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PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliance is just a first step in the year-round maintenance of your business security measures.

Bob Russo, general manager at the PCI Security Standards Council echoes that statement: “Compliance does not equal security. There’s too much focus on cramming for the test and not on being a good student year round. We have to change the conversation in the boardroom and all the way down and across our businesses. Security has to be a daily priority, built into business practices, not a one-time effort.”

 

pci-dss-certified-logo-w-question-markMany merchants, especially medium and small merchants, have considered compliance to be a 1-time measure to secure their customers' data. But the required new, and frankly necessarily more complex, PCI 3.0 security standards present a timely opportunity to better learn and understand "why go to the trouble?" while taking the steps to become compliant. Furthermore, PCI 3.0 compliance must be applied to your business by December 31, 2014.

 

"Ultimately, PCI 3.0 is designed to push organizations to embed best practices in their day-to-day operations. Unfortunately, most companies still use a check-box mentality as part of a compliance-driven approach to security”, explains Torsten George, vice president of Worldwide Marketing and Products at security risk management firm, Agiliance.

 

The “push” is simply this; customers’ data security needs to be built into daily operations in this world of increasing vulnerability. PCI Certification, though required, is also an opportunity to take those required steps, while integrating recommended security measures into your administration schedule.

 

What Are Our Risks If We Aren’t Compliant?

When a customer’s data is breached, the consequences have both financial and reputational consequences for the merchant, as well as requiring considerable time to administer a variety of communications and other tasks. Depending on the breadth of the breach, the possibilities include:

 

  • Notifying customers and the attorney general
  • Monitoring credit for those customers who had been affected
  • A forensic examination to determine if and how a breach occurred, meaning that a shutdown of a POS might be required for some inconvenient length of time
  • Replacing cards whose data had been compromised may be required by the card issuers
  • Fines administered by those issuers whose card were involved

 

We need more than a blog space to answer, "What is PCI compliance?". But now that you're familiar with the compelling consequences of not being compliant, will PCI DSS version 3.0 be a take-action landmark for your business and customers' security for 2015?

 

confirm round bottom

 

TRI’s Customer Service Representatives are available to answer questions and clarify anything that makes our customers unsure of the process. They are highly trained and ready to serve you! Call 888-494-9988 x 2

 

We at TRI have embraced our obligation to our customers for their data’s security for over 20 years. TRI continues to affirm that trust by assuring our own PCI compliance.

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 Accepting Payments on The Road Is Easy!

early mobile phone

Almost everything becomes portable eventually! These days payment processing offers the ultimate in simple, lightweight options to make your business truly mobile.


For retail sales, mobile processing helps close the sale by offering to accept a credit card for payment on the spot. Also, consumers tend to spend more with credit cards than cash if given the choice. Applications for retail mobile processing include:

 

  • Deliveries with payment due; e.g., pizza delivery payments
  • Event Marketing
  • Trade Shows
  • Charity Functions
  • Limousine and Taxi Service

 

For service oriented sales, accepting credit cards via mobile processing improves cash flow and eliminates the administration and time associated with the entire billing process as well as the collection process as payments lag. Applications for mobile processing for services include:

 

  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • HVAC
  • Fuel Oil Delivery and Repair
  • Tow Trucks and Road Services

 

Mobile processing also offers the efficiency of end of day reports similar to what’s found with traditional credit card terminals and POS systems. Transaction detail and summary totals are both available.

 

Portable Payment Terminals vs. Mobile Phone Payments: Are Both Or Either Right For Your Business?

 

Portable Payment Terminals have their unique set of benefits
 

FD 400gtPortable Terminals

 

  • Take payments wherever you receive a cell phone or private Wi-Fi signal
  • Ability to facilitate tips, gratuities, deposits and refunds
  • Machine prints out a receipt
  • Fees structured for the use of mid and large-sized businesses

 

eport mobile paymentMobile Phones

 

  • Take payments wherever you receive a cell phone signal
  • Extra convenient size (so small you could take a payment while sky diving, but we wouldn't recommend it)
  • Receipt can be emailed to customer
  • Fees structured for small to very small businesses


 

Small businesses that might normally use Square, now have the option of ePort Mobile through Transaction Resources, Inc. It offers the all of the features of Square with the advantage of speaking with a knowledgeable customer service representative 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. EPort Mobile also provides both summarized and detailed transaction data.

