Don’t Have Dangerous Gaps in PCI Compliance

Stack of multicolored credit cards close-up view with selective focus.

When you’re looking for a payment processing site so you can make personal online transactions, you might just use the first thing you come across. But when it comes to your business, you want to back up your choice with some research. Different payment processing tools, like PayPal, Stripe, and BAMS, offer a wide array of benefits and supplemental features. The most important thing for your business, however, is PCI compliance.

How does PCI compliance apply to your business?

PCI DSS, or the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is a list of standards for securing payment processing details. If your company even touches payment information, whether you’re storing the information or just accepting, processing, or transmitting it, then you’re responsible for maintaining a secure environment for that data. That’s why more and more companies are using third-party providers to handle payment processing. If payments are routed through another site entirely, your liabilities are limited.

How do you know which processing service provides the best PCI compliance?

The best way to know which service is for you is to start studying your own business. How do you usually get paid? Online stores will have a lot of individual transactions. Subscription service providers, whether they provide online services or something physical like landscaping, may have automatic payments. If your company provides freelance services, you may need to invoice clients for monthly services or varying amounts.

Once you know how your company sends requests for payment and receives payment, start looking for exceptions. Stripe, for example, doesn’t have an inbuilt invoicing tool so you will need to check your additional third-party services for PCI compliance. PayPal does offer more PCI compliance, but only at certain levels of subscription.

Most e-commerce payment processing platforms are all but required to have PCI compliance, but your company may be liable for any gaps. So look for those gaps before finalizing your choice. Browse our blog for more ways to choose the best platform for your business.

3 Ways Payment Processing Reports Can Help Your Marketing Team

Payment Processing reports. Numbers graph

Marketing strategies rely on having information. You need to know as much about your prospective customers as possible so you can reach out to them effectively. A lot of that information comes from your website traffic. What your visitors do, how they interact with the site, and what items they buy form a large part of your understanding. But the information you can gather through Google Analytics and lead generation isn’t the end of your information-gathering abilities. Payment processing reports can tell you a lot about your customers and your store. Here are some tips:

What three things can you learn from your payment processing reports?

1. What’s the average sales total?

It’s not just enough to know how much money your store is making every day or each month. It’s also important to know how much each customer is spending each time they come into your store. This gives you a lot of information about buyer behavior. Unless your store is specifically designed for small frequent purchases, like a convenience store, then larger purchases are better. Reports can let you know if your marketing and store arrangement efforts are working.

2. Which credit card types are your customers using?

Credit card type also tells you a lot about different customer personas or hypothetical characters built around the standard behaviors and interests of your target markets. But card types also matter based on the agreements you have for different types of merchant services. If you have a lot of transactions through one card type, you can negotiate for a lower percentage. If you have few transactions through credit cards, you can decide if a surcharge for small payments is right for your company.

3. How many transactions are happening at different terminals?

Different terminals at your store get different amounts of traffic. This data can let you know if one point of sale is too out of the way or is left unmanned. It can also let you know when the primary terminal is too busy and your store needs a new arrangement.

For more ways to use payment processing reports, go to BAMS.

Tangible Benefits of Adding a Loyalty Card to Your Loyalty Program

Laptop with online gift card

Loyalty cards are becoming a staple of the modern shopping experience. That means companies that don’t include loyalty programs, discount cards, and other incentives for recurring shopping trips are likely to miss out on return customers. Many companies are starting to centralize their loyalty programs in an app, but that doesn’t mean they’re getting rid of their cards. Here are two reasons to make sure a physical card is part of your program:

Even in the digital age, things that can be held are valuable.

A strong tenet of selling products is letting customers hold and interact with the product. Once it’s in their hands, customers are much more willing to make the purchase. The same is just as true with loyalty program cards. While apps are convenient and can hold more interactive data, physical cards can be held. Making your cards attractive or a popular status symbol, like Starbuck’s gold card or the different tiers of platinum and gold credit cards, gives them extra value. That’s far more effective than an app that’s not on your customers’ home screen.

Familiar brands are preferred brands.

Not a single day goes by when consumers don’t open their wallets or grab their keys. If your loyalty card is tucked away or hooked onto a keychain, that means your target market of core customers, people who have already made purchases at your stores, see your brand every single day. That constant reminder on the periphery of their day makes your brand familiar and comfortable.

It also encourages new leads to find your store. If a customer is visibly carrying your loyalty program card on their keychain, then their family, friends, and acquaintances will see it. Even if it never comes up, that implicit stamp of approval from a trusted source will go a long way in their eyes.

Keep your loyalty cards visible with durable, vibrant cards. Go to BAMS to get started.

Get Better Insight into Your Core Target Markets by Offering Online Gift Cards

Online gift cards concept. Blue gift card vector

Every marketing strategy your business employs requires insight and data analysis. It’s hard to understand what drives consumer behavior without knowing the consumers. If you can’t track spending and customer behavior, then you have to wait and hope for sales instead of driving sales. But if your company offers consumable products and services that are popular for gifts, you have another layer of consumer obscurity to penetrate because you’re dealing with two very different customer personas.

What are your two customer types?

Customer personas are an important organization concept in marketing. A customer persona is the ‘type’ of person who buys your products and services, or even a specific product or service, and that persona is based on the average demographic and behavior data you collect. If gift cards are part of your product offering, then you have two different types:

  1. direct customers who like your products and services, and
  2. gift-givers, who have one of your direct customers in their life.

These two buyer types, even though they’re too generic to be specific customer personas, have very different motivations. That means they need very different marketing tracks and incentives.

How do online gift cards help?

