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What’s the Visa and MasterCard Purchase Return Authorization Requirement? A 1-Minute Rundown

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Just as you are required to obtain an authorization that gives approval to process a sale, starting April 2020, for Visa and MasterCard purchases, merchants will be required to obtain an authorization for a return/refund.

Why is this happening? What are the benefits of authorizing a return?

Historically, returns and refunds did not require an authorization. Returns and refunds were simply processed when a batch was settled. 

Authorizing a return has multiple benefits for the customer, as well as for you, the merchant. 

Customer Benefit: the main benefit will be the clarity customers have into the refund being issued. The new return authorization process will improve customers’ overall experience and help facilitate customer service inquiries related to the status of refunds.

Merchant Benefit: The new return authorization process will give merchants the ability to check the validity of the card to process the refund. Merchants will also receive an approval or decline response code at the time the refund is being issued. This process will, in turn, reduce chargebacks and fraud by providing proof that the refund in now in progress.

Some Response Codes include:

Approved

Code 00 | Approval
Finalize the refund and credit the account.

Code 85 | No reason to decline
This can also be considered an Approval. Finalize the refund and credit the account. 

Declined

Code 14 | Invalid account number or account type
The account for this card is not recognized. Tell the cardholder that the bank doesn’t recognize the account. Request an alternate card of the same brand type (If the refund is on a Visa, then request an alternate Visa card. If the refund is on a MasterCard, then request an alternate MasterCard.)

Code 57 | Transaction not permitted to cardholder 
This response code could be triggered due to a pre-paid card that doesn’t accept refunds. Request an alternate card of the same brand type for payment, or a different form of payment such as cash. 

When do these changes go into effect?

The Visa and MasterCard Purchase Return Authorization requirement is mandated by April 14, 2020.

As of April 14, 2020, issuers (the bank or credit union that issued the credit/debit card to your customer) will be able to initiate a chargeback on a return transaction that does include an authorization.

It’s important to note that the issuer holds the liability for an authorized return sent for settlement. The merchant holds liability for an unauthorized return sent for settlement. 

When can I expect the returns process in my POS software to be updated?

Our next payment gateway release is scheduled for Fall 2019. Within this release will be new functionality that will enable you to obtain an authorization for your returns/refunds through your POS software.

In other words, when initiating a return or refund in your software, you’ll receive a response code as listed above. This process will help provide fraud protection and chargeback prevention as you’ll be able to check the validity of the card being used to process the refund. 

Have more questions about the upcoming Purchase Return Authorization Requirement, or how our payment solutions can help you run your business more efficiently? Give us a call at 888.244.2160 or post your question below. 

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Best Business Practices: 3 Tips for Effectively Handling Credit Card Chargebacks

If you take credit card payments at your business, you will, inevitably, at one time or another, face a chargeback. And resolving those chargebacks can eat up a huge amount of time and resources — something most small businesses don’t have much of.

The good news: with a little preparation and education, you can put practices in place to make the chargeback process a lot less painful — and way more effective. 

So, you got a chargeback notice. Now what? Follow these best practices:

1. Check the reason code

When you receive a chargeback notice, the very first thing you’ll want to do is check the reason code. The reason code will give you valuable details on the reason why the customer decided to dispute the payment in the first place.

Not only will this help you understand why the customer is disputing the payment, it may provide insight into how to prevent chargebacks for your business going forward.

For instance, one of the most common reasons for a chargeback is that the customer doesn’t recognize the charge on their statement. If that’s the case, you could consider using dynamic descriptors to make sure your charge descriptions are ultra-clear.

Side note: Dynamic descriptors allow a merchant to define what appears on their customer’s credit card statement regarding the purchase. You can include specifics like the product purchased, business name, business location, and contact information. An example of a dynamic descriptor would be: ABC Inc. Annual Membership Renewal 8885551212 versus a static descriptor like: ABC Inc. 8885551212.

2. Make note of important deadlines

After checking the reason code, you’ll want to make note of any important response deadline, since there is a limited timeframe to respond to a chargeback.

The typical timeframe to respond to a chargeback is 120 days; however, in some cases, the timeframe may be longer or shorter depending on the chargeback reason code.

Making note of the deadline to respond is useful in that it helps ensure you don’t miss the window to go to the dispute process, if that is how you decide to proceed.

