Category Archives: Finance

Using Credit Card Machines For Small Business

One of the best ways to heighten your market exposure and increase your sales is to have the capacity to accept more forms of payment. In today’s highly technological age, credit cards are fast becoming one of the most popular forms of payment. If you’re running a small business, being able to accept credit purchases will attract more customers to purchase your products or services. After all, a big chunk of buyers these days turn to credit cards when it comes to most of their purchases. Charge card machines for small business will give you the capacity to accept credit card payments, but there’s more to merchant accounts than just having the machine itself.

Contact Merchant Services Companies
There are a variety of merchant services companies that can provide you with a variety of machines for small businesses. Your choice of company will determine the fees you have to pay for the service. Some companies will charge a large fee per transaction made but take a low percentage amount of your sales volume, others are the other way around. Find out about the fees you have to pay and how you can cut these fees by choosing the right company.

Decide Your Processing Option
The next step is to determine what type of charge card machines for small business you prefer. If your business is a face to face retail business, you may benefit more from a POS swiping terminal. Or, you may even choose to install a payment processing software into your computer in order to turn it into a cash register. Find out about the advantages and disadvantages of both choices and choose which one will benefit you.

Purchase Your Chosen Hardware of Software
The next step includes purchasing a machine for your small business or software that you can install in your computer. Credit cards machines for small business can cost you hundreds of dollars, so you may want to choose a company that can provide you with the cheapest machine rates. An Internet account, on the other hand, will require you to pay monthly rates and a variety of fees per transaction. Your next goal is then to integrate your chosen payment processing choice into your business model.

Using Credit Cards Safely Online

In recent years online shopping has become part of everyday life and competes head on with more traditional ways of shopping for everything from groceries through to travel.

Despite the rise in online shopping there are often fears of personal information falling into the wrong hands and the risk of credit card fraud occurring. While everything carries a risk, shopping online should be relatively safe providing you follow these tips to keep your details in the right hands.

Use well known websites: The Internet has matured to the point that many online companies such as Amazon have become household names. Also, big brands from the real world have moved online. Well known names are likely to use the latest online security measures and handle a large number of transactions.

Check company reputation with first time purchases: Sometimes you’re bound to want to buy something online from a company you have not purchased from before. If it’s your first time shopping with a company then check out the company before making purchases to be sure they have a good reputation. Prior to the internet you had to rely on people you know for recommendations but these days there are many consumer review websites where companies and products are rated and discussed. You can also check the Better Business Bureau for details on the company including known complaints.

Only use secure websites: Once your happy with the company you are purchasing from you need to ensure your credit card details are being processed using a secure connection. The most common form of secure encryption is known as Secure Sockets Layer or SSL for short. SSL encrypts data and breaks it up into small pieces so that the information can not be read by anyone wanting to intercept it. To check your purchase is using SSL or secure technology there are a few things to look out for in your Internet browser. Depending on your browser settings you may receive a message stating that you are entering a secure area. The secure area normally begins on the first page where you enter personal details. You can also look out for a padlock symbol in your browser symbolizing the page is secure. Most often the address bar in your browser will change from starting with http to https.

Never send your credit card details through non-secure online methods such as via email. Such methods will offer little protection.

Security Code: An increasing number of online stores now request a CVV or card verification number when making a purchase. The CVV code is the small code shown on the signature bar on the back of your card. Normally the last 3 digits of the code are required. This is to prevent someone who has managed to get your name; card number and expiration date from being able to make purchases using your card.

Further security: Another security feature that credit card companies are using is to create another level of security by adding an additional password. An example of this is Verified by Visa or Mastercard Secure Code. This is an optional feature so only offers support with selected websites or payment processing systems. If you activate the code and shop on sites that carry the logo, the check out process will require the password you set up in order to authorize your purchase.

Phishing emails – don’t get hooked: Be aware of email scams designed to part you from your credit card information. Email scams that are designed to gather personal information such as passwords and credit card details are known as phishing emails. The idea is that thousands or hundreds of thousands are sent out in the hope of reeling in unsuspecting victims and getting them to part with confidential information. The emails appear to be from well known companies and can look quite convincing. However, legitimate companies including all banks will never send you an email with a link requesting your login, password or credit card details. If in doubt, type the web address of the company it relates to directly into the browser rather than following the email link.

Use a credit card with online fraud protection: Just in case all else fails it pays to know the policy for online fraud protection offered by your credit card company. Many credit card companies offer protection against purchases made without your consent and have special clauses to include online purchases. Credit cards tend to offer more protection than debit cards as they don’t directly remove funds from your own back account. If a transaction goes under investigation or proves to be fraudulent you may never end up out of pocket with a credit card providing your card issuer provides protection.

Online shopping is certainly here to stay and online security continues to advance. There are arguments that shopping online can be safer than shopping over the phone or even in person as you never hand you card details over to another person. Just remember to follow these tips to help keep your online shopping safe and secure.

The Pros and Cons of Using Your Credit Card Abroad

While it is undoubtedly very convenient to swipe your credit card when you are travelling overseas, it might be an eye-opener to know that you may be paying additional costs and fees every time you do so. Consider these statistics –

  • Banks earn £500 million from overseas credit card usage.
  • According the Office of National Statistics, Britons spend more than £30 billion in foreign countries; of this, more than half is spent with credit cards.
  • Almost 70% of credit cards users are unaware that their credit card company levies additional surcharges and fees when they make card purchases during foreign jaunts.

If you were previously unaware of these charges, read on to find out the specific costs you could incur when you swipe your cards on non-UK soil.

Fees for Swiping your Card

When using your card abroad, you may have to pay up to 2.75% of every single purchase you make as an exchange rate loading or foreign usage fee. This means if you have bought goods worth £1000 on your credit card, you may have actually paid £1027.50 for them.

