, , , , ,

How to accept credit card payments – a beginners guide

We live in the digital age where computers and electronic data are paramount to almost everything; even money.
As one going into a new business as either an employee or owner, you must be aware of how credit card payments will be a key factor to your business flourishing in success.

We will walk you through a concise plan of how one unfamiliar with bringing credit card systems into a business, as you well may be, can catch on to the basics and see several new opportunity’s in your company’s growth.

Benefits of Card Payments

The first major benefit of card payments is their simplicity. Most people have become attuned to paying via card nowadays, so being able to accept such payments will make business transactions occur at a far quicker and more efficient rate, as customers will be able to pay instantly rather than taking time for a cheque payment to be cleared.

” I’m hoping to be alive to see the elimination of money. ” – Tim Cooke, CEO Apple
Source: Mashable.com

This is more important when you take into account how the use of cash has taken a decline with the ease of contactless technology for small purchases. This has lead to the prediction
that most people will lean more towards card based payments over time.

Not holding as much physical cash will mean you have far less need to spend money on security for a safe and will mean you needn’t travel for a deposit as often.
Moreover, you won’t need to rely on alternate financing such as loans or overdrafts often, improving your cash flow.

Accepting card payments doesn’t just benefit yourself, but the customer.
Imagine yourself as the customer, needing to head immediately to the cash machine only to waste time unnecessarily, having problems withdrawing the cash or even getting so annoyed with the situation you decide not even to bother investing in this business.

Being able to facilitate instant transactions will convince the customer to see a variety in convenient payment options and be more likely to return.

Time can also be saved in that your customer and yourself won’t need to count the physical money you hold when making a payment. A quick insert of a card and short PIN code entry, or even a swipe of a mobile phone from something like Apple Pay, will have the trade take a fraction of the time fumbling with physical cash would…


Knowing exactly how much money will be transferred and gained during the process means you can plan ahead for future payments, profits and savings. Card machines also make your customers on average more likely to become victim to impulse buying and means less physical cash and cheques need be dealt with, which means fewer bank fees.

Genuine data proves the benefit of cards. According to the Global payments report preview produced by Wordplay in 2015, Credit Cards were predicted to become the second most popular payment option by 2019 and online payments becoming the most popular; something still requiring a credit card.

No matter how you see it, the future where cards take precedent is incoming and any aspiring businessman best be prepared.

Why do we need a Payment Gateway and Merchant Account?

Once knowing why card payments are important, you’ll obviously want to know the “how.”
That would require a few small steps before any payments can be made by gaining two essentials.

What is a Merchant Account?

Firstly, a Merchant Account is required. These are a type of bank account that holds a customer’s account before entering the bank account of a business. This makes it a secure option for both the customer and you, the business owner, authorising the payment for a successful transaction. This payment should enter your business bank account within 2-3 days.

Before rushing towards procuring a merchant account, however, you need to be aware of the requirements:

  • You must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Unless a sole trader, you must have a business account.
  • Be within one of the countries in which the merchant account system is supported (Most
    countries in Europe support it)
  • Must not have a business on the Prohibited Business list (Adoption Agencies, Legal Highs,
    Sex work, etc.)

For a full list of supported countries and Prohibited Businesses, see here:
https://www.web-merchant.co.uk/minimumrequirements.asp

How does a Payment Gateway work?

Secondly, you will need a Payment Gateway.

These act as a connective between your business’ website and the banks, being a swift and seamless process where your customer need not interact with the intermediary step of the gateway.
The gateway purely acts as a platform on which a customer’s credit card and details are submitted and securely sent to relevant financial networks affiliated with the bank and to the merchant account, all it’s sensitive data being encrypted to avoid any third party hacking the data in an act of theft.

The method of card payment can differ depending on how your business operates. The convenient countertop card machines will make retailers and any other in-store establishments far more efficient for their easy usability and close proximity to the cashier’s station.

If, on the other hand, your line of work makes bringing the payment option to the customer rather than vice-versa then portable card machines are recommended far more; an essential for any sort of eating establishment (restaurant, cafe, pub, etc.). Bluetooth technology allows the payment to be processed anywhere within the business’ premises.

Similarly, mobile card machines allow for a greater range in payment; anywhere within the UK where network coverage is available being capable of having a payment transferred.
GPRS technology makes it convenient and essential for businesses that rely more on long range work such as online payment.

When it comes down to actual payment, you must also have a business bank account to transfer the money into through your merchant account, which will take roughly two working days. Such accounts will require a Tax ID Number and a social security number regardless of you having your merchant account yet, though whether or not you need more will vary depending on your specific bank.

Card Processing Fees and Rates

If you have little experience with making card machines part of your business, you may be surprised to find there is a fair amount of cost in bringing it in, though how much depends on
several factors.

Along with deciding which of the three card machines you wish to utilise, you need to consider what type of business you are working on and your turnovers.