3. Consider resolving through proactive customer service

Most times, a chargeback request is initiated by a frustrated customer that couldn’t easily recognize where the charge is from.

Before proceeding to the dispute process (a process that involves you, the merchant, having to provide proof that the transaction is valid and can also mean extra processing time and cost to you, and possibly a loss of revenue), consider taking a moment to contact the customer directly to resolve the problem.

Most times, the dispute process can be avoided by contacting the customer. Customers will appreciate that you took the time to proactively contact them and hear them out, and the customer will, most likely, reverse the chargeback by contacting their card issuer.

Again, this proactive contact could go a long way in not just providing stand-out service to your customer, but alerting you to issues that’ll help you prevent chargebacks from happening in the first place.

Chargeback prevention is just as important

While handling chargebacks in the most effective manner is important to your business, it’s also hugely important to put practices in place to prevent a customer from charging back a payment. For chargeback prevention tips, check out our blog article: 7 Ways to Proactively Prevent Credit Card Chargebacks.

If you’d like more information on chargeback prevention, and how Constellation Payments can assist, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 888.244.2160.

Last, but not least, sign up for chargeback alerts

How can you respond to chargebacks if you don’t know a chargeback occurred?!

A great layer of protection for your business is to sign up for chargeback alerts that notify you of any payment disputes posted to your account within 24 hours. You can choose to be notified by fax, or have the chargeback alerts sent by email and online alert. Setting yourself up with chargeback alerts helps ensure you can begin proactively handling chargebacks as soon as they occur.

To sign up for chargeback alerts, contact our Merchant Services Support team at 888.244.2160.

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Help! What Do I Do with Transaction Declines and Blacklisted Transactions?

Declined. Seeing that word flash on your payment terminal, or on a transaction report, is sure to stir up angst in anyone.

But don’t fret.

You’ll be happy to know that with a little education, research, and action, every decline can be resolved. That’s right. Every. One.

Some of the most common declines you’ll see:

  • Authorization revoked
  • No account
  • Card stolen
  • Invalid card number
  • Insufficient funds
  • Card expired
How Should You Handle These Declines?

Some declines are of a softer nature, and are set to detect and prevent fraudulent activity, such as not passing the address verification service (AVS) check.

By collecting needed information, like an updated address or card verification value (CVV), you can simply reattempt the transaction through your software, and most often, the reattempt will be successful.

Other declines may require action by your staff and/or customer. You’ll need to ask your customer to contact their bank to resolve the issue for an authorization revoked decline before the transaction can be retried. For declines such as invalid card number and card expired, you’ll need to ask your customer for an updated card or payment method.

Blacklisted Transaction Report – Make Regular Review Part of Your Business Regimen

It’s important to note that once a transaction is declined, and it isn’t resolved by you or the customer, the transaction can be placed on a blacklist by Constellation Payments’ system.  These transactions are listed as blacklisted transactions and are reported back as such with the return response and the specific action required to update your customer’s account.

This process was created because reattempting transactions on an ACH account that’s blocked due to invalid or incorrect payment details can result in banking fines from the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA), or you, the merchant, could be charged excessive authorization charges for pushing repeated declined transactions. The Blacklisted Transaction Report helps ensure you aren’t fined for accounts you’re never going to get funds on.

By running and working the Blacklisted Transaction Report, you can be proactive and take the necessary steps to resolve your declines and reduce your decline ratio.  

This report can be retrieved through our reporting API or reported by your batch returns file.

The Big Takeaway

It’s not uncommon for a merchant’s declines to balloon due to repeat attempts on the same payment method.

The best course of action you as a merchant can take is to put more awareness around your declines and use the Blacklisted Transaction Report. By reviewing the reports regularly, and taking actions listed on the Blacklisted Transaction Report, you’ll reduce your declines, and ensure successful processing going forward.

We Can Help

We’re happy to review your declines and Blacklisted Transaction Reports to help create a plan of action for you to reduce your declines. Just give us a call at 888.244.2160 or send an email to sales@csipay.com.

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Mid-Year Financial Checkup: 5 Steps Every Business Owner Should Take

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Remember back in January? Those goals you set for your business?

Like so many of us, your it’s-a-new-year-let’s-crush-it enthusiasm has probably faded a bit. And maybe, now at the halfway point of the year, your business’ fiscal fitness isn’t exactly where you’d like it to be.

