Welcome! Thanks for stopping by


During my two decades in this industry, I have heard many complaints from merchants relative to their merchant accounts. The most common one, however, seems to be that they simply don’t fully understand all that they are being charged.  Have you ever felt this way yourself?  Don’t feel bad since you are like the majority of merchants I come in contact with.  Unfortunately, it’s quite often by design that you are pretty much kept in the dark about your merchant services.  Hopefully, this site, my email course and frequently posted articles, will help bring clarity and enlightenment.

I’m assuming that since you are on my site, that you are either a merchant, or accountant  that has a desire to learn more about credit card processing.  Hopefully, your visit today won’t be disappointing.  Take some time to read a few articles but, most importantly, fill in the form at the right and subscribe to my FREE email course entitled “Understanding Credit Card Processing”.  It has recently been updated to include information on EMV and NFC technology which is a MUST READ.  This course was originally being sold nationally, on this site, for $47.  It received great acclaim from merchants for its thoroughness and great displeasure from those in the industry…for its, well, thoroughness.  I felt that offering it for FREE would open up the opportunity for more hard working business owners to expand their knowledge.  By the time you’re done with the course, you’ll know more than probably 80% of the reps contacting you.  The easily digestible lessons are spread out over approximately a month so as to not be overwhelming.  I’m confident you will find the knowledge gathered to be extremely helpful so why not take it for a spin.  And, of course, rest assured, your name and email address are safe with me.

It’s unfortunate that in the world of credit card processing, there are numerous reps that are….well, let me just say, less than ethical.  Typically, it’s not their fault as they have had less than stellar training.  The bottom line is this….all processors have the same cost so, consequently, every one of them could, theoretically offer the same pricing to you.  But, what happens when a rep walks thru your door….”I’ll bet I can offer you better rates than you’re currently paying“.  They mostly focus on rates, don’t they?  Sound familiar?  Well, honestly, it’s not just about rates and, as a merchant, that shouldn’t be your focus either.  Ask lot’s of questions (you’ll find some good ideas in the course) of those trying to sell you and, in addition, be cognizant of how many questions they are asking you about your business and how you transact business.  Are they truly interested in offering and providing “solutions” or are they primarily interested in just “selling” you?  My success in this business has always been by developing, and maintaining, mutually rewarding relationships.  That’s what you should be looking for and hopefully, you’ll discover information here that will be beneficial in that endeavor.  Remember, Benjamin Franklin once said…”An investment in knowledge, pays the best interest“.

Keep in mind that while I will never actively solicit your processing business here. I am, however, available to answer any questions that you may have regarding your current relationship.  And, if after spending some time here, you desire my assistance with your credit card processing needs, I would welcome the opportunity.

I have relationships with several merchant services providers and will place your business with the most appropriate entity that will provide exactly what your needs require and do so in a totally transparent manner.  I can offer truly FREE EQUIPMENT along with no long-term contract like most processors insist on.  I believe we need to “earn” your business daily with superb customer service and great rates rather than simply keep your business because you’re tied to a contract.  Additionally, I can help by providing other business solutions for increasing your sales and, subsequently, your bottom line.

While this site is primarily about merchant services, you will sometimes see articles posted discussing other marketing and business ideas that I have found to be beneficial to business owners.

So, with that said, welcome and thanks for coming by.   If you have any specific questions or comments, please post them here.  If there’s a business related type topic that you’d like to see covered, please let me know.

To Your Continued Success

P.S.  If you’ve found the content on this site, or in my e-course, to be helpful or enlightening, please share it with others utilizing the helpful buttons at the bottom of each article.  You may also subscribe to the RSS button below and add us to your feed burner, so that you will automatically be notified when new content is posted.  Thank You!

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Merchants At Risk for Not Using EMV Properly


As you know, October 2015 ushered in EMV technology into the payments industry.  This new technology affects customers from  a security standpoint but, in addition, it protects merchants against significant financial risks….when utilized!

As you might imagine, the task to replace all credit and debit cards held by customers, has been, and still continues to be, a huge task.  Have all of your personal cards been replaced with chip embedded smart cards?  I still have some in my wallet that have yet to be replaced.  But, even when I shop and use my smart card, it’s pretty rare that the cashier has me insert the card rather than swipe it.  This defeats the whole purpose of having a smart card and the merchant is subjecting themselves to huge financial risks due to the risk shift that took place in October.

In essence, if a merchant has a EMV enabled machine, their first method of accepting payment is by utilizing the technology properly.  That would be, of course, requesting that the customer insert their card into the machine and leave it in for the duration of the transaction. Swiping the card is now to be a secondary option if, for some reason the machine can’t read the chip card.  In that case, it’s considered a “fallback” transaction and the merchant is protected from financial risk when the need for swiping presents itself.