To plan your utilisation of card machines, here are a few questions to consider:

1. Transactions – How many do you make face-to-face and/or online/long range transactions
do you make per month? If both, how do the two methods compare?
2. What is the value of each individual card transaction you make per month?
3. What is the total value of payment received from card transactions per month?
4. What types of card make up the majority of transactions (credit, debit, etc.) and what
banks are the most popular?

Once you have come up with an answer to all these questions, you can speak to CheaperPay for advice and calculations of the cost.
As a small example, you may only need the merchant account and gateway solution if your business is exclusively online, whereas having the gateway overshadowed by card terminals.

Obviously, you will want heavy priority on all these options simultaneously if your business is both store and web-based.

Merchant Service Charges

Merchant Service Charges , as you may imagine, refer to charges a merchant account receives based on the transaction rate your payment provider agrees to, based on your answer to the four prior questions. This is set as a percentage of each transaction being taken by your provider as payment and varies depending on whether or not your account is on a credit or debit card.

Authorisation Fees

To authorise each payment, you’ll need to pay Authorisation Fees .
The preset fees from the average provider based on the GBP currency are 0p for contactless transactions, and 2-4p for any card based transaction.

Minimal Billing

If your two fees previously explored fall below the amount agreed upon with your payment provider, you may be charged a Minimum Billing, which is on average £20 per month.

Card Machine Hire or Purchase

You will also need to hire various things such as card machines. Per month, Desktop/Countertop card machines generally cost £15, portable card machines with a fixed base unit cost £20 and Fully mobile card machines with a built in SIM card cost around £25. This isn’t taken into account VAT costs that will be necessary.

If you would rather pay for a machine than constantly pay for hiring, several banks will offer portable card machines for new businesses with prices usually ranging from £50-70.

As one who has aspirations for creating a business or trying to help expand a small business you are part of, this guide should now help you realise the benefits and cost of installing credit card payments as an essential part of your business.

CheaperPay can offer the best advice, setup and prices for the most appropriate card machine and the bills associated with them, you should reap in the many benefits of the time, free space and money that credit card payments provide for your business.

, , , ,

PayPal’s Schulman Not A Bitcoin Fan

Digital payment company PayPal is not betting on bitcoin as of now. In an interview with TheStreet.com, PayPal chief executive officer Dan Schulman said that while PayPal is focused on innovating in the payment market, it’s not focused specifically on the digital currency.

“I think right now, and we’re seeing this maybe more than ever, the volatility of the cryptocurrency makes it actually unsuitable to be a real currency that retailers can accept,” Schulman said in the interview. “[That’s] because retailers have very narrow margins, and when you have a bitcoin bouncing up and down by 15 percent over a couple weeks period, that can be the difference between profits and losing money on every sale.”

While Schulman is skeptical about bitcoin, he did says blockchain technology is a “real breakthrough” for any technologies that are founded on distributed trust. PayPal has a lot of room to innovate with blockchain technology.

“I think you need to separate out the bitcoin or cryptocurrencies as currencies and the underlying protocol called blockchain,” he said.

The executive also noted that blockchain isn’t being viewed as a competition to PayPal or to other financial services firms, but rather as a technology that enabled innovation to be created on top of it.

Schulman’s comments come at a time when bitcoin is garnering a lot of attention on the part of investors, something that has sent its value skyrocketing. The cryptocurrency began 2017 at approximately $1,000 per coin and was recently valued at $14,800 per coin.

The fact that the virtual currency is unregulated and extremely volatile has led regulators around the globe to warn about the risks associated with investing in bitcoin. China and South Korea have banned bitcoin exchanges and initial coin offerings (ICOs) altogether. Meanwhile, JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon called bitcoin a “fraud” last year and said he would fire any trader who traded in it.

Source: (Pymnts, 2018)

, , , , ,

SECURITY & FRAUD Consumers Want Biometrics – How Will Payments Respond?

With the holiday shopping season behind us, most shoppers can probably say with confidence that the worst part of the whole experience was trying to remember passwords for the eCommerce sites they shopped.

It’s not just the holiday season, either.

recent study by Visa showed that, unsurprisingly, consumers are ready to say goodbye and good riddance to passwords, both because of the friction they create when trying to remember them – and the inevitable stutter step that the “forgot password” prompt creates – and because in the aftermath of the Equifax breach, the public has never been more conscious of how far passwords fall short in preventing fraud and keeping their data secure.

“Everyone knows they have to move away from knowledge-based authentication,” said Mark Nelsen, Visa’s SVP of risk products and business intelligence. “It’s not sustainable.”

However, despite consumer and issuer enthusiasm for more secure authentication technology, industry movement around what consumers say they want instead – biometric authentication – has been slower to get off the ground than everyone would like. A lack of understanding of how to integrate and use this new technology within their financial institutions – and then what it will take in terms of cost and manpower to implement it – may be to blame, Nelsen said.

In a recent interview with Karen Webster, Nelsen explained where he’s starting to see momentum building – and how he views Visa’s role in helping issuers accelerate the journey to deploying a technology that all players across the payments ecosystem, especially consumers, are ready to embrace.

