Category Archives: Ecommerce

Welcome ICVerify Customers!

As some of you know, ICVerify has recently shut down their business. As such, many businesses are now being left without a payment solution for their businesses and merchant accounts. From us here at Web Payment Software, we would like to welcome any and all former ICVerify customers to our business. We would love to become your payment gateway solution. If you look over our site, you’ll see that not only do we offer great rates, we are half the cost of our competitors. We offer cost-plus pricing for all of our merchant accounts with rates as low as 2.25% which can’t be beat by our competitors.

Curious how Web Payment Software can streamline your merchant account and payment gateway services? Contact Us Today!

Merchant Category Codes: What Are They and How Do They Affect You?

MCC WPS

There’s an awful lot of data that’s thrown at merchants and consumers where credit cards are concerned. However, from a consumer perspective, knowing how your credit card categorizes businesses is a useful tool to maximize the benefits you gain from your card’s rewards program. For merchants, knowing how your business is classified will help you make sure you’re getting the best rates for interchange fees. I’ll be going over why you should know the different, “merchant categorization codes” so you can take maximum advantage of your card and get the best benefits from them.

History of Merchant Categorization Codes

Back in ’04, the IRS required that businesses be classified based upon the market segment that they occupy. An MCC is a four-digit code that a business is assigned once it starts accepting one of the two major credit card brands; Visa or MasterCard. Businesses that purchase some kind of service are required to report it on a 1099 form at the end of the year, while purchased goods don’t have the same requirements. Certain businesses are also tagged for lower interchange fees depending on the type of business that it is. You can find a database of MCCs here.

How MCC Affects Consumers

While a consumer doesn’t have to worry about interchange fees for their business, MCC still affects consumers by the codes assigned to the stores that they frequent and how that comes into effect with their rewards programs for their credit cards. Say your Visa card gives you 5% cash back on groceries when you use it, you’re going to want to know what stores qualify as a grocery store according to Visa. For example, Target, qualifies as a grocery store, so knowing this, even if you purchase things that aren’t considered grocery items, because Target is a “grocery store” according to Visa, you will still receive the 5% cash back for your entire purchase.

Conversely, however, you should keep an eye out to make sure that a business that you think is in one category, is in fact, in another. For example, you may think that 7-11 might qualify as groceries, but in fact it actually falls into “service stations” category. A great resource to use to find out what businesses fall under what MCC is to use Visa’s Supplier Locator website.

How MCC Affects Merchants

While how MCC affects consumers is relatively simple, for merchants, it gets a little more complicated. MCC can affect a merchant’s interchange rate, now we’ve spoken about interchange briefly when we discussed tiered pricing v. cost plus pricing. However, there are a few factors, some of which are outside the business owner’s control. For example, the type of card, how your payment processing account is configured, as well as what steps you take to complete each transaction can all affect your interchange rate. For the sake of brevity, we’ll just focus on how your interchange rate is affected by how your business is categorized.

Certain industries qualify for special incentive programs that mean better rates. For instance, card associations may feel that these specific industries have a markedly higher growth potential and want to encourage card use. Or, the special rate could be an incentive offered by Visa or MasterCard to promote card acceptance. Some examples of these industries include: charities, supermarkets, insurance providers, and gas/service stations. However, some businesses that do qualify for a better interchange rate don’t receive it because their accounts haven’t been properly categorized by their payment processor’s systems. To make sure you’re getting the best rate, talk to your payment processor and make sure they understand: what industry your business operates in, that your industry classification is correct, and whether or not your categorization qualifies you for a special interchange rate. These programs can lower your rates by 10 to 30 basis points lower than standard retail rates, saving merchants between $1.00 to $3.00 on every $1,000 processed.

10 Tips To Prevent Credit Card Fraud This Holiday Season

With EMV in full swing, there is a much higher chance this holiday season for merchants to end up with coal in their stocking due to the potential of CNP fraud rising because of EMV. However, there’s no need to worry, as long as you stay vigilant and know what to look for, here are 10 signs that you might be subject to CNP fraud.

Tip #1: First Time Shopper

This one might seem kind of silly, but always be wary of first-time shoppers, criminals are always looking for new victims, this also plays into to tip #2.

