22 Jul

First Data Mobile Pay – Wireless Payment Solutions – More Secure than Square or Payanywhere

Accept payments wherever you go by turning your mobile phone into a point-of-sale terminal

Go Beyond: First Data Mobile Pay

In your business, the point of sale is an ever-moving destination. Wherever your customers are, that’s where you’ll go – which means you need a payment solution that’s as mobile as you are. However, your transaction volume might not justify the expense of purchasing a mobile payment terminal, leaving you in the position of handling credit card information in an inefficient and unsafe manner, such as by writing numbers down to call in later. As an alternative, you may be accepting checks on faith, exposing you to the possibility of loss.

The Solutions

With the First Data Mobile Pay solutions, you can offer fast, safe and flexible payment processing anywhere you go by suing your existing smart phone!

First Data Mobile Pay App

Once you’ve downloaded the application, a handy encrypting card reader device plugs into your Android, BlackBerry or iPhone, enabling you to slide your customer’s credit card to capture a sale. Because the card is physically present, you avoid the higher card-not-present processing rates associated with hand-keyed transactions.

Web-based First Data Mobile Pay

Purchase no additional equipment: just use the date-enabled mobile phone you always carry, navigate to the First Data Mobile Pay URL, and enter and transmit the customer’s credit card number.

With either solution, you can accept payments wherever you have wireless coverage with your current data plan provider. Payments are processed in real time, with an e-receipt generated and sent to the customer via e-mail as soon as the transaction takes place. You receive the fast funding that comes with instant authorization, and your customers can settle their purchases on the spot.

Made for Your On-the-Go Business

  • Home and repair services – HVAC, plumbers, garage door installation
  • Limousines and taxis
  • Towing services
  • In-home sales – home decor, cooking, beauty products
  • Specialty and charity events – art shows, auctions

Benefits of the Fist Data Mobile Pay Solutions

  • Maximize your mobile phone investment by turning it into a payment terminal
  • Accept payments in real time from virtually anywhere
  • Reduce your processing fees – pay lower card-present rates with the First Data Mobile Pay App and encrypting card reader that allows you to swipe physical cards
  • Save money – no additional equipment or software to buy with the First Data Mobile Pay browser-based solution
  • Offer more flexible and secure payment options
  • Grant transaction capability to up to five users with the browser-based version
  • Help your customers choose the payment method they prefer while keeping their credit card information safe
  • Convey a cutting-edge, professional image to your customers

Features

  • Compatible with the Android, BlackBerry and iPhone
  • Secure login with username and password
  • Easy-to-use interface requires minimal training
  • Support for all the major credit card types
  • Real time
  • Fraud protection tools
  • SSL encryption technology
  • Real time reporting capabilities
  • Account manger to add or remove users (browser only)
  • E-receipt delivered to customer’s e-mail at the time of the transaction
  • 24/7 customer support

For more information, call us today! 877.871.4629

22 Jun

Choosing the Right Credit CardProcessor & Understanding Fees

In the modern world of small business, accepting cash only has become increasingly untenable. Customers prefer the freedom of being able to pay with a credit card. In 2011, over $15 trillion was sent through credit, debit or prepaid cards managed by credit card networks. In this age of credit card dominance, customers expect a choice of payment options. In order to retain customers, it is important to offer them a full range of payment options for any type card available.

If you are a merchant interested in allowing customers to pay by credit card, you can choose from a wide variety of services available to facilitate this goal. Online businesses, brick-and-mortar retailers and food service providers all face different challenges in providing customers with a satisfying experience while paying by credit card. And various types of credit card processors claim to be the best to meet those challenges. Each offers a different structure of rates and fees that may or may not be explained to merchants interested in using its services prior to their signing a contract.

A merchant’s choice of credit card processor can significantly influence its ultimate cost of doing business. Saving money in processing costs could be the difference between eventual success or failure. However, the relationship between advertised costs and actual costs for a given credit card processor can be somewhat counterintuitive.