Getting Comfortable With Biometrics

Nelsen acknowledged that issuers and merchants have no higher priority than keeping consumer account credentials safe and in securing the transactions in which they are used. But knowing where to start, in the face of so many options for securing customer account data, can be complicated. So too, Nelsen said, is knowing how to align point fraud solutions at an issuer who now sees the value of taking a holistic – and enterprise-grade – approach to delivering a great consumer experience across all touchpoints with the bank: the retail bank, online and mobile channels, and payments.

As attractive as the prospect of having a single, enterprise-scale authentication platform can seem to an issuer, Nelsen said that it also becomes a little bit like boiling the ocean: “It’s a good long-term vision, but hard to get off the ground in practice.”

It was one of the big drivers, Nelsen said, behind the development of Visa ID Intelligence. Nelsen said that ID Intelligence is an ecosystem of authentication solutions to which issuers connect via a single API. Not only does ID Intelligence make a portfolio of vetted solution providers available to issuers, Nelsen said, it streamlines the integration of those solutions within the issuer’s environment. Solution providers assume the burden of integrating with Visa’s ID Intelligence API, enabling issuers to do a single integration. That, Nelsen said, makes the notion of a holistic and enterprise-grade authentication solution across all issuer touchpoints a little less daunting.

And more suitable to getting pilots off the ground, so that issuers can start to experiment with how to use biometrics in a way that adds value for their customers and their institutions.

Greasing The Gears

According to Nelsen, one of the areas in which he’s seen issuers express growing interest in getting biometric authentication pilots off the ground is account origination.

When you look at the stats, it’s not hard to see why.

Over the last four years, Nelsen said there’s been an enormous increase in credit applications – a healthy portion of which are from fraudsters who’ve stolen legitimate credentials and have attempted to use them to open new accounts. Banks now recognize that the best way to combat new account fraud is to put knowledge-based authentication in their rearview mirror, in favor of using tools like identity documents and device data to help determine whether an identity is legitimate, stolen or synthetic.

Value Proposition

Three years ago, said Nelsen, the payments world wasn’t ready for biometric authentication. Now, consumers are used to – and comfortable with – such biometric authentication as Touch ID, and even Selfie Pay – and  are impatiently waiting for the payments ecosystem to provide an authentication solution that makes passwords a relic of payments authentication history.

It’s a nudge that Nelsen said has become a call to action for issuers to do more to protect consumer data.

“Authentication and protecting consumer data is at the level it needs to be across the entire bank,” said Nelsen.

Like most things in payments, change on this scale can’t and won’t happen overnight, but the wheels of progress are starting to turn. Nelson said that’s why Visa felt it was so important to make it easy for issuers and merchants to quickly connect their systems to proven authentication technologies using Visa ID Intelligence. It’s one way, he said, to give them a running head start on keeping customer data secure, while simplifying the process of giving consumers the authentication methods they want.

 

Source: (Pymnts, 2018)

, , , , ,

Mobile Payments 2.0: Building Better Retail Experiences

Payments has by and large been a growth business for the last half decade or so, and that fact has been mappable in scores of innovations around the world. But, as PYMNTS’ Karen Webster pointed out, for all of those advances, one is conspicuously missing from the list — and that’s despite years of predictions that its ignition was just around the corner.

“Here’s one thing that the last three years hasn’t done: Increase the consumer’s appetite to turn their smartphones into a digital payment form factor when they check out in a physical store,” Webster said.

That reality was born out by two-and-a-half years of PYMNTS and InfoScout tracking figures in the marketplace through the Mobile Payments Adoption and Usage report.

Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, can accurately boast that Apple Pay is far and away “the number one [near field communication (NFC)] payment service on mobile devices, with nearly 90 percent of all transactions globally,” but the reality undergirding that brag is that 90 percent of a really small number is an even smaller number.

After three years in the market — and no lack of fanfare — Apple Pay adoption rates have just barely gotten above the 5 percent mark. That is an accomplishment, though, as Samsung Pay is just over 4 percent after two years and the team at Android Pay devoutly hopes 2018 might be the year it cracks the 2 percent mark for usage.

As it turns out, consumers weren’t looking for a new form factor. It seems they like their payment cards just fine, understand them and know they work everywhere and, as such, customers are happy to whip them out at checkout nine times out of 10. That doesn’t mean they are deliriously in love with their payments processes and couldn’t be incentivized to make a change, however.

According to the PYMNTS’ How We Will Pay study, a Visa collaboration, 60 percent of consumers find their online and in-store shopping experiences unproductive, inefficient, time-consuming and even boring. The same study showed 66 percent are open to using devices to connect to a seamless payment experience.

Customers are looking for new and better ways to pay, but a change from a card to a phone isn’t registering as a better way to pay so much as it is registering as the same experience — now with a slightly different object in one’s hand.

