The world is changing. If your business is going to remain relevant and continue to thrive, you need to change with it. Are you ever more than a few feet away from your phone? Most of us carry them constantly, check them many times an hour and even sleep with them. So why shouldn’t we use them to pay for things, too? Mobile payments are no longer some fantasy about the future; they are highly relevant right now, especially among early tech adopters and busy individuals. There are three groups in particular who want the convenience of paying for things with their phones. If you want the business of these three market segments, you need to make mobile part of your business model.

Today’s Teens

The current batch of teenagers has never known a world that wasn’t digitally connected. They’ve always had the Internet, and they are comfortable with mobile technology. A recent Pew Research Study shows that 78 percent of teens own cell phones, and 47 percent of those cell-phone-using teens own a smartphone. Just as members of this group are completely comfortable sharing their lives on platforms such as SnapChat and Instagram, they are also completely at ease with the idea of pulling out their phones instead of their wallets when they are standing at the register, whether they are buying coffee, new jeans or tickets to a movie. Give them the option that they prefer the most, and they are more likely to choose your business over your competitors.

Tech-Friendly Millennials

This is a cohort that is eager to adopt new technology. Millennials find cash cumbersome and would rather pay for goods by swiping their phones than by pulling out cards. More than half of all mobile payments are made by people in the 18-to-34 age bracket. Millennials make up more than one-quarter of the United States population. Experts say that mobile commerce will account for three quarters of the world’s spending by the year 2020. Win over this group, and you have a hold on a powerful consumer segment.

Busy Moms

This group is super busy. Moms balance kids, careers and homes. They want things to be quick, easy, convenient and painless. If you make it easy for them to pay for your business’s goods or services by simply pulling out their phones, they will come back to work with you again and again. And they hold the purse strings of America. Seventy percent of consumer spending is done by moms.

Mobile payments are safe, convenient and a growing preference for many segments of consumers. Give your customers this option, and they will repay you with their loyalty.

Many businesses today are facing challenges when storing customers’ credit cards on file. We recently held a webinar to discuss these challenges. If you are a merchant storing credit card data in your system for repeat billing, periodic billing, automatic shipping, or subscription services, you are likely running into obstacles with cardholder:

  • Expiration dates
  • Brand conversions
  • Card upgrades
  • Reissued cards (due to data breach or fraud)
  • Lost/stolen cards
  • Closed accounts

If any of these obstacles go unaddressed, as a merchant you risk credit card declines when using stored cardholder data. According to Visa, 30% of accounts annually incur changes in account number or expiration data.

Credit card declines come with some costs. When transactions fail, cardholders feel inconvenienced and may terminate your relationship, resulting in lost sales. If cardholders must be contacted to update their information, they may choose to switch to another service or cancel service altogether. Additionally, merchants who continue billing with out-of-date information must pay extra authorization costs.

Luckily, ProPay has a solution that keeps your credit card data on file up to date. ProPay’ EnsureBill is an account updater service that increases your revenue by reducing card declines on your monthly billing. EnsureBill allows clients with recurring billing accounts to seamlessly maintain valid data. With EnsureBill, card-on-file data is verified and updated prior to the monthly billing cycle resulting in fewer declines, increased customer satisfaction, retained business, and overall reduced costs.

There are Three Pillars of EnsureBill that keep you and your customers satisfied when storing card information. The three pillars of Ensure Bill are:

  1. Reduced Credit Card Declines
  2. Increased Revenue
  3. Reduced Operational Costs

Reduced Credit Card Declines

With EMV mandates to be implement in the near future, millions of customers will have their cards replaced by issuers. If you’re a merchant with cards on file, those cards will need to be updated within the next three to four months when issuers send new cards. If your systems are not updated automatically, you likely face a high rate of card declines.

With ProPay EnsureBill you can reduce declined transactions and authorization fees by getting updated account numbers, expiration dates, and account status’ on your Visa, MasterCard, and Discover cardholders.