Tip #2: Larger Than Normal Orders

Stolen cards or account numbers have a limited life span before they get flagged. Because of this fraudsters are looking to get the most out of their purchases so it’s, “go big or go home” when it comes to their purchases.

Tip #3: Orders That Include Multiples Of The Same Item

This comes down to simple math, criminals are looking for as much profit as possible, having multiples of the same item increases their profits.

Tip #4: Order Is Only “Big Ticket” Items

Your big ticket items have the maximum resale value, and therefore the maximum profit potential for fraudsters. Watch out for orders like these, it might be exciting to see, but always verify with the customer first before you fulfill it.

Tip #5: Shipping To An International Address

A significant number of fraudulent transactions occur outside of the US since Visa AVS can’t validate non-U.S. purchases, outside of Canada and the UK.

Tip #6: Single Address, Transactions on Multiple Cards

This should be a red flag when this appears, as this could involve account numbers that were generated using pirate software, or even be done with a batch of stolen cards.

Tip #7: Multiple Transactions On One Card Over A Short Period Of Time

This could be an attempt to “run the card” (make as many transactions as possible) before the account associated with the card is closed.

Tip #8: Multiple Cards Used From Single IP

If more than one or two card is being used to purchase from your store from the same IP address, then there is a high possibility that the transactions are fraudulent.

Tip #9: Multiple Transactions On Card with Single Billing Address, but Multiple Shipping Addresses

This kind of fraud usually indicates organized activity rather than a single fraudster at work. Be very cautious of these kinds of orders.

Tip #10: “Too Good To Be True”

The old adage rings true for online business, if the order is uncharacteristically large for your business or if the sale is otherwise outside the norm for your business, it’s probably too good to be true and is a fraudulent sale.

Tiered Pricing v. Cost Plus Pricing

Cost plus v. tiered pricing is commonly misunderstood by merchants. If you’ve ever scouted for better credit card processing rates, you’ve probably been asked by competing merchant account services to present your previous months’ statements for them to analyze.

When you get back quotes from them, you could see a difference in cost from just a few tenths of a percentage point, to hundreds of dollars a month in potential savings. However, if the rate you’re being quoted is the same as the one you have now, how is it that there is such a huge discrepancy in the numbers?

Welcome to one of the most misunderstood and potentially confusing parts of the payment gateway industry: merchant account pricing and its wide variety of different payment structures. The most common being Interchange/Cost Plus Pricing versus Tiered Pricing.

But, before we go into the pros and cons of each, you should first understand that one of the reasons behind why there could be such a huge difference in cost from one account provider to the next is how they have your company set up to process credit cards. There are a lot of different factors that can influence the rate you’re given by your merchant account provider:

  • Type of card used(a no-frills basic Visa card versus a Visa Reward Card will process at different rate “buckets” or “tiers;” the interchange on a rewards card will be higher)
  • The way a transaction is processed (swipe in-person, over the phone orders, keying in card number in person, accepting payments online)
  • The type of business accepting the card (are you selling high-risk, high ticket items? Is your business type historically prone to troublesome chargebacks?)

For example, if your business started out as an online store and now you’ve opened a brick and mortar store front processing card present transactions, you’ll save an incredible amount of money if you simply inform your merchant account provider of this change. Basically, each transaction will cost you less because you’re processing a card face to face, which is much more secure than a card not present transaction (processing a credit card through an estore or over the phone order). So before you even begin shopping for rates, make sure your business is set up to process card orders the right way.

Tiered Pricing

Let’s first look at how tiered pricing works. The word “tiered” means that the merchant account provider splits all card transactions into separate “tiers” or “buckets.” The most common tiered pricing structure includes three tiers: Qualified, Mid-Qualified, and Non-Qualified. Another tiered system that you might see is a six-tier which includes special pricing for PIN-entered and PIN-not-entered debit card transactions. Three tier pricing is much more common, so we’ll mainly focus on that system in this article. The major credit card networks post something called a Qualification Matrix which dictates what interchange category a transaction will post to based on:

  • How the transaction is entered (swiped, keyed in, etc.) and
  • What type of card is used (reward, non-reward, corporate)

Once the card is swiped or keyed in, the credit card terminal talks to the cardholder’s bank to identify the card type and then places the transaction into one of the three “tiers” we talked about earlier. To better understand this system here’s an example of how it works:

  • Qualified Rate: 1.85% (regular card, swiped in a card present transaction)
  • Mid-Qualified Rate: 2.25% (rewards card swiped, keyed in)
  • Non-Qualified Rate: 2.55% (corporate card, ZIP code verification incorrect)

Example 1: A rewards card is swiped at your terminal. You pay Mid Qualified 2.25% plus any surcharges that the MSP charges for this tier of transaction.

