Blogs

Is your Business Ready to Accept Online Payments?

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As a business owner, you must be excited to start marketing and leading customers to your products. One of the last, but not least, is to find an Online payment solution that best suits your business on all levels.

Many shoppers leave websites without paying due to a shortage of payment options or an inability to follow the checkout process. Which makes having a great Gateway to follow through, priceless.

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Get Paid NOW! – Fast and Secure Mobile Payments

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[et_pb_section admin_label=”section”][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text”] Whether you’re an artist at a show, a handyman on the job, a wedding singer,…

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Benefits of Accepting ACH Payments

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ACH payments are responsible for $43 trillion and 25 billion electronic financial transactions every year. Suitable for businesses of all industries and sizes, this effective payment method is becoming increasingly popular because it benefits both businesses and customers. If you’re not familiar with ACH processing and its benefits, we can explain everything:

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Finding the Right Clover POS System for Your Business

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What is POS Marketing?

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Although it’s the last part of the customer experience and usually given the least amount of thought, the time waiting…

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How Business Owners Can Prevent Credit Card Fraud

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Tips for Safer Online Banking

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By and large, the internet has made the transfer of information much faster, and our lives much easier. Banking and transactions are no exception—over half of U.S. adults use online banking for their daily banking tasks. However, while online banking is much faster nowadays, it can be less secure than face-to-face banking if you don’t take the proper precautions.

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The VCR Program: Benefits For Merchants And Clients

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[et_pb_section admin_label=”section”][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text”] On April 2018, VISA launched the long-anticipated VISA Claims Resolution (VCR) program. The new global…

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Bitcoins: Opportunities and Risks Behind the World’s Favorite Cryptocurrency

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Bitcoins are the first cryptocurrency ever created. We don’t want to overwhelm you with computer engineering terms, so to put it simply: Bitcoins are just digital money generated by high-performance computers.

Unlike dollars and euros, there is nothing for you to hold in your hands. It’s just computer code with monetary value. However, you can exchange bitcoins for cash. On May 1st, 2018, bitcoin started the day worth $9,244.32.  

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How Online Payment Works

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Online payments are getting faster, safer, and more popular. Although you can’t see it, there’s a lot going on behind the screen. Do you know what happens in a few seconds while websites are processing payments? If you don’t, here’s how online payment works:  

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How To Secure Online Payments And Protect Customer Data

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In the last few years, the National Security Agency (NSA), Facebook, and MyFitnessPal found themselves involved in data breach scandals. As a result, we’re living in times of increasing concern regarding privacy and misuse of personal information. While the debate is vital to avoid history repeating itself, it poses a challenge for companies that offer online payments.

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Benefits of Mobile Payments For Businesses

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According to BI Intelligence, the volume of mobile payment transactions is expected to double in the coming years and reach $500 billion US in 2020. If you manage a business, here’s what you need to know about this payment technology:

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The Risks of Chargeback Fraud

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Why Your Online Store Needs To Handle Return Policies Efficiently

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Singles Day and Holiday Readiness (updated)

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Last year, as we turned the corner on Halloween, we noted the growing popularity of “Singles Day,” that online shopping extravaganza that has become a bellwether for economic trends heading into end-of-year holidays.

By way of background, CNBC recounts that “Singles’ Day was first celebrated in the 1990s by young, single Chinese as an anti-Valentine’s Day.” (Consider the array of “ones” on 11/11, by way of symbolism).

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Now That Future’s Passed: A Look Back at 2017 (updated)

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“It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” we wrote as 2016 became 2017, citing a Guardian article that had proclaimed our previous year as “The Year of the Hack,” and what it meant for the year ahead, and the years after that — like, for instance, that former “future” we’re living in now.

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Breach Days: Equifax and Beyond (updated)

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When this post first appeared last summer, we called it “The Breach Days of August,” sounding various alarums from what had been the just concluded Black Hat  conference in Las Vegas (a gathering of mostly “white hat” hackers). In what surely now must strike us a more innocent times, we mentioned
that  CNN Money was reporting  that EMV chip cards — the very things allegedly keeping us safer at point of purchase could perhaps be rewritten to “appear like a chipless card again. This allows them to keep counterfeiting — just like they did before the nationwide switch to chip cards.”

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September of Our Year: EMVs Delayed, Storms Felt (updated)

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In last fall’s Labor Day survey, we wrote that the unspoken rule was to put white clothing away until Memorial Day rolled around again, but that would seem to apply mostly to cool-weather climates, of which there are fewer and fewer, at least in the American west,  where AVPS is headquartered.

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Data Breaches Hit “All Time High” — Can We Keep Them From Getting Worse? (Updated)

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All Time High was a good name for a James Bond film theme. But it’s an unwelcome descriptor for a trend in data breaches and hacks. As we wrote earlier this year, Insurance Business Magazine reported, “there were 1,093 tracked data breaches in 2016, a new all-time high according to a report from the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) and CyberScout…the previous record was 780, recorded in 2015, making a 40 per cent increase last year. However, the report asks whether it is the number of incidents that has risen or just the reporting of them by states.”

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How Mobile Payment Processing Is Growing

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Mobile processing is a permanent part of the business landscape, and it is one that continues to grow in importance. Whenever a company decides to reconsider its business strategy to keep up with current demands, the payment system it uses should be a large part of that discussion. Mobile payments are a major component of many companies’ monetary collection systems, making this form of processing all the more important for businesses that want to have a competitive edge in today’s market.

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PCI Oh My: New Study Shows Compliance Can “Make or Break” Merchant Relationships (updated)

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Travel Tips & Tricks for Summer Card Carriers

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Summer travel always brings with it a shifting list of do’s and don’ts, in terms of what to pack, where to go, what to expect if you’re queueing up for a TSA line, etc. It’s also been a good way to mark how people are feeling about the economy around them: Do they see themselves as having the extra income and time for a trip?

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Importance Of Mobile Credit Card Processing

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In the past few years, mobile processing has revolutionized the way in which many business models operate, as well as create an avenue for start-ups to get their proverbial feet wet. For example, we all know that most new businesses fail within the first two years. Rather than invest in a physical location, massive inventory, or huge upfront costs, budding entrepreneurs can experiment on a small scale to demonstrate proof of concept.

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How To Prevent Financial Risks When Traveling Or Shopping

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We are deep in the heart of the summer travel and shopping seasons, which means more of us are getting out, getting on the road, and exploring new places. Tourism and travel help boost our economy, and promote prosperity among many communities across the nation. However, this time of year also creates serious dangers when it comes to the safety and security of your financial information. The last thing you need is to go out of town, only to get stranded because some enterprising thief or hacker managed to steal your credit or banking information.

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If It’s Wednesday, It Must Be SID4B Training Day! (WebEX Link Inside!)

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We’re excited here at AVP Solutions, as Wednesday, April 19th rolls around!
Not because it’s the day after Tax Day (well, maybe a little because of that), but because it’s our long-talked about SID4B Training Day, at last!
Our mission at AVP Solutions has always been to equip our merchants with the most comprehensive services and the highest level of customer service available, and as you know, we’ve been rolling out SmartIDentity for Business (SID4B) to our core suite of services!

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How Portable Preparing Empowers Imaginative Business

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For years, places like farmers markets, food trucks, sports concessions and a slew of others all operated on a cash-only basis, which in turn, limited their customer base. Those days are fading fast. Now mobile phone credit card readers ensure that customers can pay any way and at any time.

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Better Credit Card Deals Can Be Yours For the Asking  

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Who knew that a better deal on credit card rates and fees was simply yours for the asking? Well, evidently everyone who picked up a telephone and dialed up and asked for it! And by “telephone” and “dialing,” we actually mean tapping the number pad on that little computer in your pocket.

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Credit Card Processing Risk Management Solutions

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With summer only a couple of months away, now is a good time for seasonal or tourism-oriented businesses to give additional thought to secure payment processing. This hectic season brings an opportunity for profit and brand-building, but it also entices word-be thieves to take advantage of the growing crowds.What makes seasonal businesses so attractive when it comes to card skimming, cloning, and the use of counterfeit credit and debit cards?

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The Two Types of Credit Card Users: Churners and Chuggers

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There are numerous pieces of philosophical shorthand floating around about there being “two types of people” in the world — those that like a certain type of entertainment or music, say, or those that don’t. Perhaps a kind of food, or a political philosophy.

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Beyond the Antivirus Software, Pt. II

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As we write this morning, the internet is recovering from a partial loss of “the cloud” as Amazon’s S3 server had gone out, resulting in the shuttering of numerous websites and services.  Since we posted last week, a massive potential breach to numerous websites has made headlines, as the Cloudflare security service used by many sites– like Uber and OKCupid — was itself compromised for several months.

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Are You Using The Best Card Processing Solutions?

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At AVPS, we believe that continued discernment is what sets great entrepreneurs apart from the rest. As we approach tax time, now is the perfect time to take a second look at your options to see if you can get better rates, better service, or simply the peace of mind that you are getting the best provider for your financial needs.

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You May Need More Help Than Your Antivirus Software Can Give

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A recent article in Slate’s “Future Tense” section has some sobering news: “In 2005, Panda Software reported that a new strain of malware was discovered every 12 minutes. In 2016, the cybersecurity company McAfee says it found four every second.”  

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Benefits Of Mobile Processing For Small Business

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In the past, the AVPS team has talked about how mobile credit card processing has revolutionized innovative small business models. From food trucks to seasonal businesses, mobile processing removes the typical restrictions that keep entrepreneurs chained to traditional brick and mortar storefronts.

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New Fintech Rules? The Yin and the Yang

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Along with all the turmoil occupying our headlines these days, comes some under-the-radar discussion of potential new rules that could affect the financial sector — or at least the financial technology or “FinTech” sector.

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of SID, the Fed, and EMVs

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In payments news, we see that the Fed has issued a progress report on its previously announced “Strategies for Improving the US Payment System”,  a plan that included “several strategies to enhance the US payment system to ‘meet the changing demands of American consumers and businesses,’” as synopsized by the Banking Technology website.

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Fraud Prevention. Why This Issue Affects All of Us

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The issue of secure payment processing is obviously a longstanding battle between banking institutions and thieves, but this is a problem that affects both business owners and customers as well. We often think of the effects of fraud on a singular level—how it affects us. However, with thieves and hackers always on the cutting edge of innovation, we all must band together to combat this pressing problem

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Hacks Happening! But AVPS and SID Can Help!

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We knew we’d have some “breachy” news to report this month — we always do — but little did we know how much! For starters, just up the boulevard from AVPS, L.A. Valley College decided to pay out $28,000 in BitCoin for a New Year’s Eve attack where ransomware captured their computers, or more specifically, the files on them.

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How Mobile Credit Card Processing Can Boost Efficiency

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If you’ve been reading the AVPS blog for the past few months, you know that we’re firm believers that mobile processing can boost efficiency. However, we also know how many small business owners feel about change or incurring a new cost. With the busy holiday season behind us, now is the perfect time to take stock and give your operational performance a check-up.

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Breaches Predicted; Help is Coming

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The CIO website is rife with predictions on coming cyber threats and data breaches for the coming year, laid out across several different articles.  In one on Five Data Breach Predictions for 2017, they list, among the quintet of threats, a “focus on payment-based attacks despite the EMV shift taking place over a year ago.”

