amiryants in an interview with ISO & Agent Magazine.

Signature is truly changing the game and the way ISOs across the country are doing business, “In our industry, on our level, nothing like this has ever been available to merchants,” Anush says.  With Signature, you get so much more than just credit card processing.  As a leader in the field, they are taking full advantage of the information all credit card processors collect.

Analytics 2So, how does it work? Signature works with Tranzlogic, a company that specializes in helping ISOs generate and analyze information. Once they are able to access a merchant’s credit card processing data, gather it and analyze it, Signature then makes the information accessible to their clients via an online portal.

Anush, who specializes in marketing, notes, “Merchants pay a hefty sum to large marketing firms to harvest, sort and analyze customer data.  Now, with the swipe of a credit card, merchants can obtain that information at a fraction of the cost…What it does for our merchants is absolutely unparalleled.”  Signature is offering a powerful tool that offers merchants the ability to use otherwise wasted information to create an informed and specific marketing campaign aimed precisely at their target audience.

What Signature is doing for its merchants is light years ahead of their competition, and did I mention, comes standard with a merchant account. That’s right, for now, Signature does not charge extra for this service.  For those of you who already have a merchant account set up with Signature contact us to learn more about accessing and utilizing this amazing resource.  If you are using another ISO but would love to learn more about Signature and how to create a merchant account with them, call us today to learn more about how Signature and Cornerstone Business Solutions can work for you.

For more information featuring Anush Amiryants and this product, please see the referenced article, ISO Differentiates With Big Data, featured in ISO & Agent online magazine.

Point of Sale System Review: Harbortouch Retail POS vs. Phone Swipe POS Tablet

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Harbortouch Retail POS System

Phone Swipe Tablet Slick

North American Bancard Phoneswipe Tablet POS System

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been around long enough to remember when the choices for accepting credit cards were between a manual imprinter, aka knuckle buster, and a Verifone Zon Jr. electronic device.  Thankfully, the industry has matured enough that there are a multitude of card acceptance methods that are designed to not only accept payments, but to also be an indispensable business tool.  In fact, there are so many new card acceptance platforms being released, even those of us in the industry can’t keep up with them all!

Although I have many choices to present to my clients, I’ve narrowed the field down to two different Point of Sale choices.  They both offer unique benefits for my retail clients that wish to have a system beyond just a credit card terminal.  I’ve chosen to represent both of these processing companies and their integrated POS System, based upon their commitment to our customers, low processing rates, and ease of use and implementation.   The correct choice depends upon the business, so I’ll do my best to give a short rundown on the features of each, pricing and the advantages.

Harbortouch

Harbortouch is a full featured Point Of Sale (POS) system that integrates top quality equipment with state of the art software for the ultimate POS solution.  This system is a one point hardware, software and credit card processing solution that integrates seamlessly and delivers blazingly fast speed and flawless performance.  Harbortouch is a robust, top end system that allows a business to streamline business operations and automate daily management activities.  So in addition to accepting all credit cards, checks, and even gift cards it will also help manage your business and employees.

Features Include:
  • Advanced reporting providing a top-level picture of your business
  • Reports that can be downloaded into QuickBooks
  • Customer Database with gift and loyalty
  • Inventory tracking and monitor stock depletion
  • Employee management with built-in scheduling, time clock and payroll
  • Lighthouse system allows real-time tracking of business remotely

The complete package includes custom programming of inventory for each business customer and on site professional installation as well as free training and ongoing support.  The system is extremely durable with a high clarity 15” touch screen and on board lightning fast touch screen.  The standard package also includes cash drawer, a printer and even a bar code reader.

Although this system has all of the features and functions of high-end systems costing several thousand up front with considerable ongoing user expenses, this system is extremely affordable.  The system itself is free!  Yes, free with a 5 year agreement (there is a small shipping fee).  The monthly service agreement is all-inclusive and is only $69 a month and $59 quarterly.  This covers unlimited support, software upgrades and even free overnight replacement of equipment if necessary.  Extremely competitive credit card processing fees will also apply.  Delivery time is approximately three weeks.

Phone Swipe Tablet
Phone_Swipe_Features

Click for Phone Swipe PPT Demo

The Phone Swipe Tablet program is a much simpler POS system based upon a tablet with a custom application that does cloud based processing.  The new Free Tablet system comes preloaded with the POS application as well as a few select applications and the ability to browse the internet.  To achieve PCI compliance, there is no capability to add additional applications beyond those approved.  The hardware platform is a free iPad 2 attached to a solid stand with a swiper.  This system operates on Wi-Fi, which is a great feature for mobile merchants as well as merchants that want to accept cards anywhere within their store.  A printer as well as a cash drawer can be added with a router connection, although the system will work just fine with email receipts.   This is a very simple, easy to use system comes shipped, ready to use within minutes out of the box.  Setting up your own inventory (if desired) in the system is extremely easy utilizing the tablet cameras.  This allows easy checkout menus utilizing pictures and has a very user-friendly sorting program.

Features Include:
  • Easy navigation, including express check out
  • Next day funding
  • Ability to accept payments on the go
  • Business intelligence tools
  • Cloud backup
  • Real time and history reporting

The Phone Swipe Tablet, application, stand and swiper come as part of the standard package.  The special introductory rate includes reduced equipment costs and processing rate, offering savings over the life of the three-year contract.  For businesses doing over $9500 a month in credit card business the system is absolutely free!  Lower volume businesses will see a service charge up to $99 a month.  A compatible printer can be added for only $14.95 a month or printer and cash drawer for $19.95, although it might make more sense to just purchase these items elsewhere for long-term savings.  Delivery time is less than one week.  One free replacement is included for the system.  There is only a $79 annual software fee, with no other annual fees or PCI compliance fees with the processing.  This system includes the North American Bancard credit card processing at a highly reduced rate.

Comparisons

Again, both are exceptional products from two of the long time, leading processing companies in the industry.  They both have an excellent track record of customer satisfaction along with extremely competitive processing rates.  The startup cost for each of these systems is negligible and the monthly expense is comparable, especially considering how much comes with the Harbortouch POS system.  It may be difficult choosing one over the other as it really comes down to the merchant’s individual needs.

Harbortouch is my recommendation for a location that wants a full on POS system, with full reporting including inventory tracking, bar code reader and a gift card program with equipment designed for abuse from employees.  The all-in-one system and support as well as the unlimited equipment replacement warranty will ensure you always have a working system.  Also not relying on a Wi-Fi connection or an iPad charger can help ensure more reliable processing of transactions.

North American Bancard Phone Swipe is my recommendation for a merchant that wants a very simple and easy to use system that is a solid step up from a credit card terminal with many more functions at a comparable price.  The ability to be mobile and also add your own devices to this system is definitely an advantage to many merchants.  The next day funding as well as the lowered processing rate is an additional bonus.

For some businesses, the choice will be obvious which system best suits their needs.  For others, the decision may weigh more heavily and I’m glad to provide more information and answer any questions that may help in choosing the right POS system for the long-term.  Feel free to contact me at 309-820-0076 or complete the form below and we will contact you.

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