Why every business needs E-commerce


Within the modern market, everyone has multiple online devices, and this inter-connectivity has led to e-commerce becoming one of the main forms of business in the world. Internet transactions of goods have been a popular choice of business ever since the 90s, with the current form of the practice having reached the ease of only a few taps of a button or screen being enough to make a purchase.

Now, having opened up the pathway of what technology can achieve, e-commerce is something your business needs to incorporate in order to have a large amount of success in your field.


Just how popular is E-commerce?

With how easy it now is to purchase a product, and the large number of brands available; shopping is now far different from the days in which a customer was required to visit a shop in person and look around at what was physically available, and nothing else. Being able to search for key words/terms for what you want has made shopping far simpler for a lot of people. With the growth of the internet, e-portals in which e-commerce can work on is set to continue increasing at a rate too fast for many to comprehend. An accurate number for growth is hard to calculate, but it is predicted by many to expand over a dozen times its current level in as little as the next few years.


The e-commerce industry, which has birthed such giants as Amazon or Flipkart, is arguably most influential in India. It has become the home of such a strong e-commerce market through two main reason: the country’s large population, and the ever-growing amount of internet users it makes up.

Further advancements are expected to be made through India’s market, including voice-based transactions and trust systems, allowing for a more coherent and polished form of UX-forward business. Here are some of the reasons all businesses benefit from having an online store:



Globalisation and Costs

Going back to the point about inter-connectivity, being able to communicate with and gain customers from all over the world without the costs and resources of establishing stores across the globe, is effective to say the least. In an age where a lot of products and categories are quite similar to each other, it would be foolish to limit your market to only a local one if people can easily get something close online without needing to leave the house.


Along with not needing to physically establish new stores, e-commerce will allow your business to save money in several other ways. Digital advertising for something online is a far cheaper option than having physical ads, especially with the effectiveness of social media. Many staff positions can also have some relief with AI like chatbots and virtual assistants.


Personalisation and Traffic

By obtaining customer information through analytical data, you can easily personalise offers to your customer base in order to increase customer satisfaction, and promote products they’re more likely to buy. Amazon’s “Related to items you viewed” section is a good example of this.

Having an online presence through a store and advertising through email or social media will help provide more traffic for your site and, thus, make your business far more viable for retail than if you treat your site as just a secondary option.



Despite the name, Omnichannel isn’t some network in a dystopian sci-fi series, though the previous generation would consider it just as futuristic. It is, in fact, the method of having multiple channels through which your business can work; easy navigation between portals, well designed apps, variety in payment options and constantly introducing new customer service channels.


Consistency in pricing between the physical and digital sale is important in allowing the customer to develop more trust in the brand and assure their loyalty in buying from the company again. As an example of the contrary, there is a significant amount of criticism towards the UK retailer GAME, with many of their newer releases costing more to buy in-store than online by up to a £10 difference.

One method of keeping track of the price equality would be through a smartphone mobile app, which can help both the retailers and customers keep track of pricing and stock.


Things to be careful of

Despite the massive growth of the industry, e-commerce isn’t a perfect system just yet. Perhaps the biggest one is the general preference many customers have for buying an item in-store, being able to physically examine it and check the quality before purchase.  For such reasons, it’s important for online businesses to have good, high quality photos to allow the audience to make up their own mind.


All personal information you share on an e-commerce website is shared with the retailer and its affiliated e-portals. Because of this, the possibility of hacking and data theft is something all businesses should be vigilant about. Security’s importance can never be overlooked, so making sure your business has a good security system and keeping an eye out for any suspicious transactions will always be necessary.


Another thing more exclusive to emerging brands is keeping up to date with customer demands. Making sure you have a good range of options in terms of searching, item categories and payment methods along with an easy-to-use interface is what separates successful online stores from mediocre ones.


Many online stores don’t do the best job in delivering the product to the customer quickly, a major issue when trying to gain customer trust. Making sure you put in place as fast a delivery system as possible as early as possible will be a key factor in getting happy buyers.



Whilst any e-commerce brand has a few hurdles to overcome, every business venture does, and there aren’t many valid reason to limit your business’ potential to just one local store. Having a good online store means having a worldwide following.


Want us to set up an E-commerce store for you?

