Sekure cost review, Sekure Card, Sekure Merchants Review

Merchant statement review

Merchant statement review, partial statement shown.

Did you get a call from sekurecostreview.com for a merchant statement analysis? Read my research, which points out why I recommend merchants never give this company merchants statements or any other business information.

The company web site is here: http://www.sekurecostreview.com, but they have more web sites with the same physical address.

Who is Sekure Cost Review?

sekurecostreview.com affiliated web sites:

    • Sekure Card Services – sekurecardservices.com

    • Sekure Merchant Solutions sekuremerchants.com

    • Sekure Careers sekurecareers.com – they hire telemarketers

The address is 1501 Broadway, 12th Floor, New York, NY.  The address is not a traditional office, but one where anyone can ‘rent space’ so that they have a ‘prestigious office address’. From www.newofficeamerica.com, “This modern, professional business center offers companies a prestigious corporate address right at the heart of Times Square on bustling Broadway, your clients won’t help to be impressed.”

US Business Affiliation?: There’s no business registered in NYS with any of the business names in the domains above. Further, past employees report that the company is actually based in Montreal Canada, even though they called exclusively on US based businesses.  “When I can’t find a business registered with the state their supposedly affiliated with, I won’t do business with them,” says Christine Speedy, 3D Merchant Services.

The Sekure Cost Review sales pitch:

The caller said that she was providing a free cost review “funded by major banks, processors” and others in the industry. That perked my ears. Who was paying for it?  I wasn’t able to get a straight answer other than the big banks etc and they may change from time to time. “Are you a processor or ISO?” “No, we’re a broker. We save you…” . I asked it they were a lead generation company for processors? “No.”  From my research and industry knowledge, in my opinion, they’re conducting lead generation which they then send to ISO’s, or independent sales organizations, and then they get paid for deals. That’s pretty common.

The pitch is that by providing merchant statements they’ll give a side by side comparison so that I could see if I was getting gouged. No obligation.

Statement reviews are a good idea. Sekurecostreview.com and affiliated web sites highlight four items about their business:

  1. BBB reputation: USA media has proven there’s little value in a BBB reputation since companies can BUY their reputation, and there’s no verification. (See 20/20 report among others.) All sites link to Sekure Merchant Solutions, a company potentially not even legally registered in NYS. Additionally, there are 32 complaints, and while nearly all were resolved, this number is much higher than companies in the same industry that are bigger by volume processed and number of merchants served.
  2. Low cost rates: The web cites $30M/mth and the phone called cited $40M/mth in transaction volume as the reason for their great rates. In my opinion, while it’s not insignificant, companies with $100M/mth or more are far more likely to have better options.
  3. POS: Reprogram or Free terminal. Free terminals are nearly always bad because the money has to be made up somewhere. That means possibly older but PCI compliant equipment, but more likely higher fees to cover the initial outlay, or long term contracts with heavy contract dissolution fees to get out of them.  All merchant agreements include future fee increase clause so at some point you’ll pay a lot more for free equipment.
  4. Sample Review: Looks like a pretty typical side by side review that takes the same transactions at the same interchange qualification and applies a different discount rate. Rate comparisons can be a terrible way to make merchant process choices.
    • Interchange management can reduce fees from .10% to over 1%.  That’s above and beyond any discount fee negotiation. There’s a bottom to discount fee negotiation- then what will you do to reduce fees?
    • Improved productivity can increase EBITDA significantly
    • Reduced PCI compliance burden increases productivity in other areas of business

    Bottom line: As processor profits are narrowed, the bigger merchant savings comes from better interchange rate qualification in addition to efficiency improvements and reduced PCI Compliance burden.

Other:

Allied Memberships:  What does ‘allied’ mean? It does not mean an endorsement. For example, the NRF offers Retail, Service Provider, and University memberships. The only membership sekurecostreview.com qualifies for is Service Provider.  I didn’t find their company in any of the online buying guides. That doesn’t mean they’re not a member, just not in any area I searched online.

