Visa Rules on Convenience Fees

In the payments ecosystem, Convenience Fee models are rising in popularity, but many merchants and agencies are unaware that the card-brands have issued explicit rules on how these fees may be applied.

If you are currently deploying a Convenience Fee-based payment model, you should take care to review these card-brand rules.

    1. Charged for a bona fide convenience in the form of an alternative payment channel outside the Merchant’s customary payment channels and not charged solely for the acceptance of a Card
    2. Added only to a Transaction completed in a Card-Absent Environment
    3. Not charged if the Merchant operates exclusively in a Card-Absent Environment
    4. Charged only by the Merchant that provides goods or services to the Cardholder
    5. Applicable to all forms of payment accepted in the payment channel
    6. Disclosed clearly to the Cardholder
    7. A flat or fixed amount, regardless of the value of the payment due
    8. Included as part of the total amount of the Transaction and not collected separately
      – As a charge for the alternative payment channel convenience
      – Before the completion of the Transaction. The Cardholder must be given the opportunity to cancel.
    9. Not charged in addition to a surcharge
    10. Not charged on a Recurring Transaction or an Installment Transaction.

The eighth rule in this list is where serious risks of non-compliance frequently arise. According to Visa’s rules, Convenience Fees have to appear (and be processed and authorized) as a single transaction by the merchant of record. Solutions which process convenience fees as two separate transactions are therefore non-compliant, and can compromise your merchant account.

If you’re currently deploying or considering a convenience fee model, be sure to ask your payment provider whether they process convenience fees as a single transaction or a separate transaction. If the convenience fee solution involves running the convenience fee as a separate transaction, you may be at risk of losing your merchant processing account and compromising your ability to accept payments altogether.

Many popular solutions are not fully compliant with card brand rules, which is why it is crucial to have a thorough understanding of these requirements to ensure that your provider’s solution is compliant. Fully compliant programs do exist that can minimize your business risk while reducing your payment acceptance costs.

Click here or call 888-211-4470 to learn more.

Pizza, Puzzles and Payment Processing: Bring Your Child to Work Day 2019

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On April 18th, Payscout held its annual Bring Your Child to Work Day across the Los Angeles and New Jersey offices. Throughout the day, the children learned about what we do at Payscout, and got a first-hand experience of our award-winning culture!

The kids started off the day meeting new friends and reuniting with old friends, both in-person and across the country via live feed. After many intense rounds of Bingo and with tummies full of pizza, they learned about payment processing, and what better way to do so than with cookies! Using their Payscout dollars and Payscout cards, the kids learned about the Payscout mission by supporting the entrepreneurial dream one cookie box transaction at a time.

See below for some of our favorite moments from the day!

We would like to send a big thank you to all the kids, parents, and everyone who helped make this such a fun-filled day.

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Streamline Your Billing Processes with Payscout’s recurring Billing Services

Two-office-men-calculating-expenses

Payscout offers customized payment processing services to help streamline your organization’s recurring billing operations.

Recurring billing is common among industries that provide services or goods on a prearranged schedule. It’s a convenient service for both providers and customers and offers a routine charge for purchases that occur on a regular basis, including utility payment processing, a subscription-based service, or a non-profit payment processing system that collects monthly, quarterly, or annual dues.

However, recurring billing has some drawbacks. For example, it can be cumbersome to correct a billing error, since most customers won’t pay too close attention to a recurring billing statement. There is a higher likelihood that an error could go unnoticed for an extended period of time.

Payment processing and recurring billing are inherently complex with many moving parts. So whether your organization uses a point of sale payment system, mobile payment processing, or recurring billing, Payscout has everything you need to make the operation as seamless as possible.

Payscout offers three recurring payment options based on your organization’s services and billing cycle, including:

Traditional Recurring Billing
Payscout’s traditional recurring billing options allow you to set up a recurring billing account for a specific dollar amount, either for a specific day, a specified period of time, or indefinitely.

This option involves setting up a recurring billing option using a credit card or an automated clearing house (ACH), also known as an electronic check. This service is ideal for recurring services like a subscription or donation.

Expanded Recurring Billing
The expanded/plan recurring billing program lets you set up a billing plan and add an unlimited number of cardholders. You can also change the dollar amount to be charged and the timing and frequency of charges.

As an added benefit, any change you make will go into effect immediately for every cardholder on the account. This provides seamless, efficient updates for both the customer and service provider.

Modifiable Recurring Billing
Payscout’s modified recurring billing option allows service providers to create and upload recurring billing information using an Excel spreadsheet directly into Payscout’s online portal. When you need to make a change to a customer’s billing information or dollar amount, simply make the change in Excel and upload a new spreadsheet.