Retailers in 2017 have seemingly started to come around to that idea. They have realized that while mobile payments alone aren’t sufficient to do much in the way of altering consumer behavior, mobile payments wrapped around a faster, cheaper and easier shopping experience might actually have some legs after all. If the first round of the “Pays” were dominated by technologists and financial services players, the 2.0 version has been much more about retailers and the value they can find via mobile.

The early figures even indicate that some are gaining a foothold.

Walmart Pay’s Rapid Rise  

According to the PYMNTS and InfoScout figures, Walmart Pay is showing the most potential in the shortest amount of time. With a year in the market and an adoption rate within striking distance of Apple’s at 5.1 percent, the data also showed 47.2 percent of respondents who shop at Walmart use it every time they can. Only 6.6 percent said they’ve never considered using it at all.

But Walmart’s real payments secret sauce is the value-added solutions around money and customer services the company built into the app that houses Walmart Pay. Consumers can also use that app to initiate wire transfers through MoneyGram, check gift card balances, apply coupons and have all receipts sent automatically to its Savings Catcher function.

The point, according to Walmart’s senior vice president of services, Daniel Eckert, is to meld payments into Walmart’s larger mission of saving time and money for the busy families that make up its customer base.

“There is something very powerful about the ease and simplicity of Walmart Pay,” Eckert told PYMNTS. “What’s even more powerful though, is what this means for our customers. We want to make every day easier for busy families. We’re connecting all the parts of Walmart into one seamless shopping experience with great stores, easy pickup, fast delivery, frictionless checkout and apps and websites that are simple to use.”

Walmart still has hurdles to clear, and high ones. Cash remains Walmart customers’ favorite payment method, and EBT cards can not be added to digital Walmart accounts for payments. But Walmart Pay, which is nearly unique among mobile wallet players, has built payments into an overall omnichannel experience that is sticky for consumers and gaining ground fast.

We look forward to 2018’s additions.

Target Jumps Into the Mobile Payments Race

Target was among the retailers who entered 2017 most eagerly hoping to hit the reset button, and rumors about it adding mobile payments to it services lineup began swirling early that January. Outside that initial tease, however, not much was heard on the subject until 2017’s closing weeks, when Target rolled out with a mobile payments platform of its own.

Notably, the company is not calling the offering “Target Pay,” though most tech writers seem to be.

Instead, Target announced in early December that it would be adding a mobile Wallet feature to its mobile app and offering consumers the opportunity to enter their Target REDcard credit or debit card into the wallet and use it to pay directly at the point of sale. Using its eWallet, Target customers can also use Cartwheel — its price matching feaure — with a single scan of their mobile devices at checkout. The goal is to make checkout quicker, and to offer convenient digital savings by including Cartwheel offers and weekly ad coupons, along with the 5 percent REDcard discount.

“Wallet in the Target app makes checkout easier and faster than ever,” said Mike McNamara, Target’s chief information and digital officer. “Guests are going to love the convenience of having payment, Cartwheel offers, weekly ad coupons and gift cards all in one place with Wallet.”

Target has further noted that gift cards and other rewards will also soon be storable within the Wallet. Echoing a theme, the company’s payments upgrade comes in the context of a broader digital push that has seen it moving more aggressively on eCommerce and omnichannel pursuits.

The retailer recently announced its new GiftNow service powered by Loop Commerce. The GiftNow option can be selected when viewing products on Target.com, allowing customers to assemble and send a gift electronically. Recipients can view the gift online, select the size or color of the product or pick another item entirely, thus saving time and money for both Target and its customers by ensuring gift recipients are sent items they will want to keep.

It has unveiled it would be adding 12 exclusive brands by the end of 2018, eight of which were already available during the 2017 holiday shopping season. The brands being introduced this year include products for babies and kids and apparel for both men and women.

“While there’s an incredible amount of change happening across retail, we’re focused on doing what’s best for our guests and leaning into what makes Target special,” said Target CEO and chairman Brian Cornell. “We’re making progress against our long-term strategy.”

The PoS Free Future

In other digital trends, it appears customers don’t want to wait in line at the point of sale (POS). The overwhelming success mobile payments has enjoyed while enabling line-busting at quick service restaurants (QSRs) all over the map speaks to that quite clearly.

In a recent interview with PYMNTS, Visa’s vice president of innovations, Shiv Singh, noted we are only really seeing the beginning of that trend as regards coming trends in mobile payments commerce for the next 18 to 24 months, according to his company’s Innovations For A Cashless World report. According to its findings, retail will soon be a world in which lining up at the cash wrap will no longer be a universal experience.

“We can look at Uber, or how Starbucks now takes 20 percent of its orders through mobile order-ahead,” Singh noted. “Can you imagine going to an Apple store and lining up at a cash register to pay? No, of course not. And now we have Amazon rolling out Amazon Go — it really is only a matter of time before that experience is part of Whole Foods as well.”

