Mobile Payments Can Help During The Holiday Season

Last week we brought up the topic of how mobile payments aren’t the only answer for a merchant, and how small business owners need to use more than just mobile payments to help their businesses grow.

Mobile payments though, can be used as a tool for helping a business keep up with their customers, and there’s no better example of this than during the holiday season.

First, when discussing mobile payments and the holiday season, it needs to be broken down into two parts. There are mobile payments which are literally payments made on a mobile device.

And then there is the term mobile payments, which is the ability to take payments on your mobile device.

The first example of mobile payments (purchasing items online via a mobile device) has been up this holiday season, with the recent Cyber Monday being the biggest online shopping day in history (via iso and agent). What this means for merchants, is that people are buying things online from their smartphones and tablets. Business owners who still don’t have an online shopping cart setup for their website are potentially missing out on major profit during the holiday season.

The second example of mobile payments(taking payments on your smart device using a mobile swiper) also grows during the holiday season. When stores become busy during Christmas time, mobile swipers play a key role in helping make sure customers don’t have to wait on a line, and can get out of the door quicker.

When working with a normal terminal and cash register, a mobile swiper on a smart phone can be used as an alternative as customers shop around, and can help make the wait times for a store lessen during this busy season.

This is where a mobile swiper and the ability to accept mobile payment’s on it becomes important. As a merchant, you might not need a second terminal throughout the year, but instead simply need one for the busy seasons. A mobile swiper fills that role.

Mobile payments in general are on the rise during the holiday season, and as a business owner you need to make sure you’re not missing out on this profit.

Mobile Processing

Are Mobile Payments Moving Credit Card Processing In the Right Direction?

A recent article in the Green Sheet discussed the growth of mobile payments.

Surprisingly, while it would be easy to assume that mobile payments are in fact growing, the rate of there growth is slow. Mobile payments, and the technology used to process credit cards from your smart phone is popping up more and more, as companies like Square try to change card processing, and other try to keep up.

There are problems with mobile payments, which have made it’s growth slow. One problem for example, is with the errors merchants can run into when trying to process on their smart phone. According to the Green Sheet article,  68% of consumers with smartphones or tablets have attempted to use the devices at the POS, yet 66% of that group reported being unable to complete the transaction.

The idea of mobile payments is still relatively new, and as it advances, this will more than likely become less of an issue.

The author of the Green Sheet article goes on to mention other key reasons, but he fails to see the biggest problem with mobile payments.

For a merchant, being able to accept credit cards on their smart phone is a great tool. However, relying on a company that only allows a merchant to do this, prevents the merchant from growing their business.

For example, when you use Square to process transactions, it’s easy and a great tool for when a merchant is at a trade show or another mobile event. It can even be used on a tablet and used as a POS system.

But what happens when you want to grow? What happens when you want an actual credit card terminal or you want to sell gift cards?

This is where companies that focus only in mobile payments stumble. Merchants need to be aware that mobile payments and being able to use your smart phone to accept them is a great tool, but building your business solely around mobile payments will hinder it in the end.

For a business to grow, you’ll eventually need to setup gift cards, accept checks, or even take out a cash advance loan for expansion. Mobile payment processing companies don’t always offer these things.

So are mobile payments moving credit card processing in the right direction? For the most part it is, but don’t put your entire business into the mobile payments basket. Be flexible and use it as a tool to succeed, but also recognize when you need a real terminal, and need other things besides a smart phone credit card reader to grow.

Customer Support: One of the Most Important Services a Credit Card Processor Can Offer

Let’s face it, basically every company offers some type of customer support.

Whether it’s through a website or at a retail store’s customer service desk, support for your problems and answers to your questions can be found almost everywhere.

The same is true for your merchant service needs.

Take Squareup for example. While Squareup is considered a great product by many, their only customer support comes in the form of Twitter and email. There is no number to call to speak to a live person, and merchants often have to wait hours or even days to find the answer to their questions, or help when they have a problem.

