Sunday, October 23, 2011

Web Cam Credit Card Processing

Webcam Credit Card Processing

webcam credit card processing
Credit Card Processing
It may sound strange but Webcam Credit Card Processing may indeed be on the way.  For those who accept credit card, technology keeps changing at a seemingly record pace.  Not all the new technologies will stick and some may leapfrog each other to gain traction in the marketplace but Webcam online credit card processing is certainly intriguing.
At first glance it would not seem to be the most secure process but we need to get used to the idea that electronic payments are here to stay and may be completely secure.  This particular method of credit card processing is based on secure video streaming which has become quite popular of late.
If we think about it, the way we pay for things has changed dramatically over the last decade.  Ten years ago most of wouldn’t dream of entering our credit card data into a web form but not it is second nature.  Paypal has created an online intermediary for credit card processing with some recourse for both merchant and customer.  Privacy policies have evolved to acceptable levels because the volume of online credit card processing demanded such a change.
This new video streaming is perfectly timed because of all the news of hacking and fraud taking place in the industry.  I cannot see how it would be foolproof but anything promising more security will lead to more people using online credit card processing under the guise of security.  This technology my prove only to be a just a convenience for consumers.  But it certainly is cool.
To use it, a merchant will have to enable special software which for all intents and purposes will turn the webcam of any desktop into a credit card reader.  The customer will hold their credit card in front of the webcam an after it is read, be prompted to enter the three digit CCV security code on the back of the card.  Then when the system accepts the card, the transaction is complete.
The enhanced safety measures are that the customer will never have to give their card to anyone else and it would be very difficult for criminals to copy down the account number, expiration dates and CCV security code without the card ever leaving the customer’s hand.  We are assuming here that this software is hack proof.  It may very well be but chances are that the merchant’s computer could be susceptible to hackers is more likely.  In general, securing business computers costs money and until Visa and other credit card providers require top level security for merchants, it would be impossible to tell which merchants are in compliance with security measures and which ones are just “saying” they are.
Most data leaving a business system through a merchant account is already encrypted and relatively safe and secure.  Secure video streaming technology is also encrypted which is what makes this data transfer relatively secure.  There are no paper trails or receipts to shred and the only real future security issue would be how a merchant stores yours financial data and purchase information for returns and exchanges.  Again, chances are the merchant doing the credit card processing has no bad intentions but there are those unscrupulous individuals looking to take advantage of a merchant with inferior security measures for their systems.

Watch Out For Credit Card Fraud

Credit Card Procesing Fraud

credit card processing fraudWhen we think of modern day credit card processing we think of high tech security features which make fraud almost impossible. Right? Wrong!  It seems that no matter who much we improve our credit card processing there are always some evil geniuses out there plotting to beat the system.
But in some cases, the plotters seem less than ingenious.  The hack pointed out at the Black Hat security conference seems rather a simple idea but defeats a high tech security system.  The guys over at Aperture Labs created less than 100 lines of code which can swipe credit card information for a system called Square.  That’s what we call and easy hack.
The Square is a payment system which supposedly was a safe way to do credit card processing from mobile devices like Androids and Iphones.  These devices would effectively turn into credit card processing machines with the use of Square, but now it doesn’t seem like such a good idea.
Well here is how the credit processing fraud is done. Aperture Labs figured out how to move funds from a stolen credit card in the bank account set up in association with Square.  This was done without have to even swipe the credit card physically with the Square card reader called the “dongle”.  They only needed to use the code they came up with to take all the information on the magnetic strip and turn it into an audio file.  This code allows you to somehow feed the info from the magnetic strip into the microphone for conversion.
So this new sound file which contains the card information is played as a series of coordinated sounds which are fed into the Square device by audio cable and understood by the Square application.  A very easy work around for people in the business but not something normal folks down on their luck would have figured out on their own.  But it is pretty interesting that Aperture was able to turn this credit card processing system designed to swipe actual cards to complete a transactions into one that can accept electronic payments.  Nice work fellas.  Now criminals don’t even have to go to the trouble of creating a plastic fake credit card, or even know the Personal ID number set up for the real card.
If this was not enough bad news for the poor Square Credit Card Processing App, Aperture Labs hit them with another goof. While testing they figured out that Square card reader can be used to make a cloned card because the data a criminal would need from the Square is not encrypted.  I thought everything was encrypted these days?
Here’s how they did it.  This was even lower tech than the low tech hack above.  By inserting the Square dongle cable into the mobile device via the audio input, the special code created by Aperture turns the new sound file into readable data which is used to make a credit card.  Hmmm.  So this makes Square a doubly ineffective technology for mobile credit card processing doesn’t it?
The real problem here is what this does to the skimmer market.  Skimmer products are available online for people who want to do bad things but this Square situation makes the difficult task of skimming into something very simple.  It lowers the barrier to entry into the skimming profession because you now need no skill are understanding of the complicated processes used in card card processing.
Of course Square is working on a fix for the problem which they have known about for sometime.  But, they didn’t really feel it was an effective method for fraud and wouldn’t cause problems.  But, when your technology is demonstrated at something called a “Black Hat” anything, it is time to make the fix.