Big considerations for choosing a processing company

The most important consideration in choosing a credit card processor is their standing. Are you looking at a reputable credit card processor? A bit of research can sometimes identify businesses engaged in unsavory practices. It is also important to read all contracts and forms very carefully and make sure that everything written down agrees with any verbal assurances made by your salesperson. Ultimately, it is the written contract that will be enforced. Be sure your sales agent is polite, and thourough when helping you understand the features and rates they have to offer. At MBN we love our agents, and ensure they get the best training in order to best provide service to our merchants. We were honored to recently be named the best agent program among top credit card processors

One important consideration in choosing a processor is assessing the full range of credit card transaction fees. Warning! Don’t fall for the lowest rate offer. A processor can claim to offer a low rate merchant account, but the reality may be somewhat different. As with most things in life, there is always a catch if it sounds too good to be true. In particular, businesses which claim to offer the lowest discount rates are often hiding something. If a processor claims to offer rates below one percent, it is quite likely that hidden fees will ultimately more than make up for the apparent savings.

The key factor in evaluating a credit card processor is transparency. Is the processor open about the details of its credit card transaction fees? A transparent system of fees tied to an account with fair rates is infinitely better than a low rate merchant account weighed down by onerous fees kept hidden from merchants interested in using their services.

Demystify the fees please!

If there is any confusion about the nature of the fees being offered by a credit card processor, the best solution is to ask questions. Do rates vary depending on which brand of credit card is used? How much initial cost is required for necessary equipment? Is this equipment sold or leased? How convenient is a particular piece of equipment for customers? Are merchants charged a per-transaction fee in addition to the discount rate? For a merchant with a typical sale of $20, an increase in 20 cents of the per-transaction fee is equivalent to a one-percent increase in the discount rate.

In addition to all of these fees, a host of additional hidden fees can be offered by a disreputable credit card processor and be left unmentioned until the first transactions start to take place. Are there a monthly minimums or monthly statement fees? Are there additional verification fees? No one charge is necessarily a bad sign, and any particular fee could be used by a reputable credit card processor. However, a reputable processor will distinguish itself by its response to these questions. An honest and transparent processor will welcome the opportunity to illuminate every detail of the process, while a processor looking to trick businesspeople into signing on the dotted line will speak in generalities and avoid answering questions.

Ultimately, looking closely at the numbers and asking questions will help you as a merchant ensure that your credit card processor is both reputable and well-priced. Here at MBN, we pride ourselves with offering no hassle pricing, with personalized service you simply can’t beat. Another important consideration is the long-term relationship between you and your processor. Processors engaging in deceptive practices are not merely reducing the profits of the merchants who use them, they are devaluing themselves and all who are associated with them.

Choosing a credit card processor means entrusting customers’ most sensitive information to an outside company. In order to establish and maintain the bonds of loyalty and trust that are crucial in the long-term success of any business, it is important to choose an honest, stable credit card processor as a partner to work with for years to come.

Not to toot horns of any kind, but if feels like a good place to mention…MBN has been treating merchants with respect, and integrity for over 20 years. And we take security of your cardholder information so serious, we even have our own private cloud data center to ensure your customers data is protected. Call us today if you have any questions about your current merchant account or need help understanding any aspect of your options as a merchant. We are here to help! 1-877-871-4629.

Happy Processing!

Your MBN Team

7 Jun

What Merchants Should KnowAbout Digital Wallets

Digital wallets, also known as virtual wallets, are becoming increasingly popular worldwide. In fact, the technology is anticipated to eventually replace the standard method of carrying credit cards in a physical wallet or purse.

This is exciting news for merchants because it will ultimately make it much easier and quicker to process credit card transactions, and these wireless payments can also verify the identity of the digital wallet holder. In addition to ease-of-payment, mobile transactions offer merchants more ways to engage customers by allowing applications such as reward points, discount offers, and promotional messages to be easily placed on the users phone at the right time for the sale.

What Exactly is a Digital Wallet?