Example 2: A corporate card is swiped at your terminal. You pay Non-Qualified 2.55% and any surcharges that the MSP charges for this tier of transaction.

When speaking to an account rep and they quote you “their rate” of X% and if you know they’re based off of a tiered system, be aware that “their rate” of X% is the QUALIFIED RATE only. Trust me when I say you’re bound to process cards that fall under the mid and non-qualified tiers, so make sure you ask what their additional rates are when researching merchant accounts.

Cost/Interchange Plus Pricing

The second and just as common pricing structure offered by merchant account providers is interchange plus otherwise known as cost plus pricing. This structure is a little easier to understand. When a card is processed, it doesn’t fall into a “tier.” Rather, each card has its own interchange rate attached to it, and then your merchant services provider adds on its own interchange markup fee (a percentage) plus a flat-rate transaction fee (usually only 10 to 20 cents per transaction). For example, lets say you run a basic Visa card via a swiped transaction. That specific card is looked up on a standardized rate table that breaks card types into 400 or more categories and assigns each card a percentage based off of that table. Your merchant account provider then adds their own fixed percentage PLUS 10-20 cents. That total of percentages and cents is your processing cost for that transaction. Let’s break this example down further:

Your merchant account provider charges you .77% + $0.15 per transaction. You accept a basic, no-frills Visa with an interchange of 1.60%. Your cost for that transaction is 1.60% plus .77% plus $0.15 or 2.37% and $0.15.

After reviewing this information between Cost/Interchange Plus vs. tiered pricing, you’re probably wondering which pricing model is best for your company. The answer is: it depends on your business type, your processing volume, and which types of cards you encounter most frequently. I would recommend gathering at least three previous months of processing statements or, if you’re opening a new business, make some educated guesses about the aforementioned questions and send them to several different merchant account providers. Most will analyze your statements (or the information you’ve provided them) and be able to quote you how much they would charge you based on your transaction history. Some will be able to come in much lower than others based on either their flat cost plus fee or the way that they’ve set up their “tiers.” It pays to look at several offers from competing service providers while trying to get the best rate and price structure possible for your company.

An Affordable Online Payment Solution for Sports Leagues

Trying to find the right online payment solution for your sports league can be confusing and expensive. Some of the mainstream solutions can charge up to $5.00 per registration and then processing fees of up to 3% on top of that. It doesn’t have to cost that much!

 

Web Payment Software was used by the Rhode Island Breakers, a girl’s basketballSample payment page for a girls basketball league. league, as an affordable registration and payment solution. The RI Breakers hold several basketball tournaments throughout the year. Each tournament has several hundred teams that need to register, make payment and submit team information. This can make for a ton of administrative work.They say “time is money” so streamlining this process helped save the organization a hoop-load of both.

 

By using Web Payment Software’s “payment pages”, the RI breakers set up a separate payment page for each of their basketball tournaments. Using a separate page for each event lets them tailor the details and collect different data for each event. It also lets them sort the registration and transaction data in to event specific Excel spreadsheets for use at the event.

 

The payment pages were branded to match their Website and are hosted in Web Payment Software’s PCI compliant data center. The experts at Web Payment Software set up their first payment page with all of the options and information necessary. Then, the staff at RI Breakers cloned that page and tailored the details and options for their next event. Along with having the ability to create as many pages as they need.

 

WPS’s solutions costs significantly less than the credit card processing would cost with PayPal. The merchants get their money in two days instead of the normal week or two. Web Payment Software also offers a virtual terminal, recurring payments, and can work as an e-commerce payment gateway service all for $15.99 per month.

 

Want to find out more about our top of the line merchant services? Feel free to email us at sales@web-payment-software.com or call us at (518)583-0300. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

What is a QR Code?