Anecdotally, one has seen the “POS everywhere” concept rolling out at retailers of all sizes and shapes nationwide. AmazonGo’s convenience store of the future, through which customers can select goods off the shelf and be automatically and correctly charged due to the magic of sensors. The company has had some notable execution issues with the tech, though, and those have necessitated some delays.

Walmart’s solution is a bit less high tech, but customers in Sam’s Club locations nationwide can already scan their purchases while walking the isles. Each item’s barcode is scanned through an app, which keeps a running tally of all items in the cart. Said app also offers checkout and payment options, as well.

When they are done shopping, Sam’s Club customers can tap to pay and have a receipt sent to their phones — no need to stop at the cash registers. That receipt is then shown to a Sam’s employee on the way out the door, much the way physical receipts are checked to ensure customers are actually paying for all their items. There are rumors that a similar service is coming soon to Walmart locations, though those rumors have not been confirmed.

But as solutions proliferate — and they surely will — one thing is becoming increasingly obvious: Mobile payments as a one-to-one replacement for credit cards may not have much of a future, and the adoption numbers seem to keep singing that same tune in a variety of keys in report after report.

But mobile payments that can exceed what credit cards offer — including faster checkout, clipping-free coupons and the ability to skip the front-of-the-store POS line-up, among others — those experiences seen to really have a hold on consumers.

Which means retailers have every reason to build them, and we look forward to reporting on their efforts.

 

Source: (Pymnts, 2017)

, , , , ,

BITCOIN A Cryptocurrency With “No Purpose” Has Raised $700M

According to The Wall Street Journal, this is the largest initial coin offering to date, with block.one’s market value now at around $4.5 billion. The sale of the token, called EOS, has benefited from a boom in ICOs – overall, 165 firms have raised more than $4 billion in 2017 through coin offerings.

Launched in late 2016 and registered in the Cayman Islands, block.one is a software company that writes code for its main project: a bitcoin-like operating platform that hosts any variety of applications.

EOS is the idea of Brendan Blumer, a 31-year-old internet entrepreneur in Hong Kong, and programmer Dan Larimer. Brock Pierce, a prominent bitcoin investor, is a minority partner and adviser.

Block.one is planning a full rollout of the software next June, which Pierce recently predicted would be “like Windows launching, but much bigger.”

But unlike Microsoft, block.one plans to only write the initial code for EOS and then release it publicly. Instead of building or developing the platform itself, the task will be left to unrelated third parties. As a result, the EOS tokens have no relationship to the software. In fact, a purchase agreement that investors must sign states the tokens “do not have any rights, uses, purpose, attributes, functionalities or features.”

Despite the reveal that the tokens have no real purpose, investors have been eagerly bidding for them. Investors in many countries, excluding the U.S. and China, can participate in a daily auction where block.one sells two million new tokens to investors.

Mosala Sehloho, a 32-year-old media producer in Johannesburg, said he understands the EOS tokens made no contractual promises, but he thinks the $10,000 worth of tokens he bought will rise in value. “I’d buy more” if the price dropped enough, he said. “This will be the technology that will be the best of its kind.”

And Matthew Roszak, one of block.one’s early investors, isn’t worried about the tokens. “I don’t think it’s fair reading into that language too tightly,” he said. Given the “regulatory environment is as clear as mud,” he said block.one needed to write something to provide the broadest protection possible.

Block.one’s EOS deal is now about three times as large as the next biggest coin offering. It plans to keep raising money until next June, and is on pace to raise “well north of” $1 billion, according to Pierce.

The company will use that revenue to invest in companies that could develop the EOS code into products.

 

Source: (Pymnts, 2017)

, , , , , ,

Shop tills to ring to ‘optimistic’ chime for Visa transactions in new era of ‘sensory branding’

Shoppers already driven to distraction by the incessant dinging, and beeping of self-checkouts could be about to face a new headache.

Payments using Visa will soon be accompanied by a ‘signature sound’, which will chime out each time a card or smartphone is presented, or an in-app purchase made.

Marketing employees at the company have spent a year choosing the perfect noise which, they claim, signals ‘speed and convenience,’ while being ‘energetic and optimistic.’

The insist it is not ‘overly intrusive’, and claim other ‘chimes’ were eliminated for being too ‘angry’ or eliciting ‘visceral reactions.’

The company is also launching a unique vibration which users will feel when paying by smartphone, claiming it is entering a new era of ‘sensory branding.’

The company has made the change because fewer tills carry Visa logos now

The new sound and vibration were picked after spending months carrying out neuro-research to test the physical reactions of volunteers when they were played different sounds. The company claims users were left feeling ‘happy’ and ‘excited’ by the new chime and vibration.

“We wanted to make sure we had the global view, not just four-to-five uninformed people deciding which sound won the popularity contest,” said Visa’s marketing chief, Lynne Biggar.

“You’d be surprised by how excited and how competitive or opinionated we all can be about very short sounds.

“We all are becoming very responsive to the use of sound.”

Companies like Intel are already using sounds as part of their logo. The ‘Intel Inside’ bong is still going strong after 20 years.

