AAs we look around at all the rising cost from gasoline to coffee and everything in between, it only seems appropriate this month to share tips on reducing your credit card processing expenses. 

Card present transactions will always be the lowest costs from the card brands so whenever possible swipe/dip or tap the card on your processing device. It’s as equally important to answer all prompts from sales tax to PO or invoice number if prompted. If you must key enter the card number as in mail or phone order, you will need to answer all prompts. Make sure the device asks you for both address and zip code (if it doesn’t, call your processing company and let them know so they can update your device) and enter the customer’s billing address and zip code for the card they are using. If you do not have any of this information then do not bypass it, enter the business address and maybe the last four digits of the card number if you do not have an invoice number or the customer doesn’t have a PO number.

I have spoke with owner’s who understand this but unfortunately their employees do not, or they get busy and skip over this information. Please make sure you train your employees to always enter this information and not just press enter and bypass it.

If you are looking to reduce your costs even further, you may want to revisit a surcharge or non-cash adjustment program. These type of programs are gaining in popularity amongst businesses today, and training your employees on presentation is the key to customer satisfaction with this type of program. A surcharge program will allow you to offset some of your costs, while the non-cash adjustment program will eliminate most all the processing costs for your business.

If you think the time is right to implement a surcharge, FRF Bankcard is here to assist. We can help you find the best solution for your business type and guide you on the compliance requirements needed and best practices for communicating this change with your customers.

O n-Line Credit Card "Pay Now" Fraud

Would you allow a customer to walk into your store and hand you 5,000 or 10,000 credit cards and ask you to process one right after another? Of course not. If you have a website and accept payments with a “pay button” or shopping cart, the bad guys could be doing this right now in your “store”. Set up protective measures for your website just as you would your store front….

Card tumbling is when the bad guys use a legitimate merchant account to test stolen cards to see if they are “good” so they can sell them on the dark web to others who will commit fraud with those cards. Some of the biggest issues for a business who suffers this type of attack is the transaction fees which are nominal but after 5,000-10,000 authorization attempts, it results in a large monthly bill on the processing statement. Also, your business will receive numerous calls from cardholders asking why you charged their credit card. Your employees will have to spend time explaining the fraudsters attempt and that it wasn’t your business processing this. There are a number of ways to prevent this from happening to your website. The first and easiest is to establish a CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart). CAPTCHA is a security measured you see when you visit a website and must type in something you see on the screen or click on certain pictures with images in them. This extra step is to prevent a bot from using the website to complete a transaction instead of a human. There are other measures to also consider if the bad guys can evade the CAPTCHA. Through the back-office tools for your website or shopping cart you can utilize and set a transaction alert for a large number of attempts that fail. Watch for authorization attempts for a small dollar amount ($0.10, $1.00, $2.00). Analyze time zones that originate transactions. Most of these fraud attempts are coming from an IP address that is not consistent with your location or customer’s location. Look for excessive usage and bandwidth consumption from a single user. Multiple transactions with the same email address can also be a red flag.

If you have an IT person, discuss with them the potential risks of having the bad guys use your account for this type of activity. Having a business website is a great way to have a second sales channel or offer your customers a convenient way to pay. Either way, your website needs to be treated as an additional store front as it has the same risks and security concerns as your primary store. Don’t turn out the lights, go home and leave the front door unlocked!

Crystal Laake holds the Certified Payments Professional (CPP) designation and has been an FRF team member for 17 years. Contact Crystal with any payment processing questions at crystal@frf.org.

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