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QR codes (also known as Quick Response Codes) are those square barcodes you can find on almost anything. Like right next to this paragraph, for instance. Even though these codes rose to fame in the late 2000’s, they were actually created in 1994. They were originally developed by Denso (which was an affiliate of Toyota) to track parts going through the factory.

What they do is pretty simple. Just like how a cashier scans a barcode on a product, you can scan a QR code with your phone. It brings up a website, a video, a Skype call, an application in the app store – anything really. QR codes are used in all types of businesses, with all forms of advertising, on literally anything – the bench at a bus stop to a page of a magazine can have a QR code on it. And the best part is that they don’t take any fancy designing to make. You can just go to a QR code generator site and go to town within seconds.

QR codes can be very useful, because they’re a free way to get consumers to interact with different components of your brand. Let’s pretend you work for a car company and you’re at a trade show. You’re really trying to get the word out about your new line of cars. You can give consumers fancy photos, let them sit in the cars, etc. But what you really want them to do is like your Facebook page, so they’ll constantly get up to date information about your cars. How can you do that? Well, there are a few ways:

Option 1) Set up a computer and have people log in to Facebook to like your page.
The problem: People are concerned about security, and don’t want to type their e-mail address and password in on a random computer.

Option 2) Tell them to go to Facebook on their phone and like your page.
The problem: There’s a good chance they won’t actually do it.

Option 3) Have a QR code that leads to your Facebook page posted somewhere very visible.
Why this is the best option: Consumers are curious. They want to see what that QR code does and where it will take them. Once they scan the code, all they have to do is decide whether they want to like the page or not.

And in a perfect world, this article would stop here, and QR codes would rule the world. But they’re not. Why?

1) iPhones can’t scan them unless you download an app.
2) They’re ugly.

But don’t let that get you down. Would you rather stick a QR code on your piece of advertising, and potentially get more customer interaction? Potentially increase sales? Potentially get more video views? The list goes on and on.

Or would you rather leave the QR code off? Then you’ll never know what it could have done for your business…

PayPal vs. Web Payment Software

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Paypal is one of the most useful e-commerce solutions in the world – we won’t deny that! Founded in 1998, PayPal is a 10,000+ employee company that helps millions of people send and receive money — every day.  But does bigger always mean better? Check out how PayPal weighs in with Web Payment Software, below.

Lets start with the account setup.  We charge $98. PayPal is free. But why?  We only charge $15.99 a month, whereas PayPal charges $30.  Our transaction fees our lower, too.  We charge 2.25 – 2.7% + $.25 each transaction, when PayPal charges 2.2 – 3.9% +$.30 each transaction.  We also don’t charge to receive payments outside the U.S.

Put all of that on top of the fact that it takes funds 2 business days to clear the bank with us, and 3-4 business days with PayPal (or two months with rolling reserve). Rolling reserve could put you out of business.

Next, let’s talk about payment pages.  That’s one of the big things we do.  We support unlimited payment pages.  PayPal does not.  Our payment pages can be custom branded.  PayPal’s cannot.

At the end of the day, if you want to send money, PayPal is probably what you want to look into.  But if you’re running an online business and need to accept payments, Web Payment Software is the solution you need!

Alternative Solutions for Online Payment

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When you sell something online, you’re probably selling in one of three ways.  You could be selling through your e-commerce web store.  Or, maybe you’re using an online marketplace like Etsy or eBay.  Or perhaps you arranged some type of deal through an online forum, and you’re doing a straight PayPal transaction.  All of that is great, but sometimes you need another solution.  Enter our Web Payment Software payment pages. If you sign up for a merchant account with us, you’ll have the option to use these payment pages. They’re great for a number of reasons, which I’ll discuss below.

No Website

To accept payments with our payment pages, you don’t need a website. The payment page gets hosted in our PCI-Compliant data center, and all you need to do is send the URL to your customers.

No Account for Users

PayPal can be a great way to collect money, but what if your customer doesn’t have an account? That can immediately end a potential sale. With our payment pages, customers don’t need to sign up for any account. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Design & Branding

Our payment pages look great without any alterations, i.e. they look good “straight out of the box.” You can change the header to anything you’d like. Or if you have a designer that knows CSS, they can customize it even more. If you don’t know a designer, but you’d still like your payment page customized, we can do it too.