The term “wallet” refers to any software that involves payment mechanisms on a mobile device. A digital wallet enables smartphone or tablet users to access all of their pertinent financial information from their device anywhere they have signal. In other words, instead of placing their license, credit cards and cash into a wallet that they carry in their back pocket, each person can have all this data stored securely on their phone.

This information can then be easily transmitted to the merchant’s credit card processor at the point-of-sale. Although there is always the risk that an individual could lose their smartphone, it is still considered to be much safer than dealing with potential pickpockets, or situations when someone’s magnetic stripe card is cloned after it is swiped. Because no physical card is actually be presented in a mobile wallet transaction, it becomes much more difficult for thieves to get their hands on sensitive data.

How do Wireless Payments Work?

Digital wallets transfer data via a process called near field communication (NFC). This technology uses radio waves, and it works whenever the smartphone taps or comes near a credit card terminal that has the ability to accept wireless payments. Gas stations have been using a similar method for many years at the pump, and the speed of paying for something with a simple tap has made the technology very successful. Major brands like Starbucks, Apple, Gap, Disney, and Nordstrom are already on board providing mobile payment options for their customers. Next time you’re in line at Starbucks and see someone wave their phone past the customer-facing scanner, you will know a mobile payment just happened.

What are Some Examples of Digital Wallets?

Google Wallet is a prime example of this technology, and it has become popular due to the strength of the Google brand. With Google Wallet, individuals can easily store all of their credit card information in their smartphone, and they then use their phone on applicable credit card terminals to complete their purchase. Google Wallet can also be used to store coupons and other offers, makeing the entire process faster and more eco-friendly.

Cell phone providers are also stepping up to the challenge of creating reliable virtual wallets. For example, Boost Mobile has been testing the technology for Android users in three markets, and they recently announced that the service will be available nationwide by the end of the year. There are over a hundred digital wallets being offered currently, with each vendor searching for solutions that will help their product rise to the top. The market for digital wallets is still very young, and as merchants and customers alike become more familiar with the benefits of the technology, it’s going to be exciting to see this product mature.

How can Customers Benefit from Digital Wallets?

It is much easier for a customer to have everything stored in one place than to bring a stack of credit cards and coupons with them to the store. For this reason alone, many consumers have already made the switch to Google Wallet, or similar app. Customers want a more secure and comprehensive method for keeping all their payment data at their fingertips. This technology can also help prevent consumers from forgetting their credit card after it has been swiped. It’s a bad feeling when you don’t know if your card is still at the resturant you ate at last night or in the hands of someone checking out at Best Buy right now.

Integrated and highly effective loyalty programs offer one of the greatest immediate advantages of mobile wallet applications to customers and merchants. This is what Starbucks is doing, and it’s working extremely well. Business owners are acknowledging that the modern loyalty program must go beyond a paper-punched card (that always gets lost before a reward is earned anyways!). As smartphones become more and more commonplace, technology is available to help keep track of customer loyalty points. This is key, because customers are expecting their merchants to remember them, and remember their purchases. A comprehensive point-of-sale tracking system is required to deliver this level of service to your customers, and the mobile payment option is an imperative component to delivering this level of service. Customers already use their phones for everything else under the sun, and when you try and hand them a plastic loyalty card the response is, “umm…everyone else just sends them to my phone, can you do that?”

Simply tapping a smartphone against a credit card terminal is “cool” and hassle-free. But beyond the “cool” factor, more robust security features actually make this technology safer. Data is encrypted from the moment it leaves the users smartphone. Additionally, consumers will be given a sense of security by using one of these virtual wallets because they will not be exposing their physical credit card to anyone, or swiping their traditional magnetic stripe card. Would you guess that “cloning” of magnetic stripe cards has become the number one form of card fraud? As fraudsters continue to prey on vulnerable magnetic stripe cards, consumers will demand more robust security features provided by new technologies.