The new sound will launch in January ahead of the Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, with a new advertising campaign featuring athletes making payments by swiping a credit card, tapping a phone and completing purchases online.

“As new payment experiences continue to take shape in the world, this suite of sensory branding elements will give consumers the assurances we know they want every time they use Visa,” added Miss Biggar.

 

(The Telegraph, 2017)

, , , , , , ,

Payments Testing One, Two, Three

Modern consumers have high expectations for technology. If something doesn’t work perfectly, they’re quick to grow frustrated and abandon it as junk.

“Our generation is a little bit spoiled,” said Bart van Hoek, head of Innovations with UL Transaction Security — and he said that is all the more true with payments tech.

Imagine going out for breakfast only to find that the point-of-sale (POS) terminal isn’t working. Without it, how will you pay for your meal? Maybe you happen to be carrying cash that day, but even if you’re able to hand over a crisp $20 bill to cover the cost, the experience has certainly created friction.

Online, there’s no cash to fall back on. If the payment doesn’t work the first time, said van Hoek, that sale is as good as lost. Nobody wants to see a box that says the website is experiencing technical difficulties; please try again later. The customer likely won’t even remember to try again later, and if he does, he may not return to the same site. Most shoppers just give up on the faulty site and head to a competitor to complete the purchase instead.

Perfection, however, is not easy to achieve in any singular product. In payments, there are hundreds of players involved in making every single transaction work smoothly, from acquirers and banks to regulators setting standards that must be met to, of course, the payments processor.

The point-of-sale terminal at Walgreens or Kroger must work with a credit card from Chase, a mobile payment, a foreign debit card and more. How can the company that produces the terminal ever be sure it can do all that?

Trial and error, said van Hoek. But not with real consumers or real transactions. That is where payments testing comes in. In a recent interview, van Hoek told PYMNTS how this quality assurance process works for payment technology companies, how that’s changed over the years and why this stage of product development is so important.

 

An Investment in Reputation

User experience is more than a buzzword, van Hoek said. Every tap on a mobile device, every imaginable payment method — all of it is about creating the most seamless and smooth user experience possible, devoid of any bugs or errors.

Testing lets the developer see how the product will perform for every customer in every situation and shows whether the software is logical and intuitive or needs to be smoothed over.

When developers invest in payments testing, they aren’t just ensuring that their product does what it’s supposed to do, said van Hoek. They’re investing in their reputation. Building a good reputation is hard. Destroying it is easy — all it takes is one bad product. Earning back consumers’ trust is more difficult the second time around.

With the speed of innovation today, it may feel like a race to get products to market, but the last thing any developer wants is to go to market only to watch the product fall apart in the real world. Between the expense of fixing it and the business lost due to damaged reputation, “Those are costs you don’t want to bear,” said van Hoek.

 

Automate

To achieve the highest level of product quality, the product must be subjected to a high level of testing, and that requires a lot of repetitive actions and test cases. The number of repetitive actions will only increase as new payment methods and infrastructure are introduced and must also be tested.

That’s why payments testing is often seen as a chore. But, said van Hoek, it doesn’t have to be. Today, there are tools on the market to help manage some of those repetitive tasks, freeing up human testers from pressing buttons all day to make better use of their time.

Van Hoek said that manual testing can be extremely labor-intensive and time-consuming in some cases. But that doesn’t necessarily mean artificial intelligence (AI) has to be a part of the answer, he said. It simply means that any pieces of the process that can be automated should be.

Which pieces? That’s a decision that only the company can make. Van Hoek said that, due to the complexity of some test cases, automation is not always cost-efficient, either. Individual organizations must decide what is the best combination of manual and automated testing to optimize their processes.

At UL Transaction Security, customers can submit their hardware to undergo a barrage of different uses and scenarios in UL’s test labs, and van Hoek said the company is always looking to automate even more of the process as new technologies become available. The key client problem that UL helps to address is reducing time to market by eliminating the complexity that companies are facing with new technologies and regulations flooding the market.

 

Divide and Conquer

In the old days, said van Hoek, testing used to be done on final products at the end of the development cycle. But today, payments testers, like UL, subject the product to smaller tests along the way. By breaking the project into manageable chunks, UL is able to be more thorough in its testing and can identify problems before the rest of the product gets built around them.

Van Hoek said that can save a lot of time and money throughout the development process, as it enables development teams to address issues as they go along rather than having to tear down and rebuild a final product that doesn’t work right.

The thinking around testing must change, he argued. It’s more about quality assurance, though testing is just one piece of a larger quality assurance process that includes identifying, anticipating, managing and resolving issues across the product, while testing focuses specifically on finding and eliminating bugs.

As development processes have become more agile, van Hoek said that testing processes throughout the lifecycle must also increase their agility.

 

Growth Ahead

Again, the number of payment methods out there — and the infrastructure that goes with each one — is only going to increase. There are many players trying to disrupt the industry, but people aren’t abandoning cash and credit cards to pay with their smartphones; it’s not “either/or” but “both/and.”

