Scam Alert

Here’s the latest scam going around you need to be aware of in  order to not get taken by it.  If you are an internet merchant or Virtual Terminal merchant using, EPN or any of the several legitimate providers out there. a rogue sales office known as NPP out of Stockton, CA is know to be contacting such merchants using the ages-old scare tactic that your gateway needs to be upgraded….to something THEY sell of course, probably Skipjack or whatever.  In any event, be aware that they are LYING.  If you have a legitimate gateway provider such as the ones mentioned above,   you are find and don’t need to do a thing.  These NPP folks are merely trying to trick you and steal an account.  Don’t fall for it.

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Visa Summer 2016 Pricing Changes Announced

MasterCard has recently announced a new annual location fee, effective July 1st, 2016, in the amount of $2.97.   In addition, also effective July 1st, 2016, Visa will be increasing the U.S. Acquirer Service Fee by 2 basis points to 13 basis points on all debit products.  To put that into perspective, this translates to about a two cent increase for every $100 processed, or $.20 for every $1000 processed. so it’s nothing to lose any sleep over.

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Top Ten Restaurant Patron Gripes

To our many restaurant merchants out there:  We thought you’d be interested in a report published in the August 2014 edition of Consumer Reports Magazine.  In March 2014 they asked 1,003 adults what annoyed them the most when dining out in restaurants.  Here are the top ten results, expressed as a percentage of responses:

1.  76% Dirty utensils or table.

2.  73% Dirty or ill-equipped restrooms.

3.  72%  Impolite or condescending servers.

4.  67%  Servers with a sloppy appearance or poor hygiene.

5.  66%  Meals or beverages served at incorrect temperature.

6.  62%  Meals not what they ordered.

7.  61%  Feeling rushed to finish or leave by the server.

8.  59%  Server removing plate or beverage before finished.

9.  54%  Food does not look or taste as described on the menu.

10.51%  Slow service.

Among the other top complaints:  Table not ready 15 minutes past reservation time, tips higher than 18% automatically added to the bill, inaccurate bill calculation, poorly situated table, and several others.

If you’re interested in the full report, it’s published on page 11 of the August 2014 edition of Consumer Reports Magazine.

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What the future might hold for Square-Up Payment Processing

This commentary is not from me, but rather from a well respected CEO of a gateway provider within the processing industry.  It highlights some eye-opening ideas and facts worthy of sharing:

Most of us in the transaction processing industry have seen multiple analyses over the years showing that Square’s business model is not profitable, and Square recently admitted publicly that it lost over $100 million in 2013. There are also rumors circulating that Square has approached companies such as Google, Apple, eBay and others gauging acquisition interest, although no one is admitting anything publicly.

Industry analysts informally value the company in the billions, even though they’ve raised only about $340 million in equity financing. I would submit that their software is not worth anywhere near that kind of multiple.

To accept credit cards through Square, a merchant must agree that the data sent to Square becomes the property of Square, and Square retains the right to use the data as it wishes, including the ability to sell the data.

One little-noticed event that took place recently was Twitter’s purchase of Gnip, a social data analytics firm. Twitter and Gnip have partnered since 2010, and Gnip was the first company authorized to sell Twitter’s data.

Maybe Twitter is a logical suitor for Square. The combination of knowing where you had breakfast this morning, what you had and what you tweeted can be quite valuable to advertisers. It’s quite possible that data analytics is the future of not only our industry, but many others as well.

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Food Stamps (formerly EBT) Update

For all you food service/grocery/c-store merchants out there:

Food Stamps, formerly known as EBT, has been rebranded as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)

You CAN use SNAP/EBT to buy:

  • Foods for the household to eat, such as:
  • breads and cereals
  • fruits and vegetables
  • meats, fish and poultry; and
  • dairy products
  • Seeds and plants to produce food for the household to eat

You CANNOT use benefits to buy:

  • Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco
  • Any nonfood items, such as pet foods, soaps, paper products, diapers, and household supplies
  • Vitamins and medicines
  • Food that will be eaten in the store
  • Hot foods

Plus you need to input a PIN (Personal Identification Number) code. So EBT works like online PIN debit, but only on carefully selected retail grocery items.

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