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Discover Wireless Payment Solutions

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If you are planning a significant remodeling project for your business, you probably face a common dilemma: Should you close for the duration, or should you attempt to remain open during construction? While remaining open is ideal for keeping financial continuity, it also creates its own set of challenges. You need to maintain a safe, functional environment for your customers while also adjusting to an operation that will feel like it’s in constant upheaval.

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The Christmas Economy’s Home Stretch — and One More Big Hack

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Normally we like the holiday weeks to have more “genteel” posts, with a little holiday history, and some prognostications for the current economy and the new year.

Well, okay, sometimes those prognostications aren’t necessarily “genteel,” given that the future can be a murky place, but all in all, we like to infuse some sense of “seasonal lights” into our updates.

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Small Scale Start-Ups Mobile Credit Card Processing

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For many people, this time of year brings out that inner-yearning they have for taking their entrepreneurial ideas to the next level. They want to start a business but are hesitant to jump into a significant investment when they have so little experience. However, at AVPS, we believe that the best businesses come from passionate people who scaled their operations smartly. In our incredibly unique economy, they have the ability to explore unusual business models that allow them to give their  ideas a proverbial test drive without
overextending themselves financially.

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Holiday Card Safety While EMV Gets Pushed 3 Xmases Ahead

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Credit Card Processing Risk Management Solutions

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As we head into the throes of the holiday season, you are preparing your business for the current influx of customers. You’re focused on inventory, logistics, customer service and maybe even extending your business hours to accommodate the growing crowds. However, for thieves and hackers around the country, this season also represents one of the easiest times to take advantage of your distracted state. Where you see
profit potential, they see the perfect opportunity to take money away from you and your customers and put it in their own pockets.

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Post-Monday Postmortem: More Now Shopping Online

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And… we’re back! Still in mid-holiday season, and yet perched between Thanksgiving and that last round of Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year celebrating.

We hope your Thanksgiving was nourishing on many levels. As for what we cover here, it seems to have been productive for businesses, too. According to CBS, “early indications are that this should be a good shopping season, with nearly 154 million people on the prowl for holiday deals during the Thanksgiving weekend, up 2 percent from last year, a National Retail Federation survey indicated

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Giving Thanks, Eating Pie, Logging On: Thanksgiving 2016

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Historians, according to a round-up of Thanksgiving facts from the U.S. Census Bureau, recorded other “ceremonies of thanks” given by various groups of European settlers in North America — not just pilgrims. Indeed, most of these were probably Biblically-derived, and “included the British colonists in Virginia as early as 1619.”

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Protect Your Customers During the Busy Season By Focusing on Secure Transactions

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During this high-traffic season, businesses across the country will be more vulnerable than ever to hackers seeking to steal their customers’ financial information. Because of this, businesses need to take special care to ensure that they are providing the most secure payment processing possible. At AVPS, we believe that businesses need to make this a top priority, not only for their customers’ safety but for the sake of their own reputation

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Impress Your Customers With Innovative Payment Logistics

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With the holiday season fast approaching, retailers across the nation are gearing up for their busiest season of the year. For newer businesses, the physical logistics of a sudden influx of customers often presents one of the greatest challenges in defining their brands. Come the first week of December, while you’ll
want to see customers coming through your doors, will you really want to see a long line of impatient people rapidly becoming unsatisfied with their shopping experience?

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Holiday Economy So Far in “Treat” Mode; Plus: Credit Cards Like Candy Corn?

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Our holiday posts give us map markers to see how the economy is faring, and if Halloween “spend trends” are to be believed, your customers seem to be in a pretty good overall mood right now.

“Americans take Halloween pretty seriously, and this year appears to promise some wicked spending,” according to the Ameritrade website. “More than 171 million people could celebrate the fall holiday, spending an average of $82.93, up from last year’s $74.34, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF). Total spending on Halloween could reach $8.4 billion, an all-time high and up 20% from a year ago, the NRF said.”

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Feds Facing Forward, Fighting Fraud

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How Fraud Affects Your Customers and Why You Need EMV Processing

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Chip cards, as consumers typically refer to them, are now the standard for secure payments. They help reduce fraud, and give your customers an added layer of protection. We know that upgrading your equipment to offer this increased level of credit card transaction security can be frustrating, but let’s take a look at what happens to a customer when he or she is the victim of card fraud.

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Payment Cards Set to Surpass Cash For First Time Ever

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“Is this the beginning of the end for cash?,” a recent article in Marketwatch asks. No, we’re not talking about governments yanking currency and forcing everyone into an electronic payment system. Rather, we’re talking about a shift in the use of payment cards that “has happened gradually over the last 20 years, ‘dramatically skewing in favor of card and electronic payments,’” according to the same article.

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Small Businesses And Holiday Logistics Planning

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With fall’s arrival, now is the perfect time to look ahead toward the upcoming holiday season and plan your sales strategies.
While larger corporations have extensive logistics procedures to handle increased holiday traffic, smaller businesses often struggle to adapt their operations effectively. As a small business owner, you know that one of the worst things you can do is create an environment that frustrates potential customers; long waits and lines for payment can cost you in both sales and reputation. While adding additional payment terminals seems like the logical solution, you also know that this is a lot of expense and equipment that you just don’t need for the rest of the year.
AVPS has the perfect solution through our mobile credit card processing options.
One of the reasons we love mobile processing technology is that it lets businesses adapt to their changing needs without having to completely rework everything. Imagine your current location, and the ability to check out customers quickly and easily beyond your existing register set-up. Your employees can accept payments instantly from around your location, which can help you better manage customer traffic, expedite transactions, and increase sales volume. When you are able to maintain a steady flow of transactions, you not only help boost your sales, but you also create customer goodwill which leads to positive reviews and repeat customers.
While it still may seem early to focus on holiday season sales strategies, remember that your small business does not have those professional efficiency experts like the big-box stores. It’s up to you to take an honest assessment of how you can improve your operations, especially when your customer volume increases dramatically.
AVPS wants to help, and with mobile phone credit card readers, we can transform this holiday season into your best one yet.
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Two Things Growing: Smart Card Use, and Retailer Resistance

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Fall is usually viewed as harvest season, where the crops grown over summer are brought in and stored for winter. Some things still grow in the fall, though: artichokes, for example. Cranberries and pumpkins. In the payment news cycle this week, comes word of some additional growth: Namely that of “smart cards.”

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Pushmi-pullyu: Payments on the Coming “Internet of Things”

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The “Pushmi-pullyu” is, of course, a llama-like character from the Dr. Doolittle books and films — one with heads on either end of its body. But the legendary beast may also be a symbol of how the idea of “payments” are still sorting themselves out on the coming “internet of things.” At least, according to MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga. In comments to the Diginomica website, he said there would be “a lot of “interesting pushing and pulling over time,” as the idea of “payments” — and commerce — sorted themselves out over this expanding new network of wired-up, well, “things.” 

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How AVPS Can Help You Take Your Business Concept To Success

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Many entrepreneurs are thinking outside of the proverbial box when it comes to launching new businesses. They see just how the cards are stacked against them, and they don’t want to invest all of their capital without a definitive proof of concept. After the recent recession, entrepreneurs are even more hesitant to launch full-scale operations in such an uncertain economy. While this creates many challenges, it has also created an
environment of possibility From pop-up storefronts to mobile trucks, new businesses are redefining the concept of a start-up, and enriching our communities through their efforts.

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Study: Fraud Up Over 100% Since Last Labor Day

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According to the latest AAA survey, “cheap gas prices are expected to boost Labor Day weekend travel as revelers pursue a last blast of summer fun before autumn weather begins. About 55 percent of Americans say they’re more likely to take a road trip this year due to lower gas prices.”

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Affordable Card Processing Solutions

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Is your small business struggling under the weight of operating costs? Even those owners with a history of business experience and acumen can find that the tools they need eat too much into their profit margins. Payment processing, for example, seems like a system of fees you grudgingly must pay in order to provide your customers the convenience of debit and credit payments. In the modern market, you can’t forgo digital payment processing, either, but you can ensure that your retail merchant account is providing you the best and most affordable card processing solutions. Our AVPS team will help you determine if you can reduce those operating costs by giving your current payment processing a serious check-up. By taking a second look, you may find out that you are eligible for better rates.

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Millennials and Credit Cards: Yes or No? Or both?

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A recent New York Times piece has made some financial news, declaring that  “data from the Federal Reserve indicates that the percentage of Americans under 35 who hold credit card debt has fallen to its lowest level since 1989, when the Fed began collecting data in a standardized way.”

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Increasingly Cashless in an Age of “Big Hacks”

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We never want our posts to be about hacks or data breaches two or more weeks running. But as most of us find out, when checking the climate-shifted weather reports, or reading up on the elections, the news cycle doesn’t bow to our own particular needs or desires.

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1 in 3 Hit By Hacks; U.S. Near Top Due to Slow EMV Adoption

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A recent study by ACI Worldwide and the Aite Group has found that upwards of 30% of global consumers have been victims of some type card fraud in the past five years. Statistically then, this has happened to almost a third of the people reading this very article.

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PCI Develops Payment Security Resources For Small Businesses

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As their recent press announcement puts it: “small businesses around the world are increasingly at risk for payment data theft. Nearly half of cyber attacks worldwide in 2015 were against small businesses with less than 250 workers, according to cybersecurity firm Symantec.”
And now, to try and help these smaller companies shore up their defenses, the PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC), whose security protocols and recommendations we report on here, on a recurring basis, have now set up a Small Merchant Task force which has developed a set of payment protection resources for those same businesses.

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Be Our Guests: POS Security Tips from the Hotel Biz

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[et_pb_section admin_label=”section”][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text”] In a little bit of irony, a few days after the Hospitality Technology website ran…

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Consumers Suing Lax Retailers, post-EMV. Plus: Baseball

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In another sign of how the responsibility for data security — and the liability for same — is shifting, Payments Source reports that “merchants are facing consumer lawsuits stemming from the introduction of EMV-chip card security at the point of sale in the U.S., exposing the issues many stores must contend with now that they are held liable for fraud and chargebacks.”

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Ongoing EMV Processing Transition. Is Your Business Letting Misinformation Cloud Your Decision-Making?

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In a recent blog, we asked an AVPS colleague to report on how a variety of businesses in her area were adapting to the required transition toward EMV chip card processing. As we’ve reported extensively, EMV chip cards are now considered the accepted standard for secure payment processing. While her experiences highlighted the rocky transition that even national retailers face during this migration, it also highlighted how even the smallest local businesses have easily converted to EMV.

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Brexit Signs: How the Vote Might Affect Payment Cards

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True, Britain has always kept its Pound, as far as currency, so has no “Euro” to give up. But as a country that was part of the “E” of those “EMV” standards we keep writing about (“Europay Mastercard Visa”), what, if anything, happens now to international payment protocols with Britain’s seeming withdrawal?

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Scam Alert, Pt. II:  How to Protect Against Skimmers

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Last week, we mentioned a rash of phony invoices that are being sent by companies alleging to help with EMV upgrades, along with some preliminary advice on how to be aware of whether skimmers were being placed on the POS devices at your business.

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Credit Card Security and Your Vacation

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Summer is the busiest travel season, but it’s also a time when credit card transaction security risk is on the rise.
If you’re planning your seasonal vacation, you need to take some basic precautions to ensure that your experience isn’t marred by financial disasters. Here are some tips for keeping your credit cards safe:

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PCI Sets New Security Standards – Gets Surprising Pushback

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As the Finextra website reminds us, “merchants and other businesses globally use ‘PA-DSS Validated’ software to ensure they can safely accept payments, both in-store and online.” And now there are updated “procedures for secure installation of software patches and updates, and instructions for protecting cardholder data if using debugging logs for troubleshooting, as these can be exploited during a compromise.