A search for @Square tweets on Twitter will bring up plenty of frustrated customers who wish there was a number to call with a live person behind it. It also shows that problems and questions with Square are not a rare occurrence, and in fact occur quiet frequently.



The problems displayed by Square’s customer support emphasize how important it is for a merchant services provider to offer live help.

There is no telling when a merchant will run into a problem, or when they might have a question. And when it comes to handling your money, wouldn’t you want to know right away what the issue was if there’s a problem?

This is why great customer support is a huge service that only the best merchant services providers offer. It’s one thing to offer low rates, and to get a merchant to sign up.

But will they be there when something comes up?

24/7/365 live support is something we have strived for at National Debit Card Network. Of course we offer competitive rates, but more importantly, we are there for merchants when they need us. NDCN plans on growing with our merchants, not simply signing them up and leaving them to figure out issues on their own.

Great credit card processing isn’t just about rates, it’s also about communication.

And with NDCN’s customer support, we’re always there to communicate with our merchants.

Don’t Forget About Mobile

With everything that goes into running a small business, a website might be the last concern of an owner.

However, a website is an extremely useful tool, that all merchants should make for their businesses.

Is a site alone enough though?

Technology is constantly evolving, and as it grows, it seems like more and more people are on the go and using their mobile devices as a way to connect to the internet.

This is potentially huge for a merchant that sells things online, because if you don’t have a website which is optimized for mobile device purchases, you could be missing out on big revenue.

According to an article from, a survey conducted among 1,650 small business merchants discovered that as many as two-thirds of them had websites which weren’t optimized for mobile acceptance. 49% didn’t have an upgraded site, and 17% had no idea what the current status of their site was.

82% of e-commerce small merchants didn’t know if their purchases came from a PC or mobile site. Data from those who monitored where their purchases came from however, show a steady increase in mobile e-commerce.

Other mobile tools, like mobile wallets, still haven’t taken off. 93% of the merchants surveyed didn’t accept mobile wallets as a payment. Mobile wallets seem to be a wait and see issue, as merchants are seeing if the technology takes off.

Lastly, mobile swipers have risen from 10% last year, to 17% this year. But even though they seem to be on the rise, merchants have said that they don’t use it to replace their current POS system.

The only merchants who do solely rely on mobile swipers have less than 10 employees and generally make less than $50,000 in annual sales. Mobile swipers if anything, and a compliment to POS systems, and help give merchants even more tools.

Small Business merchants should pay close attention to the mobile scene. If you currently own a e-commerce business, make sure your mobile site can accept credit cards.

Mobile wallets seem to be something to wait on, but mobile swipers are on the rise and might be worth investing in.

Overall, mobile processing is moving forward, so make sure you don’t get left behind.


Gift Cards

Gift Cards Are Important Too!

From large chain stores to nail salons to your local hardware store, more and more establishments are offering gift cards as an option for their customers. Not just for the holidays anymore, gift cards are a great way to increase revenue and profits for all retailers, restaurants and other merchants year round.

Some of the many benefits that gift cards can bring to your business are:

• Increase Revenue Profits And Cash Flow

• Acquire New Customers

• Upsell Card Recipients At POS

• Increase Impulse Purchase Purchases

• Reduce Cash Back On Returns

• Build Your Awareness Through Word Of Mouth Advertising

So how does it all work?

Well let’s say you buy a packet of 100 gift cards customize customized with your logo and brand in branding. If your average gift card sale is $50,that’s $5000 in revenue you can generate. If you run at an average of 50% profit margin, that is $2500 of pure profit in your pocket. In many cases, card recipients add their own money at the point of sale, increasing your revenue even more!

Do You Have a Loyalty Program?

So you’ve seen the benefits gift cards can have for a small business, but have you considered how a loyalty program can also be extremely important?

Loyalty programs can help retain existing customers because of how they provide incentives for customers to come back, but they also help bring in new customers. If your loyalty rewards program is enticing enough, new customers who stop by your store will more than likely return.