If you’re currently only researching e-commerce for a store you’ve not yet opened, we can help! We can turn your store into an online store using Sage Pay. After filling out a short quote request, we can integrate your company over to Sage, install fraud prevention measures and screening tools, and provide you with analytical tools to see your company’s growth first-hand. As well as this, we can provide 24/7 support, just in case anything goes wrong.


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E-Commerce- 7 new trends that won’t die

Whenever new improvements to technology arise, e-commerce will always find a way to benefit from it. According to Statista, e-commerce is estimated to make a total of $4.5 billion from sales in 2021. That says a lot to the kind of profit you could make with the right approach. The right approach, however, is constantly changing, and there are businessmen far and wide struggling to keep up. Here are 8 e-commerce trends we’re expecting to see grow in the near future, so you can implement them now:


Subscription services

According to McKinsey, subscription-based e-commerce services have grown more than 100% per year for the last 5 years. If you’re wanting to retain loyal customers, a subscription service can help you build a strong fanbase. Giving people freebies or discounts for buying from you monthly can be the difference between a one-time customer and one who invests in your product for years on end, and that’s why companies worldwide are jumping on it.

Increased personalisation

In an age where a customer’s needs are catered to in a variety of ways, you may fall behind if you’re not doing the same.

Recommended items are an easy way to take a customer’s data and give them a worthwhile experience. It keeps them coming back, and persuades them to buy more, which is a no-brainer for an online store.


Chatbots, chatbots everywhere

The tool of AI assisted chats have been around for a while as a way to easily perform tasks simple enough a human isn’t required for it. As 2019 continues, many companies are looking into the benefits of using them for tasks previously needing a human’s input, like checking inventories and answering customer questions, as it saves a lot of money.

As for the biggest example of chatbots in e-commerce, that would be eBay. Their use of it allows customers to become aware of new deals and find what they’re looking for far easier.


Note: Whilst AI is expected of the technological age, many customers still prefer to be able to naturally talk to a human when it comes to specific queries on an item before they buy. Not only that, but having a team of only chatbots would be an awful idea. There needs to be a balance, so people don’t lose patience if there’s ever a bug or something else stopping the bots from functioning.


Better visualisation

Seeing a product in person and being able to physically feel for quality it are two aspects lost in online stores compared to the more traditional type. It can be highly disappointing to see a product that has a nice image, but has poor functionality or product quality when it comes to finally using it.

Because of this, it should be a goal for anyone working in e-commerce to invest in the idea of 3D imaging and other types of virtual reality to make this drawback a thing of the past. Whilst nowhere near the sort of virtual revolution written in your typical sci-fi story, it is an area of technology that has made strides in recent times, enough to the point of maybe becoming a common way for people to evaluate products without needing to go to a store.

Along with the enlarged 3D images of the products, video descriptions are becoming more popular to allow the customer to get a more in-depth experience.


Voice Search

Moving from the eyes to the mouth, the voice search feature is quite a new one that has already grown to the extent that it makes up 20% of all searches at this point. Comscore also estimates it will make up 50% of all searches by next year.

With the growing popularity of phone assistants such as Alexa, more companies are making an effort to improve their voice search system, as demand in the market rises. Voice search is a lot more convenient than typing for a lot of people, so we can guarantee it’ll continue to grow.


Instalment payments

Let’s say a customer wants a product from you, but doesn’t have the money at the time. This could be costing you a sale. Instalment payments are getting more popular because of this, with PayPal being a huge innovator in the space.

A lot of companies do seem to lack the trust in customers to do this, and maybe rightly so, but when it works, it really works. For instance, the retail chain Very makes a lot of its profits in the sales of electronics through monthly instalment payments from customers.


As for creating a good experience out of this, convenience for the customers is key. They should get automatic updates on a payment before the deadline so they can plan accordingly, as well as the option to pay the remainder all at once if they become capable of doing so.


The power of influencers

Nowadays, those of the millennial generation constantly make up a larger percentage of the market each year. In terms of their spending habits, 70% of this group tend to buy products based on peer recommendation according to a survey by Collective Bias. Meanwhile, blogging seems a useful tool as well, with 30% going by the recommendation of a blogger. That is why brands love influencers, and that is why they’ll continue paying them to talk favourably about their brand.