Is sekurecostreview.com a scam or legit?

They may or may not provide a valuable service to some merchants, but the negatives far outweigh the positives. Sharing highly confidential information in a world of escalating identity theft is just not worth the risk.

What’s the alternative?  Just about anyone can provide a statement review. Find someone that knows about your industry and asks questions about your business without sharing merchant statements. It takes more time and expertise to get through these steps, but it’s a lot safer. Avoid choosing any vendor that has a web site without identifying an owner or single person by name. Look up the salesperson on linkedin.

See Christine Speedy on Linkedin and see Christine Speedy on 3D Merchant Services.

3D Merchant Services Powered by CenPOS
2633 NE 26th Ave Metro South FloridaFL33064 USA 
 • 954-942-0483

How long is a credit card authorization valid for?

The short answer is, all preauthorizations, expire within 24 hours for swiped transactions and 3 business days for non-swiped card-not-present transactions. Preauthorizations are an ‘open to buy’ hold on a customer credit card. While merchants can still settle transactions after an expired authorization, it impacts fees and chargeback risk from disputes. This answer addresses manufacturers,  distributors, and business to business companies that process orders with future deliveries, some that can take days, weeks, or even months.*

“Authorizations and preauthorizations are commonly misunderstood”, according to Christine Speedy, 3D Merchant sales. “Merchants frequently say, ‘I’ve never had a problem settling a transaction that was more than 5 days in the past’. That’s true, but the downside is cost and risk management. In order to qualify for the lowest merchant fees for any transaction type, merchants must have a valid authorization. Additionally, if there’s a dispute, without a valid authorization, the risk of loss is significantly higher.”

Since it’s inefficient and nearly impossible for merchants to manage identifying when authorizations have expired for open buys, or when related rules change, a rules-based cloud payment system is critical. With automation to manage proper authorization and settlement, merchants will reduce merchant fees with any merchant account, and reduce risk.

CenPOS is a merchant centric payment platform that solves this and other complex credit card processing problems. Sales Christine Speedy 954-942-0483.

 

Credit Card Processing in a Power Outage – Disaster Planning

Power outages have begun as a result of Blizzard Juno. While merchants and consumers should be home at this time, when the snow is done and people emerge to shop again, how will businesses manage accepting credit cards? The critical issues are power, telephone and internet access. Small to medium, and local retail businesses may especially lack the proper preparation.

“Sometimes a disaster is not the physical environment, but POS systems themselves,” according to Christine Speedy, a payments professional based in Florida. “A couple months ago, a client called because their 3rd party POS system went down and they were told it would be four hours before someone could bring a part to them. Luckily they had a plan B, which was to use our CenPOS mobile app with swiper that I’d recommended for hurricane season.

Backup internet access is critical:  Having multiple internet access methods is optimal so if one is down, there’s another option. For example, phone service may be down, but high speed cable internet up, or vice versa. It’s rare that phone, wireless phone and cable internet are all down at the same time.

Backup power:  How will you power devices, computers, lighting? A separate battery backup for computers can Power to recharge devices as well as power the store lights etc

Separate Point of Sale System (POS) from payments. If you can’t power your POS system, at least make sure you can accept credit card payments. Here’s some options to accept payments in a critical outage:

  • Call to a location in an unaffected area, and have someone key enter transactions into a virtual terminal. Have duplicate receipts ready for signature, and enter authorization code instead of imprinting card numbers.
  • Swipe on a mobile device
  • Call to a location in an unaffected area, and have someone send an einvoice to click and pay.
  • Text amount due and cell phone number of buyer to a location in an unaffected area, and have someone send an einvoice to click and pay.
  • Have an online pay page ready that you can refer customers to.

There’s lots of ways to be prepared, from keeping P2P encrypted card readers on hand to holding drills during slow times to test systems and readiness.

Paper backup plan: A backup plan in a computer is not very helpful if no one can turn the computer on to see the plan. Store the backup plan in notebooks in multiple locations, including off site.