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EMV’s Slow Rollout — Viewed from the Hudson River Valley

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Last spring, around this travel-y time of year, we had just gotten back from Europe, and reported from the land of EMV use (that’s where the “E” in those initials comes from!) about how customers were adapting to inserting their cards, and perhaps signing or using PINs more often.

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Economic Green Lights, as Summer Travel Plans a “Go!”

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Memorial Day is here, and it’s once again time for our annual(ish) look on what the unofficial kickoff to summer means in terms of economic trends, etc. And if you’re about to head out the door, to either hit the road, the beach, or an unacceptably long TSA line, we’ll give you the short answer to scan on your phone:

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Senator Sets Sights on Slow EMV Rollout

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We’ve reported here not only on the coming of EMV standards to American debit and credit cards — those “extra” chips that create unique codes for each sale, and make financial information in “payer present” transactions — i.e., at stores like such previous hack targets as, well, Target, Home Depot, etc.

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A Snapshot of EMV Compliance in Action—Cautionary Tales of Disparity and Misinformation

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We all know that EMV chip cards are now the gold standard for secure payment processing, and Advanced Payment Solutions has long been educating our clients on why this transition is so important for their businesses. If you’re still confused about EMV cards, you’re not alone. Likewise, your employees may be even more misinformed about how these new rules for credit card transaction security affect your business. We believe many owners are struggling to get on board and comply with EMV.

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NerdWallet and NASDAQ on the Wise Use of Credit Cards

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We often hear that too much use of credit cards — as opposed to debit card use — is a sign of household budgetary woes, and eventual drowning under unmanageable interest. And when credit cards are used simply to “borrow money,” during times of economic distress, this may well be right. But this week comes two different articles, one on the Nerdwallet website, the other on NASDAQ’s, espousing both the frequent and judicious use of credit cards. Not to pile up debt, but rather, to reap the rewards and actually manage household “money” better.

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Here Are EMV Quick Chips

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There have been various impediments to the adoption of an EMV standard here in America — that extra chip on a credit or debit card that assigns every transaction a unique code, preventing the re-use of information, while at the same time requiring a signature or PIN number for validation.

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Report: ATM “Skimming” Up over 500% (!)

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In another sobering reminder that the conveniences of electronic banking and payments bring their own unique risks, a report is out from the FICO folks — yes, those same people who so imperfectly provide credit scores — saying there’s been “a sixfold increase in the number of ATM machines in the United States compromised by criminals in 2015, compared with 2014,” as the NY Times sums up.

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The SF Fed on Fintech: Payments, Banking, to Keep Evolving

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“While fintech can also improve not just the accessibility but the quality of service—something that consumers are demanding—we also need to look out for the resilience of the financial system as a whole.” The words are those of John C. Williams, President and CEO of the Financial Reserve Bank of
San Francisco. And not doubt the very contradictions of the quasi-public functions of the Federal Reserve can be summed by the fact that the head of each branch is both a President…and a CEO.

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Pop-Up Businesses—A Unique Concept That Helps Both Entrepreneurs and Their Communities

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In our post-recession economy, the pop-up business model is taking millennials by storm. Sometimes referred to as a “finite business,” pop-up businesses capitalize on buzz and transform entrepreneurial creativity into a unique experience for both the operator and the community. The rise of pop-ups began around 2008, when the recession created a virtual vacuum in the business world. With so many businesses going under, we experienced a rise in vacant properties with no long-term purchase and rental prospects in sight. However, the short-term pop-up business could bring interest back into a property, thus benefiting both a cash-strapped entrepreneur and a struggling property manager.

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The Security vs. Freedom Debate: Payment Card Style!

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“Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither,” Ben Franklin once famously remarked. The question is whether the famously frugal Mr. Franklin would be happy knowing that most customers today, when it comes to payments, are usually choosing “freedom” over “security.”

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Is Your Business’s Online Presence Lackluster? Why You Need to Rethink Your Online Activity

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“Fintech” and Futures

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Last week, we touched on a word that any reader of this blog should probably add to her vocabulary at this point: “Fintech.” As we noted, it’s a contraction of “Financial Technology,” and it’s popping up everywhere — particularly in studies of how fast consumer finance, and the finance industry itself, is changing.

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Spring Brings New Marketing Opportunities—Get Out in Your Community with Mobile Processing Solutions

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With spring just around the corner, now is the time to think about all those inventive ways to take your business to the next level. The arrival of warmer weather also ushers in  outdoor  and seasonal activities, like farmers’ markets, fairs, festivals, and other events that provide the perfect backdrop for reaching new customers. These events not only provide a platform for spreading the word about your business, but they also capture customer attention in a unique way.

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Ides of March: Ransomware Updates, and Welcome to “Fintech”

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There’s no question we live in a time of constant change: rising seas, fraying politics, wired-up networks changing economies and business models almost as fast as they can be reported on. That last category, at least, falls under our purview here, so let us update you on what has changed — and what’s stayed the same — since our last blog post, a mere week ago.

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Still Behind the Curve on EMV Chip Processing? Why Your Business Can’t Afford to Procrastinate

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Though gas stations received an extension for the EMV liability shift, AVP Solutions is still seeing far too many businesses dragging their feet on upgrading their equipment to comply with secure payment processing regulations. We’ve discussed this issue many times in past EMV Chip blog posts because we truly believe this is one area in which retailers with POS terminals are opening themselves up for serious problems.

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Drowning, Ransoming — and Staying Safe (Pt. II)

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Last week, we mentioned the new “Drown” security leak, a flaw in grandfathered internet protocols that is leaving, according to SC Magazine, over 600 frequently used cloud servers — the very nodes and providers businesses use to conduct business on — “vulnerable to attack.”

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Don’t Get “Drown”ed — Or Ransomed! (Pt. I)

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Unfortunately, the news of breaches, security breaks, and data leakages is reaching critical mass again, and it’s time for another quick roundup.

Breaking as we go to press this week is news that websites — up to one third of those relying on the once-thought-secure “HTTPS” protocol — “have been warned they could be exposed to eavesdroppers, after researchers discovered a new way to disable their encryption protections.”

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Do You Use Mobile Phone Credit Card Processing? What You Need to Know Now

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In fact, even pop-up roadside stands now have the ability to accept payments. As the world moves away from cash-based transactions, mobile processing allows unique business models to gain and retain their customers by accepting credit card payments. However, with the recent changes to credit card processing rules, many of these small businesses may be at risk and not even know it.

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Report from Barcelona: Cars, Clothes, and “Cards” Everywhere

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Avoiding the EMV Chip Processor Upgrade? Why You’re Gambling With Your Business’s Future

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With the movement toward secure payment processing via EMV chip cards, many small businesses are still resisting the required upgrade to chip-reading POS terminals. At AVPS, we totally understand that no business wants to incur extra expenses, especially when you already have functional equipment. However, our nation is at the point when credit card transaction security is a truly hot-button topic, and with so many highly publicized data breaches, both credit card issuers and consumers are fed up. You know that, without EMV chip processing; your business will be liable for any fraudulent charges.

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Invisible Hands and Lax Security: The Ongoing Push for EMV Adoption

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“‘My dry cleaner isn’t worried about someone using counterfeit cards at his cash register,’ he said, noting that many businesses meanwhile discount the chances that hackers will siphon customer cards by sneaking malicious software onto point-of-sale devices — a problem that has lead to one breach after another at brand name retailers, restaurants and hotels over the past several  years.”

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Falling Gas Prices Mean More Money in Consumers’ Pockets—How Your Business Can Benefit

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With gas prices at their lowest in a decade, many consumers are finding themselves with a much-appreciated boost in expendable income. While this translates into bad news for the oil and gas industry, retailers and other businesses are enjoying a season in which their customers have more money to spend. Those extra dollars affect businesses of all types, including restaurants, retailers, and home improvement. As a leader in merchant account solutions, AVPS wants our clients to make the most of this trend, and capitalize on a customer base with a little bit more money in their pockets. Here are some ideas for making the most of those low gas prices:

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Taking Your Fledgling Business to the Next Level Starts with Your Very Own Website

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Your handcrafted business is gaining traction, and you’re wondering whether it’s time to create your own website and sell your products through that platform. While online sites like Etsy provide space for budding entrepreneurs, they also have a long list of fees that eat into profits. And while the initial setup of a site does incur start-up and maintenance costs, these may pale in comparison to the fees that you are paying now.

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Merchant Cash Advances Help Businesses Take the Leap Toward Growth and Expansion

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The leap—that magical moment when a small business is ready to take operations to the next level. The logistics of expansion present many challenges. In fact, a popular TV show highlights small businesses gaining investments from corporate gurus, and the effects that come from sudden success. The outcomes often describe the dilemmas that come from major expansions, like crashing sites, lack of inventory, or poor planning. How do you know if you have enough inventory, capital, or adequate financial planning to support your expansion plans?

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Save Space, Go Mobile & Get Paid—Are Phone Credit Card Readers Right for Your Organization?

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In both our homes and our offices, lack of space often becomes an issue despite our best organizational efforts. At AVP Solutions, we know that our partners want the best in secure payment solutions, but sometimes, a conventional credit card reader just won’t work. They may not want the physical footprint of a traditional machine, or they find the technical set-up and cords to be too cumbersome for their space. We understand that not every merchant account holder is a brick-and-mortar store. In modern commerce, a variety of institutions now need the ability to accept credit cards, like medical offices, utility companies, churches, schools, and even on-the-go service providers.

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VISA Revenue Up and So Is Chip Card Use — Along With Fraud Costs

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An array of studies reveal interesting new “market metrics” for the economy, at least from the payment card side of the equation.

Visa revenue in Europe is up 25% — to an all time high, as Pymnts.com reports.  Visa Europe is merging with its parent company — that’d be the Visa we use for payments here in the U.S. — and reports “that it had its most successful year ever in terms of revenue growth.”

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Beyond the Headlines–The Real Faces of Credit Card Fraud

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We’ve heard plenty of news regarding credit card data breaches at hotels and retailers across the nation. In fact, these occurrences come so frequently that they now seem to become “white noise” in the background of our social consciousness. However, as a business owner and manager, you are responsible for making credit card transaction security a top priority for your company.  Rather than focus on those attention-grabbing headlines, let’s take a closer look at the real-world scenarios that affect customers like yours every day:

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Starting a New Business? Smaller, Mobile Models May Help You Get Started With Less Financial Risk

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You have a great idea for a new business, but you just aren’t ready to take the plunge into a full-scale operation. After all, a new business often represents an enormous gamble for a small business owner. How do you know you’re ready? Is there an easier way to test market interest and viability without getting over your head in start-up investments? Between the internet and social media, many innovative entrepreneurs have found great success by starting out with unconventional, mobile business models. They use mobile trucks, farmer’s markets, festivals, pop-up locations, kiosks and more in order to bring their products or services to the public.

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Uber Account Security Needs a Lift — and Other Trends in Payments

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No sooner do we finish arranging a morning Uber ride for our son, than we sit down to sift through the week’s financial news — always redacted and highlighted here for your edification — to find that “stolen Uber accounts (are) worth more than stolen credit cards,” according to a CNBC Report.