Increased Revenue

By delivering uninterrupted service, you’re likely to increase revenues and improve customer retention. EnsureBill enables you to:

  • Increase revenue with fewer card declines
  • Pay fewer authorization fees
  • Reduce customer service costs from manual updates
  • Increase customer retention and loyalty with uninterrupted service
  • Improve efficiency

Recently a ProPay customer using EnsureBill reduced auto-ship declines by 9% and increased revenues by $300,000 in one auto-shipment by updating over 91,000 credit cards.

Reduced Operational Costs

EnsureBill allows you to send a file to ProPay with cards that need to be automatically updated. ProPay will then send these cards to the issuer to be updated. EnsureBill receives updates from ProPay after issuers identify any needed card updates. This automatic process saves major costs on personnel and time that would otherwise be spent contacting customers and manually updating card information.

For more information on how you can reduce credit card declines, increase revenues, and reduce operational costs with ProPay EnsureBill, call 888-227-9856 or email sales@propay.com

There is no question that a traveler needs to make a number of preparations for a big trip, but repeatedly one of the biggest problem areas tend to be managing finances when on the road. Chalk it up to the excitement of the trip, being in a new place, or finally relaxing from work and stress everyday in a commute, but people get sloppy. And when that happens, the problems occur when traveling.

Fortunately, most issues that cause situations of fraud and money loss when out of country can be prevented. A number of simple steps can be taken by any person, both before the trip and during it. And the ramifications can be awesome in terms of making sure that a trip is enjoyed without disappointments, at least financial ones.

1. Inform Bank and Credit Card Companies

The first step anyone should take is to inform his or her bank and credit card companies of the pending trip. This includes the general location and dates of the trip. It’s a simple matter; one just needs to call the institution and make sure the information of the trip is posted to the account information. Just about every time the account is pulled up by a financial company, so is all the immediate information, including notes. This data gives a flash view of pertinent account status, which is critical when fraud occurs or a valid purchase occurs in an unusual place.

2. Use Paper

Second, a traveler shouldn’t put all of his reliance on digital payment tools. There are plenty of places in the world that don’t take a credit card, no matter whether it’s a Visa, Mastercard or an Amex. Cash rules in these locations, and a wise traveler is one who plans for these situations or, worse, when a card gets lost. Having a back up plan allows a person to complete their trip instead losing it altogether. Cash is also good for avoiding suspicious-looking card reading machines too. Not every vendor is on the up-and-up.

3. Keep Wallet Close At All Times

Third, never ever put a wallet out of sight. That means not leaving it on a desk, a nightstand in a hotel room, or on the restaurant table when paying the bill. In public, wallets are immediate targets, easy to grab and run with even in a crowded, public place. By keeping it secure, even with a covered harness inside pants or a jacket, it makes a wallet difficult to grab. Pickpockets rely on distraction to do their job. Most travelers never see a hit coming. Instead, burying a wallet in a hard to reach place force them to choose other targets.

4. Check and Monitor Accounts Daily

Fourth, if you can do so, check and monitor accounts daily. Stuff happens when one is on the road in unfamiliar places, and they will show up immediately on an account screen. However, be careful about your connection. If it’s not yours, Wi-Fi and hotel connections are often compromised and a fast way to lose a password to a hacker. Use our own account or not at all. It’s better to then check with a phone number and account dial in update.

These are practical, simple steps that everyone traveling should practice regularly. Most fraud is done because people are careless. Tie up loopholes like these and you won’t be a statistic.

When it comes to running a small business, most owners and startup managers will agree things can be pretty frantic from month to month. The chase to find sales and investment, hire good staff, and deal with exponential growth can easily create 14-hour workdays for those involved. No surprise, the administrative side of a business can suffer greatly as the priority is to get the product or service to customers and keep the business moving. However, it’s the administrative side that one needs when it comes time for obtaining larger financing, dealing with tax agencies, and meeting regulatory compliance. So it can’t be ignored. Here are three simple tips that will save a start small business lots of headaches in the long run using them early and often.