Cryptocurrencies are another growing method in the payments industry, and the price of bitcoin (currently around $11,000) reveals just how popular it is among its fans. Eventually, at least some consumers are going to want to spend that digital currency in real-world brick-and-mortar stores.

Money is money, and merchants want to be ready to accept whatever form of it customers want to hand them. Doing that will require new technology and new components, or new use cases for old components, van Hoek explained — all of which will need to be tested and validated before rolling out to merchants and the public — for their own good and for the good of the brand.

Source: (Pymnts, 2017)

, , ,

Google Predicts AI Will Be An Issue For Regulators

“It’s going to be a big issue,” Geoffrey Hinton said at a Reuters Newsmaker event in Toronto on Monday (Dec. 4).

Hinton should know: He led a group of scientists at the University of Toronto who developed some of the key algorithms that neural networks (programs that mimic the way humans learn to perform complex tasks) use to crunch massive quantities of data and train themselves to identify patterns to mimic the way the human brain would perform tasks, such as driving a car, analyzing potential financial trades or using medical images to diagnose diseases.

Those advances enabled Google to add voice recognition to Android mobile devices, and researchers also used it to cut error rates in optical recognition compared with earlier technology, said the Google executive.

And since neural networks teach themselves to perform complex operations, it is impossible for their developers to tell government regulators exactly how those systems work.

“All you need is lots and lots of data and lots of information about what the right answer is, and you’ll be able to train a big neural net to do what you want,” he said.

Hinton believes that deep learning is close to revolutionizing the way certain diseases are treated, including making more accurate diagnoses. In fact, he expects mobile apps to be created that use neural networks to examine images of skin lesions, advising users when to see a doctor for a possible biopsy.

“We’d like to make medicine better,” Hinton said.

 

Source: (Pymnts, 2017)

, , ,

VISA Launches Real-Time Payments In Europe

Visa, the payments company, announced news on Thursday (Nov. 2) of the European launch of Visa Direct, a real-time international payments platform.

In a press release, Visa said Visa Direct enables person-to-person (P2P), business-to-consumer (B2C), and business-to-business (B2B) money transfers. Through the service, funds can be transferred into the recipient’s Visa account quickly and securely, providing instant access to money and the ability to make purchases at 44 million merchants around the globe.

“For decades, Visa has led the way in transforming the way we pay in stores and online. Now, we have an opportunity to transform how consumers and businesses pay each other in a fast, convenient and secure way,” said Mike Lemberger, senior vice president of Product Solutions, Visa, Europe, in the press release. “Visa Direct is a proven platform that enables technology companies, businesses and financial institutions to meet the demand for real-time payments, backed by the ubiquity, cost-efficiency and speed of Visa’s global network.”

Visa said in the press release that it is working with service providers, financial institution clients and strategy patterns to roll out services using Visa Direct.

One of those partners is Worldpay, which is a global payment processing technology company for merchants. Worldpay was tapped by Visa to accelerate the availability of Visa Direct to merchants in Europe and eventually across all of its markets globally.

What’s more, Visa said that once recipients’ banks make the changes necessary to their systems, Visa Direct will enable Worldpay’s merchants to send real-time international payments to consumers.

“In recent years, the payments landscape has changed dramatically, with clients and consumers alike expecting to be able to make a payment under their own terms — whether that is making a real-time payment or using a specific method. We are proud to be working with Visa on this unrivalled platform as an early adopter in Europe and other global markets and believe that Visa Direct is an important step in meeting those needs, providing both acquirers and merchants with the tools they need,” Dave Glaser, chief product officer at WorldPay, said in the same press release.

Source (Pymnts, 2017)

, , , , , , , , ,

APPLE PAY P2P Payments Coming To Apple Watch In The Autumn

 

apple-watch

 

 

Peer-to-peer payments are coming to the Apple Watch this fall with the release of iOS 11 and watchOS 4.

On its website, Apple said that Apple Pay users will be able to send and receive money quickly, easily and securely via its peer-to-peer payment platform. The feature will be available right in Messenger, or users can tell Siri to pay someone using a virtual debit card or credit card already loaded into the digital wallet. When users get paid, they will receive the money instantly in the new Apple Pay Cash card that will reside in the Apple Wallet.

The move on the part of Apple to include P2P payments with the new iOS 11 and watchOS 4 comes at a time when the company is trying to get Apple Pay in the hands of more users. Earlier this month, Didi, the Uber of China (and, in fact, the local service that gobbled up Uber China last August) announced it has added Apple Pay support to its Didi Premier, Didi Express and Didi Luxe personal mobility services, in addition to its partner station-less bike rental service ofo, according to a TechCrunch news report.

Apple Pay is standard fare on any iOS device, allowing users to authenticate payments biometrically – today, with their fingerprints, and soon using Face ID on the forthcoming iPhone X. That’s on top of other iOS features Didi already supported, including Siri-powered ride hailing from within the Maps app or via the Apple Watch. With the addition of support by Didi, Apple Pay joins the likes of WeChat, Alipay, QQ Wallet, international credit cards and CMB all-in-one net payment, all of which power Didi’s core services. It also comes at a time of increased competition from Fitbit, which recently launched the Ionic smartwatch.

