Steps to Reduce Credit Card Fraud For Distribution Industry

dealer fraud credit card processingCredit card fraud is still rampant in the US, even after US EMV liability shift convinced many merchants to purchase terminals to support chip cards. Marine, auto, and other high value parts dealers have long had a problem mitigating fraud risk with local and international parts.

  1. For card not present orders, require self-pay with cardholder authentication. Taking cards over the phone, and or requiring a credit card authorization form, will not protect against all forms of counterfeit card fraud. However, consumer authentication shifts liability back to the issuer; the issuer guarantees payment, and because it’s lower risk, dealers can qualify for lower interchange rates, the bulk of merchant fees. Online payment, ecommerce payment, and electronic bill presentment and payment are the 3 methods dealers can use to enable self-payment.
  2. For retail orders, EMV is mandatory. Not by regulation, but by necessity. If a chip card is presented, and merchant supports, they’re 100% protected from counterfeit card fraud, and sometimes lost or stolen cards; if not supported by the merchant, the merchant can be automatically charged back at the issuers discretion and there’s no dispute process for merchants.
  3. Check guarantee. Whether in person or via echeck, check guarantee services are only good if they don’t reject your checks later on. Surprisingly (or maybe not), some services seem to look for ways not to approve your claim, such as information is missing from checks. This can be avoided with technology that forces users to collect the right data, including for remote self-payers.

If all of the above are implemented, dealers are protected from virtually any type of credit card fraud. The following tips will help prevent other types of lost disputes, or serve as supporting documentation if not all the above are implemented.

  1. Get a signed sales order. This can reduce non-fraud claims related to disputes about what was expected. The sales order should clearly state what was sold, refund policy, and cancellation policy, or refer to another document that specifies the information, but is initialed acceptance on the sales order.
  2. Ship to cardholder billing address. If not possible, then get cardholder approval that states bill to and ship to address are different, and they’re approval.
  3. Require all communications to cardholder business email address if selling wholesale. Free email like gmail is not OK.
  4. Require cardholder respond from business email address approving transaction receipt. This is a strong document in the case of a dispute for “I didn’t approve it”, especially when a third party is picking up the part from the dealer.
  5. The marine, automotive and other distribution companies are hit particularly hard with non-qualified transaction penalties when shifting between retail, key entered, and online payments. It’s critical that transactions are presented properly not only to qualify for lower rates, but to protect against lost disputes that require specific evidence for each type of transaction.

Not related to security, but critical for interchange rate qualification, the bulk of credit card processing fees, all services (retail, MOTO, ecommerce) should support level III processing.

In summary, dealers need US EMV and cardholder authentication to maximize risk mitigation from credit card fraud. US EMV requires terminal certification, and gateway certification* to your merchant account provider. Cardholder authentication requires a payment gateway certified for the service.  There are very few companies that meet all these requirements so if your credit card processing salesperson gives you a blank stare when you ask, it’s time to explore other options.

*A payment gateway certified for level III retail to your acquirer is required; countertop terminals are incapable of sending level III data.

3 Profit Boosters for Lumber, Building Materials, Distribution Companies

Lumber, building materials, and distribution companies increase profits and cash flow almost instantly with these credit card processing and accounts receivable tips.

  1. Use a credit card processing solution that supports level III processing for retail. Prior to the October 2015 EMV liability shift, there were more companies that offered this, but today, to my knowledge, we offer the only solution that has both US EMV and level 3 retail certification.
    level 3 processing interchange rate

    Sample interchange rates for the same credit card transaction; Failing to qualify for level III is costly.

    Benefit: Potential 1% or more profit margin increase.  TIP: No countertop credit card terminal supports level 3 due to the data that must be sent with transactions; no bank currently offers a level 3 retail solution with US EMV. A cloud-based payment gateway is required.

  2. Ensure key entered transactions are sent for authorization with the MOTO (mail order, telephone order) transaction type indicator. If not, the transaction will default to the highest ‘non-qualified’ interchange rate possible for the card type, and in the event of a dispute, merchant must be able to produce a signed receipt.  TIP: Never key enter on a countertop terminal since it is set up for RETAIL. VX520 emv NFC verifone terminalThe best solution manages proper presentment for processing automatically so employees don’t need to understand the nuances of the best way to process any transaction to qualify for lower rates or mitigate risk.
  3. Enable online payments, with level III credit card processing. By empowering customers to pay 24/7, they’ll pay faster to clear up credit lines to buy more. Also, with cardholder authentication, payment can sometimes be guaranteed against fraud and qualify for even lower interchange rates due to lower risk; key entered transactions carry more risk and while risk can be mitigated, payment is not guaranteed. Accepting alternative methods like ACH, wire, and Paypal will also reduce friction, increase efficiency and increase cash flow.

Batch processing accounts receivable and donations- Caging services solutions

Replacing ICVerify or other legacy software for batch credit card processing? Whether you’re in the cloud, or headed there, methods of payment processing have changed to meet current and future requirements for PCI Compliance and fraud prevention. For service providers, including non-profit mail processing, payment gateway selection impacts efficiency, merchant fees, and even client PCI Compliance burden.