From a business owner’s standpoint, it is essential for each new technology to be worth the applicable financial investment to upgrade their existing point-of-sale system. Fortunately, the pros of virtual wallets vastly outweigh the cons. One of the major perks for any business is that there will be less physical interaction with credit cards, and this can help reduce a merchants potential liability. The EMV mandate from the major card issuers states that by October of 2015, all merchants in the U.S. must have their systems updated for EMV ready and contactless terminals. The major card issuers are pushing contactless technologies specifically because they offer more secure channels for payment. Another perk is that digital payments tend to be received and processed more quickly than manually swiping a card. Every second that is saved will make it easier to speed up the checkout process, helping you as a merchant deliver cutting edge service to your customers even during the busyiest season.

The fact that virtual wallets can verify the user’s identity at the same time that the payment is received is definitely a good reason for business owners to embrace this technological advancement. Accepting virtual wallets will also give customers the impression that the business owner stays up to date with all of the latest electronics, and this can increase consumer confidence in the products or services that the company. This improved brand conficene means customers will be coming back!

Are There Cons of Offering this Technology?

One issue still facing the widespread adoption of mobile wallets is the lack of near-field-communication (NFC) capabilities on consumer phones. Simply put, lots of smartphones do not have the ability to make complete digital payments. They can all facilitate the loyalty programs and redeem digital coupons, but can’t facilitate a credit card charge through the phone. The good news is phone carriers and merchant procesing equipment providers are working quickly to solve this. It is estimated that by 2016, 46% of all mobile phones will have NFC, making them capable of mobile payments. A company called DeviceFidelity is already developing an NFC sleeve for the iPhone so their should not be a problem for iPhone users to facilitate digital payments in the very near future. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless are already gearing up to provide close to 20 mobile payment ready devices by the end of the year.

As with any other electronic device, it is possible that store owners will experience occasional glitches with the software. For example, the wireless system could temporarily stop working or the credit card machine might not be able to recognize the necessary information from a customer’s smartphone. However, issues of this type currently happen with the process of running physical credit cards, so it is unlikely that this potential problem would be a deal breaker for most businesses.

As digital wallets become more commonplace, owners will have to ensure that they have the proper security measures in place to protect the information that is being transmitted via NFC. After all, hackers will eventually discover a way to steal credit card information from machines that are not properly protected. Fortunately, virtual wallets have the ability to be safer than magnetic stripe card readers, so business owners should not let the fear of hackers get in the way of implementing this technology.

How Quickly will Consumers Embrace this Payment Method?

Although virtual wallets are becoming popular around the world, they are currently more popular in Japan than anywhere else. However, this trend is not likely to continue for much longer. After all, 50 percent of American consumers already have a smartphone, and several banks now offer virtual wallet apps. Therefore, it is highly likely that this technology will be in place in most businesses within the next few years. As more major brands roll out their own mobile payment systems, and consumers become more aware and comfortable with the benefits of the technololgy, demand will increase quickly. In order to keep up with the competition, it is definitely a good idea for business owners to consider accepting this form of wireless payment soon, and having it in place will make it easier to attract consumers, build confidence in your brand, and keep shoppers coming back.

 

To learn more check out our full site at mbncard.com and give us a call!

Your MBN Team

8 May

10 Ways Mobile Marketing HelpsGrow Your Business

It is undeniable that mobile devices are here to stay, and the number of consumers with smartphones and tablets will continue to increase. In fact, there is so much buzz in the marketplace right now over new mobile device applications that merchants and customers are having a hard time keeping up with the explosion of new possibilities. We all know that time is money, and there is less of both to go around these days. At MBN we want to help you cut through the clutter and discover what options could be a real solution for your business.

The widespread adoption of mobile devices is allowing merchants to reach their customers in more effective ways than ever before. It is now possible to send coupons to customers only when they are in your area, connect QR codes with your customers, or, provide customers and app that makes it easier to purchase online from their mobile device. In 2012, for the first time ever, the number of mobile marketing messages opened in the U.S. per month surpassed the number of desktop opens – emphasizing the considerable importance mobile devices should have when creating your marketing campaigns. It’s becoming increasingly clear that mobile smartphones and tablets are the engagement channel of choice for a large growing number of consumers.