While all of these things are already being used by the biggest online stores on the internet, there is good reason. If you’re looking for the next step to bring you closer to the user experience levels of Amazon, these should help.


Need help setting up a store?

If you’re currently only researching e-commerce for a store you’ve not yet opened, we can help! We can turn your store into an online store using Sage Pay. After filling out a short quote request, we can integrate your company over to Sage, install fraud prevention measures and screening tools, and provide you with analytical tools to see your company’s growth first-hand. As well as this, we can provide 24/7 support, just in case anything goes wrong.

Visit http://cheaperpay.me/taking-payments-online/ for more info!


How Brexit Could Affect e-Commerce

Britain is fully immersed in e-commerce culture. 86% of the UK have shopped online during 2017, according to Eurostat, and this number will likely only increase over time. However. the impact of Brexit is currently unknown, and this has left things uncertain for European e-commerce as a whole

When it comes to Europe’s future in e-commerce, it’s important to look at EMOTA (European e-commerce and omni-channel trade association). They’re an umbrella foundation representing online trade across Europe through whatever channels are available with the main goal of promoting e-commerce and removing trade barriers.

According to their secretary general, Maurits Bruggnik, when asked about if European e-commerce businesses need to panic over the outcome of Brexit:

“In case of a hard-Brexit, which seems to me the most likely scenario, we will see serious disruptions in cross-channel trade since all products will have to pass customs, product conformity procedures and other disrupters. This means long waiting periods for consumers waiting for their parcels to be delivered. With some product categories having return rates of up to 50%, the issue of delays will be even more important. This will quickly lead to a serious downturn in e-commerce.”


First Impact – Value of the Pound

The UK has already felt some of the consequences of the decision to leave. The drop of the Great British pound’s value after the referendum has led to the proportion of orders leaving the UK to rise substantially since the referendum, according to the IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index. Alongside this, the cost has increased for merchandise coming from outside of the UK- making it a lot worse for Brits.

Bruggnik had this to say in regard to the problems our retailers are facing:

“The drop of the Pound Stirling will not off-set the tremendous loss in shoppers convenience with long parcel delivery times. If a shopper is willing to wait long for a parcel delivery because of the price difference, the UK will always lose to China. Moreover, shoppers will also have to pay customs duties, which can for some product categories be very important. The number 1 e-commerce product category is clothing and that is an area where high customs duties still occur.”

In the short term, the good news for the UK is that businesses solely focused inside the country will see a temporary boost. In the long term, however, the value of the pound is unclear, so there is a chance the online market will recover, although not guaranteed.

Most e-commerce professionals estimate this change in the market will lead to Germany and Switzerland taking Britain’s place as king of Europe’s e-commerce.


Second Impact – Regulations

Bruggnik went on to talk about what regulations would be affected by these changes:

“Many important pieces of EU legislation affect e-commerce. Some of the recent ones: Consumer Rights Directive (CRD), GDPR, Regulation on Cross-border Parcel Delivery, Directive banning geo-blocking, etc. The UK will not change all the EU laws it has transposed into national laws. Take for example CRD, which gives consumers a 14-day cooling off period. There is no benefit for the UK to change this. However, over time, I expect some legislation to become more business-friendly in the UK. Legislation that would restrict the web shop’s use of cookies may pass in the EU, but unlikely to be embraced in the UK.”

Brexit will lead to tariffs on goods coming to or from the UK, along with the regulations on the services providing the goods, along with the cost for shipping and merchandise. Whilst the current amount of the additional costs is still unknown, it’s obvious the regulations will negatively impact the UK in any case.

Another limiting regulation to consider is that of outsourcing jobs to foreign workers. Currently, e-commerce businesses can easily offer work or contracts to people in other EU countries. When Brexit takes effect, however, the Visa requirements for these overseas workers will become something difficult to deal with due to the time and effort with the process. This will cause some difficulty for employers in this space.

Cross-border e-commerce can gain a lot of advantages through employing foreign workers due to having a multi-lingual customer service that can help expand their businesses to a wider audience. The problem is this is a lot harder to do when looking inwards at primarily British people. Along with the EU workers regularly combating the UK’s skill shortage in general, Brexit will definitely impact customer service the most.