Loyalty programs can also be used to move customers into different tiers. Those who are constantly in your store and driving sales up can find themselves getting better rewards. Those that only shop when you have sales and discounts can be filtered out.

With loyalty programs you can build relationships, target your best customers, and create advocates out of them. word-of-mouth from fellow customers is much better than any promotional marketing you may run.

The bottom line with loyalty cards is that they drive spending up, while keeping your customers happy. It’s always good to give something back to the people who help improve your business. Loyalty programs are simple and effective, so make sure you sign up for one today!

Which Credit Card Should You Use For Your Business?

A recent article from discussed which credit cards were the most friendly for small businesses.

As a small business, National Debit Card Network understands how it’s important for you to get the most out of the type of credit card you choose for your business.

And while National Debit Card Network can help you with your credit card processing by providing you with low rates, we can also help you financially by passing the information from onto you.

  • When it comes to small business and credit cards, Bank of America seems to be the most small business friendly. It’s also the only credit card that extended the CARD act protections to business-branded cards.
  • Every major credit card company holds it’s customers liable for the usage of their business credit card.
  • Out of the eight major credit card issuers, Citibank is the only one that doesn’t report business card usage to the customer’s personal credit report.
  • All the major credit card issuers uses personal data to determine eligibility.
  • All of the major credit card companies have some CARD Act protections, which points to signs that the law may eventually apply to business credit cards.
  • The only two major credit card companies that don’t offer business credit cards are Barclaycard US and USAA.

The article also includes a overall scores and information chart, which would be helpful for any small business owner who is serious about getting a business credit card.

Getting the right business credit card is a big move, so make sure you have plenty of information to find the one that fits your needs.

Consumers Are Still Using Credit Cards Despite A Rough Economy

We all know the economy has seen better days over the recent years. And with a poor economy, it only makes sense that consumers would choose to use credit cards less, in order to avoid accumulating a debt they wouldn’t be able to pay off.

However, when it comes to credit cards, what may seem like something obvious actually isn’t.

An article on The Wall Street Journal recently discussed how analysts expect upcoming earnings from major credit card companies like Visa and MasterCard to show that consumers are still using credit cards for a healthy amount of their purchases.

Healthy growth is extremely important for large credit card companies because while credit card use has increased since the recession, loans haven’t grown since many consumers paid their bills off each month instead of keeping a balance. Lenders saw a loss then in the money they charge for interest.

But what does all of this have to do with you and your small business?

To put it bluntly, if you’ve been waiting to get a service merchant account, your missing out on a chance to make some real profit. Consumers are only going to continue to use their credit cards, and while a decrease in loans may end up affecting the credit card companies, the increase in credit card spending could essentially add to your profits.

In fact, in order for loans to increase, don’t be surprised to see credit card companies try to encourage consumers to use their plastic even more.

If credit card usage is increasing, don’t you want to make sure your small business is ready for it?

Upgrading Phone Lines to Digital? Read This First!

Before you upgrade your business phone lines to digital or high-speed, it is critical to contact your merchant service provider first, or you could wind up losing the ability to accept credit cards.

As a business grows, and as technology develops, many business owners will choose to upgrade to a multi-line digital phone system, or, to the increasingly popular Voice-Over-IP-bundle, which combines telephone and internet on a single high-speed line (examples include Optimum Online, Verizon FIOS, Vonage, Comcast, etc.).

These types of data and communication upgrades can do a great deal to enhance business productivity, but if you take the plunge without first considering your Point of Sale device and its capabilities, the effect could be catastrophic.

How can upgrading my business phones or internet service disrupt my credit card processing?

Most of the countertop POS terminals (POS = credit card processing machines) being used at small businesses operate on a conventional analog phone line. These POS terminals often use a dial-up modem, very similar to the ones used in fax machines. If the analog, ‘dial-up’ phone line is eliminated, your POS terminal loses its ability to connect to your merchant service network. If the terminal cannot connect, sales cannot be approved by the cardholder’s bank. The ability to process credit cards would be lost.

What should I do if I accept credit cards, and I need to upgrade my business phone lines?