Not to worry; mid-year is the perfect time to relax, re-center, and re-focus on those financial goals for a strong year-end finish.  

As a launchpad, we’ve gathered key pointers and considerations for you to add to your checkup to help your business get financially fit — and ready for the second half of the year:

Tip #1: Evaluate costs and ROI

Look at your expenditures and their return on investment. Are you paying a monthly subscription fee for a service, but maybe not getting much out of it? If it isn’t producing a solid return, consider stopping the service and re-purposing those dollars into something else that does more for your business.

Tip #2: Review your cash flow and billing strategy

Do you have cash tied up in unpaid invoices from customers? Many businesses do. And many businesses spend unnecessary time and energy trying to collect those payments.

Instead of repeatedly sending invoices and making phone calls, take a different approach. Consider setting up recurring billing through your business management software to automate invoices, and ensure reliable recurring revenue. This is an especially effective approach for membership-based businesses that have monthly membership fees like fitness clubs, yoga studios, and martial arts schools.

Tip #3: Utilize your software’s financial reporting to gain insight

You’re investing in a business management software, why not use it to its fullest capacity? Most software programs have dashboards and detailed financial reports to help you get a read on key business elements like revenue, sales and value, active members by program, and membership packages.

Utilizing these reports will provide important actionable insights and benchmarks that you can then use to take immediate action and improve business performance.

Tip #4:  Review your online merchant processing statements to get a good read on volume and trends

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with Payments Insider, a new, interactive, online portal that houses all your business’ payment information.

The portal gives you online access to your merchant account credit card statements from the past 13 months. All statements can be filtered by location, statement type, and date range — and you can click on any of the values within the statement for greater detail.

Be sure to pay attention to the tables and graphs provided that break down transactions by sales, returns, chargebacks, card/dollar/transaction amounts and average ticket price. These visual representations of your payment activity can help you quickly identify areas of strength, and those that could use a little help.

Tip #5: Readjust your goals

Remember, goal setting is an ongoing activity and a means for guidance and direction. You’ll likely need to readjust your goals based on your past 6-month’s business performance. And that’s OK! Most of us do. The key is to make smart goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound), get them in writing, make an action plan, and stick with them. And be sure to celebrate any and all progress!

Review Your Finances Regularly

Just like taking your car in for regular maintenance checkups, it’s important to take your business into the shoppe on a regular basis. Get under the hood, take a hard look at your business finances, and see what needs to be fine-tuned to improve performance.

Do that, and no doubt, you’ll thank yourself come December 31. You’ll smile hard as you reflect back on the year and how you helped your business achieve peak financial fitness.

Have a success tip of your own? Share it below.
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Suspect Fraud? How and When to Make a Code 10 Authorization Request

It’s another busy Saturday at Barney’s Barbershop. Matt’s scurries to the front desk to ring up Joelle’s last customer. Suddenly, a “Lost / Stolen Card” error message flashes on the terminal. Matt’s heart begins racing. His palms now sweaty. What is he to do?

Though we’ve made significant strides to curb fraudulent activity with new payment technologies like EMV, fraud can, and still does, happen.

The good news is that there are proactive steps you and your staff can take to minimize your risk and effectively manage these situations.  

So, what should Matt do?

If you or a staff member suspect fraud, like Matt, a Code 10 call should be made.

But First, What’s a Code 10 Authorization Request?

A Code 10 Authorization Request is a preventive tool used by merchants to verify additional payment card information, while, at the same time, alerting the card issuer of possible fraudulent activity. 

Think of a Code 10 call as an added layer of prevention for your business that should only be used when suspicious behavior or unusual requests are evident.

Whether you sell products and services face-to-face, like Matt — or over the phone, by mail or online — you can employ a Code 10 Authorization to verify additional information on a suspicious transaction.

In other words, a Code 10 can be used in both card-present and card-not-present transaction environments.

 

When Should a Code 10 Authorization Request be Made?

You should act on your suspicions when the details around a transaction seem unusual.

Examples of suspicious activity in a card-present environment:

  • A customer swipes or inserts their card in the payment terminal, and an error message reading “Pick Up Card” or “Lost / Stolen Card” appears on the payment device.
  • A customer provides a card where the security code or expiration date have been manipulated.
  • The signature on the card and the receipt don’t match.