Have you noticed this yourself when you’ve been out shopping?  Have cashiers been instructing you to “insert your card and leave it in for the duration of the transaction“?  In questioning merchants why they aren’t using the technology correctly, they tell me that it’s either “too much trouble” or “I don’t understand it”.  Both of these answers are not good and merchants really don’t understand the potential risk they are taking.  This lack of understanding, quite frankly, falls on the shoulders of their processing provider.

If you’re reading this and not currently using this new technology as it was meant to be used, contact your provider for training, immediately for training.  Worse yet, if you haven’t yet acquired new terminals then that’s something that you need to get on.

I hope this information has been informative and helpful.  Thanks for reading

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EMV Frequently Asked Questions


October of 2015 ushered in one of the most significant changes in the acceptance of credit/debit cards for payment of goods and services. EuroPay, MasterCard and Visa, or more commonly referred to as EMV is providing a huge step in protecting merchants and their customers from fraud. However, with the implementation of EMV, has come much misunderstanding and, in some cases, misplaced fear. My hope is that the format and content of this article will bring about much needed clarity. So, with that said, let’s begin:

Is it true that, as a business owner, if I accept a lost, stolen or fraudulently replicated credit card for payment that I could be financially liable for losses?
Well, in a word, yes you could be potentially liable. To limit and possibly eliminate your risk, you must absolutely be utilizing an EMV equipped terminal. Many merchants are still using the old, now outdated, credit card terminals with mag-stripe readers, which puts them at unnecessary risk.

Where and how can I get one of these new terminals?
Your current merchant services provider should be able to upgrade you with a new terminal, most likely at some cost. More than likely there have also been many sales types knocking on your door, instilling fear in you regarding this risk shift and have attempted to sell you a new terminal, or worse yet, set you up in an iron-clad long term lease. Unfortunately, there have been many, in this industry that have utilized this massive change in the payment landscape as an opportunity for personal financial gain. Be informed, free terminals are also available to merchants.

How are these new EMV terminals different than the terminals we have been using for years?
While at first glance, these new terminals look very similar to your existing terminal because they still have the mag-stripe reader on them (we’ll discuss why in a future question). The difference is that the new terminals have a slot where a smart chip embedded credit card is inserted into the machine rather than simply being swiped.

So, when I accept the card for payment, how is it actually processed differently?
Your customers insert the “chipped” end of the credit card into the smart chip reader found on your EMV ready terminal and the card remains there for the duration of the transaction. This allows the chip to create a unique, one-time use digital signature for that specific transaction, which the terminal is able to read, decipher and encrypt. In turn, this direct communication between the card and terminal greatly minimizes the risk related to fraudulent transactions. Further, the data transmitted by the EMV chip card is constantly changing, making it nearly impossible to replicate.

It seems like that process would take quite a bit longer than swiping a card.
The transaction time may take a few seconds longer simply because of the additional required security steps. However, remember, this additional time is for yours as well as your customer’s protection. EMV contactless transactions can also be performed utilizing a NFC (Near Field Communication) equipped terminal. These transactions are slightly faster than those where the card is inserted.

What happens if the chip in a card becomes damaged and can’t be read be read by my machine?
It’s pretty unlikely that a chip would become damaged because they are pretty well-embedded in the card. However, if you do experience this situation you would simply perform what is called a fallback transaction using the mag-stripe reader. In this scenario, there would be no need for you to be concerned about liability for fraudulent transactions because you had EMV equipment in place and it did not cause the inability to process the transaction. In fact, the point-of-sale terminal will document that the more secure chip embedded form of transaction was initiated first.

If the chip is damaged, can the card number be manually entered?
If the card/chip is damaged and cannot be read, the machine will prompt the customer to re-insert the card a couple times. If it still can’t be read, the mag-stripe reader should be used as discussed above. While manually keying in the transaction is an option, it could have liability shift consequences which you want to avoid at all costs.

I’ve heard that some chip cards require a pin while others require a signature. What is the difference?
The card issuing entity determines whether the cards they issue require a pin or signature. This EMV migration is huge in the payments industry and issuers want to make it as simple as possible for consumers. Since consumers are already accustomed to providing a signature for credit card transactions, this is what will be prevalent in the marketplace, at least for now.

Will the EMV liability shift that went into effect in October 2015, cause any change in Interchange Rates?
While Interchange Rate changes, either up or down, is always a possibility, there have been none as of this writing that were a direct result of EMV implementation.

While this article is not meant to be an exhaustive representation on the topic of EMV, it does, I feel cover the most frequently asked questions. We will continue to see this industry evolve and become much more sophisticated over the coming years for the protection of all involved.

One more point of information for you.  If you are looking for a new, totally ethical, transparent merchant services provider that provides totally FREE equipment and NO CONTRACT COMMITMENT, then look no further….I’m your guy.