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Did Your Business Miss Out During the Holidays? Lack of E-Commerce Presence May Be What’s Holding You Back

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In the post-holiday season sales analysis, one truth became glaringly evident: consumers much preferred to stay home, avoid the crowds, and shop online for those sought-after deals. Black Friday sales declined, while Cyber Monday demonstrated that the online shopping trend continues to grow. With the perceived equality in cost savings between brick-and-mortar locations versus online vendors, customers channeled their dollars toward websites.

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Of EMVs and Jackpots: Your Powerball Ticket Doesn’t Need a Chip — but Your Card Does

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According to Forbes, “the hype around the Powerball far exceeds any market news this week,” and who are we to argue? Up through yesterday’s drawing, even number-crunching Fivethirtyeight.com  agreed, saying “everyone is freaking out about the 1.5 billion Powerball.”  And, they add, “the stats agree.”
Which stats? Well,  there were nearly “a billion tickets (more than three times the population of the United States)” sold overall — “a ludicrous number!”

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Post-Holiday Slow Downs Give Your Business Time for Strategic 2016 Growth Planning

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Now that the holiday rush has passed, your business needs to focus on how to approach the New Year with an eye toward growth and profitability. Are you missing out on some easy strategies for more frequent customer transaction completion? We often believe that the biggest challenge simply lies in getting customers in the door or to our websites. However, savvy customers now have a world of possibilities in their smartphones. They easily compare prices, research competitive products or services, and make many shopping decisions based on digital offers or information. Take the time now to re-evaluate your goals for 2016, as well as how you can make your retail merchant account better work for your business.

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A New Year Resolution for More Payment Security?

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We’ve been watching the MarketWatch website since the new year kicked off, mostly to track the rather breathtaking gyrations of the stock market (as well as the news out of China, the steady ebb of oil prices, and more).

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Are Your Customers About to Get Scrooged? Without the Most Secure Payment Processing, They May Be

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Is your business feeling the holiday pressure yet? As much as we all look forward to this joyful time of year, we also face the stress that comes with it. You focus on inventory, operations, adequate staffing, and pricing, yet you may not realize that both you and your customers face an increasing threat. This is the time of year during which fraud, hacking, and identity theft increase dramatically. Potential thieves know that, with so many customers and transactions, they face the increased likelihood of successfully defrauding both you and your customers

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East vs. West: Where Did Christmas in the U.S. Start? (And Where Is It Headed?)

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As with sports and hip-hop rivalries, we enter the holiday week with a good-natured “throwdown” on which coast, and its culture, gets more of the credit for creating Christmas in the U.S. as we have come to know it.

The New York Times starts out by allowing that while “New York can’t quite take credit for Christmas.. apparently, several seemingly timeless holiday traditions were invented here.”

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Is Your Business Ready for a Busy Holiday Season?—Why Mobile Processing Can Help You Serve Customers

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The holiday shopping season is officially in full swing. Early bird shoppers have clamored to check gifts off their lists while others still bide their time, hoping for the best deal. The holiday season — and the “sale season” after — will bring an increase in customer traffic to your business. However, just getting them in the door isn’t enough. You need to understand what challenges stand between your business and actually concluding customer interactions with sales. Here are some important points to remember about potential customers this season:

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International Blog Post Edition: Singles Day & MasterCard’s Global Liability

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There’s a “quickening” at year’s end, with all the preparations, travels, gatherings, and, of course, sales and transactions that mark the season, and much of the particular corner of it that we cover here. So we have lots of “strands” to weave into an early holiday narrative for you, about immediate trends for the holiday season, and what may lay beyond it for the new year.

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This is Your Holiday Season — And This Is Your Holiday Season on EMV

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Now that the Trick or Treat candy is all in the “half off” bins at the store, the home stretch of the year — and the holidays — begins in earnest.

As for how the season might shape up, from a sales and business perspective, Pymnts.com is reporting that “despite some of the gloomy stats” — referring to a slowdown in consumer spending coming out of the summer, and a general flatlining of wages — “commerce watchers are predicting moderately strong growth this season. The National Retail Federation is predicting retail sales to increase 3.7 percent to a total of $630.5 billion through November and December, well above the 10-year 2.5 percent average.”

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Is Your Website Up to Par? AVPS Can Help Make It Better With Payment Processing Solutions

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As you grow your business, a well-crafted, highly functional website will be necessary to take your operations to the next level. In our internet and data driven world, people expect access to information and products anytime from anywhere. A missing or outdated website tells potential customers that you are behind the times or too apathetic about your own business to ensure quality products or services.

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Think Beyond the Storefront—How Mobile Processing Can Expand Your Customer Base

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While your brick-and-mortar business has been moderately successful, you may need to re-think how you approach expanding your customer base. Special events like farmer’s markets, fairs, community festivals, or even sports events sometimes welcome vendors across any genre. By taking your products and services out into the community, you open up your business to easy exposure and the potential for reaching an entirely new audience. However, to help support business mobilization, you also need to incorporate mobile credit card processing to capture the most new customers. AVPS can help set you up with the right tools so that anywhere you are you can make every interaction a sale.

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Has “The Future” of Payments Arrived?

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For those of you watching your memes and social networks, this week marked Back to the Future Day, that October day in 2015, when Marty McFly travels from 1985 to try and right the future (and then the past) in Back to the Future II.

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Credit Offices Going through Changes, Difficulties

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Your FICO score: As an individual, it determines your “creditworthiness.” Your personal score can even sometimes affect getting business credit, in the early days of a start-up. And of course, it affects the degree to which your customers can open new accounts, or the degree to which they’re charged to keep using current ones.

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This is the week — EMV is here!

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And so, after weeks, months — years? — of writing about the coming “EMV standard” in this space — that switch to the chipped “Europay Mastercard Visa” card already standard in Europe and other parts of the world — that day is here at last.

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Mobile Payment Solutions For Mobile Businesses

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Whether you operate an up-and-coming food truck, or are a dedicated fixture at craft fairs, you know that operating a mobile business has its challenges. You are constantly on the move, and as you deal with the hustle and bustle of your customers, you are always looking for a way to expand your horizons and turn your passion into profit. Wherever you do business, you need to consider adding mobile credit card processing as part of your operations. Without mobile processing, you may be limiting your customer base and losing business.

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Toronto Film Fest: Lights, Cameras… New Payment Tech!

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The Toronto Film Festival unfolds — “unspools,” perhaps — in its namesake city every fall, and has become the unofficial kickoff to “Oscar season,” where buzz and critical acclaim can help launch a film on its march through awards season.

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Right Payment Processing Tools

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Take Your ECommerce Business to Next Level With the Right Payment Processing ToolsYou are growing your small ecommerce business, enough…

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Turn Credit Card Processing Security into a Customer Confidence Booster

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With so many data breaches in recent years, far too many of your customers have either dealt with identity theft, or the headaches as a result of banks issuing new debit or credit cards just to be safe. In the past, they only had to worry about their credit information in terms of stolen cards or bills, so they have little patience when their information is compromised via a merchant.

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Labor Day and Birthdays: Drivers Head Out, Gas Heads Down, and Visa Checkout Serves Cake

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Though the thermometer readings around the American West insist otherwise, the end of summer has come with Labor’s Day arrival, and the flipping of the calendar page from August to September.

Schools are in full bloom, and Walmart is already selling Christmas toys — starting its layaway program two weeks earlier than last year (“Walmart’s layaway program coincides with its Toy Week, which allows customers to get a glimpse of the top toys of the holidays chosen by children.”

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Time: “How Your Credit Card is About to Change Forever”

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To be sure, it’s a dramatic headline. And it’s on a subject about which you — as a regular AVPS reader — are already well informed: The one-month-away switch over from the “mag stripe” standard for American credit cards to the “chip-and-pin” EMV variety.

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Payment Times Keep A-Changin’ – New Technologies, Shifting Consumer Trends

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The payments news cycle is once again filled with predictable data breaches (both of the IRS and even less discreet varieties), and we hope being a regular reader of these updates has somewhat indemnified you against the worst of these hazards (since you use separate passwords for different accounts and devices and update all your security patches, right?)

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Could The Way You Handle Credit Card Processing Cost You Customers?

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At AVPS, we know that our clients have to incorporate the costs and fees associated with credit/debit card processing into their overall bottom lines. This means that, if they accept credit cards, they must include this as part of how they price their goods and services. While this has long been the norm, the rise of mobile credit card processing is creating some sticky customer service issues that we want to help our partners avoid. To demonstrate what we mean, here’s a story of a service provider, a customer, and the moment it all went wrong:

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New Employee Training—Why You May Be Missing Something in Your Training Program

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Here’s a question for our retail clients: When you train a new employee, what do you think are the most important things they need to know? Chances are that you first focus on conduct, company culture, and an overview of your policies and procedures. You walk them through their duties and maybe even have them shadow other employees for a while. When it comes to payment processing, however, are you giving them the right training and enough of it? If not, you could be setting your business up for long-term security issues.

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The Week in Breaches: Safety Quiz, Expert Advice, Company Liability

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Custom Service 101—How to Deal With Declined Cards Without Upsetting Your Customers

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Christmas in Summer? Why Unconventionally Smart Planning and Marketing Can Help Your Business Grow

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A Midsummer Night’s Gift Card Giving

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Well, strictly speaking, the “Midsummer Night” of Shakespearean fame comes just after the summer solstice in June.  Here in America, summer seems to run from Memorial Day through Labor Day, with July 4th in-between, making July our own “midsummer.”

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For the 4th: Fireworks and Fiscal Facts

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Our annual holiday week 4th of July “snapshot” the nation’s economy commences with this week’s post.

In last summer’s Independence Day overview, we noted a AAA report saying that more Americans were planning to travel, due to the uptick in the economy, even though gas prices were then at their highest levels in years.

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Due Diligence: Slow EMV adoption; Fed Calls For Coordinated Security

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It is a constant tussle, struggle — pick your word — for merchants and consumers striving for digital safety in their daily rounds of charge card and debit use. And with the constant news of data breaches and new malware discoveries, it sometimes seems such relative “safety” is a grail that will always be just out of reach.

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Smart Cards, Smarter Passwords

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The nature of payments, and how they’re made, continues to change — whether credit, debit, or prepaid. Payments continue to move from one digital platform to the next, sometimes leaving customers wondering if making any of the changes are worth it, or if something even newer will come along first.

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Plans Move Forward for “Same Day ACH”

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You know about ACH — those Automated Clearing House payments that we also offer here at AVPS. Sometimes called “Electronic Check Processing,” it is, as our own website notes, “a form of electronic payment… often confused with a wire transfer because it works in a similar fashion. However, unlike a traditional wire transfer, it can be used to process higher amounts, or for small payments which may settle from 1 to 2 business days.”

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Old Hacks, New Payments

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It’s a long, fascinating moment of transition in the world of payments — and for payments around the world.  That changing landscape includes virtual wallets, growing P2P payments, and ways to make existing platforms more secure — as with the EMV standards coming to American payment cards this fall.

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Notes from the Land of “Euro” in “EMV”

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As we’ve noted in this space before, “EMV” is coming — sooner rather than later — to America. It’s that standard — already adopted in Europe and Asia — of having an additional chip on your charge card, as well as an additional means of authenticating any charges made in person, like use of a PIN or a signature.