Examples of suspicious activity in a card-not-present environment:

  • An order is placed by a relay call, an operator-assisted telephone call, typically used by someone who is hearing impaired. While this is a valid service, criminals have been known to use the service to place fraudulent orders.
  • A customer orders a large quantity of the same or similar item. Also, be cautious of large bulk orders with a shipping address of an apartment or self-storage unit.
  • A customer provides multiple card numbers for the same purchase. You should also be leery of multiple card numbers that are only different by the few last numbers.
  • A customer requests overnight delivery, without regard to costs.
  • A customer requests immediate processing of the order and wants the tracking number used for the shipment ASAP.
  • A customer places a phone order, requests immediate processing of the order, and then advises they will have someone come to the store location to pick-up the product.
  • A customer requests delivery to an alternate address, other than the billing address, or the customer requests shipment to a freight forwarder. Criminals are known to use U.S.-based re-shippers to avoid detection of foreign shipments.
  • A customer requests merchandise you do not sell. The most common requests are for cell phones and laptop computers.
How Do You Make a Code 10 Authorization Request?

If you suspect fraud, the very first thing to do is remain calm, then follow these simple instructions:

1. Retain the card in question and let the customer know that you need to make a phone call for additional authorization.

2. Call 1-800-725-1243 and ask to be transferred to the Voice Authorization department.

3. Choose the prompt for ‘Code 10’. You will be transferred to a voice authorization representative who will ask you a series of yes/no questions to verify the cardholder information during your call.

If the cardholder information cannot be verified by the voice authorization representative, the information will then be forwarded to an investigator for further research. You will receive the results of the investigation within 24-72 hours.

4. Follow the representative’s instructions. In some instances, you may be asked to retain the card and call law enforcement. Only proceed if it is safe to do so. Otherwise, process the transaction and contact the card processor as soon as the customer leaves the site.

Your Best Line of Defense

Matt remembered he and his team had recently reviewed the protocol for situations like this. With that, he breathed a sigh of relief, then calmly made a Code 10 call.  Matt answered the representative’s questions in a normal tone and followed their instructions.

Like Matt and his team, it’s important to review these steps with staff, so they manage these situations in the most effective manner. Also, be sure to keep the contact information for reporting fraud easily accessible to all employees.  

It’s worth noting that Code 10 Authorization calls can also serve as part of your chargeback prevention plan. For more tips on preventing fraudulent transactions in card-present and card-not-present environments, see the articles: 7 Ways to Proactively Prevent Credit Card Chargebacks and How to Prevent In-Person & Online Fraudulent Transactions That Can Result in Chargebacks

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Need Your Money Quicker? Standard ACH & Same Day Funding Explained


Few things are more important in business than cash flow.

That’s why it’s no surprise that one of the most common questions we get at Constellation Payments is: “Can I get my funding quicker?”

The short answer is “Yes! We offer same day funding which will speed up your deposits.”

But, before making the leap to same day funding, it’s important to understand the difference between standard ACH and same day funding to ensure you make the right call for your business.

What is standard ACH funding?

When you are set up with a Constellation Payments merchant account, your funds are electronically deposited as an ACH (Automated Clearing House) transaction into your designated bank deposit account.

With standard ACH funding, you’re funded within 2 business days from when you submit your batch. The cut-off time for batching is 10 pm ET.

For example, if you batch on Monday by 10 pm ET, you’ll receive your funds by Wednesday.

What is same day funding?

For those that need their money quicker, we offer the convenience of same day funding.

Instead of waiting 2 days for funds to be deposited, you’ll receive your funds the same day as long as you batch by 6 am ET.

Here’s an example for context: Say you’re a fitness facility that closes at 9 pm ET Monday night and batches before 10 pm. On the standard ACH funding schedule, your funds will be deposited on Wednesday.

With same day funding, if you batch by 10 pm ET on Monday — or anytime up until 6 am ET Tuesday — you would get your funds by Tuesday. As long as you batch by 6 am that day, you will receive your funding the same day.

Other noteworthy points to consider for same day funding:

  • Same day funding does not fund on the weekends or holidays. Batches that you submit on Saturday or Sunday are funded on Monday.

  • There is a monthly fee for the convenience of same day deposits since your funds are being put into a specialized rail with the Federal Reserve to speed up the normal funding process.