Fees for Cash Withdrawal

If you need cash whilst travelling abroad, you should try and avoid making withdrawals on your credit card as you may be subject to even further charges. Firstly, you may have to pay local cash withdrawal fees of approximately 1.5%. Secondly, you may also need to pay additional fees for withdrawing cash overseas. You may also be charged interest on the amount of cash you withdraw. This means that potentially for every £1,000 you take as cash you may end up paying £47.50 for the privilege (the equivalent of an interest rate of 4.75%)

Currency Conversion

Here you pay a bit of money, even though there are 2 ways in which currency is converted to sterling. In the older system, when you make credit card purchases abroad you pay in local currency. Visa or MasterCard then convert the purchase price to pounds when you reach home, and you pay the amount in sterling. Since the exchange rate fluctuates, you may either find yourself paying up more, or less than the day you made the purchases. In the new Dynamic Currency Conversion or DCC, the local payment vendor will inform you of the pounds sterling equivalent at the purchase point. However, although the exchange rate offered is normally quite poor, this method does help you to budget during your holiday as you are aware of the exact amount charged to your card.

The good news is that not all credit card providers charge you the same rate. If you are a savvy user, you should either be able to negotiate your card company into proving you with a more reasonable foreign usage rate or simply select a card that levies the lowest fees. This is well worth doing as by investigating possible credit card charges before you get on the plane, you may save up to 5% of your holiday costs.


Holiday Tips For Credit Card Safety

Almost one-third of users experience credit card fraud and in 2010 close to 11 million adults experienced identity theft, with 43 percent of reported theft linked to credit card fraud. As of 2010, estimated showed that 11.1 million adults are victims of identity theft each year.

Those are staggering numbers and are the reason that credit card safety is an ongoing necessity for all of us. During holiday season even greater vigilance is necessary for many obvious reasons. Most security actions fall into the common sense group, but with busy lives we often end up tasking without adding a good dose of forethought.

Following are my top ten list of easy, fast habits anyone can build to support credit/debit card security.

  1. Never write down your PIN number and make sure to cover the keypad when entering on any machine. For added secure, do not use a PIN number tied to personally identifiable information. A quick Google search with your name may shock you about your personal data floating around on the web.
  2. Sign the back of your card upon receiving it and destroy old cards immediately. Scissor through the name line and account number. Scrap away the bar code with the scissor blade. Even better, use a home shredder to completely destroy cards.
  3. Review receipts, both ATM and store, to make sure the figures are accurate.
  4. Destroy receipts as soon as possible. I tear ATM receipts into small bits immediately upon verification. Credit receipts are matched to statements online and then shredded.
  5. The only time to give card information over the phone is when you’ve made the call and know the vendor is reputable. Short of this, don’t use the phone for dispensing card information.
  6. Avoid public computers and unsecured networks for all financial transactions, including account balance checks. Online purchases are fast, convenient and a major part of our shopping experiences. However, use only a private-secured connection. Look for the HTTPS//: and closed padlock icon in the address bar.
  7. Never leave a card unattended. It belongs in your hand, wallet or purse. A teller should not take your card to a machine. If so, request to go with the clerk or have the machine brought to you. Unattended includes a card left in the car, hotel room or any place someone can easily access.
  8. Check for skimmers when using ATMs, self-checkout lanes, and swipe pads. A stand-alone swipe pad attached by cable is a red flag for a skimmer.
  9. The new RFID chip cards bring added security using a radio transmitter to send client data, but also need special caution by the user. RFID is easily susceptible to someone with a hand-held reader standing close enough to steal card information. Reportedly, some people have been able to steal card data with a cell phone app. Take added care by using Tyvek sleeves or RFID wallets that can block radio signals
  10. Carry only a few cards or better yet one. People tend to have multiple cards, but should carry only those used – be selective.

Increased card use provides greater chance for credit fraud leading to a disappointing way to start the new year. Be on your guard through the holidays and use these tips when you use a credit card.

How To Send Paypal Payments Using Your Credit Card

Paypal, owned by eBay is a great way of sending payments for eBay items or any items bought over the internet. Within minutes, you can send payments across the world. However, Paypal also has it’s fair share of critics and members who disagree with their policies and agreements, especially when a decision goes against the complaining member or they lose out to online fraud.

Using paypal, you can choose to pay for your item or service in a number of ways. The most popular method is by using any balance you have within your paypal account. This is built up, by other members sending you payment for eBay or other items. Alternatively, once you have registered your bank account and any debit or credit cards with paypal you can choose to pay for items using these options.

The safest way for members to pay for items with Paypal, is by registering a credit card and funding all payments though this. Because, paying though credit card normally offers an extra level of protection should things go wrong.

In most countries, credit card companies are partially or full liable should things go wrong with a transaction and will actively get involved to resolve any issues or do a complete chargeback, placing the funds back on your account. Even if you enter into a dispute with paypal and lose, you can still get your credit card company involved to dispute any transaction.

However, paypal doesn’t make it easy for you to fund a payment using a credit card if you already have a balance in the account. Payments are normally funded out of the paypal balance first, and then either from a backup source (bank account or credit card) if the funds are not enough to pay for the complete purchase.

To pay for an entire purchase, via your credit card you need to clear any balance. You can do this by sending the payment to a non existing email address, or to an email address you own but is not registered with paypal.

As soon as you do this your balance will be empty, & you can now choose a funding option such as credit card. In the meantime, paypal will have sent an email to the non existing or alterative email address telling them of they have a payment waiting and how to open a paypal account.

Now your payment is complete, all you need to do is log back into your paypal account, find the transaction to the non existing email address and click on cancel. Your payment will be reversed back into your account, because it will have gone unclaimed.