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May Day, Pt. II: More Tips For Keeping Your POS Devices Safe In a Malware World

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Last week, we talked about the RawPOS Malware that has been affecting Windows-based point-of-sale devices, and we passed along some tips for upgrading, and guarding, against such attacks on you, and your customers. This week, we finish up our “pointers” for helping you keep all your gear secure. Here are both “the basics,” and a little beyond the “basics,” to maximize transaction security:

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“May Day!,” Pt. I: Malware Security Alert for POS Devices

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Happy May Day! In the U.S., it conjures up images of May Poles and spring love. In Europe, it’s marked with parades and marches, and is still something of a “worker’s holiday,” as it was here in the 19th Century. It was the original “Labor Day,” until the one we have now was created, so that American workers could have a day separate from what was perceived as the somewhat incendiary history of May 1st.

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Fed Report: Mobile Payments, Commerce on the Upswing. But…

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The Federal Reserve has issued the 2015 edition of its Consumers and Mobile Finances report. Among the findings, as reported by “Digital Transactions,” are that “the number of mobile-payments users in the United States is growing steadily, but most mobile-phone owners still find other payment methods more convenient.”

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Shocker: Nearly 80% of Businesses Fail Interim PCI Compliance

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Recently, Verizon issued a report on Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards — PCI DSS for short. The results were pretty bracing. As Computer Weekly summarizes “nearly 80% of businesses fail their interim PCI compliance assessment, leaving them vulnerable to cyber attacks, according to Verizon’s 2015 PCI Compliance Report “

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Embrace Technology with Mobile Payment Processing

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If you are ready to build your business, grow your customer base, and reach new levels of success, it is essential to keep your eyes on innovation. The world is changing incredibly quickly and if you don’t do what you can to keep up, you are going to get left behind. Though you may maintain the core of your business, your product line and branding, your customer base shrink, if you fall behind with technology.

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The October Country: EMV Draws Near; Are You Ready?

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Make Payments Easy with Secure Automated Transactions

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Grow Your Business with Mobile Payment Processing

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Gone are the days when building a customer base and making transactions with them meant having to interact face to face and accepting only cash. Imagine being able to connect with customers across the globe, providing services on location, and avoiding paper billing. Mobile payment processing is a step not just toward bringing your business into modern times, but also growing that business, expanding your customer base, and reaching new levels of success.

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On the Menu: More Security

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Recently, the National Restaurant Association co-hosted a chat via its Twitterfeed, dealing with issues of payment security. This is of particular concern to NRA members, since many of the most headline-grabbing hacks have come at eateries, like PF Chang’s, Dairy Queen, and other food establishments.

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Samsung Moves Into Payments; “Hackers Never Sleep”

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The news and changes in payments keep moving along at a clip — well, at a clip almost as fast as the digits who are changing the ways those payments are made. On the very day of this post, Samsung has announced the purchase of LoopPay, a start-up in the world of mobile and NFC — near field communications — payments.  As the Wall Street Journal summarizes, “the deal to buy LoopPay Inc. of Burlington, Mass.

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Choosing the Right Credit Card Swiper for Your Business

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As a business owner, you know that many customers prefer to make card payments. If you don’t have a tool for credit card processing, then it is likely that you are making your customers frustrated since they are unable to use their preferred form of payment.

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Follow Up: Data Leaks and New Government Agencies

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As noted in our previous newsletter, no sooner had we posted on our blog last week about the ease with which ID theft can be perpetrated, than news broke of another massive data breach, this one affecting upwards of 80 million or so Anthem Blue Cross customers.

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The Science of Super Bowl Spending — and ID Theft

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Economics has been called an imperfect science by some of its critics, and differing conclusions about the benefits of the recent Super Bowl to the local economy may show that the field does still lack the precision regularly used by, say, astrophysicists.

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3 Steps to Using Merchant Cash Advance Resources

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Whether you own an established business or you are working to get a start-up off the ground, merchant cash advance resources are a great method that can be used to inject your company with cash so that you can keep the doors open. Cash flow is a tricky aspect to running a business, and many owners can find themselves failing if they don’t manage cash in the right way.

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“I Spy” More Changes in Payments, More Need For Security

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As you know from being a savvy/frequent readers of these posts, the world of payments shares a critical motif with life itself: Change is the only constant. And by “change,” we don’t mean those coins in your pocket, left over from the last time you used cash. No, we’re talking about how the way payments are made is shifting, faster and faster — bringing along the need for constantly-changing security, as well.

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Does Your Business Accept Checks Online?

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Many people assume that check payments can only be made by providing a paper check to the person receiving the payment. But, the truth is that you can accept check payments online, making it possible for your customers to make payments in a variety of ways.

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How to Use a Credit Card Reader

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If you are a business owner, then it is essential that you accept card payments for the products and services that you have for sale. Many consumers prefer using credit cards for all of their purchases, and a credit card reader provides you a fast and easy way to accept payments.

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2015: A Sheep Year — But A Safe One?

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The New Year celebrating isn’t quite over yet — next month brings us the Chinese New Year. Those followers of Chinese Astrology know that each year is given an “animal” personality, so our upcoming “sheep year” is presumed to be — like its totem animal — somewhat gentle and easygoing.

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Chip-and-Pin — or “Chip-and-Sig?”

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The new year always brings change — not only the resolutions we manage to keep, but change in the form of new laws, products, calendar deadlines, etc. One such change, slated for 2015, is the arrival, at last, of “EMV” cards as the default standard for American credit card users, those micro-chipped credit and debit cards that are already the standard in most European countries.

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New Year’s Traditions and Prognostications

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Another year has come and gone so quickly, and we dare say, it will feel like only 7  or 8 months more have gone by before we’re wishing you a “Happy 2016!” But we get ahead of ourselves. 2015, in all its promise and mystery, still looms ahead. And as you plan your celebrations, have you considered smashing some dishes, or walking around with empty suitcases?

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Some News and History About Presents. Plus: Merry Christmas!

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The holidays are here, and we know you’ll have plenty of happy/merry distractions that will keep you from perusing all your blog news here at AVPS, as well as taking you from all your other “regular” rounds.

But before we lose you to holiday merriment, a quick spot of news after all: It turns out that “Super Saturday,” which just passed, actually exceeded “Black Friday” as the season’s busiest shopping day.  “According to ShopperTrak,” as one CBS summary has it, “retailers will pull in as estimated $10-billion in sales on what is referred to as Super Saturday. This year Black Friday netted $9.1-billion in sales, according the ShopperTrak. Analysts say a strong job market and low gas prices have led to more last minute buying.”

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A Credit Card Theory of Everything

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Quantum physics is suddenly big in pop culture. Black holes and spacetime, for example, are central to both the plots of current films “Interstellar,” and “The Theory of Everything.” In the latter, cosmologist Stephen Hawking spends his life trying to find a single theory to “explain” all of life. Similarly, those mindful of payment card security in an age of proliferating hacks are looking for a single theory — an unassailable, breach-proof idea — to make payments secure and safe for the foreseeable future.

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Payments Need Safe Holiday Travels, Too!

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As you may have seen in last week’s newsletter, we mentioned that in addition to the holiday revelry, and holiday sales, your business is enjoying, you’ll also want to be careful of a potential uptick in fraud and hackery in your business’ databases and Point-of-Sale devices.

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Holiday Highlights and Headlines: Season Off to a Solid Start

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Hopefully there were some “takeaways” at your Thanksgiving — along the lines of turkey, pie, stuffing, and more, making for some nice leftovers for the long holiday weekend.  But if those “takeaways” have been eaten up, we have a few more now that some of the returns are in on shopping and consumer trends with this season’s official Black Friday/Cyber Monday kickoff:

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Economic Snapshot: A Bit More “Gravy” This Thanksgiving

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While there are always certain bedrock things to be thankful for this time of year — one’s loved ones, good health, warm food on the table — a couple of holiday-themed articles this week underscore that there may be more to give thanks for, this fall, on the economic side, too. Certainly when compared to the more recent Thanksgivings since “The Great Recession.”

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Holiday Shopping Kicks Off to Record Sales — In China!

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Black Friday may not quite be here yet, but in Canada, Thanksgiving has already come and gone, and in China — well, there they’re setting records already for online holiday shopping. We refer to the just-concluded “Singles Day,” in China, which comes on 11/11 — the idea being that all those “ones” emphasize “single-ness.” As Bloomberg News describes it “Singles’ Day, a Chinese twist on Valentine’s Day, was invented by students in the 1990s… When written numerically, the date is reminiscent of bare branches, the Chinese expression for bachelors and spinsters.”

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The Road Ahead for Payments: Yellow Bricks, or Leaking Digits?

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As our readers already know, changes are coming to the world of credit cards. Chief among those, as a new article in Wired states, are EMV cards, which “have an embedded microchip that authenticates the card as a legitimate bank card to prevent hackers from embossing stolen card data onto blank cards to use it for fraudulent transactions. The chip contains the same data that traditionally is stored on a card’s magnetic stripe, but also has a certificate used to digitally sign each transaction.

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MasterCard Tips on Protecting Yourself — Pt. II

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Since we last posted, J.P. Morgan and other banks have joined the “honor roll” of institutions which have been hacked, and had information stolen. According to a recent overview of headline-making hacks in the Washington Post, “J.P. Morgan Chase& Co., America’s largest bank, reassured its customers by saying that there was no evidence that account information, such as passwords and Social Security numbers was compromised.” OK, good. What was compromised? “Names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of account holders were accessed.”

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Payments Changing, Consumers Protecting Themselves in Wake of Home Depot Breach

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This week, as we officially roll into Fall — and head toward October — we have follow-ups and previews. We’re following up on the massive Home Depot card data breach we reported on earlier, since the first reports are coming in on fraudulent charges being made to some of the scooped-up accounts. “Fraudulent transactions are showing up across the U.S. as criminals use stolen card information to buy prepaid cards, electronics and even groceries,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

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Card News Roundup: Home Depot and Other Breaches; Millennial Trends

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Fall usually brings its own busy-ness after the general sweet slowness of summer, and our current September is no exception. There are changes afoot in the payments business, notably the coming of EMV Cards here in America, their arrival hastened by the constant headlines about all-too-noteworthy security breaches in the news.

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A Labor Day Look — At History, and Some Good News for Fall

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In the Wake of Breaches, EMV Speeds Up. Some Security Folks Think That’s Fine.

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Credit Card Readers Are Great for Vendors

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While a credit card reader can benefit any business, big or small, retail or doorstep, they are also great for vendors who sell products roadside, on-the-go, at Farmer’s Markets, and at various events. If you have been in the business long at all, with no way to accept credit cards, you have certainly lost customers who did not have enough cash on them and had to walk away, even though they did not want to. With technology on your side, there is no reason to lose sales ever again.

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Are You Trying to Start Your Own Business?

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Maybe you’re a young man or woman with big dreams, trying to get your first business off the ground. Maybe you’re a middle-aged man or woman determined to finally follow your own dreams of becoming your own boss. Or maybe you’re an existing 1-5 person business trying to grow. You might even be a larger business that simply wants to keep up with all that technology has to offer and utilize it for business growth, convenience, and flexibility.

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Card Processing Solutions for Your Business

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Every business needs the ability to accept credit cards. Whether you’re a new business or an existing business looking to change credit card processing providers, there are several things you should look for in a provider.

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Are Cards More Cost Effective For Merchants Than Cash?

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A new study from financial analysts at the Aite Group says that handling both Debit and Credit cards is more cost effective for merchants and retailers than handling cash.