Friday, October 21, 2011

It's Important To Accept Credit Cards

Why It Is Important To Accept Credit Cards

Accepting credit cards online іѕ incredibly іmрοrtаnt fοr аnу online store аnd аnу οthеr business thаt allows іtѕ customers tο mаkе orders online. If уου want tο gеt thе maximum number οf people ordering уουr service thеn уου need tο bе аblе tο inspire confidence whеn thеу bυу аnd уου need tο hаνе thе facilities thеrе tο accept аll kinds οf payments.
If there is one main lesson to be learned about conducting business online, it is that you must accept credit cards to compete.  It is by far the most convenient way for potential customers to spend money on your site and sets up the environment for impulse buying.
The impulse buy is an incredible advantage for businesses because of conversion.  If your site is set up properly to entice customers who may be on the fence about buying, your ROI on your site will increase dramatically.  Statistics show that consumers are becoming exponentially more comfortable with purchasing online and doing so in their own environment give them a sense of being in control of the transactions.
Customers are no longer bound by making purchases on the retailers home floor with pushy salesman and store hours creating a sales deadline.  When consumers are free to browse on their own terms they will not feel pushed into buying when in fact a website can be the most pushy salesmen of them all.  Giving your customers the ability to buy instantly, effectively taking money out of their wallet and into yours, changes the way business should be approached online.
Getting set up to accept credit cards online is first and foremost.  Most first time business people assume the easiest way to start accepting credit cards is by using PayPal.  This is a fairly reasonable assumption but it is not correct.  It’s true that PayPal transactions are simple and adding PayPal buttons to your site so your customers are alerted where to pay is easy, but what if you don’t have PayPal.
That’s right, believe it or not every one who uses the internet has a PayPal account and expecting them to set one up just to buy something from you is foolish.  In essence, you are killing your impulse sale opportunity by relying solely on PayPal.  But the good news is that most people who use the internet and are over 18 do have a credit or debit card and fairly well versed in using it online.
One of the best things about those businesses who have come before you online is that they are the ones who had to go through the bumps and bruises of establishing good ecommerce practices and training people to spend.  There is something called trust marketing which has evolved over the years and it shows that seeing a Visa or Mastercard logo on a site established a sense of trust with consumers.  Further it helps identify your brand as more trustworthy because of the association your business has with the credit card providers.
Whether this is true or not, a perceived level of trust from your potential customers bodes well for merchants just because they accept credit cards.  Now PayPal has come a long way over the years and their logo also elicits a trust relationship with consumers, but remember that the actual numbers of people who have an active PayPal account is extremely limited compared with those ready to use their credit cards to purchase.
So whether you are just getting started online, or are an established business entity looking for more sales, it is important to accept credit cards both for your customer’s convenience and to establish trust.  Using a third party merchant account provider to process your credit card transactions is simple

Accept Credit Cards At The Laundry

Accept Credit Cards In The Laundry Room

accept credit cards
Laundry Rooms Accept Credit Cards
Accept Credit Cards in the laundry room?  What a marvel idea and it comes from a place we are used to getting a bunch of our smart ideas.  Yale University is one of the first in the country to begin to accept credit cards in the campus laundry rooms.
It may not seem like the type of technological breakthroughs we often hear about from a major University but if you have ever lived on a college campus, then you know how difficult it can be to get your laundry done.   In the old days you had to find some quarters or find a place that would make change for you, load up your laundry and hope that when you made it to the machine, it would be available for use.
At least at Yale, the students could load money onto a cash card for use in the laundry room which would eliminate the need to scrounge up some change but you still had to take the extra step of loading the card.  In Yale’s case the washing machines were not very reliable because of the tendency for the cash cards to fall apart and jam up the reading mechanism so upgrading to units that accept credit cards could be a better option.
The new machines are far better.  Even though it took a major upgrade to redo the laundry system at Yale, it will pay for itself in convenience for the busy students.  All machines are linked to a central website which will indicate when and where washing machines are functioning properly and available.  So far the machines are very reliable and the student feedback is overwhelmingly positive.  The cost for students has remained the same but it is unclear if the university has taken on merchant fees or transaction charges.
Again, the way our college students do their laundry may not be newsworthy for some, but how much life can change when you accept credit cards is.  In this case it is a huge time saver as opposed to finding change and heading to machines that may or may not be in use.  Time is our only resource we can not get more of and our only option is to use it more efficiently.  This is a good lesson for all but for college students just learning to manage their time and live on their own it is perhaps more challenging.  Combining online centralization and accepting credit cards in the laundry room is truly an on campus breakthrough.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Accepting Credit Cards Without A Website