Gift cards provide a whole new set of data to help you make your marketing campaigns effective, and online gift cards are even more efficient. Each gift card has a unique code that lets you track everything from the number of gift cards purchased in given time frames to the amount on the average gift card each month. Even more importantly, the codes let you track the duration of time between the gift card purchase and the direct customer’s use of the gift card, as well as what purchases people are more likely to make with a gift card over cash.

From that last data set, you can start to find valuable trends. Direct customers who receive cards may be more likely to make larger, premium purchases because of the implicit difference between cards and cash. Gift cards purchased for a birthday might be spent faster than those purchased for Christmas. No matter what trends are unique to your company, you can plan your product offerings and sales accordingly to get quick turnaround on card usage.

If you want a trusted gift card provider who can help you get your new campaign and gift card offerings off to a good start, go to BAMS.

5 Reasons Why Every Business Needs an E-Commerce Processing Platform

E-commerce processing concept on a digital screen in human hand

Brick and Mortar stores are taking a hit all because of e-commerce. Just look at Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us. These two were giants in their respective fields for over 60 years. Kmart which began in 1899 has liquidated and closed as well.

The question is, if they had instituted a healthy e-commerce processing program, could they have sustained a longer run and still be in business? The answer is probably yes. They could have streamlined their overhead, lowered prices and been competitive in their respective fields. People say it is Amazon’s fault these stores collapsed. Amazon just provided, (in some cases), better prices and the ease of purchasing items from home.

E-commerce is a viable entity and it’s here to stay. Every business that sells anything should have an e-commerce platform.

Why People Love to Shop Online

  • Shop from home or office
  • Avoid crowds or going to the mall
  • Convenience, done with just a few button clicks
  • Better Variety
  • Better Prices

People are ridiculously busy, they mean to get to the store to purchase mom’s birthday gift, but finding the time is not easy. The kids must be toted to practice and games. Perhaps it’s business meetings, family and friends get-togethers, or working late and being too exhausted to stop by the store. Let’s try this, the store is closed, or it’s late and that parking lot can be sketchy at night. Having an e-commerce platform set up by BAMS can keep loyal customers coming back without having to set foot in the store. E-commerce can attract new customers who would never have visited your location. They may live 50, 500 or 5000 miles away.

Here is a likely scenario; a child wants a pair of cowboy boots. The parent has no idea about such things, they live in New England where cowboys are not the norm. Said parent googles cowboy boots for sale, checks out a couple sites, decides what to spend, and orders them from Texas. The child is happy, the parent is happy, the person who does not know they have reason to be unhappy is the Western Wear business owner in town without an e-commerce site.

Contact BAMS to discuss setting up your e-commerce processing platform to help your business grow.

3 Great Reasons to Buy Online Gift Cards

Laptop with online gift card

Gift cards have only been around about 20 years. Before that, is was paper gift certificates and not many of them, as the giver preferred a more “personal touch,” meaning that actually going to the store and purchasing the gift was not only more labor intensive but more “thoughtful.” As more establishments began offering gift cards, the variety was embraced by the general public and they took off fast and hard. At this time every store, restaurant and sub shop we enter has their own gift cards to purchase, and many sell a multitude of others. We, the public, have determined that gift cards are good, but of course the less scrupulous among us have found ways to defraud consumers and those same stores, restaurants, etcetera.  BAMS can help you get setup to begin selling gift cards immediately.

The latest gift card trend is purchasing them online. You buy it, get sent a secure 16 digit number and a pin code that you pass along to whomever you choose. Many businesses can send the virtual gift card to the email you provided. Once it has been purchased, the buyer is completely out of the loop. The gift is given, the buyer is happy as is the gift card recipient.

Reasons why purchasing gift cards online is smarter:

  1. Security – The transaction takes place in private, no plastic cards hanging on a rack that may have been compromised.
  2. Spending – People spend more when using gift cards online. Overspending is normal since people can look at more than just discounted and clearance items, after all, it’s not their own hard earned money that’s being used. These wish list items can be bought and adding an extra $20.00 or $50.00 is okay since the recipient getting something they normally would not want to entirely pay for themselves.
  3. Convenience – The birthday, holiday, or other has a deadline of tomorrow. Buying a gift and sending it is out of the question, it will not get there in time. An online gift card will, and it be very well received.

Online gift cards are a great idea, the color is always right, it’s just the size of the amount that needs consideration. Contact us so that BAMS can explain more about online gift cards.

Solid Alternatives to Stripe and Paypal Mobile Payment Processors

Young woman buying goods from the internet and entering number security code from credit card on smartphone. Mobile payment processors concept

With so much of the business world moving to the web, having secure and functional methods of processing payments has become a top priority. This space has typically been dominated by Paypal and Stripe but many alternatives have sprouted up. Each has its own set of benefits and shortcomings but some may be a better fit for your budget or needs. Here are some of the ones making waves:

BAMS

Bank Associates Merchant Services or BAMS is a service that is dedicated to affordable options for small, low-risk businesses. The goal is to provide an excellent product and service that helps your business become as profitable as it can possibly be. This demonstrates itself in the effort to form strong relationships with their clients to truly understand the needs of your business and processing objectives.

TransferWise

While a little bit different from the others, TransferWise is invaluable to businesses operating on a global scale. Their focus is on making international payments easy and affordable. In the past, it can be costly to send money across borders and the wait times could be excruciating. TransferWise has done away with this, their fees are often half of what a bank transfer might be and transfers typically happen within 2-3 days. This is one of the best options for international businesses or those who have clients across the world.

 

 

There you have it, some alternatives if you are considering switching or just getting involved in e-commerce. Every service has something unique to offer and it is crucial you find what is right for your needs. If you’re seeking a change in your payment processing or any help with payment processing, consider discussing your options with BAMS here.