Third Impact – The change in priorities

Bruggnik closed his interview by then mentioning how marketplaces and e-retailers across the UK would be impacted by Brexit:

“UK marketplaces and retailers will find it difficult to trade with EU customers if they do not address the delivery and duty issues. I see the larger ones opening fulfilment centres in the continent and the smaller ones having a hard time.”

In order to remain relevant, British e-commerce businesses may have to focus on prioritising their market in other Commonwealth countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa. This will be far from easy however, as the distance would mean huge shipping costs and large amounts of inconvenience for everyone involved. EU Tariffs would likely even be cheaper once you take that into account.

As for the customers, they will have to limit their habits when it comes to cross-border e-commerce. It’s only a matter of time before EU merchants become more expensive, so if we do end up with no deal, it’s important to look towards the Commonwealth or anyone we can strike up a trade agreement with.

All that said, Britain leaving the EU most likely provides nothing but trouble for the world of e-commerce, but c’est la vie. We’ll manage.


However, not even having an online store is worse for any business.

We can help.

We can turn your store into an online store using Sage Pay. After filling out a short quote request, we can integrate your company over to Sage, install fraud prevention measures and screening tools, and provide you with analytical tools to see your company’s growth first-hand. As well as this, we can provide 24/7 support, just in case anything goes wrong.

Visit http://cheaperpay.me/taking-payments-online/ for more info!

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Make Your Small Business Big With Virtual Terminals

Being able to assure your business method is the most convenient for your customer is a priority in modern business. Credit and Debit Cards being accepted is a start, but staying ahead of your competition will probably require a Virtual Terminal and the skills to manage one effectively.

Using a virtual terminal, merchants have to log in using any web browser, go to the menu where the transaction can be processed and enter the customer’s data to the data board. Now that we’ve explained the basics, what are the real benefits of the virtual terminal?


Why use a virtual terminal?

A virtual terminal can be seen as an online credit card machine. Being online, it can be seen as having several advantages over physical terminals.


  • Portability – There’s no need to waste time searching for a terminal that may be limited to parts of the town or city, or even not there if living in a very small village. Virtual terminals allow you to make a payment anywhere as long as there is internet and the customer has their credit card on hand.


  • No rental fees – In most other systems, you’d need some sort of equipment to process payments and that can lead to additional rental fees for your company to worry about (if you don’t buy the item outright.) Neither of these scenarios need be an issue, however, if you use a virtual terminal. The only equipment you’ll need is a good internet connection and a computer that meets the system requirements.


  • Instant reporting – Real-time data transfers and reports are a major advantage of all types of credit card machines. Instant access to sales reports allow managers to properly update someone’s finances and this is even more important if your business is a small one where keeping track of every purchase, pricing and your stock is crucial for your business’ success. With virtual terminals, you can track all this information and help update all departments of your business by sharing the changes with them.


  • Automated billing – With a virtual terminal, you can also set up automated billing for recurring clients you work with regularly.


Another major benefit is reducing cases of fraud, but that’s something we’ll expand on in a short while.


Best businesses for virtual terminals

If your business needs to process electronic payments but lacks access to a customer’s physical credit card, virtual terminals are the best system you could hope for. Most virtual terminal users used to consist of mail and telephone order storeowners.

Now, it’s become highly popular amongst all types of retail jobs as more merchant service providers offer card readers compatible with computers. This does mean they can’t collect customer payments or debit card payments, but this can often be a small drawback compared to the benefits depending on your line of work.


Call centres, charities, jewellers, home appliance, doctors and beauticians are amongst the many types of smaller businesses taking advantage of the benefits of virtual terminals to the fullest. If one of these is your trade, what are you waiting for?


Keep things secure and reduce fraud

Now, back to a point mentioned earlier. Online transactions carry their own set of strengths and weaknesses when it comes to fraud. It can be difficult to detect a genuine order when the customer doesn’t need to present a physical credit card, though there are still ways to counter the risk of fraud.

