Four Common Payment Processing Myths You Can’t Afford To Continue Believing

Myths or Facts

Plastic is now the preferred payment method of choice for consumers across the globe, and accepting card payments is no longer an option for serious businesses. Unfortunately, a number of myths surrounding payment processing still muddy the waters and keep some businesses from taking the leap. Those myths are generally rooted in old information from a time when getting set-up to accept credit cards wasn’t all that easy, but those days are long gone. Here are four of the most persistent of those myths, and how they diverge from the reality of modern payment processing.

 

Myth One: PCI compliance is only required for merchants doing high transaction volumes.

Fact: This could not be more incorrect. If you’re accepting credit card payments, you’re expected to be PCI compliant no matter how many transactions you process. There is no compliance floor that excuses merchants from keeping their customers’ payment information and personal data secure. Even if your business only processes a single credit card payment, failing to meet PCI compliance standards could be extremely costly, both financially and from a reputation perspective.

When you partner with BAMS, our team of PCI compliance experts will reach out to lead you through the compliance process, making it easier than ever to offer your customers the security they need.

 

Myth Two: Processing fees are profit-killers.

Fact: There is no getting around payment processing fees, but the idea that they hurt overall profitability is just crazy. In reality, a number of studies have shown people actually spend more money when they pay with credit cards. The exact reason isn’t clear, but it probably has to do with the fact that paying with a credit card doesn’t feel the same as paying through other means like cash or cheque because you aren’t actually handing something over. The result is that, while accepting credit card does involve paying the associated fees, you’ll actually sell more by offering card payments, making the fees more than worthwhile.  

At BAMS, our goal is always to save you money, and our 5-step price comparison and quotation process is designed to show you exactly how we can help you lower your transaction fees.

 

Myth Three: From a merchant perspective, all credit cards are created equal.

Fact: Banks recognize multiple levels of credit cards. The common consumer cards most people carry in their wallets are considered level one cards. But corporate and government credit cards are considered level two and level three, and they’re eligible for lower interchange fees thanks to their relative reliability. The catch is, to access those lower interchange fees on your processed transactions, your payment processing software has to be set up to handle these types of cards.

The data-entry associated with level 2 and level 3 cards can be a headache, but BAMS is designed to automate that process, allowing you to easily reap the benefits of the lower fees that come along with corporate and government card purchases.

 

Myth Four: Chargebacks are a fact of life, and there is no way to mitigate them.

Fact: While it’s true that some chargebacks are completely legitimate, unfortunately, a large number of them are fraudulent. Merchants that aren’t set up to properly handle chargebacks lose huge amounts of money each year to these shady disputes, but merchants aren’t powerless, and fraudulent chargebacks can be detected and minimized. The key is vigilant monitoring and timely responses, and a good payment processor can provide the tools necessary to do both.

BAMS provides a full suite of tools to help manage and minimize chargeback losses, including instant dispute updates, online dispute management, cardholder authentication tools, and more.

 

BAMS is the industry leader in affordable electronic payments solutions, and thousands of merchants across the globe, including some of the world’s biggest brands, trust us for their payment processing. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help your business accept electronic payments and as easily and cost-effectively as possible.

 

Demystifying PCI Compliance – The Basics And Benefits Of Meeting The Industry Security Standard

PCI Compliance - Security

PCI compliance is one of the most important factors in establishing safe online transaction processing, but many business owners and managers know very little about it. Most either assume that it doesn’t apply to them or that they already have it – whatever it is. But e-commerce software and online payment solutions aren’t PCI compliant by default, and it’s essential that companies accepting credit card payments – both online and off – understand the basics of PCI compliance and the many benefits that it provides.

What is PCI Compliance?

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a compliance requirement designed for organizations that process credit card transactions involving the major credit companies. The program is mandated and administered by a council made up of five of the biggest players in the industry – Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and JCB.

While not mandated by federal law in the United States, the major credit brands and banks do require merchants to meet the standard in order to satisfy their terms of service. That means failure to meet even one of the many criteria could be extremely costly. As such, any company that accepts credit card payments and stores or transmits card data must fully adhere to all PCI security requirements to minimize fraud and ensure that sensitive consumer data is protected from theft.

Benefits of PCI Compliance

The benefits that organizations gain from adhering to PCI compliance really can’t be overstated. Failure to comply and the consequences that result can be disastrous. PCI compliance is something that a lot of small businesses tend to push off into the future, but there really isn’t any excuse not to get up to standard immediately considering the numerous upsides. Here are just a few of the most notable:

1) Compliance is essential to maintain customer trust

Thanks to a number of high-profile data security breaches at behemoth companies like Yahoo, AOL, and Adobe, consumers are very aware of how much of their sensitive data is stored and how vulnerable it is if not properly secured. Even consumers that don’t know what PCI compliance means may still know the term, and being able to claim full compliance is a catalyst for establishing immediate trust with customers. Conversely, a data breach caused by a lack of compliance is a surefire way to destroy that trust, and once trust has been damaged, it’s incredibly difficult to repair.

2) Compliance significantly reduces the likelihood of a costly security breach

PCI compliance is all about fighting fraud and data theft, and the standard has been expertly designed by the organizations most interested in eliminating both – the major credit card companies. By adhering fully to all 12 compliance requirements – or better yet, exceeding them – companies can ensure they’ve done everything in their power to keep customer data safe. That’s important considering the immense consequences of failing to do so. Beyond the damage a breach does to a company’s reputation, the costs of defending and settling legal actions, bank fines, and internal and external investigations are enormous.