According to details in the Credit Union Times, the report, “Tender Truths: The Real Cost of POS Transactions in the U.S., found debit cards the least expensive method of payment for merchants, costing significantly less per transaction than cash or cards.It broke down the costs of different payment types across three broad retail sectors: specialty retailers, quick service restaurants and convenience stores.”

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The Benefits of Accepting Checks & Processing Checks Online

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While the use of credit cards has exploded over the last years and many people carry plastic, many people still also use checks. If your business does not accept checks, both online and off, you could be losing money to your competitors who do. When shopping online, people will abandon their shopping cart if they reach the checkout and cannot use their preferred payment method. When shopping offline, people expect to be able to write a check so they can use the money in their bank account. If you cannot accommodate them, they may walk away.

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A Handy AVPS Guide to Point-of-Sale Security, Pt. II: Mitigation & Protection

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Last week, we mentioned card issuer alerts calling for more vigilance on the part of merchants to “shore up” their Point-of-Sale systems, in an age of increased hacking, breaches, and network intrusion. This lack of security has resulted in some unfortunately spectacular “virtual break-ins,” like the Target breach and the ones that followed, resulting in the information for millions of customers being pilfered, compromised, and sold not only to the “highest bidder,” but to whoever meets the price of those vending the data.

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A Handy AVPS Guide to Point-of-Sale Security. Pt. I: Remote Access

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In our current climate of “hackery” and security breaches, the number of alerts and advisories going to out to companies like ours is on the increase. Many of these have valuable information that we feel should be passed along to our customers, so they can use these ideas, deploy them, to keep their own transactions — and their customers — as safe as possible.

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4th of July Snapshot: Gas Prices, Economic Indicators Heat Up Like Roman Candles

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As we approach the July 4th 2014, the economy news at summer’s midpoint celebration is increasingly rose-colored like one of those ground bloom flower fireworks.

On the one hand, as Bloomberg reports, “jobs growth adds more sunshine” to the U.S. Economy. Specifically, job growth, in payroll specialist ADP’s report ahead of the official Federal figures, was much higher than expected. ““The labor market appears to be firing on all cylinders and is finally self-sustaining,” the Bloomberg said, citing two two PNC Financial Services economists.

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Travel Season: Pack Bags, Swim Trunks, and EMV Chips

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If you’re traveling abroad this summer, you might want to make sure you have at least one EMV-ready credit (or debit) card at your disposal. (The same might apply if you’re traveling a couple years into the future, after they become more widespread here in the U.S.!)

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Visa Raising Standards on Prepaid Debit Cards

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According to a recent NY Times article, Visa is responding to consumer concerns that prepaid cards are often trickier to use — or to give — than they should be, since fees and terms often differ, leaving users confused, or simply with less of a balance than they imagined they had.

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Being Able to Accept Credit Cards is Just One Call Away

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No matter the type of business you’re in or whether you are a retail location, mobile location, or provide services at various homes and businesses, the ability to accept credit cards is a must. In addition to having the ability to accept credit cards, you need to be able to accept them in different ways such as at your physical location, via your mobile phone on the go or at any location your customers are at (flea markets, farmer’s markets, their homes, conferences, their businesses, kiosks, etc.)

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Updates: California Senate Lets EMV Law Lapse; The State of Security

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We wanted to update you on an item we ran last week, wherein California’s State Senate was on the verge of issuing its own mandates for a switch over to EMV standards in card transactions, setting April 1, 2016 as the date.

However, according to a report in Computerworld, “the full Senate missed the voting deadline of May 30, ending its chances of passage until a new legislative session begins.”

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Mobile Phone Credit Card Processing: The Wave Of The Future

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Mobile phone credit card processing has been growing leaps and bounds over the last year or two. Brick and mortar stores, mobile stations like kiosks and outside stands, freelancers, and contractors have all been going mobile when it comes to accepting credit cards.

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Is There a Way Accept Checks Online?

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Every business needs to be able to accept checks as a form of payment, even if the business sells products or services partially or wholly online. This is still a very popular payment method and you do not want to lose sales because you can’t accept your customer’s preferred method of payment.

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After The Breachin’: Chip-and-Pin Comes to Target

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As was pointed out about the recent Heartbleed security hole that was so pervasive, it presented a chance — bad as it was — for a lot of companies to reinvent and update their security protocols, for consumers to opt in for “double login” options on various accounts (a password and a PIN, say), and for the general level of security, web-wide, to be enhanced.

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Go Mobile with a Credit Card Reader

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No matter what business you’re in, a mobile phone credit card reader can put your business on the go. Imagine the possibilities when you are no longer limited to checks and cash transactions. Imagine being able to set up shop anywhere you’d like and accept payment in any form, including plastic. You can also eliminate the problem of losing up sell opportunities because your customer only has a limited amount of cash. Options start opening up and your bottom line starts increasing.

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The OpenSSL / “Heartbleed” Bug: Biggest “Hack” Yet?

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Well, readers, this is the kind of news we wish we didn’t have to report. On the heels of the weeks and months reporting the details of the too-large Target and Neiman-Marcus data hacks, comes news of what may be the internet’s biggest security glitch… ever.

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Details Emerge on Neiman-Marcus Hack, as Mag Stripes and EMVs Make News

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Windows XP is Everywhere, and It’s Ending: Are Your Point-of-Sales Devices Safe?

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As your roving correspondents, we have to, of course, rove. As in hit the road, roam far afield, attend a conference, track down a story. When we do travel, we go — as do you — with an array (too many?) of screens. A small one in our pocket. A mid-size one for reading. And then there’s the laptop. Our travel laptop, which has been with us awhile, is still running the comforts of Windows XP as its operating system.

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Beyond the Stripe Swipe: “Contactless” Cards Are Booming

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We write a lot about the coming changes to “charge cards” as we’ve known them, for a couple generations. Changes driven both by technology, and the vulnerabilities of that technology. For example, as a regular reader of these posts, you know that EMV cards are coming, with adaptation being pushed even faster by news of massive breaches at Target, Neiman-Marcus, and other retailers.

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Restaurant Owners Readying for EMV But Want More Card Protection

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Plastic and digits are used in lieu of cash everywhere, but the food biz continues to find itself one of the most heavily “charged” industries, since everyone — whether it’s a fast food fish filet, sit-down bone-in ribeye, a morning tofu scramble, or anything else — has to eat.

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Credit Card Processing Solutions

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Every business needs the ability to accept credit cards but do you know which card processing solutions are best for your business? There are a variety of options so we will talk about a few here and if you would like to find out more or have additional questions, contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

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Taking Checks Still a Good Idea & Other Fallout from Recent Breaches

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A thoughtful analysis on Pymnts. com talks about some of the unexpected “fallout” from the recent high-profile credit card breaches. One might expect that such an event would accelerate the calls for adapting more secure “EMV” card standards here, or even spark discussions on whether customers should have ever-shifting “account numbers,” etc., as a way of minimizing security risks. And those discussions have happened.

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The Cost of a Breach: Target Reports Profits Nearly Cut in Half

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As an astute reader of this space, you have, of course, been following all the news and fallout emanating from the Target data breach, affecting upwards of 110 million customers (and of course numerous banks and credit unions who suddenly had to reissue cards, cover fraudulent charges, etc.)

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Should You Still Accept Checks?

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Absolutely. While credit card use has increased, many people still use checks and you could be missing out on sales opportunities if you don’t accept checks. One of the things that consumers do when shopping online is check to see if a merchant accepts the form of payment they wish to use. If they don’t, it’s very common for them to simply move on to find another merchant who does. They’ll even leave a full shopping cart online if they get to the checkout and learn that you don’t accept the form of payment that they intend to use. That means you’re putting money into your competitors pocket. Never leave any stone unturned when it comes to increasing your bottom line.

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Make Your Business Mobile with a Phone Credit Card Reader

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A credit card reader for your mobile phone can quickly and easily make your business mobile. With a swipe, you can accept credit card payments from anywhere that you are able to connect to the internet. Many businesses that had to rely on cash transactions are now using a phone credit card reader to take their business to the next level and start accepting credit cards.

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Fed Update: They’re Listening. Probably.

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They wanted to hear from merchants, processors, bankers, and other, about what could be do to further bring the payment system here in the U.S. (and the way that payment system interacts with systems outside the U.S.) even further into the 21st century, in terms of speed, convenience, security, etc.

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Is Card Security Coming to U.S. Credit… “At Last?”

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The wake of the biggest data breach in U.S. history continues with its fallout, including the news from targeted Target that the hackers originally were able to pilfer their way into the discount chain’s system by “using electronic credentials stolen from a vendor,” according to an article in the Wall Street Journal.  

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Accept Checks and Credit Cards with a Merchant Account

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A merchant account will enable you to accept checks and credit cards, ensuring you have a safe, effective way to process payments. Most businesses know they need to accept credit cards these days but many customers still use checks so it’s still important to be able to accept checks online (as well as offline). Not offering your customer’s preferred payment method could mean a lost sale.

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Claws and Roars: Target, Neiman-Marcus, and Beyond

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Yes, there’s more to report on the Target Breach and its fallout. We know, as Pymnts.com columinist Karen Webster wrote, that “The Target data breach is old news to most people by now, but the ’terrible roars’ unleashed by those responsible for this breach will be heard throughout the payments industry for years to come. And, the marks left by the ‘terrible claws’ on the future of retail payments and consumer payment habits may in fact become indelible.”

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More Fallout From the Target Breach — and Changes in the Pipeline

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Before the Holiday Spending Reports: A Brief History of Christmas

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First of all, let us wish you happy holidays, and a Merry Christmas. We assume this will pertain throughout the 12 Days of Christmas, whenever you catch up with this post.

And as we all slip into more congenial, hopefully somewhat more relaxed “holiday time,” we also leave behind our reports of spending and card use trends, card security breaches (but oh boy — more about that in the new year!) and such, for a little bit, to contemplate how it was we got “here.”

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Holiday Spending Up, Card Use Being Encouraged

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We realize we’re not even into the actual “Twelve Days of Christmas” yet, but already holiday spending trends are being compiled and assessed.  A recent survey from Citi indicates that holiday spending may land on the “up” side this year, after all.  According to the survey, “twenty-nine percent of Americans estimate they will be spending more than $1,000 this holiday season, up from 22 percent in 2011. Amongst those planning on shopping for the holidays, Americans will spend an average of $968, up $60 from 2011.”

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The Science of Credit Card Fraud

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We take a brief break from the general cheeriness of our holiday reportage. If you haven’t seen it, PBS’ “Nova” — the science reporting show — had an article on their website from one of their contributors about how his identity was hacked, and used in an attempt to run up credit card charges.

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Black Friday Down, Yet Cyber Monday Sets Record

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There are a lot of interesting tea leaves — perhaps that’s peppermint tea, in the spirit of the season — to be read as the data comes in from Black Friday through Cyber Monday, that stretch of time formerly known as “Thanksgiving Weekend.

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What are the Benefits of a Cell Phone Credit Card Reader?

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A mobile phone credit card reader can boost your bottom line, save time, integrate portability into your business, increase security, and add convenience and flexibility for both you and your customers. Your bottom line is boosted because you now have the ability to accept any form of payment at any location. You’ll never miss a sale again because you couldn’t accept a credit card and your business horizon expands to wherever you want to go.

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How Does Mobile Phone Credit Card Processing Increase Sales?