Merchants should always treat several signs as red flags when it comes to taking orders. Some of the main examples would include:


  • Suspicious address – Some countries, such as Russia, have a high reputation for fraudulent transactions. Keep an eye on where your orders are going to, especially if international orders are rare in your business.
  • Strange quantities or items – Very large, bulk orders are ones that should seem suspicious. If the only variation in the item is size or colour, be wary of it being false.
  • Serial address orders – If you have many different credit card orders going to the same place, this should make it obvious that the customer may be a fraud. A couple of differences is fine for a general household. A dozen or so is a red flag.
  • Strange address – An order that’s shipped to an anonymous location to hide the customer’s true identity if a definite sign of fraud. Be very wary when shipping to a commercial address beyond the standard.


After that, focusing on the checkout process is highly important. Things to look out for at that point would be:


  • CVV Codes – Asking for a customer’s CVV code or billing ZIP code will be a big step in proving they’re genuine.
  • AVS – An Address Verification Service will tell you if the address given by the customer matches that on their credit card.
  • Tokenisation – This method hides the customer’s information in a virtual database vault whilst their public data is replaced with a substitute token. This form of data encryption makes it a lot more difficult for them to have their information stolen by scammers.


No matter what kind of business you have or what ambitions of success you hold, the first true step towards any of that is having the security to accomplish your goal.


Best terminal for you


After having talked so long about virtual terminals and why your business should seize the opportunity, a question still remains – What virtual terminal is right for you? There are several brands of virtual terminals such as Square, PayPal and Payline, each of which have their own talents in standing out depending on your line of work.


Square is best suited for businesses looking for a lot more extra features beyond the standard terminal service, being easy to set up and use with straightforward fees with no fluctuation. You can pick and choose what you need in your business, including a free online store, which makes it the best for more practical professions like construction work.

A major advantage for Square is that it comes with the virtual terminal as part of its standard package, rather than being an additional cost.


PayPal is the best for a business focused mainly on online transactions. They already have a virtual terminal built into their devices, which makes activating it incredibly easy. Along with this, the rate at which you would be paid is faster than the competitors, as is the ability to deposit funds.

Despite this, it does fall short compared to its rivals when it comes to being cost-effective, with its virtual terminal services being an additional monthly cost of roughly £23.


Payline can be considered a jack of all trades type of service compared to the other two. It focuses on acting more as a traditional merchant account provider, but also makes online payments far easier due to the focus put on its payment gateways. Like Square, it comes as part of the service rather than as an additional cost, but lacks the immediate fund deposits of PayPal.

One area where it excels is in its price, not adding any monthly fees or separate gateway fees. All that’s required is paying the base credit card company charge, a small additional percentage and a pre-transaction fee. Due to this, Payline is the best option for those looking for the cheapest alternative, even if not the fastest.


Once you’ve decided on your terminal, you’re ready to put all this planning into practice. You will soon be on the way to producing a convenient system to help boost the popularity of your business and perhaps turn a small business into a big one, whatever your trade may be.


Would you like to introduce a virtual terminal to your business?

If you’re looking to get your business ready to take payments over the phone or online, we can help. CheaperPay specialises in opening payment avenues in your business, because a customer that wants to pay a different way is a lost customer.


If you would like a free quote, or just more information on our services, please fill in the contact form at http://cheaperpay.me/request-a-quote/ and one of our accredited advisers will be in touch soon.


How to Thrive in the E-Commerce Market

As the internet has grown, so has the market of e-commerce, to the point it’s undeniably the driving force behind a sizeable amount of the world’s most profitable companies- some even carving a path with it exclusively. Out of the 7.7 billion making up the world’s population, 4.1 billion are internet users as of last year, and that number is guaranteed to rise. Basically, it seems like a good time to really start putting effort into e-commerce.

However, the market is becoming oversaturated, and for every online store, there are a million more. You need to be ahead of the curve to stand out, and that’s what we’re going to discuss today. Here are the ways you can make your business more enticing to consumers:


Collaborate With Delivery Companies

The vast majority of e-commerce sales are delivered, so it is definitely beneficial to find ways to optimise this avenue. Personally collaborating with the delivery company is a good start as it creates a working relationship, meaning more reliability, easier communication channels to fix problems, and the chance of better deals through loyalty.

A common method of collaboration is a cash on delivery system. This bypasses the mistrust of consumers (for new stores) and the need for a debit card.