Need a mobile reader as a backup? Ask about our P2P readers to ensure they’re safe and secure until you need them.

Video: Interchange rates impacted by people & payment gateway

Merchant payment gateway choice impacts merchant fees. Managing credit card interchange rate qualification is critical to profits.

Transcript: Rising merchant fees impacting profits? Meet Joe, a CFO. The problem is rate qualifications. The system is too complex.

interchange rules

It’s impossible follow the rules without an automated system.

Employees can influence costs.

interchange rate qualification

The same transaction can process at different rates, depending on which rules you follow.

Until now. Introducing 3D Merchant Services. Cloud payment solutions that work with YOUR financial partners. Here’s how the payment gateway works. Patented solution determines the best way to process. You pay less. Users are required to follow rules. Competitors say it can’t be done. The proof is measureable. It’s quick and easy to use.  Efficient, secure, processor neutral, Level III processing, YES.

Call 3D Merchant Services 954-942-0483 for a demo and free trial.

Author: Christine Speedy. “Managing interchange rate qualification is virtually impossible without a technology solution.  The right payment gateway selection is critical to merchant success and managing fees with any merchant account.”

Expanded information about this subject: Problems with other payment gateways:

Retail swipe

Bob swipes the card on Virtual Terminal A, enters the amount and submits. ALERT: enter sales tax. (type in or enter to skip). If the extra info is entered, the transaction qualifies for Commercial Data Rate II 2.10%, if skipped, it’s 2.65%. (Most virtual terminals CANNOT support level III on swiped transactions.)

Bob swipes the card on Virtual Terminal B, enters the amount and submits. ALERT: Submit level 3 data. (This data has been prefilled with the transaction information and additional data stored in a template.) One click later and the transaction qualifies for Commercial Data Rate III or Large Ticket if a qualified large sale amount.

Moto (mail order / telephone order

Bob key enters a transaction on Virtual Terminal A and submits. After the sale is completed, an ALERT appears. You can lower your rate if you complete the next two steps. Do you think Bob ever skips the next steps because he’s busy or interrupted? You bet.

Bob swipes the card on Virtual Terminal B, enters the amount and submits. ALERT: Submit level 3 data. One click later and the transaction qualifies for Commercial Data Rate III or Large Ticket if a qualified large sale amount.

These are some simple examples. But there are many more complex rules for all sorts of different card types and transaction types. Most virtual terminals have no intelligence to help merchants with interchange rate qualification. Merchant account payment processor reports have also improved with reports for ‘non-qualified’ transactions. They’re not entirely accurate. For example, commercial data rate II is a qualified rate. However, commercial data rate III is better. Will any report tell you if there were transactions that could have processed at an even lower rate? While several of the big ones have improved, they’re still a long way from automating interchange optimization.

If you want peace of mind, instead of pouring over reports, an automated solution for interchange management is critical.

Video: PCI Compliant credit card authorization forms

Token billing solves the problem of storing credit card data for recurring billing customers, but that doesn’t fix the merchant problem of replacing credit card authorization forms.

Video Transcript: Meet Mary.  She manages accounts receivable. The problem is credit card security. Customer approval is needed for accounts on file. Image credit card authorization form. But there’s no secure way to store the authorization without also storing the credit card number and security code.

Until now. Introducing 3D Merchant Services. Cloud payment solutions that work with YOUR financial partners. Here’s how it works. Create a token. Image iphone, computer with virtual terminal screen, batch upload, point of sale, and integrated solutions. Anywhere.  Or have customers create and manage their own. Electronic bill presentment and payment, ecommerce, online payments. And then, for every token created, a prefilled form is automatically created! PCI DSS compliant.

Charge cards in seconds. Rocket blasting. ACH? Ditto. Efficient, secure, processor neutral, Level III processing, YES.

Call 3D Merchant Services 954-942-0483 for a demo and free trial.

Author: Christine Speedy. “PCI compliance is virtually impossible without a technology solution.  The right payment gateway selection is critical to merchant success and reduced PCI burden.”