I hope this new year presents you with new opportunities and increased profitability in your business as well as a renewed sense of purpose for your life.

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EMV Technology shifts financial risks to merchants in October


As you may know from visiting my site, I’ve been in this business for two decades.  Back in the beginning, knucklebusters, as they were referred to, was the way transactions were processed. When processing a sale, you laid the credit card in a pre-determined spot on a countertop device.  Next, you laid a carbon copied slip on top of the card and crunch, crunch, you had an imprint of the card along with the transaction details. You had to call in for an approval and wait and wait for the authorization. Then came the dial-up machine with the familiar buzz and whining sound as the transaction was processed. From that point we began seeing machines constantly evolving with more bells and whistles and increasing speed. Then there was wireless transaction processing which is pretty much where we are today.

Next, in the payment landscape, however, is considered to be more of a leap in technology rather than just another step. This change has been long overdue and is being implemented primarily to protect the customer data and prevent the bad guys from stealing what isn’t theirs.

You’ve probably heard about it and if you traveled to European countries, may have experienced it for yourself. Allow me to introduce you to EuroPay, MasterCard and Visa, commonly referred to as EMV. This is the future of credit and debit card acceptance and the US is finally getting on board. The total process to get implementation is quite involved.  Issuers are beginning to issue/reissue EMV micro-chip embedded cards.  And, processors are beginning to tell merchants they need new machines effective this October.

As you may know, EMV cards are embedded with a “smart chip” that securely stores cardholder data and requires authentication with every transaction. Your customer inserts their card into a smart chip reader (rather than swiping it) found in EMV ready terminals only.  The card remains in the terminal for the entire duration of the process allowing the chip to create a unique, one-time, transaction code or digital signature for that specific transaction. This “transaction code” is shared with the merchant, instead of your card information.  The data that is transmitted by the EMV chip card is constantly changing which greatly minimizes the risk related to fraudulent transactions. In other words, it makes any information potentially stolen by a hacker to be completely useless.

As previously mentioned, merchants will need to be EMV ready by October of this year. The launch of this technology shifts the liability for fradulent transactions to the merchant. Currently and since the beginning of payment processing, the liability for fraudulent transactions was with the issuers. Coming this October, if you, the merchant, accept a credit card that was lost, stolen or fraudulently replicated, your business may be financially responsible for any and all losses. As you might imagine, this could be potentially devastating the life of your business. Issuers have been issuing replacement cards with the EMV chips, and, in fact, you may have received one yourself.

There is much more to be discussed on this topic but suffice it to say, at this point…EMV is coming and merchants need to be ready for their protection and that of their customers as well. Will you be ready?  You can either purchase a new EMV ready machine from your current payment provider, a supply house or GET A BRAND NEW EMV/NFC ready machine from me for FREE and with no contract term requirement and totally transparent payment processing pricing.  Which will you chose?

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PCI/DSS, EMV, NFC…What’s next?


FREE EMV/NFC TERMINALS with NO CONTRACT…..READ ON!!

If you’ve been in business for any length of time, and you’ve been accepting credit and debit cards for payment, you are likely familiar with the acronyms in the title of this article.  Unfortunately, there are “bad guys” out there that make their living by stealing what isn’t theirs which is what has necessitated all of this stuff.

Way back when I began my career in the payment industry, security was much more lax than it is these days.  You may remember what was referred to as “knucklebusters”.  If not, this was a manual type machine that you would place the customers card on, lay a three copy carbon receipt on top and slide a handle, crunch crunch, back and forth.  It would take an imprint of the card and then you would dial a toll free number with the details of the transaction and wait for an approval.  We tended to be pretty casual with these receipts that had customer names and credit card numbers on them.

Then, we started hearing of incidents of credit card info being stolen and misused causing card holders lots of grief.  Back in those days, we didn’t have electronic access to bank and credit card statements like we do today for almost instantaneous access.  So, it was often days or weeks before we realized we had been vandalized.  Then there came a cry for greater security on the merchants part to protect their customers.  One of the first things we saw in this regard was the truncation of receipts which printed a bunch of X’s and only the last four digits of the card number on receipts.  This, theoretically, was going to prevent the crooks of the world from getting us.  But, with the technology age rapidly getting more sophisticated, they soon discovered other ways to get the data they needed to go shopping on us.

Then we saw a great push from a different angle to try to cut them off from our data with the implementation of PCI/DSS (Payment Card Industry/Data Security Standards).  This is where we are today with systems in place for data encryption.  But, guess what, we are still experiencing data breaches and, in fact, from some of the largest retailers in the country.  It’s seems that they are always one step ahead of us.  You are likely being charged monthly, annual or a combination of both for your share of the increased costs to processors for this protection.