How To Accept Credit Cards Online Without A Website

I didn’t even realize that I could accept credit cards online without even having my own website.  I happen to have one but I was intrigued about how this could be.  What is actually happening is that we are just credit card processing over the internet and having the ability to get rid of our land lines and outdated terminals.  It is even more secure than processing over vulnerable land lines.
This type of online credit card processing is based on an internet connection to a centralized payment gateway which handles the transactions.  Needless to say, an online gateway operates 24 hours a day and 7 days a week and has more flexibility.  Why?  Because you can process credit cards with all the functionality you are used to with your terminal but you do not have stand there to do it.  Even though most merchants would not need to process a transaction remotely from anywhere in the world, they could.  This has enormous applications for mobile commerce and lifts the restrictions from only being able to process during your store’s operating hours and only taking payment on site.
In general a payment gateway will end the need to be dependent on a phone line and feature complete wireless processing.  Understand that it is not just to accept credit cards.  You should always be able to process debit cards, do returns or voids and even handle check imaging by a virtual terminal.
Even if you already have an online store or any type of website, you can easily integrate a new or existing shopping card software or pluggins into most of these gateway processors.
The features, which have come a long way since inception, allow networking so you can access processing for multiple store location, handle batch processing, set up automatic or recurring payments and do just about every type of reporting you can think of.  Software is about efficiency and as we undoubtedly move to more of this in the merchant services industry, merchants will be able to integrate even more accounting features into their payment processing.
I suppose an obvious question is how do you get payment from your customer into your account.  The procedure is not that different from the process you are used to, just more secured and efficient.  Customer swipes card, or types in information in the case of a website transaction, the data is encrypted before it is sent, the payment gateway will verify payment information and make sure their is enough money in the account in the case of debit or make sure there is sufficient credit available to cover the purchase price.  Then there is a prompt for the customer to authorize the transaction and a receipt is generated to verify the transaction.  The payment center then holds the information until the issuing bank sends funds which are ultimately placed in your merchant account.
So the concept of payment is very similar to traditional terminal transactions but human error is virtually eliminated from the equation and encryption makes the information secure.
Isn’t it time for you to harness the power and speed of the Internet to work for your business? Accept credit cards online and see what a difference it can make for your operation!  The real beauty of this technology is you can accept credit cards without even having a website but keep in mind that you will need some sort of merchant account in order to process credit cards. So this is not a solution for individuals to accept credit cards just a business with at least a minimal sales volume to offset merchant account costs.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bad Industry For Credit Card Processing

A Bad Industry For Credit Card Processing

credit card processingYou would not think there were industries out there which were bad for credit card processing but anything questionable to the United States Government is a good place to start.  Things like online gaming or overseas pharmacies might come to mind but as laws change regarding the use and sale of medical marijuana, the subject of credit card processing becomes a point of contention.
Let us first start by mentioning that to date there are sixteen states and Washington D.C. that all the use of Medical Marijuana.  This may be news to some people but America seems to be changing and regardless of how we may feel about it, if it is for sale, how is it paid for.  A medical marijuana dispensary is much like a regular pharmacy except they only sell one thing.  True there are different varieties and interesting products but these businesses distribute medical cannabis to patients with their State’s written permission to purchase it.  The problem is that for the dispensaries to accept credit cards for payment using traditional credit card processing is becoming more and more difficult.
The reason stems from the fact that the federal government is not making it so easy on the States which have passed legalization legislation to have total control over its sale and distribution.  It’s a slippery slope which leaves businesses owners as the unwilling pawn in this political game.  The Feds say that any business that accepts credit cards in this industry is supporting activity which is against Federal Law.  But in truth, credit card processing for these businesses operating in State’s where the sales are legal, have not violated any State Law.
So there we have it.  It is really nothing more than the Federal Government looking for ways to circumvent State’s rights and pushing back against the Country’s desire to at least open the debate for Federal decriminalization of marijuana.  The result has not been a ban on credit card processing for these marijuana collectives, but more of an unwritten rule. Banks providing merchant services for dispensaries so they can accept credit cards from their patients now feel like a target for federal regulators.  Even if nothing officially happens to these banks, many feel that it is not worth hanging around the wrong neighborhoods and inviting trouble.
This seems to be an effective ploy for Government so far but it will not last for long. Truth be told, marijuana collectives would rather not accept credit cards from customers because they have to pay transaction fees which dip into the profits when compared to cash.  Business owners in general accept credit cards as a convenience for customers and in competitive industries it is just the cost of providing good customer service.  But this new industry has little competition right now that makes large scale credit card processing worth the trouble for management.
The funny thing is that the real loser here is the Merchant Services Providers who are, of course, the banks.  When banks see profits being lost it won’t be long before they set their lobby loose on Washington and the pressure to relax Federal regulations will be in the form of holding back campaign contributions for elected officials.  This is when we will see changes in credit card processing for medical marijuana.