  • There is a batch limit of $25,000 with same day funding.

  • Same day funding is currently not available for all Canadian merchants. Merchants in Canada that bank with one of the following banks, and submit their batches by 6 am ET, can receive same day funding at no additional cost: Bank of Montreal, National Bank of Canada, Scotiabank, Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto Dominion.
Which funding schedule is right for you?

Of course, accelerating your funding to same day gives you more capital to work with — enabling you to purchase inventory, meet payroll, and make payments on bills and loans more readily.

Consider your business type, its own expenditures, and its unique needs to determine which schedule is right for you. And, if you need some assistance, we are here, as always, to help. Give us a call at 888.244.2160.

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Manage Incoming Payments Like a Pro: 3 Tools to Start Using Today

Ever begin using an app that immediately becomes part of your everyday, leaving you thinking: “How DID I ever get along without this?”   

That’s how you’ll likely come to feel about these three tools.  

Incorporated into your business routine, they’ll quickly become your go-tos — making it far easier to keep your finger on the pulse of your business and its funds. 

Before getting started, you’ll want to sign up for a My Payments Insider account, if you haven’t already. My Payments Insider is your primary source for managing your merchant account, and accessing all your business’ payment information.  

To register, fill out the form here. A confirmation email will be sent to you with instructions to complete your account set-up. 

Now, about those tools 

1. Interactive Online Statements 

How much was deposited to my account last month?” …  “10 months ago?” …  “What did I pay in chargeback fees? 

You can easily get answers to questions like these with My Payments Insider. Within the portal, you have access to statements from the past 13 months that can be viewed online and easily downloaded to PDF, CSV, or XLSX. No more waiting for paper statements to be mailed to you and storing paper documents at your facility. All statements are secure and in one spot for easy access whenever you need them.  

Even better, the statements are interactive, meaning you can: 

  • Filter by business location, statement type, and date range (3 months, 6 months, 9 months, and year) 
  • Change views to deposits, fees, chargebacks and adjustment activity 
  • Drill down to batch and transaction level to get greater detail 

2. Funding Alerts  

No doubt cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. And like a monitor records the activity of the heart, you need a tool to keep a pulse on cash flow. Funding alerts are a quick and easy way to do that.  

With funding alerts, you’ll know the moment funds have been settled and processed to your account.  

To sign up, follow the steps below or call our Support Team at 888.244.2160, option 2.  

  1. Click on the ‘Personal Information’ dashboard tile 
  2. Click ‘Notifications’ 
  3. Check the ‘Funding/bank activity’ box 
  4. Enter your mobile phone number  

Select your merchant ID (MID) or all business locations. You’ll receive one text message per MID. 

3. Chargeback Alerts 

Managing chargebacks and retrievals can be a difficult and confusing part of payment processing. And, if you don’t respond to a dispute within the allotted timeframe, the banks will simply process the chargeback. (Typical timeframe is 120 days, however, in some cases, the timeframe may be longer or shorter depending on the chargeback reason code.)  

Chargeback alerts help you stay on top of payment disputes. With this service, you’ll be notified by fax, or by email and online alert, of any payment disputes posted to your account within 24 hours, so you can proactively handle chargebacks as soon as they’re made.  

Also, within the portal, you can set preferences for your alerts whether it’s new chargeback and retrieval cases, status updates, high value amounts, and case aging. My Payments Insider also includes a broad selection of reports to manage your activities and measure your results. 

To enroll for chargeback alerts, contact our Support Team at 888.244.2160, option 2 or open a ticket under the “Request a Change” reason and add notes to sign up for chargeback alerts via email. 

The Tool’s In Your Court 

Like outfitting a gym with essential equipment to train effectively, businesses need to incorporate the right tools to manage money effectively. Start using these three today to keep your finger on the pulse of your business and its funds, and make managing incoming payments a whole lot easier. 

Have a question about the tools listed here? Post your question below or visit our Support Hub Portal.

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Form 1099-K: What Business Owners Need to Know

Receive a 1099-K form? Not sure what it is or what it’s used for? Here’s a brief overview to get you quickly up to speed and in the know this tax season.   

What is a 1099-K? 

Form 1099-K, also called Payment Card and Third Party Network Transactions, is an IRS information return form that is used to report transactions that are made by a payment settlement entity.   