Another benefit of the Cash on Delivery system is customer satisfaction. A customer may refuse to pay for an incorrect item/damaged packaging of an item, in which case it is sent back to the manufacturer. The lack of mistakes will definitely improve the customer’s image of your brand, and it gives you a chance to amend any errors before the customer has paid- cutting down negative reviews.


Form Bonds For Affiliate Marketing

Having someone else recommend or advertise your product to others can be something very convenient and highly effective as a marketing tactic. Websites specialising in e-commerce should try to entice their customers to promote their products through worthwhile rewards. For instance, many sites offer discounts to returning customers for recommending the site or product to a friend.

As an example of this, look no further than the e-commerce giant Amazon. Their system, Amazon Associates, is an affiliate marketing program that allows website owners and bloggers to create links and earn referral fees when customers click through and buy products. This can convince a lot of influencers to take part, growing Amazon’s brand.


They also offer incentives to new members, namely a free month of Amazon Prime and Video, giving those trying to refer people some selling points, and creating a cycle of happy customers.


Web Market Support have gathered some statistics showing the scale and effectiveness of affiliate marketing:


  • 81% of brands and 84% of publishers use affiliate marketing, with the percentage increasing each year in the United States.
  • The United States have a 10.1% increase each year in affiliate marketing spending, with estimates showing the total amount in 2020 will be $6.8 billion.
  • Content marketing- including blogs of influencers- made up 62% of traditional marketing schemes in 2018 and generated triple the leads of traditional methods.
  • 16% of all online orders were influenced by affiliate marketing.
  • Jason Stone’s affiliate marketing earned him $7 billion in retailer sales from June to July of 2017.


This will also be a sure-fire way in creating brand loyalty and giving your customers a reason to commit to your brand.


Work With Manufacturers

In order to further promote your products, and cut out competitors, it can be good to form an exclusive partnership with the manufacturer.

PlayStation and Xbox do this quite often. They’re both in a constant battle to make games exclusive to their platform, giving fans of the games no choice but to buy their product.


If you have a supplier that you work with often, it would be a good idea to look into getting more for your partnership. Even if you can’t make a product exclusive to your store, discounts and freebies are still a certain way to bring more of their fans to you.


Tailor the Interface To The User

In the current age, there is a lot of competition and not a lot of patience. A business will fail if their interface isn’t easy to navigate, good-looking or fast enough for the customer to be satisfied.

How easy it is to search for a product? People often don’t put up with a site not loading when there’s another 20 selling the same thing for the same price on the same Google page, so it’s important to make sure everything is working perfectly. The key to a strong online store is a good first impression.


The key areas to take into consideration are things such as giving your site a clean and easily to look at design, improving the loading speed of your pages, having clear and engaging descriptions of your products and being sure to keep your site open to as many payment methods as possible.


Having a customer support section to report bugs will allow you to fix problems without having to notice them yourself (after many lost customers). Though failure is to be avoided, a few bumps in the road now and then can be a great teacher in improving your business.


Do More Research

Staying up-to-date with how competitors are doing, and changes they are making can come in handy. This, as well as looking at general trends in the field you’re in, can make your online store look fresh and ahead of the curve.

One such current change in e-commerce is the introduction of voice search in its various platforms. Over time, stores will have to implement this or be seen as outdated.


Make sure to update your site to keep up with competitors (or, even better, be ahead of them), add whatever new features are popular and read about features customers are asking for, or like from other websites.


Looking For Help With E-Commerce?

We can help! We can turn your store into an online store using Sage Pay. After filling out a short quote request, we can integrate your company over to Sage, install fraud prevention measures and screening tools, and provide you with analytical tools to see your company’s growth first-hand. As well as this, we can provide 24/7 support, just in case anything goes wrong.

Visit http://cheaperpay.me/taking-payments-online/ for more info!


Gaining trust as an online store: The Guide

These days, online stores are becoming the new go-to option for any kind of purchase. Sites like Amazon, eBay and other similar e-commerce stores are constantly growing at the expense of the high street. If you are wishing to help your company progress and gain a worldwide following, the online store is a line you’ll have to cross at some point, and there are a lot of potential stumbling blocks that you’ll have to negate.

Make sure your site looks good

In the Internet age, patience is a rare thing. If your site isn’t friendly, easy to look at, easily navigable and fast, users can and will go back to Google to find a site that is. You only have a few seconds to draw a new customer in, so you will need a design that looks professional and is very user-friendly.