Therefore, mobile marketing is not just a nice-to-have addition, but imperative for many business fighting to differentiate and provide customers with a completely great experience of their brand both in-store and online.

Key benefits provided by mobile marketing tools

Immediacy

Mobile campaigns are simple to create and distribute. Messages are delivered to recipients within seconds. With the advent of ‘mobile text marketing’ it has never been easier for merchants to quickly realize higher ROI through their promotion efforts. By design, you must see a mobile text message before you can delete it, unlike email messages that can be deleted without opening the content. People now carry their phones with the same importance as a wallet or set of keys. When a message is delivered it is opened immediately in most cases.

Affordability

No need to pay for postage, printing or air time, just a nominal per text message fee. Prices are very modest and they decrease as volume increases. Simply put, you can do more with your marketing dollars using mobile platforms.

Distribution

Reach out to people all over the world. Delivery is almost always guaranteed, unlike email, direct mail, and other forms of advertising. Some people will argue that, as of now, only about 53% of U.S. consumers have a smartphone or tablet – so mobile apps or mobile Facebook campaigns do not cast a wide enough net for their business on a tight marketing budget. Well, this decision comes down to knowing your audience extremely well. A recent study from SAS found that only 56% of companies believe they clearly understand their customer.

This lack of specific understanding helps explain why many merchants have been slow to adopt mobile even as their customers were quickly embracing it – they didn’t know. However, if you opt for a text message marketing strategy to start out, rest assured that text messaging capability exists on 99% of all the mobile devices in the U.S. Mobile helps you reach your customers where they are looking most often.

Response Rate & Effectiveness

The average response rate is approximately 15%-30%, versus 1 – 3% for other advertising mediums! That’s a huge advantage, and when you have to make budgeting decisions for which platform to use most, mobile makes lucrative sense. According to Google research, a whopping 82 percent of smartphone users reported noticing mobile ads. And 49 percent of those reported taking action on mobile ads. These numbers represent a marketplace that is being transformed by the ability for consumers to constantly connect through mobile devices. Understanding the impact of smartphones and other mobile devices on customer behavior is key for your business reaching today’s always on-the-go customer.

Personal & Targeted

Content is targeted to individuals who have opted to receive them. The medium provides the ability to customize the brand message to a specific audience. And since people rarely change their cell phone numbers, the value for businesses to be able to market directly to an opt-in consumer base via their mobile device is tremendous. The mobile platform opens up the ability for merchants to respond to their customers using past purchase information to send specific product recommendations, coupons for products you know they have purchased before, etc. The customer appreciates the personalization, and registers that you are making the effort to send them offers that are helpful and highly relevant to their habits.

Interactivity

Mobile technology provides the ability to reach customers on-the-go, and creates a highly effective two-way communication opportunity. This is powerful because it gives your customers a way to respond back, giving you feedback almost instantly.

Marketing Campaign Integration

Mobile provides new ways to integrate innovative forms of advertising and promotion of your brand with existing strategies to enhance their interactivity and impact. This means that mobile marketing should be thought of as a key new touch-point to your existing marketing efforts. It improves your ability to get your message or promotion in front of customers at the exact right time. So if you already have print marketing efforts going on, it makes it easy to extend the same offer digitally out to mobile users, and you get to use location filters to ensure the people that see your promotion are in your area and capable of buying.

Quantifiable

Campaign results can be tracked through downloads, page visits, customer opt-ins, and a variety of other methods as well dependent upon the mobile marketing method being utilized. A huge plus for business owners who need to attach their marketing efforts down to the bottom line.

WOW Factor

The mobile marketing medium is still so new the largest percentage of potential customers have not yet seen it firsthand, this allows your firm to establish itself as a leader in your industry and insures your messages will achieve higher impact with their target audiences.

Viral Potential

The ease with which mobile marketing messages can be shared increases the potential for your message to be shared with new audiences and potential customers at no cost to you. Shares are free to you!

Call us today if you have any questions about mobile processing devices, or software apps that allow you more ways to reach your customers cheaper, and more precisely.

Happy Processing!