First, take down the make and model of your current POS terminal. Then call your merchant service provider. The best thing to do is speak to a knowledgeable support representative, and let him or her know what you are considering doing with your phone/internet system. The support rep will help you find the right type of credit card processing device to match your planned system upgrade.

What are my options?

VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) allows for a number of credit card processing options. First, you can upgrade your POS terminal to an IP (high-speed) capable model, so that the terminal uses an internet cable instead of a phone wire. Transaction processing times will drop dramatically.

Another option is a virtual terminal. Virtual terminals are either web or PC based programs that allow your computer to become the POS terminal (i.e. National Debit Card Networks’ SafePay). Credit card information can be manually keyed in, submitted via shopping cart, or, if you do face-to-face business, a card reader can be connected to the computer via USB cable for swipe capability.

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) allows you the same options as above, however, a merchant can also add a DSL filter (available for less than $20) and the analog POS terminal will still function. No new equipment necessary. DSL is often a slower internet connection than VOIP, so it has become a less popular option, but it does allow a business to continue using dial-up technology as needed (like the older and more basic credit card terminals).

Digital phone lines (for voice only – no internet) present a particular challenge where credit card processing is concerned. The number of POS terminal designs that can operate on these phone systems is few or none. In some cases, the POS terminal may function sporadically, working fine one day and not at all the next. If your business requires a digital phone system (commonly used for multi-line rollover systems), it is highly recommended that you leave a separate analog line in place for the POS terminal, or, that you install a high-speed internet connection for an IP terminal or a virtual terminal.

Summing up…

Unfortunately, when the telecom companies are pitching and installing these phone and internet systems at businesses, the issue of POS terminal compatibility is rarely mentioned. Hopefully, the information provided in this article will help you to make an informed decision about how and when to upgrade, so that your ability to accept payments from customers is not disrupted.

Credit Card Processing 101 For New Business Owners

OK, so you just took that huge leap of faith and opened up your own business. Whether you are a retail storefront, restaurant, run a mail order business or are purely internet based, the ability to accept credit cards is critical to the growth and ultimate success of your business.

What’s the bottom line? Offer your customers as many payment options as possible to avoid turning away business.

Credit and debit cards alone account for about one third of all personal consumption expenditures in the U.S. – a share that increases every year. And, in times of economic downturn like these, consumers have less cash flow and are putting more purchases on their credit cards.

With that said, following is a list of common question many new business owners have in the area of credit card processing.

What is the first thing I need to do to start accepting credit cards?

You will need a merchant service provider who will set you up with a merchant account for your business. This will give you the ability to accept credit and debit cards in person, online, or over the phone.

How long will it take before I can start accepting credit and debit cards?

With leading processors, you can get you up and running within the same day in many cases.

How much do I have to pay to accept credit cards?

Like anything, rates vary depending on processor you are dealing with and the type of business you operated (i.e. storefront, ecommerce, mail order, etc.) It is important to find a merchant service provider who not only offers guaranteed low rates, but will provide your business with PCI compliant equipment and knowledgeable 24x7x365 customer service and technical support.

How are credit cards charged?

Upon swiping a credit card in a POS terminal, the information is sent from the merchant to your credit card processor who in turn requests the money from the issuing bank, which is deposited directly into your bank account.

What if I own an ecommerce/internet business. Can I still process credit cards?

Depending on the processor you choose to process your credit card transactions, the answer is yes. For instance, at National Debit Card Network, we have a proprietary ecommerce gateway called SafePay that allows you to process transactions quickly and securely. This is also known in the industry as “card not present” unlike most storefront businesses that physically swipe the customer’s credit or debit card.

What does PCI compliant mean for processing equipment?

The Payment Card Industry (PCI) dictates that all merchants, regardless of size or number of transactions that accept, transmit or store any cardholder data need to have terminals and card processing equipment that is PCI compliant to ensure the strictest security guidelines are adhered to.

These are just some of the basics for business owners who want to accept credit card processing to help grow their business and customer base.