Monday, October 17, 2011

NFC Credit Card Processing

NFC Credit Card Processing

nfc credit card processingCredit Card Processing technology is seemingly changing by the minute and both merchants and consumers alike wonder how they will accept credit cards in the future. Mobile devices are the hottest talk in the industry and Square has been making a lot of news lately but before this, NFC, or Near Field Communication devices were expected to be the main method of credit card processing in the future.
But as technology changes, so do the certainty of certain technologies cornering the market.  While everyone agrees that mobile credit card processing will allow more businesses to enter the market, nobody is sure how to best accept credit cards.  The fact remains that no matter how many people are set up to accept credit cards on the go with their smartphones, the vast majority of both merchants and consumers still feel most secure with real plastic credit cards.
Near Field Technology would actually be used to allow devices to communicate with each other at close range.  So merchant and customer would not have to physically handle cards if they had built in NFC chips in their cellphones or had one of the many NFC accessories on the market.  Even though the transfer of data can only be done at close range, NFC security is not yet that safe and can be breached by hackers.  It is certainly not the norm but as with many newer technologies the bad element always seems to find a way in.
The credit card processing for those will to accept credit cards this way is very cool.  Basically a customer with credit card information stored on an NFC type chip in their phone can simply wave their phone over a receiving device located near a merchants terminal.  In completely mobile transactions, the devices would simply need to connect or wave in some manner.
A lot of the major players in technology have invested heavily in seeing that NFC becomes a mainstay of future eCommerce with many of the major Cell phone manufactures already making NFC equipped phones. The potential to streamline credit card processing for point of sale transactions is one thing, but using the technology for ticketing, boarding passes, coupons, rental cars and hotel check ins also have others interested in pushing the technology.
Companies like Square plan to make sure that both mobile and stationary payments are equally serviced to accept credit cards because they are not sure that NFC will be the best solution for credit card processing and do not want all their eggs in one basket.  Traditional transactions have been ingrained into people for the last 40 years and won’t easily change over the next generation.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Credit Card Processing Loophole In CA

Credit Card Processing Loophole In California

credit card processingRecently we discussed how Anthem Blue Cross in California cannot charge the $15 convenience fee to accept credit cards from policy holders to pay their premiums.  It is a violation of California law for private businesses to charge credit card processing fees to their customers to accept credit cards instead of cash.  The can discount amounts if a someone uses cash or check but cannot make it more expensive to use credit.
They attempt to do this to make up for lost revenue for the merchant account fees they must endure for providing the ability to accept credit cards as a form of payment.  In the past it was something that companies were willing to write off but in tough economic times it doesn’t sit so well.  In Anthem’s case they tried to charge what they call a “convenience fee” and it was a miserable failure.  They were negligent with their attempts to inform policy holders and many on autopay plans ending up $15 short on their premiums and lost coverage.
The fee has been done away with but many wonder how Anthem could get away with this in California and the truth is they cannot.  But others can.  There is definitely a credit card processing loophole in the State and here it is.  Private companies cannot charge a premium for credit card users but public ones can.  A college like UCLA, for instance, charges a 2.75% fee for allowing students and parents to pay with a credit card.  Certain counties are charging an extra fee for Credit Card Processing on property taxes and California utilities companies can also charge for the convenience.
In the broadest sense of the word none of the above are considered retailers by State Law and therefor exempt for laws governing retailer’s charging above the price the credit card processing.  Utilities are not, however, allowed to collect any more than the actual cost of their actual merchant costs due to tougher regulations but others can.  UCLA says it spends over $6.5million in merchant account fees and now by passing them on to students, they save that money.  It is unclear whether UCLA is profiting by charging a flat 2.75% fee.
For most of us, the best example of two tier pricing is at the gas pumps but the standard party line on this from the oil industry is that they are offering a discount for cash or check and this discount is offered to all customers.  If they admitted to raising the price for credit this would be against California’s credit card processing laws.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Credit Card Processing Lobby