You can also use an Excel template and save it in your Payscout account, which you can then use for future payment processing. This powerful option lets you process 50,000 transactions easily and efficiently, saving you and your customers valuable time.

Learn how to streamline your recurring billing processes today at www.payscout.com

The All-in-One Payment Solution of Omni-Channel

man-using-laptop-tablet-mobile phone-omni-channel

An omni-channel payment solution allows your business to accept multiple payment types in a single processing platform. Online, telephone, over-the-counter, and mobile payment processing are all included in an omni-channel bundle. In addition, most omni-channel systems include invoicing and recurring billing options. This solution allows you to meet consumer needs while putting the control of payment in their hands.

If your business accepts more than one payment type, an omni-channel solution is for you. If, for example, you are a boutique that accepts in-person transactions at your brick-and-mortar location, but also allows customers to shop online, then you need a solution that enables you to accept payments both online and over the counter.

Online Payments

These include completing a transaction via an online shopping cart, a “buy now” button, or an online bill payment portal. Accepting online payments encourages shopping and payment – even when you’re closed.

Mobile Payments

In today’s culture, people seem to be permanently attached to their electronic devices. Mobile payments allow customers to pay via the devices in their hands, such as a phone or iPad, both in store and online. It provides customers access to their account 24/7 for anytime shopping and bill payments.

Telephone Payments

Also known as interactive voice response (IVR), this solution allows customers to make payments over the phone via an automated payment system. Many processing companies can offer this solution to simply redirect from your regular phone number to the automated system after hours. This is an excellent option for monthly billing requirements such as utility payment processing.

Over-the-Counter Payments

An over-the-counter payment solution refers to the traditional payment method of interacting with a person, giving them your card or cash, getting a receipt, and leaving. This traditional payment method is still one that many use every day.

Choose a payment processing company that can customize a solution to bundle only what you need into an omni-channel solution.

About Payscout

Payscout is a global payment processing provider covering six continents and connecting merchants and consumers via credit, debit, ATM, and alternative payment networks.  Payscout is committed to supporting the entrepreneurial dream one transaction at a time by offering payment processing solutions for brick-and-mortar and ecommerce transactions, and has earned acclaim as a new-generation provider of merchant banking services.  The company is one of the few providers to deliver a truly global payment solution that encompasses all merchant risk verticals. Payscout can assist you and your business with everything from your omni-channel needs to non profit payment processing.

Satisfy all your payment processing needs with Payscout at www.payscout.com

Card Brand Updates for April 2019

stack-of-credit-cards-for-card-brand-update-blog-postIn April 2019, a series of updates are being implemented by the card brands. Some of these changes will affect pricing in certain categories and regions.

What follows is a summary of the fee changes, category modifications, and pricing adjustments that will result from these changes.

 Visa International Service Assessment Fee Changes

On April 12, 2019, Visa will be increasing the International Service Assessment Fee rates, which are assessed on transactions from merchants located in the U.S. when the card was issued in another country. The Fee Rate Levels below are determined by the settlement currency; the Base fee rate applies to transactions settled in U.S. dollars and the Enhanced fee rate applies to transactions settled in a currency other than U.S. dollars.

Visa Network Acquiring Processing Fee – Changes to International Fees

On April 1, 2019, Visa will be increasing fee rates for International Credit and International Debit and Prepaid transactions.

The Network Acquiring Processing fee is applied to all authorizations, both approvals and declines. Previously, domestic and international credit transactions were assessed the same fee rate. The same was true of the fee rates for debit and prepaid transactions (domestic and international transactions were assessed the same fee). The rate for U.S. domestic transactions will not be changing.

Mastercard Interchange Rate Adjustments for Existing Consumer Interchange Programs

Effective April 12, 2019, Mastercard will be adjusting the fee rates for the existing interchange fee programs categorized below:

Mastercard Commercial Interchange Rate Adjustments and Structure Changes

On April 12, 2019, Mastercard will be changing their U.S. Commercial Interchange structure and renaming some existing interchange programs as part of the consolidation of commercial interchange programs.

The fee rates for the existing interchange fee program categories are:

The fee rates for the new Mastercard Interchange Programs are:

Discover Interchange Fee Rate Adjustments

Effective April 12, 2019, Discover will be modifying interchange fee rates for some interchange program categories. With these changes, transactions in the impacted categories may qualify at the new fee rate amounts.