The first way efficiency can be increased is the batch upload process. It’s basically the same for credit card processing and check processing. Here’s comparisons for payment gateway methodology for batch upload service:

CenPOS Batch Processing File Upload

  1. Save file to configurable directory (listening folder)

CenPOS Batch Processing Response File Retrieval

  1. Retrieve one or multiple files from configurable directory (response folder)

Authorize.net, Payeezy (First Data) and similar Batch Processing File Upload

  1. Log in to your Merchant Interface at https://account.authorize.net or other
  2. Click Upload Transactions.
  3. Click Upload New Transaction File.
  4. Click Browse.
  5. Locate from your system the file that you want to upload.
  6. Click Upload File.

Authorize.net, Payeezy (First Data)and similar Batch Processing Response File Retrieval

  1. Log into the Merchant Interface at https://account.authorize.net or other
  2. Click Tools from the main toolbar.
  3. Click Upload Transactions.
  4. Click View Status of Uploaded Transaction Files.
  5. Select the desired uploaded transaction file from the Select Upload File drop-down list.
  6. Click Submit.

CenPOS increases efficiency to upload and retrieve responses, reduces friction with no login required, and also supports multi-merchant login, enabling users to toggle between accounts, creating efficiency for both the service provider and the merchant.

More BATCH UPLOAD differences authorize.net CenPOS
Custom fields (share across channels) No Yes
Reporting 2 years Indefinite
Telephone support no yes 24/7

Merchant fees are impacted when a transaction does not qualify at the lowest interchange rate possible. For example, business to business companies must submit level III data to qualify for related rates, which are often 90 basis points (0.90%) lower than without. The payment gateway must be certified for level III to each acquirer supported. Only a few payment gateways are level III certified, and even fewer of those offer an acceptable batch upload solution.

PCI Compliance burden is reduced with tokenization, outsourced payment processing, reduced vendors and reporting. The latter is critically important for forensic audits, as well as financial. The average gateway only saves data for two years, and has limited data retrieval capabilities. CenPOS audit reports cover every touch to the platform- who, what, when, and more, with records available for a minimum of 7 years to match IRS requirements, reducing the cost of on-site and remote audits.

To learn more about batch credit card processing, replacing ICVerify, and cloud payment differentiators, Contact Christine Speedy for a free consultation for all your omnichannel global payment needs.

4 Credit Card Processing Tips for Consultants & Accountants

profits Following several years of regulatory and technology credit card processing changes, 2015 has been another big year of changes. As we close out 2015, what are you advising clients to maximize profits? Every consultant to distributors, especially for building materials, including lumber and millwork, electrical, marble & stone, and plumbing supply, needs to update their merchant services knowledge. These businesses tend to have both a retail and a ‘to the trade’ component, making old solutions potentially outdated, risky, and costly.

  1. EMV liability shift October 2015, shifted liability for counterfeit card, and sometimes lost and stolen card, transaction losses from the issuer to the merchant, if the merchant does not support EMV chip card acceptance. Since businesses never saw this fraud, the financial risk is unknown, but guesses put it in the 1-2% of sales range. The first acquirer (Vantiv) announced penalties effective January 1 if a retail operation does not support EMV chip card transactions. These fees will grow throughout the payment chain in 2016, and be passed down to the merchant. If profit margins are important, EMV compliance is not optional. Between growth in credit card fraud losses and new penalties, distributors need to make the change ASAP.
  2. EMV terminal selection. Retail Distributors fall into two categories: Those who use countertop terminals, and those who use anything else, including mag swipe reader or signature capture terminal. Only the latter are even capable of supporting level 3 data, critical for qualifying for level 3 interchange rates, which makes up more than 95% of credit card processing, or merchant, fees. Yet, the vast majority of recommended EMV solutions are incapable of level 3, and or there is no certification for it. While updating, add NFC for ApplePay and newer payment methods, and P2PE, which encrypts at the terminal head, further mitigating data breach risk.  The best EMV terminal selection for distributors may reduce merchant fees an average of 32% and mitigate data breach risk. Conversely, the wrong choice will directly reduce profit margins. 
  3. PCI Compliance. Internal and external data breaches are a serious growing problem (Lowes and Home Depot both admitted), and best practices are being shared among peers that are ‘risky’ at best. Top areas of concern are paper credit card authorization forms and electronically storing card data (without certified compliant tokenization such as a payment gateway). Both should be eliminated. Online pay pages and other technology solutions have negated the need for employees to ever have access to credit card data, not even for a minute. Has your own company eliminated them?
  4. Quickbooks. For operations that used Intuit Merchant Services because there was no other integrated choice, that’s no longer an issue. Third party integrations empower businesses to use any acquirer. Look for one that supports all payment methods needed (ACH, check, wire, credit card etc). If processing more than $500k annually, fees may drop up to 50%.

CHRISTINE’S RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CLIENT ADVICE TO DISTRIBUTORS:

  • Implement EMV ASAP to avoid penalties and fraud losses.
  • Only implement an EMV solution certified for level 3 processing to maximize profit margins.
  • Get PCI 3.0 Compliant to mitigate risk of financial losses from a data breach- Replace all practices that include credit card access by any employee, even for a minute, with a technology solution.
  • Replace Intuit Merchant Services to maximize profit margins.

Note: this advice is applicable to any business that has a customer base which includes some business to business and retail, even if retail is a small part of the overall payment types accepted.