Credit Card Processing Lobby In Washington

Am Ex Credit Card ProcessingIn one of the most interesting news stories about credit card processing this year, what I had long suspected turns out to be true.  It has to do with the credit card processing and their strong lobby.  It is important to know what goes on in Washington and how it affects small business.
This story in particular focuses on American Express and how they spent over $600,000 in the second quarter of 2011 lobbying Washington in an effort to ease regulations regarding credit card processing and, more specifically, debit card fees.  As many of us already know, new legislation was passed which regulates the amount of fees a merchant can be charged for accepting debit cards on a per transaction basis.
This type of legislation has been a long time coming and is an attempt to keep merchants who accept credit cards from being victimized by enormous fees for offering a service that customers have come to expect, and expect it at no additional cost to them.  Merchants are forced to declare minimums when they accept credit cards for small purchases because their profits may actually go straight to their merchant account providers and theoretically they could lose money on every purchase.
In a lot of cases maximum amounts are also be because the percentage fee from a transaction may represent far more than any credit card processing company deserves just because a transaction is so large. With regard to debit charges, the new law states that a merchant can only be charged 21 cents plus 5 basis points times the amount of the transaction.  A great deal for merchants and terrific news for consumers, but the banking industry is upset about this.
Issuing banks will need to make up this lost revenue somewhere and of course, customers will have to pick up the bill.  Free checking will completely disappear, if it hasn’t already, and debit rewards loyalty programs have disappeared almost faster than they hit the seen a few years ago.  The winners and losers will really be determined after consumers change their spending behavior at the credit card terminals but the banks want to make sure that they are somehow the winners in all of this.

Should There Be A Credit Card Processing Lobby?

The interesting thing about the American Express lobbying spend during this time was that American Express does not even issue debit cards and are not directly affecting by the new rules.  However, they clearly see the writing on the wall and probably fear the consequences of how these new laws can now regulate Interchange which is an amount that banks can charge each other for credit card processing.  American Express also lobbied other legislation regarding customer tracking and tighter privacy protections and their position, as with most banks, does not bode well for the consumer.
Change in the credit card processing industry, and banking in general, is costly.  New technologies which constantly need to be upgraded to protect against vulnerabilities require massive capital and are never ending so it is understandable that these industries resist change.  But is it for the right reasons?  These moves are clearly an attempt to protect their bottom lines and show little concern for transactional safety and the price merchants must pay to accept credit cards to compete at a customer service level.  The Lobby was originally developed as an organized way for the people to talk to Government but it has evolved as a way for big businesses to slow down Government by filling the pockets of voting legislators.
Credit Card Processing should only get better, more efficient and less costly for both merchants and consumers but if issuing banks have their way, it will be anything but.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Bank Of America $5 Debit Card Fee

Bank Of America $5 Debit Card Processing Fee

Bank Of America Debit Card FeeWell we in the credit card processing world new it was coming before October 1st and Bank Of America has fired the first shot.  Bank of America is introducing a $5 debit card free which will undoubtedly anger its customers.
For those that do not already know, The Durbin Amendment which places a cap on what issuing banks can charge merchants to process debit cards.  Credit Card Processing can be very expensive for merchants and this is why you see minimums in some stores in order for them to accept credit cards from customers.  The legislation is good for small businesses and in turn will benefit consumers.  But what about the banks?  Are they the victims here?
Well if you follow credit card processing news headlines you would think they are being driven into bankruptcy.  Their credit card processing revenue has been estimated at near $19billion per year and they are out to recover their potential losses any way they can.  The announcement from Bank of America to charge a $5 a month debit card fee has been the most notable attempt so far.  Other banks have already done so but BOA has the most depositors and is a giant in the industry.
The fee is not as bad as it sounds because the $5 fee will only be assessed as a monthly charge is someone uses their debit card during the month and it is not a per transaction fee.  Transaction fees will be capped at 21 cents plus 5 basis points times the amount of the transaction and will be charged to the customer by the merchant.  At the point of sale this is a much better deal for consumers than they currently face.
The way to avoid the fee with BOA is quite obvious.  Don’t use your debit card.  It sounds a bit harsh but the truth is that these new bank fees will change the way consumers behave in the market place.  This fee will be imposed on top of any other checking account fees already in place.  Free checking accounts have all but disappeared as a precursor to this new legislation and bank customers have to pay more attention to their accounts than ever before if they hope to avoid the pitfalls of a la cart banking but perhaps this is something good.
The incentive here is to become more reliant on cash and let the big monster mega banks know how you feel by avoiding their credit card processing fees as best you can.  But for individuals who make lots of debit card transactions over the month, the $5 fee may prove to a blessing in disguise as they realize more savings at the point of sale.  We will have to wait a few months to see how this all shakes out but one thing is for sure, things are going to be different as far as credit card processing is concerned.