American Express Industry Category Rate Changes

On April 12, 2019, American Express will adjust existing pricing in the B2B/Wholesale, Restaurant, and Services & Professional Services Industry Categories.

Here are the pricing changes by industry category:

The Same Point-of-Sale Malware File has been Linked to Multiple Data Breaches in North America

Credit-card-and-POS-and-malware image for Visa PwnPOS post

Visa’s Payment Fraud Disruption (PFD) team recently determined that seven point-of-sale breaches reported since March 2018 in North America were linked to the exact same malware file hash, now known as the “PwnPOS” File.

PwnPOS is a point-of-sale (POS) malware file that was first identified back in 2015, but there are indications it may have been active as early as 2013.

From 2016 to 2017, there were only a few reported instances of PwnPOS infections, but that number increased significantly in 2018. Visa’s PFD team discovered that each of the malware files recovered from the 2018 breaches were the same across all instances, which means the PwnPOS malware family is easily identifiable.

How it Works

There are three main attributes of the PwnPOS malware:

1)  A component that adds or removes itself from a list of system services

2)  This component enables the malware to avoid detection and persist on a targeted machine

3)  The malware installs a RAM scraper that monitors for keyboard inputs containing a string of numbers

Once those keyboard inputs are scraped, the malware checks the string of numbers against the Luhn algorithm (a formula used to validate identification numbers) to determine if it is a credit card number. If the numbers pass the check, the malware extracts the compromised data.

Mitigation Measures

To identify the presence of the PwnPOS malware, Payscout recommends scanning your networks for the following indicators of compromise:

Visa PwnPOS Malware Alert - Indicators of Compromise

The indicators above correspond to the RAM scraper component of the PwnPOS malware. The seven cases Visa’s PFD team identified in 2018 had additional PwnPOS file attributes, but the RAM scraper component was consistently present in all instances, making it the most reliable indicator of compromise available.

Best Practices

Visa recommends the following best practices to reduce the risk of exposure:

  • Secure remote access with strong passwords, ensure only the necessary individuals have permission for remote access, and disable remote access when not in use.
  • Enable EMV on all point-of-sale devices.
  • Provide each Admin user with their own user credentials. User accounts should also only be provided with the permissions vital to job responsibilities.
  • Turn on heuristics (behavioral analysis) on anti-malware to search for suspicious behavior, and update anti-malware applications.
  • Monitor network traffic for suspicious connections, and log system and network events.
  • Implement Network Segmentation, where possible, to prevent the spread of malicious software and limit an attacker’s foothold.
  • Maintain a patch management program and update all software and hardware firmware to most current release to limit the attack surface for zero-day vulnerabilities.

How to Thrive as a Farmer’s Market Vendor

How to thrive as a vendor at a farmer's market

Operating a booth at a farmer’s market is an excellent way to flex your entrepreneurial muscles. With the right planning, you can create a business that flourishes and produces a healthy income. There are definitely a few things to consider before you take the leap, as maintaining a booth is a huge commitment that can involve several months of your time. Do your research, prepare in advance, and keep things speedy with mobile payment processing and you’ll blossom at the market.

Visit the market

Deciding to operate a booth at the farmer’s market seems like an excellent idea, especially if you enjoy people. However, it is a great deal of work, so you’ll want to do research before you commit to an entire season. An investigative visit to the market will help you grasp what you’re getting into. Rather than going to the market as a shopper, go and observe as a potential vendor and ask yourself:

  • Are there any competing products? Or will your product(s) be the only one of its kind?
  • How is the pricing?
  • What is the vibe of the market?
  • How elaborate are the displays? Will your booth require a great deal of design or display materials?
  • Does it stay busy all day?
  • How happy are the other vendors with the market?

Offer something different

In order to be profitable as a farmer’s market vendor, you’ll want to offer at least some items that can’t be found from other vendors. When it comes to food and crafts, Farmer’s Market shoppers are looking for unique items and ingredients and superior quality.

If there is an overlap in products, be sure to evaluate the price of similar items, so you don’t underprice and annoy other vendors. For example, if you and Susie’s Farms both sell banana bread and she lists her loaves for five dollars, you don’t want to sell yours for three dollars and price her out of the market. Instead, list yours at the same price as hers.

Lure shoppers in with exciting visuals

Spend the time on details that make your booth stand-out. Creative and eye-catching signs, varying display heights, colorful tablecloths and accents, really anything that draws the attention of shoppers is fair game. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to set-up and tear down all of the décor every weekend.

Label it

Not having clearly priced items might be the quickest way to lose a sale. The majority of people will not inquire about the price of an item, this is especially true if you are busy interacting with another customer. Labeling the price of your items in a clear way is a must.