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Mobile phone credit card processing is on the rise. This convenient, flexible payment method allows you to accept credit card payments anywhere, anytime. Long gone are the days that you have to hope your customers have cash, hope their check clears the bank, or miss the opportunity to make the sale because they only want to pay with plastic. Now you can accept payments anywhere your customers are.

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Ways to Not Leave $100 Billion on the Table — POS Devices for Tablets & Smartphones

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We were struck by a CNBC article appearing this week, with the provocative headline, “Cash-only Business Owners Risk $100 Billion Mistake.” The article notes that “As American consumers begin to embrace tap-and-pay smartphone apps, relegating plastic to a deep recess in the pocketbook or wallet, more than half of U.S. small business owners continue to live in the past—forget mobile apps, they don’t take American Express, or anything other than cash.”

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Cards in Hand: What Your Customers Like Using Charge and Debit For

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Georgia-based Total Systems Services Inc., or TSYS, is out with their 2013 Consumer Payment Choice Study. And while the main purpose of the study was to find out how anxious, or ready, customers were to turn their mobile devices into wallets, though the secondary information in the survey — what types of plastic consumers prefer for which kinds of transactions — was perhaps just as illuminating.

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Holiday Cash For Your Business, With a Merchant Cash Advance

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Being the faithful AVPS Blog reader that you are, you’ve seen where there will be a large surge of holiday shoppers online; you know that your customers will be “showrooming” with their mobile devices; you want to advertise more as the economy slowly regains ground; you need to order more merchandise for the upcoming spike in sales.

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After the Shutdown: Holiday Budgets Trimmed, Consumers Still Willing to Shop

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Like the Boy  Scouts, we believe in being prepared. Especially now that the U.S. is once again funding its government and paying its debts, and people are free, relatively, to go about their business.  Part of that preparation may include anticipating how much business you can now expect from customers this holiday season.

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“Mobile” Ambivalence: Consumers Want Ease of Use, Payment Options

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Some interesting stats and trend-lines are emerging from a recently discussed Forrester Research study on  Smartphone-based sales in the coming years. The data notes that Smartphone-based retail numbers will hit $12 billion in 2013, all the way up to $31 billion in 2017. Those are exciting numbers, but it’s worth noting that the 2013 figure actually represents just 5% of current e-commerce sales, and the 2017 number clocks in at 9%.

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The Fed Wants You to Help Make Payments Better

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The Fed — that quasi-accountable Federal banking system that sets our interest rates, and determines how much cash liquidity we should all be awash in — now wants your help. Or at least,  they want your comments.

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Mobile Credit Card Processing for Business On The Go

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A lot of businesses in today’s world are going mobile and getting more and more creative when it comes to gaining customers. Regardless of what your business is, if you are not equipped to handle different forms of payment, you may be missing out.

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Card Use Slows in Summer, Yet New Ways to Spend on Horizon

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We always like when two seemingly unrelated bits of news emerge to make a pattern, or perhaps two points on a related map. On the one hand, we have another report from the Fed that, as Reuters puts it, “growth in U.S. consumer credit slowed for the second straight month in July, held back by a decline in a measure of credit card usage that hinted at a mood of caution among consumers.”

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Make Paper Checks a Thing of the Past

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In today’s world, many things are done electronically such as buying and selling items and video chatting with your friends and family thousands of miles away. Whether you have been in business for 15 years or 5 months, you probably have, or need to, integrated some form of current technology into your business to stay current and ensure you don’t lose business due to lack of payment options.

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Accept Payments on the Go with Mobile Phone Credit Card Processing

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Receiving payment instantly for your service is not only business efficient but it can mean cost savings from not having to ‘chase’ your customer for payment. Whether you’re an electrician, a plumber, a trade show exhibitor, or a home sales representative, you can receive payment immediately, wherever you are.

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Checks, Charges, and Changes

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We always like it, here at the AVPS blog, when pieces of “separate” financial news combine to make a single, bigger story, or to provide a trendline.

That’s happened again this summer, when a story about checks — and then another — caught our eye. The first was an article written in anticipation of an upcoming report from the Federal Reserve, which charts consumer payment habits.

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Get the Best Merchant Services with AVP Solutions

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Today, there are many different ways that customers pay and if you can’t accommodate a preferred method for a customer, money is lost. As a merchant, you need to be able to accept all forms of payment so that you don’t miss a sale.

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Late Card Payments Decline — New Customer Use Patterns Emerging?

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In increasing signs of a perking — or at least, stabilizing — economy, comes the news that late payments on credit cards are at a 20-year low. According to an AP article, the credit reporting bureau TransUnion is reporting “ the second-lowest recorded since the second quarter of 1994, when the rate was 0.56 percent, and it’s running ahead of the historical average of 1.03 percent. The firm’s records go back to 1992.”

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On the Move with Your Work? Take advantage of a Wireless Credit Card Service

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There are many types of businesses that accept credit cards including on line E-commerce companies on the Internet and store front retailers as well as service companies.  But what if your work takes you on the road?  Contractors, repair companies and even those companies who exhibit in trade shows have a need to offer credit card processing solutions.

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Understanding ACH (Automated Clearing House)

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When you are starting your business there are a myriad of things to think about.  One of the most important issues is how you will generate enough revenue to make a profit and for the first few years, even survive.  Assuming you have a solid marketing plan in place to bring buyers to your online store or store front premises, how do you get the customer to purchase your products or services once they are there?

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Will Convergence, and New Tech, Help Reduce Fraud?

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The first appeared on the Small Business Trends website, and is a very useful, practical listing of “12 Tips for Merchants to Fight Credit Card Fraud at the Point of Sale.” Among the helpful pointers are the suggestion to actually compare signatures on the slip (or screen) versus the card — a practice which has fallen out of favor — and watching out for large sales, or seemingly distracted customers, rushing a purchase right at closing time.

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Accept Checks Online with Automated Clearing House

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Decades ago, they said that we would become a paperless society.  And while there are trillions of gigabytes that hold a tremendous amount of data, there are so many paper documents that haven’t made the leap.  Thankfully, checks have now gone through the transition from a paper environment to an electronic process that you as a merchant, can take advantage of to improve your bottom line and lessen the turnaround time from a conventional deposit.

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Card Companies Show Profits, as Credit Use Climbs

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There are tea leaves in nearly every flavor, for someone attempting to read what direction the economy’s headed in. But for at least two of the biggest credit card companies, the news seems to be that things are picking up, or at least their customers — the ones using credit cards — are convinced it’s okay to start saying “Charge it,” again.

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It Was Originally Going to Be the Second of July!

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As we head toward our big midsummer celebration, remember that if John Adams had been right, you’d be celebrating two days earlier!
On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress legally separated itself from Great Britain. President-to-be John Adams wrote to his wife that the “second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America.

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Are Small Businesses Evolving Fast Enough for Customers’’ Mobile Needs?

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In the same week where the smallness and flexibility of small businesses is being touted in an article explaining how small specialized bookstores may outlast the giant Barnes & Noble chain, comes a report from payments firm ControlScan and TransFirst, suggesting  that small businesses (those processing fewer than 20,000 e-commerce or 1 million physical card transactions annually), may be missing the boat in responding to one growing critical need: the ability to respond to a customer base increasingly seeking both information, and payment options, on mobile platforms.

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Happy Small Business Week!

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Here at AVPS solutions, we salute all our customers celebrating National Small Business Week! Started in 1963 by President Kennedy, “one thing that hasn’t changed,” according to the latest White House statement, “is America’s entrepreneurial spirit and the important role that small business owners play in our economy and our communities.”

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Customer Feedback

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We wanted to take a minute to share just a few of the wonderful reviews we’ve received from customers recently:

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EMVs and Travel

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As noted in this space before, new EMV (Europay/MasterCard/Visa) security standards are slowly coming to credit cards in America. Basically, the card relies on a chip, rather than a magnetic stripe, for its pertinent information, and its information is harder to clone, or hack.

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Another “Phantom Menace:” Contactless Charges

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This is a follow up on a couple of recent items we’ve had here lately, about security not only in an age of mobile technology, but security in an age where information between devices can be transferred with a literal “touch,” or “bump.”

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Of Security and Summer Destinations

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In the News: Card Use Encouraged; Card Use Cut Back

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It’s that time of year where we start to monitor the trends over consumer card use — particularly with summer travel season looming. But two other initial trends this spring caught our eye first, and may shed some light on where your customers are at.

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Your Credit Card Could Start Literally “Leaking” Data in the Smartphone Era

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By way of a heads-up comes this news from Canada, and reported in the northerly edition of Huffington Post (and later picked up in Forbes’ credit card “round up” column). We’ve mentioned those embedded chips that are due to replace magnetic strips on most credit cards (and have to a large extent in Europe — where the upgraded plastic is the “EMV” standard we’ve written about here before).

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More Credit Fraud — But More Potential Security, too

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The news in credit cards this week is kind of yin/yang, straddling both sides of the security fence. On the one hand, there’s news of another breach, this one affecting the St. Louis- based Schnucks Market chain, which confirmed an April 15 “hack” affecting 2.4 million credit and debit cards, used at nearly 80% of its 100 stores.  Track 2 card numbers and expiration data were were breached in specific stores, and depending where your customers are based, they may not be affected at all.

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Madera, m’dear? Not If You’re Not Careful About Card Fraud!

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While credit card fraud thankfully remains the rule, rather than the exception, we like to post occasional news items here about card fraud schemes, for their instructive value. In other words, what they can they teach our merchants about making their own transactions safer?

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What Not To Do In Response to “M-Commerce”

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Sometimes this happens with the newfangled habit of “showrooming.” We’ve written about it here before, and as a merchant with customers, you should keep the phrase on your radar.  “Showrooming” refers to the practice of customers entering a store, looking at items “live,” as it were (which is to say, displayed on your shelves — if you’re one of those with an offline location that has shelves), then checking their phones quickly to see if they can get it for a better price — once your own showroom display has actually helped make the sale.

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More on the Young, and their Credit

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A few weeks back, we mentioned some conflicting reports on young adults and their use of credit.  On the one hand, they were getting deeper in debt — due to sluggish job prospects and increased school costs, among other things. On the other, they were generally preferring to use debit cards, instead of credit cards, to pay for things where plastic was required, to avoid piling up even more debt.

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First Data Shows Upticks in Card Use — of all kinds

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One the one hand, we like to tout February as a “second season” to attract shoppers, after the holidays — what with Super Bowl weekend followed by Valentine’s Day. And then there’s Presidents’ Day weekend, with its traveling and “get away” plans. Add it all up, and tends to mean active customers for a wide array of businesses.

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AVPS In Your Corner For Charge Disputes

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Suddenly,  there are news stories about credit card disputes everywhere. Fox Business had one about consumer complaints, but those aren’t the same thing. Or rather, we might consider charge disputes a subset of overall “complaints,” which could include everything from bad service, to not crediting a payment, to not honoring a stated interest rate, and more.

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Attention Online Retailers: New Sales Tax Collections Headed Your Way?

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As part of our ongoing efforts to keep you updated on how saying the phrase “just charge it!” is changing for your very customers, we wanted to alert you to the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013.  It specifies that states need to simplify their own tax systems, so they can collect sales tax from out-of-state merchants, who are selling to their citizens online.

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Valentine’s Spending on the Rise

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A new survey by the National Retail Federation says that American’s will spend more than $18 billion on Valentine’s Day, making it one of our “spendiest” holidays, close on the heels of Christmas and Halloween. According to the NRF, the average outlay will be around $130 a person — a $5 uptick from last year, though the “average” for men actually clocks in at around $176, while for women it hovers around $90.

