Entries tagged with “PCI DSS”.


The high-profile corporations have definitely seen their share of the headlines on television, in newspapers, and in magazines regarding credit card and customer fraud. However, as much as small businesses have endured schemes, scams, and frauds, they are not always profiled or talked about in the news. These crimes have major impacts on small businesses, and the end results can be devastating.

Fraud prevention for small businesses should be discussed so employees, customers, vendors, and suppliers will feel educated on how to recognize potentially fraudulent activities. Fraud prevention plans should be implemented in every business, and you should consider the following:

- Create a way for employees to quickly report suspicious activities

- Provide up-to-date information to employees and customers regarding fraud protection measures

- Work with your employees to train them on a monthly basis to prevent fraud

You have to monitor your small business credit report, your financial accounts, your credit accounts, and other documents. When you are actively monitoring these documents, you are ensuring that fraud will be detected. Look through all of your transactions to be sure that you will not see anything out of the ordinary. Your business may have online credit card activity; if so you should pay attention to the purchase history of your customers. If you notice a particular customer, and you think the velocity of charges and the purchase history seem odd, then you may want to monitor this situation for fraud.

Preventive measures are available to help your business feel safe and secure; these measures and resources are also effective. Contact us on ways to help protect your business

In the past year, hackers have stolen approximately $1 billion from banks in the United States, Russia, Germany, China and Ukraine, among others. More than 100 banks in 30 different countries lost money in a hacking scheme that used malware downloaded from Russia.

The hackers gained access to the banks’ internal systems through a phishing scheme targeting bank employees. According to the Chicago Tribune, they used a tactic called “spear phishing,” in which targeted individuals receive authentic appearing emails. Some of the bank employees who received these emails clicked on email attachments, subsequently infecting their computers with malware.

Through this malware, called Carbanak, the hackers studied the employees’ actions at work.  They subsequently mimicked them in order to withdraw money. Two of the techniques they used were reprogramming ATMs to spill cash at different intervals and locations, whereupon “mules” collected it, and infiltrating customer accounts to artificially inflate balances and then withdraw the money immediately thereafter.

The hackers stuck to a limit of $10 million per bank, so that the activity was less obvious and, therefore, harder to detect. At this point, the hackers are still continuing to operate.

Unfortunately, the malware used, according to cyber security experts, points to an increased sophistication in the level of attacks. One expert refers to it as “leapfrogging” from previous hacking operations. Standard cyber security protocol instructs employees (and private individuals) to beware of unsolicited email. In addition, recipients should never open unrequested email attachments, and never click on links in emails unless the email is from a trusted source.

As hackers become increasingly proficient at targeting institutions, employees become one of the last lines of defense in protecting consumer accounts as well as financial information. As such, knowledge of cyber security basics is essential.

For more information on cyber security tips for your organization, contact us.

Protecting yourself from hidden fees from payment processors is a necessary aspect of business to consider. These tips will help you to have a better understanding of what to look for in fees and how to find the best processor.

Variety of Hidden Fees

There are many types of fees that can be hidden in payment processing. In general, many payment processors have a flat fee per transaction, and a percentage of the money transacted also taken as a fee. However, many payment processors try to be sly and tack on extra fees. Make sure the value of the transaction does not matter for fees. It is also important to make sure the fees listed do not have a volume requirement. Some payment processors require a certain amount of money transacted every month.

Ask the Hard Questions

This part is difficult but necessary. Make sure you are reading the documentation that comes along with signing up for any payment processor. You want to make sure that they are an adequate fit for your business. If you see something that looks weird in the agreement, you could have stumbled on a hidden fee, and it is definitely worth discussing with the company.

Trust Your Instincts

If a payment processor looks good on the outside, and perhaps offers their services for free, they could be hiding something. All businesses need to make money so you need to figure out where their money is coming from and how it impacts you.

Feel free to contact us about your payment processing and the hidden fees associated with them.

Having a small business can take you on a thrilling ride, and that ride can hopefully take you somewhere that will give you an enjoyable and positive experience. You can maintain a stable business by making smart decisions financially; these decisions need to be made before you are faced with trouble or any kind of unwanted debt.

You can prepare yourself and your business for the future by remembering these small business financial success tips.

Create a Small Cash Reserve

It is always a wise decision to plan for the future, especially when you have to run your own business. You can accomplish this by putting together a cash reserve that you can use for any emergency situations, or you can use it to give yourself a bonus when the year is over. When you are waiting for the profits to roll in, the cash reserve can help you when you have to plan for any taxes that may catch you by surprise. You should always put money aside for taxes.

Always Remember What the Repercussions of Debt Will Be

Not every small business owner and entrepreneur will get to begin their business with no debt. However, you can still put together a plan that will allow you to pay of your credit cards and any other debt so that no limits will be placed on you in the future. When you can leave your personal debit behind you, you will be able to pursue and secure future loans for your business that will not hurt your credit score.

Do Not Put Personal and Business Finances Together

If you have independent accounts for your business expenses and your financial expenses, you will save yourself from being overwhelmed and confused about being protected in the event of an audit. Keep all of your credit cards, checking accounts, and saving accounts separate. When you do a good job of keeping your accounts separate, you will be able to effectively manage all of your expenses and bills.

Also, part of your business is being aware of the salaries that your employees should receive, but you should not omit yourself. A financial expert can help you review all of your financial options and help you make changes for the better. You can do your research and always prepare yourself, but you should also not be afraid to ask questions.

If you need to receive information from people who are familiar with finances and small businesses, contact us.

When you want a great product and a great service, it always comes with a price. Some of those prices are known ahead of time, but sometimes there are hidden fees that companies do not find out about until later. In the industry that handles merchant services, it is generally not the price that raises eyebrows, it is the way providers hide their fees. The price that you are given may seem reasonable, but then you will be hit will several hidden fees at one time.

When you are trying to find a payment processor, the fees will certainly be a big factor that will have a part in your decision. If you are given a proposal from a payment processor provider with a list of services and prices, you may not get what you are expecting and you may not pay what the proposal claims you are going to pay. For these reasons, it is important to know how to protect yourself from hidden fees from payment processors.

Here are some of the common fees that you may expect to see from a payment processor or merchant service:

Transaction Fees

In many cases, you can expect to pay up to 20 cents when one of your customers swipes a debit or credit card. You will see this fee even if the transaction does not go through completely. This can be listed as a transaction fee, but it can be different for debit card transactions. You should ask the provider of your payment processor to outline all of this information, for both credit and debit transactions.

Fees For Paper Statements

You can expect to pay a fee for the monthly paper statements. This fee can be as high as $15 and as low as $5. However, you do have the option to receive these statements online. If you choose this option, the fees may be removed or these fees may be reduced. You should speak with your payment provider about this to be sure.

You need to select a provider who will be honest and upfront about all of the fees that you will be charged for. No one wants to receive a bill that will surprise them because of all the hidden fees. Contact us for support in protecting your business from those hidden fees.