Speedy checkout

Long lines make customers walk away—so maintaining a steady flow in your booth and keeping lines short is imperative. The ability to accept payment via your smartphone or tablet will not only expand your customer base, but it will also keep your lines short. Choose mobile payment processing that allows you to accept credit and debit cards quickly.

About Payscout

Payscout is a global payment processing provider covering six continents and connecting merchants and consumers via credit, debit, ATM, and alternative payment networks.  Payscout supports nonprofit business and organizations with nonprofit payment processing, offering services such as mobile payment processing that aids your business in achieving quick, easy payment.  At Payscout, the mission is to support the entrepreneurial dream one transaction at a time.  From keeping utilities on track with utility payment processing to omnichannel processing, Payscout will help your business thrive.

Discover how to mobilize your business at www.payscout.com

The Future of Virtual Reality Commerce

man-in-vr-commerce-experience

Despite the increasingly user-friendly, effective, intuitive, and affordable virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) platforms, they’re still occasionally dismissed as technological novelties. People who have used VR technology are generally not among those who dismiss it. Those who have experienced what VR is capable of tend to agree that it’s a technology in the infancy of its eventual larger cultural influence. It’s an opinion shared by a large portion of the tech community and those who invest in it.

That investment and adoption of VR technology has increased every year, and there’s no reason to think it won’t continue to trend that direction. There is a handy basis for comparison that VR proponents often cite to VR skeptics: the smartphone. There was a smartphone-averse population when the handheld smart devices and mini tablets, that would become smartphones, were introduced. They were expensive, and a minority of the population were the excited early adopters who owned them. Now, of course, they’re ubiquitous. And with any tech trend of this size and influence (like mobile payment processing for smartphones), there’s the inevitable question of monetization and commerce.

 VR Advertising

The implications for advertising aren’t hard to imagine. A business could preview their product’s or service’s features, functions, selling points – and even how the product would look in your home – all of which could be investigated in living color, in 3D, and comprehensively. It’s a dream come true for real-time consumer engagement and experiential ads. In addition, there’s the prospect of general ad improvement, such as the option to take the consumer virtually under the sea or down into a volcano. Interactive product placement in video games and other VR entertainment is likewise piquing the interest of marketing executives.

VR Shopping and Payment Processing

Along with the opportunity to examine a product or service, ecommerce futurists foresee a shopping dynamic in which customers could browse virtual grocery or clothing stores, examine products, compare them, and purchase them from the comfort of home. Of course, that same dynamic is going to require a new class of payment processing technology to accommodate the medium. The considerable financial potential of VR commerce has actually already yielded a VR commerce app from payment processing firm Payscout.

VR Non Profit and Charity Giving

As necessary and beneficial as commerce is for every society, there’s an admirably altruistic portion of the business community who insist on an even more selfless brand of commerce. They are the entrepreneurs and humanitarians who have founded non profits and charities. The potential for VR to introduce possible donors, supporters, members, and customers to the realities of the issue a charity or non profit is attempting to publicize or mitigate is huge. Unfortunately, even the traditional charity and non profit operations and fundraising can be complex, frustrating, and discouraging when being undertaken in actual reality. The last thing they need is a difficult payment process to add friction to the experience. Fortunately, Payscout offers a modern and secure non profit payment processing solution that can help non profits manage one-off and recurring donations with ease.

About Payscout

Payscout has consistently been recognized as one of the most innovative, trusted, and dynamic payment processing providers in the industry. By facilitating sound, secure, convenient payment processing solutions across the U.S., Canada, Brazil, and the E.U., Payscout links merchants and their customers with their debit, credit, ATM, mobile, and alternative payment systems. Payscout makes it easy to manage payments, both on-site and for mobile and online platforms. Additionally, Payscout can integrate with over a dozen software payment processing applications, while specializing in healthcare payment processing, utility payment processing, and non profit payment processing. Payscout can accommodate any payment requirement, and they’ll do so with safe, secure, speedy, friendly, and convenient service.

Discover everything Payscout’s payment processing solutions can do for you, at www.payscout.com

Payscout Partners with Accenture Interactive and Elastic Path to Bring an Immersive Donation Experience to SXSW

SXSW VR Activation

At South by Southwest Interactive this year, Payscout is demoing a ground-breaking virtual reality experience for the Peregrine Fund that takes the user on a flight with a California Condor and lets them donate frictionlessly to the fund via Pay-by-Gaze technology.