First, don’t rely on paper accounting records. Use a mobile accounting system to track all the business expenses, and make sure daily receipts and transactions are all recorded and closed into the system at the end of the day. Why? Mobile tracking reduces human error significantly, ensures entry of data is done correctly, and it produces clean reports for decision-making when needed. Daily reconciliation avoids the month-end crunch of paperwork, keeps expenses tracked as they occur, and helps a business manage cash flow far better. After all, one of the biggest challenges of a small business is balancing cash flow versus revenue. You can have lots of sales, but cash in the bank is still needed to actually pay bills.

Second, check and prepare clean accounting reports with your mobile payment facilitator every month with an organized archiving of receipts, invoices, and paperwork supporting that accounting. Why? One of the top three reasons a business can end up in bankruptcy is going sideways on tax reporting and taxes. And tax agencies win almost every time when a business says it can’t find its records to explain a deduction or new funds coming in. The taxes due, plus penalties and interest can skyrocket in a matter of weeks, going well beyond any ability to pay them and keep the business going. Good record-keeping is a must to stay out of tax trouble.

Third, take advantage of electronic payment processing and purchasing as much as possible. It provides an extra defense against fraud in that the transaction can be reversed if an issue is caught within the first 24 hours or so. Even afterwards chargebacks can be initiated where a party doesn’t follow through for a business. Paying in cash or by check doesn’t come with these benefits. And your customers will definitely appreciate a business that takes their credit card, especially if operating online. Businesses of all types see significantly more sales with electronic payment than other methods.

Propay’s payment systems are a huge advantage for small businesses in executing the above three tips. They provide accurate activity statements, process payments of all types, and allow a business to function in the digital world seamlessly. Run your small business the right way and grow fast!

Businesses need payments to flow on a regular basis in order to generate cash flow for operations. However, that doesn’t automatically mean that every business is an expert in or wants to have a core skill in payment processing and related accounting. In many cases, companies have their core skills in the manufacturing of a product or the performance of a specific skill that is generating the sales in the first place. Because of this fact, the administration of the payment process can then be a drain on valuable staff resources if not allocated properly. So the use of a third party payment processor can be extremely helpful, keeping the bright minds working at what they do best in a given company, and keeping the payment processing handled versus neglected. That said, not all payment processors are created or perform equally.

Payment Service Provider

The most basic service available is that of a payments service provider, or PSP. These vendors have a payment infrastructure already in place, giving client companies the ability to accept payments right away without having to design their own processes. With PSP contracts that have additional benefits, a company could have customer support built in as well as regulation compliance, ensuring that payments are for allowable purposes at all times. Each PSP is different, so it takes a bit of research to know what each one offers.

Gateway Company

A second option is a gateway company. These entities are interfaced with a given bank, allowing the client to have payments come in and be transferred directly into given company bank accounts as they are received. These systems are unique to a given bank and are not portable. They don’t move from bank to bank, depending on what company management would prefer. As a result, a company could find itself having to deal with multiple banks, which makes total accounting and tracking far more complicated in the long run. These systems have a lot of flexibility in design and tailoring to a business, as well as experience in guidance, and they provide lower fees per transaction because they are the bank, not the middleman processor. On the other hand, they don’t work for small companies, they are extremely complex and a pain to negotiated with, and the startup requires a business to incur lots of internal security risk prevention costs to be eligible as a customer.

Independent Sales Organizations

There are also Independent Sales Organizations, or ISOs. These operations are middlemen in the payment-processing world, and work best for end-point retailers. The upside is that working with an ISO makes it a lot easier to get a merchant account with a bank. The disadvantages are that this tool is really geared for e-commerce, it can be very technical to get started with, and bigger operations trigger compliance and risk prevention costs in a client business.

So clearly there are a number of choices to work with, depending what a client company needs. Which one works better depends on matching the benefits offered with the client company’s biggest needs. New clients shouldn’t just take the first processor that comes along. Instead, they should map out what is needed, what is desired in function, and what extra aspects are included. Then vendors should be matched up to see which one provides the best deal overall.

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