Your MBN Team

23 Apr

The Modern Point-of-Sale System: More Than Just Ringing Up The Sale

Merchants today know that to stay competitive, multiple business processes must be streamlined and completed within a single, integrated system. You should be able to ring up transactions, manage employee time-clocks and payroll, and track inventory all through a single point-of-sale (POS) platform.

However, the marketplace has been a bit overwhelming for merchants lately. So many new technologies have been flooding the market that it’s become harder for merchants to decipher what software tools could be right for their business. Frustration sets in when clear answers are few and far between, and merchants decide not to act because ‘analysis paralysis’ sets in, as they get the feeling the time and costs involved to integrate their POS is just too much.

Demand for POS integration solutions is strong. Merchants want an integrated system that can provide them powerful insights into their business operations and offer their customers the latest payment-acceptance technology. Any business would benefit from having everything properly set up all in one place, coming from a single vendor who knows their business. There is simply not time to see multiple salespeople for multiple products. Furthermore, there is a common belief that using multiple forms of technology across different systems to manage daily business functions will cost more time than it will save. And merchants do not want to have to buy a new system every few years just to keep up with technology.

What’s Important For Merchants

The major concerns for merchants come down to simplicity and security. Being able to rely on a single POS system for multiple functions helps business owners better serve customers and keep track of accounts. As new forms of payment roll out, merchants need flexible systems capable of integrating these new options, like an updated gift or loyalty program, or starting to accept mobile coupons. However, if these new programs can’t be integrated into their current POS system so all card processing activities get rolled into one statement, then value is lost and the whole thing becomes a headache. A business manager should not have to spend valuable time pleading with their POS system to work, or merging data from multiple different accounts. Merchants need high speed transactions from easy-to-use systems that ensure they get paid as quickly as possible.

Security is another big discussion point with any POS system, but especially when working to integrate all accounts into one place. Customers and merchants alike are more aware than ever about the dangers and risks of security breaches. Customers look to the merchant for comfort and confirmation that their card data is being handled securely. The industry has pushed consumers into an awareness mode – this forces merchants to be pro-active in demonstrating to customers their data is safe. Consumers find comfort with fast, efficient checkout machines that display advanced security features or third-party compliance endorsements. Remember when dealing with your customers that perception is reality. If they experience a cumbersome, or unorthodox checkout, you lose good faith, and the assumption becomes that your process for handling card data after the sale is just as poor. Streamlined all-in-one systems instill confidence in your shoppers, and they won’t feel concerned to look further to know their data is safe.

Integrating Your POS System

Competition is heating up for smaller merchants to compete with the big boys. No one wants to be the last shop on the block (or the last website) with the latest technology. At MBN, we are finding that value-added service opportunities beyond just accepting credit cards are making a big difference for merchants. We provide customized POS solutions tailored for your business. This means a food service business can add tablets so wait staff can process cards table-side, or outside for to-go orders. These types of solutions are what merchants need to level the playing field with bigger competitors.

We also understand that merchants can’t afford any down time transitioning to a new system. New equipment and software must be integrated without excessive interruption to current day-to-day operations. At MBN, we take the headache out of upgrading from one system to another and can work within your schedule to get you processing like a pro in no time.

Like it or not, if you are still operating with a cash register and magnetic stripe swipe only card reader, you will have to be replacing your terminals over the next couple of years. High-tech features are not everything when it comes to a new system, but integration of accounting, reporting and payroll functions is. A newly integrated POS system should be complete with flexible terminals for accepting and adopting new payment options like digital wallets, along with the software capabilities to bridge the gap between accepting traditional magnetic swipe cards and accommodating EMV chip cards.

The future checkout counter standard will consist of a customer facing, EMV and TAP capable terminal, that can work seamlessly with the POS system and cash drawer. If you are already feeling that your current POS system is bogging down operations, the future is upon you. Continued growth in cloud-based transactions and mobile payments ensure that merchants who adapt quickly will be the most protected.

Learn more about what EMV ‘Smart Cards’ mean for your business.

Also check out our latest point-of-sale terminals!