Entries tagged with “data security for small businesses”.


There’s plenty of advice out there about the major factors surrounding the finances of small businesses.  Control of your small business’ limited cash-flow is a must to maintain fluid finances month-to-month. Often, small businesses are inundated with tools or products to help grow their business that may be well-priced, but add up quickly, and may not be worth the investment. Here we talk about ways to manage shipping costs and how to process client payments.

Paying for Trackable Shipping for Everything

Trackable shipping is a great fraud-prevention tool, so it should be used whenever it makes sense. It does not, however, make sense to use it for everything. The biggest example is the shipping of small, low-value items. If your company sells accessories such as batteries that only cost you a few pennies to buy, the sensible thing to do is simply put them in a first-class envelope and mail them regardless of the retail price you charge. The cost of putting tracking on such items is more than what it’d cost to do a direct replacement.

Using the Same Shipper for Everything

This is a mistake because each major shipping service – the USPS, UPS, and FedEx – has its own set of sweet spots. For example, the USPS tends to offer the best prices for things shipped nearby, while the other shippers are better for long-distance deliveries. Figure out which one offers the best deal for each general area you ship to and divide your carrier use accordingly.

Buying Boxes

In many cases, this cannot be avoided. However, if you sell items that will fit into the packaging provided by the shipper you intend to use, use their boxes as well as their service. The U.S. Post Office (USPS) has a huge array of flat-rate packaging available, so this may prove advantageous as you seek to deliver your packages quickly and at an affordable price to your customers.

Using Payment Processors

Like managing your shipping expenses, it is important to consider how you are processing the payments of your customers. Re-evaluate semi-annually the costs and benefits associated with your payment processor and your provider. More times than not, you will find that there are less-expensive and safer options available.

For more small business tips feel free to contact us. We’ll be glad to help you save money in your day-to-day operations.

“You get what you pay for.” You’ve undoubtedly heard that phrase before and have possibly learned through personal experience that it is in fact true. When it comes to merchant services, this saying is no exception. With the industry buzz about “Free Accounts” or “Free Card Readers”, more and more companies are falling for this trend without fully understanding what this so-called “free” really entails.

In order to better define these free services, the following sections offer a comparison between ProPay’s services and a competitor offering a free merchant account and reader.

Secure Card Readers

ProPay

Free Service

  • All of ProPay’s approved card reader devices encrypt sensitive credit and debit card data “on the head” of the device as information is collected off the magnetic stripe.
  • ProPay’s ProtectPay enables merchants place customer’s credit card data on file for repeat billing.
  • Additionally, ProPay over 10 ways to accept payments.
  • Competitor offers no ProtectPay equivalent.
  • Competitor offers no “clip” to secure the reader in the audio jack permitting it to spin around and risk damage to the audio jack. Also requires the merchant to awkwardly hold the phone and reader while attempting to swipe the card.

Competitive Rates

ProPay

Free Service

  • 2.60% on all swiped (Visa, MasterCard, Discover; AMEX is slightly higher).
  • 3.40% on all keyed (Visa, MasterCard, Discover; AMEX is slightly higher).
  • ProPay provides multiple tier pricing options that offer better transaction rates based on merchant’s needs.
  • 2.75% on all cards swiped.
  • 3.50% + $0.15 on all cards keyed.
  • One size fits all.
  • No data coverage, no ability to accept payments.

Fund Accessibility

ProPay

Free Service

  • No bank account is required.
  • Easily transfer money to your own bank.
  • Access funds immediately through Enhanced SpendBack.
  • Funds should be available within 24 hours.
  • Process up to $1,000 per week. Any amount over $1,000 is held in reserve for 30 days.
  • Limited to “banked” customers with a Smartphone and a data plan.
  • Bank Account is required.

Customer Service Capabilities

ProPay

Free Service

  • Phone, Email, Chat
  • U.S.-based customer service representatives.
  • Representatives that speak the following languages: English, Spanish, French.
  • Available Monday-Friday 6:30 AM – 7:00 PM MST
  • SMS, Email, Phone Monday-Friday 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM PST.
  • SMS, Email, Phone Monday-Friday 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM PST.

Payment processors set up through your merchant services account are meant to help your small business make money. However, accumulating fees simply for processing payments will cause you to lose more money in the long run. Small businesses can’t afford to lose even a percentage on a payment without raising prices. Instead, a little research can go a long way toward protecting yourself from hidden fees.

Here are 6 tips to help you keep the money you make:

1. Be highly selective when choosing a payment processing company. Even companies who advertise “no fees” may have some caveat such as no fees for certain credit cards, additional fees for debit cards, etc.

2. One of the most common “hidden fees” is charging extra, as much as 20 cents per transaction, for credit cards that are entered manually versus “swiped”. When setting up a merchant account, remember part of the overall cost involves investing in hardware that can “swipe” a card. Mobile card readers may be a good investment if this fee can’t be avoided.

3. Most payment processing companies require a “monthly minimum”, usually hidden way down at the bottom of your contract in the very fine print. How much business do you expect? Can you reliably meet the minimum requirement? Remember, the minimum is counting credit/debit card transactions only – not cash or check sales.

4. Payment gateway fees refer to how sales are made, typically online or at a brick-and-mortar location. E-commerce sales may have more hidden fees for providing connection services.

5. Almost all processors will have an extra fee for paper statements as opposed to receiving your statement via e-mail. On that same token, they may offer small discounts for setting up “auto-pay” options.

6. Some credit cards have higher fees than others. Weigh the risks and benefits of accepting all major credit cards or deciding not to accept one or two in order to avoid those fees.

Ultimately, your decision affects not just your bottom line but your customer experience as well. Some small businesses are forced to pass on fees for credit cards or require a minimum purchase in order to use a credit card. With credit and debit transactions becoming the norm, small businesses have a tough choice to make. The moral of the story here is to do your research, ask questions, and examine the contracts closely.

Contact us to learn more about global payment solutions that are simple, secure and affordable.

Recently, an online dating service was compromised affecting some 20 million customers. The breach affected usernames and emails of visitors for the Russia-based site.

The company, luckily, does not store any customer financial data, however there is still reason to be concered regarding the access of emails and usernames which can be used to traced to other online financial transactions by the customer.

The difficulty in tracking where these hacks come from and what will happen to the data makes protection from an attack the best method to avoid issues within the company and frustrations of your customers.

In order to maintain your company’s protection and on-going cybersecurity strength it is vital to optimize your IT infrastructure. Frequent updates and tests of the entire system and checking for flaws in the network will help companies large and small avoid costly and time-consuming issues.  To learn more about options for network security, contact us.

A British retailer, known in the United Kingdom and around the world for its wide selection of fashionable footwear recently experienced a security breach. Over one million customers were affected, and this is the latest examples of cybersecurity hacks.

Compromised data includes customer contact information and website passwords. The retailer had security measures in place, but the hacker was able to enter the company’s network through an unencrypted database that had been scheduled to be decommissioned. The attack happened last May, but was just recently reported. A warning has been issued to customers to keep an eye on possible account compromises.

In documents provided to British authorities, company executives say that the shoe retailer retained historic customer data because the company thought that removing it would be complicated for the retailer’s operations. They now realize those complications were overstated, and the data did not need to be retained. The servers that were affected have now been decommissioned.

Officials say that companies need to have stronger measures in place to prevent similar breaches. Businesses should:

- Have policies governing how customer data is stored

- Regularly assess how customer data interacts the IT infrastructure

- Test website and servers on a regular basis

For more information about cyber security measures, contact us.