3) Compliance is an essential part of all merchant account agreements

All reputable merchant accounts from major banks require applicants to fully comply with all of the big credit card companies’ regulations to keep their accounts in good standing. Those credit card companies all mandate PCI compliance. That means failing to be fully PCI compliant puts a company’s merchant account – and in turn their core ability to accept payments – at risk. Many small businesses think they can ignore this requirement because of the small volume of transactions that they process, but even accepting a single credit card payment, whether in-store or online, requires 100% compliance.

Achieving PCI Compliance

To become fully PCI compliant companies must first analyze the current state of their systems and their existing compliance levels. Once that’s done, filling out the PCI self-assessment questionnaire (SAQ) will identify any deficiencies in the 12 individual compliance requirements. If any failure points emerge, they can then be corrected. Very few companies pass the initial compliance evaluation the first time, so fixes should be expected. Once everything is up to standard, a formal attestation of compliance can be filled out and filed with the relevant organizations. Once compliance has been certified, it must be revalidated on a quarterly or annual basis.

Taking the necessary corrective measures and getting systems up to standard can be a daunting task. The easiest way to do it, especially for companies without large tech departments, is to get help from an outside source. Customers who partner with BAMS for their payment processing have access to our experienced team of PCI experts who are there to walk our approved clients through the SAQ and the required quarterly security scans. The BAMS team makes it easier than ever for companies to ensure that they’re fully compliant and safe from the risks associated with failing to meet the standard.

Contact us today for more information on PCI compliance certification and secure payment processing with BAMS.

Two Credit Card Policies Your Business Needs to Set in Stone

Credit cards are a big part of every business. If your store isn’t equipped for credit card transactions, you’ve already put a huge roadblock in the way of your company’s growth. But if you don’t have clear in-store and internal policies, even the best merchant services can’t help your business navigate new regulations. Here are two policies that your business needs to create and regularly review:

What’s your return policy?

Some stores don’t have a lot of returns. But whether you sell retail goods, professional services, or food, you need to have a return policy. It can encompass everything from a poor user experience to product exchanges depending on what you want for your business, but the allowances and limitations need to be clear. It also needs to be posted in your store and easy to find online. Making your return policy clear and visible is the best way to fight invalid chargebacks.

While you’re making any edits, make sure your merchant services can easily accommodate the policy. This includes more than making sure your equipment can handle reversing the transaction. Make sure the fees are low enough that you can afford the goodwill a good return policy brings.

What’s your information storage policy?

The benefit of a merchant services provider is that your company isn’t directly handling credit card information. This is incredibly important if you’re an online vendor. If you handle or store PII or credit card information, your company has to be PCI compliant and secure that information from cyber threats. Find a merchant services provider that acts as a third-party information handler. Also, train your in-store employee on how to treat any credit card information in the store. Ideally, your employees should never write down any details or even handle the cards. Find customer-facing machines to keep the line clear.

For more merchant services tips, browse our blog at BAMS.

Don’t Have Dangerous Gaps in PCI Compliance

Stack of multicolored credit cards close-up view with selective focus.

When you’re looking for a payment processing site so you can make personal online transactions, you might just use the first thing you come across. But when it comes to your business, you want to back up your choice with some research. Different payment processing tools, like PayPal, Stripe, and BAMS, offer a wide array of benefits and supplemental features. The most important thing for your business, however, is PCI compliance.

How does PCI compliance apply to your business?

PCI DSS, or the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is a list of standards for securing payment processing details. If your company even touches payment information, whether you’re storing the information or just accepting, processing, or transmitting it, then you’re responsible for maintaining a secure environment for that data. That’s why more and more companies are using third-party providers to handle payment processing. If payments are routed through another site entirely, your liabilities are limited.

How do you know which processing service provides the best PCI compliance?

The best way to know which service is for you is to start studying your own business. How do you usually get paid? Online stores will have a lot of individual transactions. Subscription service providers, whether they provide online services or something physical like landscaping, may have automatic payments. If your company provides freelance services, you may need to invoice clients for monthly services or varying amounts.

Once you know how your company sends requests for payment and receives payment, start looking for exceptions. Stripe, for example, doesn’t have an inbuilt invoicing tool so you will need to check your additional third-party services for PCI compliance. PayPal does offer more PCI compliance, but only at certain levels of subscription.

Most e-commerce payment processing platforms are all but required to have PCI compliance, but your company may be liable for any gaps. So look for those gaps before finalizing your choice. Browse our blog for more ways to choose the best platform for your business.

NYC Merchant Services – No Place Like Home

Meeting your merchant services payment processing partner and shaking hands with smiles

How is your business doing? Is your startup ready to rock and roll or is your well established SaaS business steadily growing? Perfect. That means that your stress and headache over the intricacies of payment processing are a distant memory – right?

The Strange World of Finance

It isn’t odd if you aren’t quite ready or if this land of financial transactions still feels a bit like the land of Oz. With the multitude of considerations and strange industry verbiage heard here, it might cause some disorientation. From integrating payment processing systems or setting up a useful reporting system to handling EMV payment structures or maintaining PCI compliance, there may be quite a few flying monkeys and singing dwarfs to distract you.

The Comforts of Home

Not only is it important to have a reliable, trusted and successful payment processing partner – how much nicer would it be if that partner was someone familiar? You already understand the importance of cash flow and how that can determine the success or failure of your startup or the continued success of your growing company. Isn’t it hard enough to deal with the processes, systems, and jargon surrounding the payment processing landscape? Working with people who know your demographic, your language and the nuances of New York will make this strange land a little less strange.

Dorothy only had to click her heels three times, having someone local to address your immediate and real payment processing concerns will quickly remind you too – that there really is “no place like home.” Contact us to find out how NYC Merchant Services will alleviate the headaches of payment processing, provide a familiarity you will appreciate and afford a comfort that might feel, a little like home.