In other words, if you use a service, like the payment processing provided by Constellation Payments, a third-party processor to process your credit cards and debit cards online, the transactions that were processed by the payment settlement entity are reported on Form 1099-K. 

Who is Issued Form 1099-K? 

Form 1099-K forms are mailed to our customers via USPS and are sent to the same address where monthly statements are sent. 

A copy is simultaneously sent to both the IRS and the merchant.  

It’s important to note that not all business owners who process credit card and debit card payments online are issued a 1099-K. There are minimum reporting thresholds. In most cases, a 1099-K is not issued unless: 

The payment settlement entity processed more than $20,000 worth of payments on behalf of the merchant annually, AND the payment settlement entity processed more than 200 individual transactions on behalf of the merchant annually. 

What Should I Do with My 1099-K? 

Form 1099-K should be used when preparing your annual tax return. According to the IRS, separate reporting of the transactions on Form 1099-K is not required.  Be sure though to add the income that is reported on your 1099-K to your total business income when you file your taxes.  
 
For more information, see the General FAQs on Payment Card and Third Party Transactions from the IRS.   

Have a question regarding Form 1099-K that wasn’t answered here? Post your question below or visit our Support Hub Portal.

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Global Payment Perspectives: Key Considerations that Can Make or Break Your POS Software Global Expansion – Part 2

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Thinking of expanding your POS software into international markets? Great! As a global merchant services company, we can help you do that. We’re able to provide a single gateway integration that allows software companies to enter foreign markets without having to integrate with multiple new banks and acquirers.

But First …

When going into new markets, I always advise my clients to make sure you’ve done your due diligence. In a previous post, I talked about the first step to take before entering international markets. Please check out that post first if you haven’t.

My last post covered specific considerations to take into account before global expansion.

There’s a bit more I wanted to cover, so let’s get into it and complete our list of key considerations.

1. Regional and Cultural Payment Preferences

Payment preferences are very different in different countries. You’ll want to know the common practices in the country you’re expanding into.

For instance, did you know, over 58% of online transactions that occur in Asia Pacific are done with alternative payment methods — not with standard credit cards or even direct debit?

In Asia Pacific, consumers pay with alternative payment methods like PayPal e-wallet services that are specifically geared towards specific regions.

Another example of payment differences: In Europe, especially in Germany, consumers prefer to set up direct debit for any transaction. Whether it’s their cable bill or gym membership, they are not accustomed to payment with a credit card. They prefer to use direct debit.

2. Consumer Behavior from a Consumption Perspective

You’ll want to consider different cultural differences when deciding which regions to expand into. For example, maybe you sell software used by fitness centers and are considering expanding to the Middle East-North African region. If one of those areas is primarily Muslim — which is one of the predominant religions in that region — you’ll want to consider making adaptations to your software to allow for cultural differences that would happen in a health club environment.

An example: you might want to provide the ability for women to have their own spaces or times to exercise without men present, and vice versa. You’ll likely want to account for that somewhere in your software so that the set-up of that software can include specific hours for specific groups that may need their own time.

3. International Fulfillment

If your product is typically sold domestically and you’re selling internationally, you’ll want to make sure your customer understands the logistics of shipping. Communicate the logistics by way of your marketing materials and website. Make sure the communication is clear and concise about what the fulfillment times are going to be, so that you set clear expectations.

4. Regulatory Issues

There are regulatory and legal issues to consider when moving into specific foreign markets. For example, the UK has specific, strict requirements to protect consumers from unauthorized charges. It takes a good while for a bank transfer to be authorized before you can begin debiting someone’s account.

If you want to debit someone’s account on the first of the month, that process needs to start anywhere from 10-14 days prior. There’s a customer mandate which is essentially the customer giving permission for you to debit their account and that must be submitted at some point 10-14 days prior to the day you want to debit their account.

Additionally, if consumers have an issue, you need to make sure everything is compliant. PCI compliance applies in all countries. Specific things about how customers will be charged needs to be communicated. If you are not a native speaker, you may need a website designer that can provide you a native language website and ongoing website support.

5. Legal Partner

It’s strongly recommended you hire legal counsel that can advise you to the nuances associated with moving into new international markets and make sure you’re following local laws of the region.

One international issue in some countries is that if you wish to process payments, you must have a local entity where mail can be sent and meetings can take place face to face with representatives of the company. This is particularly the case in the Middle East.