Link from Social Media

As I previously mentioned, all you need to do is send your payment page link to potential customers. This includes the ability to post the link on social media! If your audience is on Facebook, for example, you can make a post with the link in it, then ‘pin’ the post to the top of your Facebook page, and send people directly to your Facebook page.

Thank You Pages

Once your customer submits a payment, they don’t get left hanging on some blank page. You can customize thank you pages, and set up automatic confirmation/thank you e-mail messages.

Interested? Check out some of our sample payment pages.

The Mountain Commerce Facebook Shopping App

More than one billion people currently use Facebook. It’s by far the largest social media platform to-date. Currently, 50 percent of web sales occur through social media.

If you own a business and you don’t have a Facebook page, you’re missing out big time! For those of you who do have Facebook, it’s time to take your business page to the next level. Check out the Mountain Commerce Facebook Shopping App.

According to data, 20 percent of Facebook users prefer buying products through a brand’s Facebook page, as compared to it’s website. That number is only expected to grow in 2015. What better time than now to start selling on Facebook?

Our Facebook Shopping App is easy to use. Just login to your Mountain Commerce Facebook Store, add a banner, customize your catalog and payment options, and voilà! Once your store is live, customers can browse products, add them to a cart, and check out — without ever leaving Facebook.  This makes for a seamless customer experience!

The Mountain Commerce Facebook Shopping App is inexpensive too. Our beginner package is only $24.95 a month! For more information regarding our Facebook Shopping packages, please visit our pricing page.

Finally, we believe your business will benefit from our Facebook Shopping App so much that we’re offering a 30-day risk-free trial.

You’ve got nothing to lose! Try it today!

7 Mobile Apps for Small Business Owners

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There are a lot of smartphone owners out there who just settle for a few apps, like Facebook, Gmail, and The Weather Channel App. Your phone can do so much more! Check out these seven mobile apps that will surely help you and your small business.

Mint

Everyone needs a way to keep track of his or her finances.  Mint makes that easy, and it’s completely free.  They put all your information in one place, so you no longer need to look in one place for your savings, another for your car payments, and so on.  But probably the best part is the budgeting feature. 10 million people use Mint, and it has the same level of security that banks use.  It really is a simple, eye-catching, and very useful app.

Trello

We use Trello as a team at Web Payment Software.  If you’re a fan of Trello for desktops, you’ll be a fan of their mobile app as well.  This app keeps you and/or your team organized by using “cards” with info on them.  As the Trello company says, it’s “like a whiteboard with super powers.”  Users can create tasks, comment, attach files, set due dates, and more.  And it’s completely free.

Cardmunch

This is a simple but cool app for the person who collects a lot of business cards.  Simply take a picture of the business card, and it’ll turn into a LinkedIn connection on your phone.  Pretty neat, right? (And while you’re at it, get the LinkedIn mobile app too!)

Shoeboxed

This app is ideal for the business traveler who hates thinking about receipts.  Similar to Cardmunch, you just take a picture of the receipt and the app takes care of saving it.  You can even run an expense report when you’re all finished.  This app is free.

Flipboard

You’re in a meeting, and all of a sudden everyone starts talking about a popular news story.  You have nothing to chime in because you didn’t hear about it.  Of course, someone will say, “You didn’t hear about that story??!”

If that line sounds all too familiar, you may want to consider reading news on your mobile device.  Flipboard takes news from all different sources, and lets you save your favorite news to your own magazine.  It’s free.

Blue Jeans

Video conferencing is soon to prevail.  It’s inevitable.  There are a lot of apps for video conferencing, and that can make it difficult if each person from each company is using a different app.  Blue Jeans takes these apps and essentially puts them into one, so people on all different apps can join in one conversation.  You can even share content.  And, it’s free.

LogMeIn

This app costs money, and it’s not cheap.  But I’m mentioning it because it’s extremely useful.  It’s $64.99 per year, but can make up for itself that one time you need a really important file you forgot. LogMeIn lets you access your computer from your phone.  It allows you to control your computer just as if you’re sitting in front of it.  And it’s easy to use.