Payscout is showcasing a technology experience at SXSW with Accenture Interactive and Elastic Path that represents the future of how brands will engage with consumers (and optimize conversions) in immersive environments.

Elastic Path and Payscout have partnered with Accenture Interactive to create a 360-degree experience for the Peregrine Fund that showcases how conservation efforts have benefited birds of prey like the California Condor.

After experiencing the majesty of the Condor in 360-degrees, the user can make a frictionless donation to support the Peregrine Funds’ conservation efforts via an all-new Pay-by-Gaze technology that is being debuted at SXSW.

As an unrivaled example of how businesses will tell stories and optimize conversions in a mixed-reality world,  the location-based virtual reality experience features Oculus Go headset experience of a 360-degree story about the California Condor, which is followed by a “virtual store” for gazing and initiating a donation to the Fund.

“We are thrilled to debut this groundbreaking technology with Accenture Interactive and Elastic Path,” said Payscout COO Juan Sotelo. “This kind of technological solution and platform integration represents the future of how brands will leverage immersive technology to drive optimized outcomes among their ideal customers.”

The virtual reality experience can be found at Accenture’s Demos @ the Experience Cantina, in the XR Lab Space 4, March 8-12 at the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas. For additional details, please click here.

Accenture Interactive was named Elastic Path Partner of the Year for two years running: https://www.elasticpath.com/resources/elastic-path-names-accenture-interactive-partner-year

Free eBook: 5 Ways an Online Payment Portal Will Streamline Your Business and Increase Revenue

Why Every Business Owner Should Read Payscout’s Payment Portal eBook
Every Business Owner Should Read Payscout’s Payment Portal eBook

As a result of the innovations in global mobile payment processing and other facets of the payment industry, Payscout is one of the most well-respected and successful payment processing organizations in the industry. Payscout consistently ranks among the top 30 companies in the financial services industry, and has ranked in the top 20 for medium-sized businesses on Entrepreneur’s list of Top Company Cultures. As such, when payments industry professionals from Payscout talk, the financial industry service industry listens.

Which means that any business hoping to increase their efficiency, growth, and profit might want to consider doing the same. Thankfully for them, Payscout has a commitment to education and transparency that’s resulted in the publishing of an eBook entitled “5 Ways an Online Payment Portal Will Streamline Your Business and Increase Revenue.” The following is a brief overview of topics covered in its five chapters, but shouldn’t be considered an alternative to reading it in its entirety, as this eBook is a must-read for anyone interested in their business profiting. The free eBook is available for download directly from Payscout’s website.

 Customer Convenience

The demographics of the American and global marketplaces are changing. There will soon be more millennials involved in commerce than baby boomers, and they have billions to spend. Having largely grown up with the internet and proficient in the use of devices, for millennials, convenient, comprehensive payment options for everything from entertainment streaming to utility payment processing is now expected. Disregarding that reality can prove devastating for a business.

 Flexibility

In the same vein, traditional bill paying, chiefly by cash and check, continues to decrease in popularity. At the same time, automated bill payment featuring credit and debit cards has increased. Modern customers are simply choosing plastic over paper, and every business should at least allow the option to accommodate that preference.

 Efficiency

Efficiency is an asset to any business, but a good example is accounts receivable and collections. Repeatedly mailing bill reminders and making calls not only doesn’t work, but also wastes the time of the collector and the debtor, wastes resources, and loses money better spent elsewhere. Setting up an automated, intuitive, reasonable process for reminders and a user-friendly payment portal through accounts receivable collections software will save a company money and is more likely to actually result in money being collected.

 Security

Hacking and malicious intrusions into a company’s network can result in customer information being compromised, fraudulent charges, and a loss of millions in revenue. It can cost both current and future customers by permanently damaging a company’s reputation, literally overnight. That’s why it’s so important to choose a payment processor that is Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliant. And when choosing a payment processing company, be sure to ask about their data encryption algorithm and their tokenization technology.

 Brand Building

A non profit may be doing everything right marketing-wise by running an efficient and ethical business, advertising in the right places, and using branding to spread the word about their organization and contributions to altruism. However, if their non-profit payment processing platform only accepts one-off payments in the form of cash and checks, they’re going to be faced with less donations and fewer recurring donors. While many want to support the causes they believe in, the reality is that some people are simply not interested in (or seemingly too busy to) physically deliver cash or mail checks. Fortunately, a secure non-profit payment processing solution can streamline the process, making it easy to drive consistent, recurring donations from different payment options to your organization.

 Optimize the success and continued growth of your business or non profit with the industry’s best payment processing solutions, at www.payscout.com