Monday, March 14, 2011

The benefits of accepting credit cards.

The B2C has a great article that really outlines some of the many benefits of accepting credit cards for your business. Not all of them have to do with expanding your customer base:

Security – Besides the obvious fear of losing or being robbed of their cash, more and more consumers appreciate the security of using credit cards offered by their bank. This often comes in the form of backing up the consumer in the event of a dispute, lost card, etc. In addition, these protections are often provided for free as long as the event is reported in a timely manner.
Tracking – All of a consumer’s purchases are accounted for and can be totaled at the end of each day, week, month, and year. This also assures the consumer accuracy and regularity when it comes to their bank accounts and speeds up the rectifying process.
Convenience and Protection – When purchasing high dollar items with their credit or debit card, consumers are free to do so without having to write a check or carry large sums of cash. Some cards offer insurance for larger ticket items as part of the agreement. Many of the higher-end cards also offer protection on certain items purchased in the event of theft or acts of God. In addition, the record of the purchase can also be valuable for insurance claims.
Employee Purchases – Many employees make purchases on the behalf of their employers, or when they travel on company business. These people are often issued a company credit card that is to be used for all purchases for the company. These potential customers are therefore limited to merchants and service providers that accept credit cards.
Rewards – People who are enrolled in rewards programs will often go out of their way to pay by credit card. There are special incentives and rewards programs offered by almost every bank or Credit Card Company to their customers today. The points can go towards travel, shopping, even event tickets. While it is true that the merchant generally pays slightly higher rates for accepting these cards, the customers that use this type of card tend to spend more because they are incentivized.
Business to Business – Many sales can be lost to B2B purchasing by individual specialty type buyers and their companies. Businesses that are making purchases of products or services for their own internal use often prefer to pay with a credit card. This usually is for accounting reasons, but by not accepting credit cards you are losing out on the opportunity to serve those specialized and likely repeat customers.
Business Travelers – A smaller, but relevant group of potential customers are the business travelers. These customers almost always avoid carrying cash on them in any large amounts, plus they are more than likely writing much of their trips off of their taxes, so they want receipts as well as clear documentation in the form of a credit card statement.
Every day, credit card companies are finding new ways to entice consumers to use their plastic rather than paying with cash or a check. At first it may seem like the cost of accepting credit cards is too high for your business, but the truth is in most cases you cannot afford not to. Every year the numbers show that more and more consumers are using plastic to pay for their wants and needs, so it is better to get on board the trend before you are left behind.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Wondering Why PCI Compliance Is a Big Deal?

Cyber criminals are targeting point-of-sale terminals. 
POS devices read the magnetic stripe on the back of a card that contains account information, which is then transmitted for payment processing.
The POS systems that are connected to the Internet could fall prey to cyber attacks particularly  for small businesses. This is all according to Trustwave's global Security report of 2011:

Although there are rules for security controls that developers should use for the devices, such as the Payment Application Data Security standard (PA-DSS), Trustwave said that "these controls are rarely implemented properly."
Further, many small businesses rely on third-party integrators to support the POS devices. But those integrators often have poor security practices. In 87 percent of the breach cases it studied, the integrators make mistakes such as using default credentials in operating systems or with remote access systems, Trustwave said.