Use Credit Cards Instead Of Debit

credit card processingBank of America’s announcement to charge a monthly debit card fee last week has turned the credit card processing world on its head.  But for industry insiders this move has long been expected as banks try to recover the lost revenues no longer available to them as a result of the Durbin Amendment.The credit card processing industry will survive and somehow manage to find a way to become even more profitable.  It is consumers who are most bent out of shape by this move yet they shouldn’t be.  The big problem is that the banking industry has spent years teaching the public to become reliant on their debit cards but it was a mistake for consumers from the get go.

At first nobody really understood the differences between the debit and credit card processing fees and cost.  They only saw that banks were using gimmicks to encourage use and if done correctly, users made out like bandits.  There were no real debit card fees for most point of sale transactions but they were loaded with reward points which quickly added up to extra cash.  Some users earned hundreds of dollars per year using their card the same way they would use cash.  It made no sense to use anything but debit.
I myself chose to use a debit card to pay for dental surgery and received $53 back from my issuer at the end of that quarter which effectively gave me a discount off of my procedure.  Throw in groceries, gas and utilities and I was a debit card junkie.  Then came the increase in fees from merchants for credit card processing on small items like chips and gum.  It was then that I noticed there was a significant cost to using debit cards.
Now that rewards programs have come and gone, and the banks can no longer charge high fees for POS transactions, they are resorting to monthly charges on checking or savings accounts with debit cards tied to them, and turning to tricks buried in the fine print of their terms of service agreements to generate higher fees to replace lost revenues. Consumers need to be aware of this and stop using their debit cards when credit is an option.
Debit transactions are immediately taken from a users account which makes fraud a lot more difficult to deal with from a consumer’s standpoint.  Traditional credit card processing provides a much better challenge process and is much safer than using debit.  For someone who pays off their credit statements monthly so they don’t accrue interest charges, there are still plenty of cash back programs which make using credit extremely attractive.
Speaking of cash, why not use that? Cash still spends and many merchants offer discounts for its use because they pay no fees what so ever.  Cash may not be the safest thing to carry but using it is your least expensive option.  The real point here is that smart consumers need to be aware of the current, and upcoming, changes in the credit card processing industry

Thursday, October 13, 2011

How To Choose Dog Carriers

Does your pet dog like running around your house? You can consider getting dog kennels for your dog then. Since oftentimes, you'd end up not knowing where they are and wish that you didn't just let them run around in the first place. It's like a fence where you can let your dog stay while preventing them from straying too much. It will definitely help and assist you to keep your dog in check.

Dog Crates come in different sizes and designs, which mean that some come in small or big kennels. If you are considering buying these for your dog, and then you'll have to think about how big it will be and where you will put it. The size is essential because if your dog is big, then you should get a size that will suit them since they'll need extra space to move around in. It is also important to think about where you'll want to put it because your dog might not be comfortable if it's somewhere in the garage. Usually, most people put it somewhere near the garage but on the grass so that the dog may feel comfortable.

Since dog kennels are like fences for dogs, it will usually be bigger so that the dog can run while inside it. That way, you wouldn't really have to worry about them if they're running inside it because you know that they're safe inside. Keep in mind that your dog's safety and well-being is a priority for most dog owners, which is why they get top quality items for their dogs' needs. Pet owners buy and get all the necessary items for their dog because they want to show that they care about them. Pets would often feel and know how their owners feel about them by seeing the things that their owners do for them.

Remember, in choosing dog crates for your pets, consider the quality of it and make sure that you're getting great quality because it'll be part of your pet's home. Place it around an area that they feel comfortable in and make sure that it's big enough for them to run around in. Also, make sure that it has a lock so that they won't easily get out of it and eventually stray. Remember, your pet's well-being is important which is why you should only consider choosing top quality kennels for your pet's needs.