Yes, there’s a lot to consider before expanding internationally. And while this post and Part 1 of Key Considerations for POS Software Global Expansion give you a good starting point, it is by no means exhaustive.

However, I’m by no means trying to deter you from expanding. There’s much opportunity and business to be had when expanding globally. It’s just in your best interest to take the necessary steps to consider the entire picture along with the opportunity.

Many of Constellation Payments’ partners found integrating with our gateway more preferable than doing it themselves. With a single gateway integration, they were afforded access to multiple foreign markets and gained a partner already familiar with the payments landscape they were preparing to enter.

As always, if you have questions about our global payment capabilities or expanding your business into specific regions, feel free to give us a call at 888.248.7060 or send an email to sales@csipay.com.

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globeGoing Global: How to Successfully Sell Your Software Internationally

Considering expanding to international markets? Request a copy of our 30-minute webinar for more tips and guidance on growing your base outside the U.S.

 

 

 

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What’s an ACH Payment? How Does ACH Benefit My Business? (Video)

What’s an ACH Payment? How Does ACH Benefit My Business? photo

The year 2000. That’s when I moved out of my parents’ house, and into the real world.

I remember a big part of my adulting was setting aside an hour or so once a month to “pay the bills”. Paying the bills required my checkbook. (Not a real book, a small 3” x 6” — usually pleather — folder with a pad of paper checks and ledger inside.)

Paying the bills meant I’d write out each check, fill out the remittance slip, put the check and slip into the supplied return envelope, and slap a postage stamp on the envelope. I’d then take my stack of envelopes to the mailbox for the post office to pick up and deliver. Delivery would take anywhere from 1 to 3 days depending on the vendor location.

Quite a process.

Today, all my bills are paid electronically online as ACH payments. It takes about 10 minutes to pay all 6 of my bills. I haven’t yet made the jump to automatic ACH, but know many who have. Automatic ACH means no time at all is spent “paying the bills”.

What’s an ACH payment?

You’re probably familiar with ACH payments and don’t realize it.

Have you ever gone to pay a bill online and you’ve been prompted to enter your bank routing number and bank account number? That’s an ACH payment.

But let’s back-pedal a bit. That acronym. What’s it stand for? ACH is the Automated Clearing House — the clearing center for all electronic payments that happen between banks and financial institutions in the U.S.

When people talk about ACH they’re usually referring to ACH processing — the process of moving funds from one bank account to another. Or an ACH payment — an electronic payment/eCheck — where you, the customer, give authorization for an institution to debit funds directly from your checking or savings account for bill payment.

How does a business benefit from ACH?

The benefits of ACH payment are clear for consumers: It’s much more convenient. Making an ACH payment is a lot faster than writing out a check and getting the payment into the mail on time. Plus, money is saved by not having to buy postage stamps.

For a business, there are many benefits to taking ACH payments, too. Some of the top benefits are:

Faster processing time — With ACH payments, it’s all online, so the processing time is much faster which means you get your money quicker. ACH payments are usually processed within 1-2 business days versus 5-6 business days it takes for the check to arrive in the mail and process it.

Cost-effective — With ACH payments, the funds are transferred from bank account to bank account electronically which makes the transaction cost very low and therefore, a more cost-effective payment method for businesses than accepting credit and debit card payments.

Especially cost-effective for businesses and organizations with recurring billing — The more transactions you have, the more transaction fees you pay. And if you run a business that charges a monthly fee, like a gym, or have customers that pay on a recurring basis, like a utility company, you have lots of transactions. ACH is particularly attractive for these businesses and organizations because they can accept payments in a cost-effective way.

 


Think ACH is right for you?

Obviously, ACH offers both businesses and customers the opportunity to save time and it provides major convenience. For businesses, you’re able to secure payments faster and save on transaction fees with ACH.

If you’re interested in learning more about ACH, or signing up to take ACH payments, give us a call at 888.244.2160 or fill out our simple online form. We’d be happy to go over the rates for ACH with you and help you get set up so you can start saving and streamlining your payment process.

Kristen Campbell is the Brand Manager at Constellation Payments. She is responsible for managing all marketing initiatives and programs including channel partner and merchant success programs, public and media relations, internal and external communications, and customer engagement. You can reach Kristen by sending an email to kcampbell@csipay.com.

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