Next, introducing EMV (EuroPay MasterCard Visa).  The payment landscape is finally taking a leap in technology.  I say “finally” because the US is one of the last developed countries to adopt this type of technology. Not only will the technology change, but the cards that we use to make purchases are receiving change as well. This change has been long overdue and is being implemented primarily to protect the customer data and prevent the bad guys from stealing what isn’t theirs.

As you may know, EMV cards are embedded with a “smart chip” that securely stores cardholder data and requires authentication with every transaction. Your customer inserts their card into a smart chip reader found in EMV ready terminals (all merchants will be required to have these machines by October 2015 or subject themselves to substantial risks). The card remains in the terminal for the entire duration of the process allowing the chip to create a unique, one-time, digital signature for that specific transaction. The data that is transmitted by the EMV chip card is constantly changing which greatly minimizes the risk related to fraudulent transactions. In other words, it makes any information potentially stolen by a hacker to be completely useless.

ALL merchants will need to be EMV ready by October of this year, with these new terminals. The launch of this technology shifts the liability to the merchant (currently, and since the beginning payment processing, the liability for fraudulent transactions was with the issuers). If you, the merchant, accept a credit card that was lost, stolen or fraudulently replicated, your business may be financially responsible for any and all losses. As you might imagine, this could be potentially devastating to the life of your business. Card issuing entities have been issuing replacement cards with the EMV chips, and, in fact, you may have already received one yourself.

So, there’s no two ways about it, EMV is coming and you will need to get your hands on a new terminal or subject yourself to unnecessary financial risks.  Of course, some in our industry will use this as an opportunity to get in your pocket and overcharge for this new equipment, knowing that you absolutely have to have it.  However, how would you like….

FREE EMV/NFC EQUIPPED TERMINALS

That’s right, I can, and will, provide any new merchants that come to me with brand new, state-of-the-art EMV/NFC enabled terminals.  These terminals are provided by one of the top names in the credit card payment industry.  And, we don’t tie you down to any long, three year contracts either.  We believe it’s best for all parties, to earn your business every day rather than force you to stay obligated to us because of a contract.  Makes sense, doesn’t it?  So, if you’re ready to hear what I can do for you with new equipment and totally transparent, properly priced, merchant processing rates,  all of my contact information is located on this site.

Thanks for coming by….tell your friends.  Come back soon to read up on NFC (Near Field Communication) transactions.  You’ll want to be ready for that as well.

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Merchants May be due a Refund from Visa/MasterCard


How much of the $6 billion class action lawsuit against Visa/MasterCard are you entitled to?  This suit has been approved but it will likely be a lengthy process before payments are actually made, if ever. As a merchant that accepts credit/debit cards for payment of your goods and services, you’ve likely thought that you were paying too much for this privilege.  Well, obviously, you’re not alone and, in fact, you may be owed a refund.  On December 13, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York approved a Class Settlement among merchants, Visa, MasterCard and other Defendants in a class-action lawsuit. The lawsuit claims that merchants paid excessive fees for accepting Visa and MasterCard because of an alleged conspiracy among the Defendants.

Here’s some of the basics but I wouldn’t start getting too excited just yet imagining what you’ll spend your windfall on.  Settlement with merchants is currently being appealed. Claim forms are not available at this time and will not be available until after all appeals are resolved. And you know how long those processes could take so you’ll just need to stay in the loop.  You’ll find information on how to do that further into this article.

The total amount of the first cash fund is in the amount of $6.05 billion.  The suit states that any person, business or other entity that accepted Visa or MasterCard credit or debit card in the U.S. at any time between the dates of January 1, 2004 and November 28, 2012, may be eligible to receive a payment from this large fund.  There is a second fund of $1.2 billion that only addresses certain merchant types and for only an eight month period beginning July 29,2013.  So, obviously, this pertains to a much smaller merchant group.

Additionally, the Settlement requires Visa and MasterCard to modify some of their rules for merchants that accept their cards.  For example, you may now charge a surcharge to customers that want to use plastic to help you offset some of your costs.  But honestly, how many of you will really be willing to possibly lose business by doing so?

Now here’s a heads up for you.  Your current provider or even some independent outside third-party may make contact with you stating that they will offer you a “Settlement Recovery Service”.  YOU DO NOT NEED THIS SERVICE!!!  Now, if you’re feeling burdened already with your current workload, then maybe it could be of benefit for you.  Typically there is no up-front fees and they operate on a contingency basis.  However members can get NO-COST help from The Class Administrator and Class Counsel during the claims-filing period.

More information on the Settlement can be found by visiting the only Court-approved website www.pavmentcardsettlementcom.  And, of course, as always, if you have any specific questions for me, you know how to make contact.  Thanks for reading.

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