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Credit Card Fee Update — States Striking Back?

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We’ve been striving to update you on the fallout from last autumn’s credit card fee settlement from the lawsuit where numerous merchants challenged Visa, Master Charge, et all, about the fees they were charging for credit card transactions.

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Massive Consumer Spending Event Headed Your Way!

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The National Retail Federation is out with their annual survey to estimate the breadth and depth of consumer spending for the unofficial American holiday known as “Super Bowl Sunday.” As an article in the San Diego Source noted, this Sunday’s “big football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens is more than a sporting event — it is a massive consumer event.

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The History — and Future– of Credit Cards

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The New Year’s cusp is always a good time for looking both forwards – -and backwards.  Especially when one considers how fast the whole passing parade… passes by! For some colorful holiday reading about the history of credit cards, we refer you this article by Bloomberg, on a Christmas-season “fiasco” occasioned by Chicago banks, getting into the then-new credit card biz.

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Shedding Some Light on “Gelt”

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It’s that December mix of holiday time — wrapping up business for the year, and mixing in some seasonal pleasure, celebration, gift-giving, and travel, with it all. We’ll have a similar mix here on the blog heading into the new year, looking at the “fiscal aspects” of some of our seasonal traditions, as well as charting early business indicators for the year ahead.

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More Prepaid, More Credit: A Peek Into the New Year

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If You Want Your Business to Grow, Online Is the Only Way to Go

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These days, many successful businesses have an online component. Even traditionally brick and mortar establishments are jumping into the online world to increase their sales potential and their customer base. With so much of life happening in an online world these days, it’s a good idea for even the smallest business to have an online presence so that customers can find them. One way to grow your online business is to offer your customers a wide variety of payment options. This includes not only credit card transactions, but also the ability to accept checks online. Many customers today want to pay by check, and giving them the option can give you a much needed edge over the competition.

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Credit Card Trends Point to More Mobility

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Aside from the all the big election news this week, a couple of smaller items popping up in the newsfeeds on the credit card front point toward a rapidly changing landscape there too, one where mobile payments are even more common.

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ACH and How It Can Help Your Business

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What is ACH? ACH payments are electronic check payments that many businesses can use to expand their customer base. The Automated Clearing House, which is what ACH stands for, works similarly to a wire transfer but without actually being a wired payment. If you are looking for a secure way to process check payments from your customers, ACH is the way to go. These payments are resolved in just a couple of business days, which means that you will get your money faster than you might with traditional check payments. There are many benefits for business who accept ACH payments.

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Top 4 Things Wireless Credit Card Service Can Do for Your Business

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When your business depends solely on how many products you are able to sell, any advantage that you can gain over your competitors is huge.  Moving your business online is a great step, but it is only one piece of the puzzle for many business owners.  Here, we will look at four top benefits to upgrading to a wireless credit card service.

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Lessons of a Bookish Breach

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As you may have been reading in the news this week, there’s been another breach in a merchant credit card system, this time hitting 63 Barnes & Noble outlets across the country. While the breach — and resultant damage — seem to have already been contained (since the original hack occurred in September, but wasn’t announced until now, per the wishes of FBI investigators). Customer swipe machines at various B&N’s were compromised, and sent account info to the hackers themselves, who seem to have briefly used the information for purchases throughout the fall, though those curtailed.

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Could EMV Risk Be Headed Your Way?

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Of Pizzas and PCI

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Handling Checks Online Is Easy with the Right Business Services Company

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Ease and Expectation: The Future of Customer Card Use

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[et_pb_section admin_label=”section”][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text”] A couple of seemingly disparate articles caught our attention this week, since both talk about…

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“The Street” Advises: Don’t Use Your Credit Cards For Start-ups. AVPS Offers Alternatives

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Are You Encrypted?

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A recent article aimed at convenience store owners talks about PCI (Payment Card Industry) security compliance, in light of increasingly…

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How Online Payment Services Can Help Your Business

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Did you know that a vast majority of today’s consumers make frequent online purchases?  Did you know that most consumers today would rather buy an item online than have to drive to the store, wait in line, and then bring it home?  Online shopping offers a great deal of convenience in a time where convenience is increasingly hard to come by.  The economy is forcing shoppers to look for lower prices, while the need to work more hours while still tending to families and other obligations reduces the amount of time that people have to go shopping.   By offering online payment services, you make it easy for customers to purchase from you online while also offering your existing customers an easier way to pay their bills and manage their accounts.

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“Smart cards” headed this way — eventually

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According to the Nilson Report,  one of the payment industry’s leading newsletters, the United States generated about 27 percent of payment-card purchases though accounts for nearly half of global payment-card fraud.

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Darwin’s Theory of PCI Compliance

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We are big on PCI Compliance here at AVPS. And why wouldn’t we be? After all, those letters stand for Payment Card Industry compliance, and they detail ways that you — and we — can keep payments safe and secure. CBS news recently ran an article on how, increasingly, it’s small or medium-sized businesses that are being targeted by hackers (remember that the recent Global Payments breach started with a smallish NY- based transit company).

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Dispatch from Comic-Con: Lessons of the Dealers’ Room

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Your AVPS correspondents get around, and this week, we’re at Comic-Con, that mega mecca for all things pop culture, which eventually unfurl on screens and pages of every stripe, but are launched here, in previews and panels. And a walk around the dealers’ room provides a good archaeology in the strata of on-the-spot processing, like the kind currently offered by AVPS.

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Accept Credit Cards from Anywhere with a Virtual Terminal

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While many businesses operate in a brick and mortar store or on the web, an increasing number of today’s businesses are much more mobile.  Not only are today’s business owners taking more time to network and even sell products at trade shows, but with the modern economy making things hard for more traditional workers, many of today’s typical consumers have become small business owners, selling handmade goods or their own services at craft fairs, flea markets, and other venues.

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Online Payment Services and How They Can Help You Build Your Business

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If you are looking to boost your business revenue, you need to perform a number of steps.  Boosting your Internet presence through SEO marketing can be a great step, but what are you doing to make it easier for customers to make purchases once they are on your website?  If you aren’t using the right online payment services, your revenues can really suffer.  Not only can high fees take a big bite out of your profits, but you will find that the wrong merchant card processors can actually make it harder for your customers to make purchases from you.

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Got a phone? You’ve got check verification!

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When looking to move a business online, you will find that you have many options in terms of how you accept payments for bills or for your goods and services.  While many traditional banks offer merchant account solutions, these services are typically very costly and the rates and fees will depend on your credit as well as other criteria.  This can certainly be an option if you prefer it, but for many businesses, a merchant bank account is something that could better obtained from an ISO.

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Checks — They’re Not Just for Paper Anymore

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The Best Business Merchant Services Online

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When it comes to operating an online business, there are many components that will determine your overall success.  Excellent products or services, prices that are competitive, and marketing that brings people to your website are all very important, but it is also the online business merchant services that you choose and implement that will have a large impact.  If you aren’t able to accept credit cards in a secure manner or if you do not accept multiple forms of payment, you could be losing out on major business. 

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Two Billion Cardholders Coming to the U.S.?

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[et_pb_section admin_label=”section”][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text”] In challenging economic times, where might two billion new cardholders come from? Two billion “sudden”…

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More on MCAs

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No sooner does a blog post run here at AVPS on using Merchant Cash Advances to augment cash flow for your business in tight times, than the subject starts appearing in financial news headlines. Business News Daily ran a piece on the same subject, stating “In this era of tight money, many small businesses feel that they’ve been hung out to dry by traditional lenders, a new survey shows. As a result, a growing number of companies are turning to alternative sources of funding, such as merchant cash advances (MCA).”

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Fallout Continues from Recent Global Payments Breach

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The recent security breach reported by Global Payments — as previously discussed here — continues to leave the payments industry searching for clues as to what went wrong this time, and what can be done to prevent a “next time.”

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Getting Your Business Started Right

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If you are looking to start a new business or to move an existing business online, there are many steps that you will need to take.  One thing you will definitely need to do before taking many other steps is to create a business plan.  You need to have a fact and research driven estimate of what you plan to make, but you also need to have an idea of the market for your products or services, as well as an idea of what level of competition you can expect in your demographic.  All of this will be required to get funding for your business, as well as to keep you on the right track. 

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Summer travel: The beach, the open road — the use of plastic

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Take Payments Online: Increase the Geographical Scope of Your Business

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Merchant Services Online: What Do You Get With an Internet Processing Solution?

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Online Payment Processing: Preparing Your Website for Credit Acceptance

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Online Payments Processing: Expand Your Business Profit Potential

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Card Processing Companies: Choosing the Right MSP

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Card Processing Services: Frequently Asked Questions

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Credit Card Processing Machines that Help Boost Your Revenue

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Internet Merchant Accounts: Not the Only Item for Online Processing

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Business Merchants Must Perform a Few Tasks to Begin Credit Processing

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Business Payment Services Advance Your Profit Potential

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Tips for Choosing a Merchant Service Provider

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Card Merchant Service: Four Signs You Should Consult With One

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Which Merchant Card Processing Terminal is Right for Your Business?

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Small Business Credit Card Processing: What are the Benefits?

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Online Credit Card Processing: Frequently Asked Questions

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Merchant Services: Four Account Solutions for B2C Merchants

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Ecommerce Credit Card Processing: Top Market Sectors for Ecommerce

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Merchant Credit Card Processing: Putting Credit Payment in Context

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Credit Card Merchant Service Provider: What Services Does it Offer?

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Merchant Service Provider: Six Signs a Business Needs One

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Card Payment Services: Providing More Innovative Compensation Choices

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Electronic Payment Cards: What Are the Important Decision Factors?

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MOTO Business Phones: Increasing Customer Purchasing Convenience

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MOTO Business Card Reader: Summarizing Available Device Technologies

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Business Financing: Improving Transaction Management through Payment Processing

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Merchant Point of Sale Processing: Understanding Contactless Payment

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Internet Merchant Services: Does Your Business Need Them?

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Merchant Card Processors: Evaluating Card Processors

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Merchant Card Processing Companies: Choosing the Right MSP

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Merchant Card Processing Machines: What Processing Equipment does Your Business Need?

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Merchant Card Processing Services: What Merchant Accounts are Right for Your Business?

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Merchant Card Services: What is a Mail Order / Telephone Order Account?

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Electronic Payments vs. Acceptance of Credit

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Online Merchant Accounts: What Choices are Available to Your Business?

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AVP Solutions Products and Services Video

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AVP Solutions offers a wide variety of products and services to fit all of your merchant needs! Watch this video to learn more about our AVP Solutions products and services and how it can help your business.

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AVP Solutions Merchant Training Services Video

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AVP Solutions offers solutions to all of your payment processing needs and provides training and support every step of the way! Watch this video to learn more about merchant training services and how your business can benefit.

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Why is ISO Online Credit Card Processing Important to Businesses?

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What Is E-Check Processing?

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Electronic checks are a payment method used to process direct payments from a consumer or business bank account. An e-check…

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What Are The Standard ISO Bank Card Processing Steps?

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Using Ecommerce Merchant Service Providers for Customer Payment Processing

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Top Concerns When Beginning to Accept Online Payments

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Small Business Credit Card Processing: An Overview to Help You Get Started

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Reviewing and Comparing Merchant Services: Costs Associated With Credit Transaction Handling

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