Credit Card Processing Rewards

credit card processing rewardsRecently most of the credit card processing news we have been hearing about has focused on the Durbin Amendment and the reduction of debit card fees.  As a result, banks are trying to recover their potential lost revenue by pretty much annihilating all the debit rewards programs which changing the way consumers handle their spending.
Debit card programs were so attractive to consumers at one point that they made more sense to use as opposed to cash.  Points and dollars were adding up so fast creating a too good to be scenario for consumers.  But just as that wave has come and gone, it looks like credit card processing just got a little bit interesting again.  We are seeing credit card programs riding the new wave for spenders.
Not long ago, the only company really focused on credit rewards was Discover which had a generous 2% cash back feature on transactions.  But over the coming months we will hear more and more about other companies following suit and consumers will cash in.  Why?
Finally credit card processing companies are trying to lure in customers with great credit.  Customers like this have great repayment records but still carry balances which translates into revenue for the issuer.  Competition for this breed of client is competitive and banks will have to offer more than just mediocre customer service to look attractive.

Who Benefits From Credit Card Processing Rewards?

This move will also entice consumers to start using credit again.  The debit card programs bit into the market and in many respects retrained spenders to spend with either cash or debit.  Credit transactions were an afterthought because they could not compete with rewards programs nor the frequent discounts offered by merchants on cash transactions.
The new cash back credit cards have evolved a bit and will offer tiered rewards for certain types of spending.  General transactions will have the lowest value while groceries and fuel will each respectively be higher.  Some issuers will offer up to 5% cash back on specialty categories throughout the year in partnership with major retailers.  For example, Spring might be lawn and garden season while Summer might see higher rewards for home improvement spends.
It all sounds like great fun and great deals for savvy consumers and those who literally play their cards right will cash in.  Airline Miles and sign up bonuses will loom large before Christmas in order to get people spending on their new cards in time for the holidays but these offers are not for everyone.

Great Credit Will Get You Credit Card Processing Rewards

Those with bad credit need not apply.  Credit card processing companies are in it for the money and they are willing to part with a little to keep the type of customers they profit most from.  Poor credit not only is risk heavy, but believe it or not, revenue often suffers.  Charge offs and collections eat into the profits of credit card processing companies so they would much rather deal with client who spends often and repays bit by bit but does so on time

Credit Card Fraud

credit card processing fraudIt has long been understood in the credit card processing industry, but not always by those who actually accept credit cards, that security has been rather lax.  Most merchants do not understand how far behind the United States is compared to other countries when it comes to privacy and security.  Keeping up with the crooks is expensive and the industry has resisted necessary steps to protect individuals and their lobbyists in Washington have helped them keep regulations favorable.
Well this might change soon as a result of some recent negative headlines for the credit card processing industry.  Last week there were major arrests in an identity theft ring and government officials are finally calling out the industry.  The Queens, New York D.A. chose to not only blame the criminals in this case but to point out that the credit card industry is partly to blame.  Citing the massive marketing campaigns and limited allocation of funds towards protection, Richard A. Brown wants changes.
Merchants who accept credit cards in Europe know that in order to process the transaction they need not only the card itself, but a personal identification number to be punched into a keypad.  This is similar to what we must do for debit transactions in this country but not for credit.  This simple step would make it much more difficult for fraud to occur because a criminal would have to steal the card and learn the PIN code of the victim.  It sounds easy but the credit card industry here has been slow to make changes saying that it is cost prohibitive.

If You Accept Credit Cards, Watch Out For Credit Card Processing Fraud

The costs are high but in reality it is profit prohibitive to change technology but in the long run everyone would be better off.  Chip technology which actually uses heavy encryption would be a terrific standard for the industry a long with PIN codes for credit transactions but so far it is cheaper to just deal with fraud on a case by case basis than to adopt the changes.  It reminds me of how changes in insurance were not adopted until Hurricane Katrina.
When only one individual is affected by flawed policies nobody cares, but when an entire region of the United States realizes they are victims in one single day, then changes are forced.  It is like that with credit card processing safety and for the first time we have a call to action from a government official whose pockets have not been lined by the banking lobby.
Still reeling from the Durbin Amendment to Dodd Frank which limits fees placed on debit transactions by merchants who accept credit cards, the credit card processing industry will probably try to bury these demands and try to fight this battle later on down the line.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Commercial Mortgage Lenders