 

Source (Pymnts, 2017)

, , , , , , , , ,

Avoid being hit by the Government’s credit card surcharge ban with Cheaper Pay!

As of January 2018, businesses will be stripped of their ability to add any surcharges to their card transactions.

Airlines, fast-food chains and small businesses will be those who suffer most from the ban, but there are ways in which these companies can make up for this potential loss of capital.

Cheaper Pay’s industry-leading payment solutions come in at a staggering 40% cheaper price than the likes of WorldPay, Barclays and Lloyds – offering terrific value for money, as well as bearing the costs that may be lost in profit once these government changes come in to fruition next year.

Having provided UK businesses with the crème de la crème of payment technology for over a decade, Cheaper Pay are well placed to install the ideal payment system that is perfect for your business’s needs.

For a FREE no-obligation quote, get in touch with one of our specialist advisers today on 03301 242 537.

, , , , ,

Contactless payments are ready to donate a helping hand!

Contactless Payments are set to become increasingly involved in charity fundraising appeals. The move comes as statistics published late last year showed an incredible rise in the amount of money spent with contactless devices.
According to the UK Card Association, November 2016 saw a £2,903m spend in the UK through contactless mediums – an incredible 183% rise on the previous year.
Now, that incredible figure is set to be translated onto the fundraising scene, with many charities recognising that people are more inclined to spend contactlessly than with spare cash.
Some major charities have already began trialling the scheme, with the 2015 Red Nose Day producing statues that housed contactless payment points where people could donate.
Furthermore, The Blue Cross then introduced a scheme in 2016 where people could ‘Pat and Tap’ the dogs on show to donate £2.
With contactless payments on the rise, the increasing ingenuity of charities to use these schemes as a means of increasing fundraising totals is something that will definitely increase during the coming months and years.

, , , , , ,

Sole Trader? There’s no need to go it alone – and employing these three people could help!

Many small business owners run their entire enterprise alone, which is perfectly understandable when it comes to keeping costs down.
However, going it alone as an SME is difficult to say the least – and employing these three people can help you take your business to the next level.

1) Accountant
As a small business owner, your goal is to make money–so it only makes sense to consult a professional to help you manage this crucial aspect of your business. Becoming a business owner naturally adds complexity to your tax scenario, so at tax time, an accountant can be crucial for making sure you’re in full compliance and are filing correctly.

2) Assistant
Being a solo business is difficult. Tasks and communications that don’t have to do directly with the day-to-day of customer relations, creating or offering your products and services, and other immediate tasks might become backed up, or even fall by the wayside.
This is where an assistant can come in handy. By employing a loyal employee, you can leave the simple store transactions while having more time to deal with the important things!

3) PR and Marketing Assistant
Getting your name out there is a key factor in achieving a successful business; and a PR and marketing executive can help achieve just that.
Having someone directly available to create social media content, produce flyers and leaflets, manage marketing and deal with outside queries can hugely improve your business reputation as you progress up the success ladder!

, , ,

5 Tech Payments to Look out For in 2017

The last few years have witnessed a huge change in the way we make payments. Technology is evolving at a faster rate than ever before and the payment sector is by no means getting left behind. As of March 2016, there were over 86 million contactless card users in the UK marketplace, proving that touch-and-go is the future, and here we look at five other payment technology trends that may rise to prominence in the very near future.

1) Fighting Fraud with Fingerprints
While using your finger tips to process a payment would represent the ultimate in digital transactions, it’s only the beginning! The payment industry, according to BluePay, “could soon begin using iris scans, voice-recognition and even DNA verification. There really is no limit to how far biometric payment technology can go.”

Fingerprint Tech

Fingerprint Tech


2) The Flourishing of the Bitcoin Era
Last year was an excellent one for bitcoin. Last January, bitcoins were valued at $350 and now they are above $900! Traditional financial institutions are beginning to adapt to this technology and invest in it. People are starting to recognise the value that the blockchain provides with smart contracts, cloud storage, and security.

3) Wearable Payments
Visa announced at this year’s SXSW that it’s testing sunglasses capable of making contactless payments, whereas Barclaycard teamed up with Lyle & Scott last year with a foray into the world of trend-setting wearable’s by designing a contactless jacket!

4) Invisible Payments
Businesses such as Uber and Deliveroo have mastered the art of invisible payments. With regards to Uber, their easy account set-up and request-a-driver function offers customers a hassle-free transaction. Just jump in and enjoy your journey without having to worry about fumbling around for your cash! Expect many businesses to follow suit.

5) Social Network
Facebook Messenger has already jumped into the payment pool and added a payment feature for iOs and Android in the US. For those in America, you simply add a debit card to your Facebook account and then send money directly to your Messenger contacts!