 

Which option is right for your business? Contact TRI Sales to answer your questions and further discuss your options. 888-494-9988 x1.

 

Fun image history of mobile phones>>

 

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Surcharges. Nobody likes them. 

Though a considerable chunk of monthly expenses for many businesses, the fees that merchants pay to accept credit cards offer a tangible value.

 

surcharge signHowever, merchants would like to defray those expenses if possible, some passing them on to the customer as either credit card surcharges or convenience fees. This tack is not helpful in creating the warm feelings and the repeat business desired between you and your customers. And there's no legal way to conceal the aforementioned additional charges even when either type of fee can be applied. When applied, the customer must be clearly notified.

 

Before choosing to add fees to a purchase, merchants may want to consider a number of factors, including:

  • The potential impact on your customers’ experience
  • What your competitors might be doing
  • What information must be disclosed to your customers, and how
  • Cost of credit cards and other forms of payment

 

If, after your market research, the insights leave you comfortable to impose the added charges, learn more about the difference between credit card surcharges and convenience fees, including how they must be displayed prominently to the consumer.

 

gas station cash chargeIs There A Loophole, You Ask?

 

Merchants are allowed to provide discounts for payments in cash. Gas stations often post this discount prominently. Prices for both credit card and cash payments must be displayed together. 

 

Know The Difference:

Convenience Fees

A convenience fee is a flat fee. It may only be charged for a bona fide convenience for providing a payment method outside of a merchant's normal business practice. An example of this is a university or college that has contracted a third party to process credit card payments. This is considered an authentic convenience fee, and schools are quick to point out to students that they do not personally benefit from these fees so as not to alienate the student.

 

Wendy Badger Esq. wrote the following for CollectionIndustry.Org:

 

"Generally, fees cannot be assessed in a face-to-face transaction where the consumer presents a card for payment. Rather, it is only for transactions over the phone, over the Internet or other similar situations in which the consumer is not required to physically present a card. The theory is that the fee is for the “convenience” of the consumer not having to go to a point of sale for the transaction. The fee must be disclosed prior to the transaction, and there must be alternative payment options for which a fee would not be assessed. If a fee is assessed, it must be consistent for all types of payments within a particular payment channel, such as via mail, phone and Internet, whether the payment is submitted by credit or debit card, ACH network or check by phone." 

 

Credit Card Surcharges

Smartpay.gsa.gov describes it well: "Surcharges are fees that a retailer* adds to the cost of a purchase when a customer uses a charge/credit card. A surcharge is a percentage of the value of the sale. For example, if a cardholder purchases $100 in office supplies, a merchant may add a surcharge of 3% to the total purchase. There are specific brand (Visa/MasterCard) rules regarding surcharges." 

 

 *The ten states of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah, which cover about 40% of the U.S. population, prohibit credit card surcharges by state law. Therefore, even though Visa and MasterCard will be eliminating the prohibition against credit card surcharges, merchants in those ten states are unable to impose credit card surcharges since they are illegal under state law. Unless those laws are changed, merchants in those ten states are still barred from imposing credit card surcharges. 

 


 

Positive Customer-Building Approaches 

 

Instead of fees, take the promotional steps that will draw customers to you. We mentioned that merchants are allowed to provide discounts for payments in cash. Another idea is to promote your business with a pre-loaded gift card giveaway. It needn't be a large amount, but enough for the customer to purchase something. The likely result of, for example, a $5.00 gift card giveaway is that more than $5.00 will be spent. Make the purchase experience a positive one, and you have likely earned a repeat customer, and subsequent word-of-mouth promotion!

 


 

References & Further Research

 

http://transactionresources.com/index.php/triblog/item/121-surcharging-credit-cards-q-a-for-merchants 

 

http://www.collectionindustry.org/component/content/article/62-debra-j-ciskey/234-how-merchants-have-taken-the-convenience-out-of-convenience-fees.html

 

 https://smartpay.gsa.gov/about-gsa-smartpay/surcharges

 

 http://usa.visa.com/personal/get-help/checkout-fees.jsp

 

 http://www.mastercard.us/merchants/support/surcharge-rules.html