Modernity is the biggest factor in this. If your site looks dated, people lose interest. With web design, a lot of the time you do get what you pay for, so it’s worth spending that little bit extra to get a site that’s mobile friendly and that’s functional. If it fails to do this, people will view it as second-rate compared to the competition or, worse yet, believe your e-commerce store isn’t an authentic one.

Get reviews

Being able to provide good social proof will also help your site look as good as you want it to be. Reviews are an amazing thing as it helps build credibility on new sites that don’t have an established name or the money to advertise heavily.

According to studies done by the platform Optinmonster, 70 percent of online customers will decide on purchasing a product based on a review. With that in mind, providing the option for customer comments on your website or ability to make full reviews will help improve your reputation.

When sites are first beginning, it’s always a slow process. Be patient! Credibility and reputation come with time.

Another way to show off numbers and make you seem more trustworthy is the website tool Proof (link here: https://useproof.com/), which is highly useful in displaying how many people are looking at your site/ a product at any moment, which can be used to display the hype surrounding an item on your store.

Be transparent

You may have grand ambitions about what your business will look like in the near future, but the foundations of the site must be sturdy. Reputation is an important part of trust, but the attitude the company has towards customers is just as important.

Putting a lot of work into customer support can help in making the site trustworthy, as the customer is always right! Making the extra effort for anyone and everyone on your site builds loyalty, and loyal customer bases recommend your service to their friends, and a close friend’s word is a trusted word.

Be transparent. You should display your company’s e-mail address, physical address and contact number in plain sight on the homepage so the buyers know where to find support. Featuring a live chat box on your site can also help with instant support, provided you make sure it has good moderation as to avoid spam comments.

Along with that, it is important to be honest with a customer about everything in the process. If you’re a dropshipping business, make sure to keep a note of where the product goes in the information tab of the item. This will stop customers thinking they’ve been scammed when they see a foreign label on their packaging.

There is nothing bad about selling imported goods from overseas suppliers, but it can be misconstrued as a cheaper item if it isn’t explained anywhere.

Source: An eBay sale of a collector’s figurine and the item’s shipping information.

Don’t restrict yourself

Being able to accept multiple forms of payment will offer flexibility to the customer and make them feel like the company is more official. This is a major advantage compared to sites that will only deal in one or two payment methods. This isn’t necessarily something that can make or break a company, but it does mean that anyone can buy from your store, and that you have all the bells and whistles to get people to believe that your site is real.

Another way to build credibility is to have a presence on multiple platforms. Many businesses have a store on eBay, a store on Amazon and more, because it drives more traffic to the site, and racks up the reviews that are so useful in building a brand.

Sending delivery updates is another great way of letting the customer know their purchase is being taken care of. Using Smart Shipping software and other types of tracking technology is a really good idea, and something people will notice and be grateful of.

Go the extra mile- it’s worth it

Back to customer service, a kind return policy is something that gives that little bit of safety to a buyer, and will ensure that you don’t lose any business. The Consumer Rights Act of 2015 states that by law, the consumer is to be granted a refund, replacement, repair and/or compensation if goods are faulty, not as described or are sold illegally. That’s concrete and can’t be changed, which makes life a little easier for customers, but we recommend really going the extra mile.

There are many small bonuses you can add to a return policy to satisfy customers. For example, as well as a refund, you could provide store credit, or a discount voucher for their next purchase. This can even end up with a customer leaving thinking their inconvenience was actually worthwhile, and you can bet they’ll tell their friends!

Be you

Along with looking the part and being able to gain a customer’s trust, it is important for your business to have a personality and a story. The biggest reason someone would close an online store is because it’s unknown to them, and not sharing any information about your brand just breeds mistrust.

A buyer may like to know what products a store has, as well as the values of the company behind it. Coming across as a business ran by people is essential, because no one wants to give their money to a cold, emotionless corporation.

Overall, building a trustworthy online store is all about transparency, honesty and friendliness. If you treat the customers well, they’ll come back. Good luck!

Need help with taking payments through your website? Fill out our short form and get a free quote: http://cheaperpay.me/request-a-quote/

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How to accept card payments – The 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:

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.

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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.



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)

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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)

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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)