Commercial Mortgage Lenders

The commercial mortgage lending market remains dynamic in 2010 despite the credit crunch and decline in commercial real estate values.  Commercial mortgage lenders have become more conservative across many sectors of the commercial real estate capital markets.  Currently it is a field day for many private party lenders, commonly known in the industry as ‘hard money’ lenders.  Transactions that used to easily qualify for bank and other institutional portfolio loans, today sometimes require an unregulated, hard money lender.  These commercial mortgage lenders are enjoying some of the strongest credit transactions in the history of commercial real estate finance.
Institutional commercial loan lenders have come back strong after approximately two and a half years of near dormancy.  As of April 2010 dozens of new commercial mortgage lenders as well as lenders who had been out of the market have come into the capital markets closing deals.  There have also been a few players re-emerging into the land loan arena.
A strong commercial mortgage lenders such as Financial Compound can be very helpful to borrowers seeking financing, whether its construction or permanent loans, as well as land loans.  A proficient commercial mortgage broker is able to help borrowers, investors, and developers access the real estate capital markets and the commercial mortgage lenders efficiently.  It is the commercial mortgage brokers job to understand the current status of the real estaet capital markets as well as to know the product types and loan structures that each lender offers.  Financial Compound typically speaks to about 500 lenders each week, guaging their interest in our transactions as well as probing them to learn which types of transactions they are looking for.  By conducting on-going and in-depth discussions with such a broad cross section of the commercial real estate finance markets, Financial Compound is a valuable resource for both borrowers and commercial mortgage lenders alike.  Many comomercial mortgage lenders contact Financial Compound to find out what is going on with their competitors and to ask us how to price and structure their loan programs.  Commercial mortgage lenders desirous of lending funds often try to make sure that their programs are competitive, or at least want to understand how they compare to other lenders financing similar transactions.
When borrowers submit loan requests, commercial mortgage lenders typically  like to review historical property operating statements, a rent roll, site plan, and photos, in addition to various other data.  A skillful commercial mortgage broker such as Financial Compound can be a valuable resource to borrowers in preparing the lender submittal.  Financial Compound knows what types of information the commercial mortgage lenders are looking for and can help faciliate the loan request process so that the lender can give a quick and firm decision for the transaction.

Look Good To Lenders, Get Business Loans

It has always been quite obvious that when trying to secure business loans, your business needs to be appealing to lenders.  People tend to lose site of this fact and wonder why they are having a hard time.  Today’s economic conditions warrant a whole slew of different reasons for loan approvals or denials so becoming more attractive to lenders is more important than ever.
New government regulations, although well intended, have created significant problems in the industry.  In the past, business loans were pushed through the application process with reckless abandon and problem borrowers were pushed down the line to become someone else’s problem.  Now, regulators demand more accountability and banks are required to seriously vet potential borrowers.
This is obviously a very good thing for banking, but while potentially problematic business loans are denied for good reason, many potential good financings are left on the table.  This creates a problem for operations deserving of consideration from traditional lenders because banks are not held accountable for passing up good opportunities, they are just accountable for the bad ones.

Is It Hard To Find Business Loans?

In the current environment, if you want to secure capital, you need to try and be the prettiest girl in the room.  Sometimes this can be achieved by attending a small party instead of trying to stand out in a stadium filled rock concert.  The recent changes in banking regulations have required large banks to significantly beef up their reserves which translates into far less capital to be available for lending.  Smaller banks with under $10 billion are not subject to this requirement and therefor may have more ability to lend.
Another important factor in becoming more attractive is to have a good story to tell.  Unfortunately over the last few years businesses have had a hard time showing that there ventures are on the upswing.  If you can’t show good solid growth, then finding a non-traditional lender whose financings do not have to fit into a precise mold may be better instead of wasting time applying to large institutions.

Seek Business Loans At Smaller Banks

Next, when applying for business loans, especially for a start up, lenders like to see that applicants have some experience in their chosen fields.  Borrowers who have at least 3 years in a given field and are willing to, or have already, invested their own money into a venture in that industry are much more attractive borrowers than those with no experience at all.  Also along these lines is the fact that showing that real customers, or at least a compelling market, for your products or services already exist is an advantage.  If there is an opportunity to purchase an existing business rather than starting from scratch, then it could help make you more attractive to lenders.
And then of course there is credit history.  Lenders need borrowers to be credit worthy and show the ability to repay any loan they fund.   Having other assets and showing liquidity is important but for those with little credit worthiness there are always unsecured business loans.  These types of loans will help an owners establish business credit and a repayment history in order to become more attractive in the future.  The rates are competitive and the programs have few restrictions governing how proceeds are used. Trying for business loans at this type of smaller party may be the key to securing financing in the current economic climate.