January 2014

What Target Taught Us About Card Security

We’ve already talked extensively about what customers should do if affected by the Target data security breach. A breach of information this size is sure to raise some questions about the state of payment security and credit card fraud. The hack was the largest since 2007 and estimated to be the second largest breach of credit card information in history. The total ramifications have not been realized as Target officials and the United States Secret Service have just recently launched a probe to gather information about the incident after being alerted immediately when the breach was discovered. The Target situation has shed light on an ongoing issue with card fraud and increased expectations for other retailers to take heed of the potential for fraud.

Reports indicate that the point-of-sale payment terminals were compromised. Antiquated POS terminals pose a great risk to the safety of information as they are more susceptible to computer viruses and hackers. Card providers and payment processors have made a strong push in recent years to replace outdated terminals with more secure options, with a goal to have the switch complete by 2015. It is uncertain whether updated terminals could have completely prevented the breach, but a more secure system could have minimized those affected.

As said earlier, this is the largest breach of sensitive data from a retailer since 2007 when retail company TJX reported that as many as 45.7 million customers had their information compromised by a hacker intrusion. According to files with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, TJX’s breach occurred over a period of 18 months which makes the Target hack that much more daunting. Most credit card fraud is done on a small scale and associated with identity theft. Target’s predicament reminds us how large of a scale this kind of fraud can be administered and how many people can be at risk because of outdated terminals and software.

Instead of worrying about card security, contact us today!

Neiman Marcus Announces a Data Breach, Target’s Numbers Jump to 110 Million Customers Affected

Neiman Marcus announced Friday that it was a target of a massive cyber attack, with as many as 70 million customers’ personal information being swiped, including names, addresses, email addresses and telephone numbers. Officials do not know if the attack is related to the Target data breach.

Target’s January 10th announcement by the company’s spokesperson brings the number of customers who had information stolen to 110 million, and now the information includes names, addresses and email addresses for 70 million customers who did not swipe cards in Target stores.

To make matters worse, it looks as if we may just be scratching the surface of this problem, as sources are saying that there were three more breaches that happened just before the holiday shopping season. As of yet, those retailers haven’t gone public, but sources suggest that they are retail chains with outlets typically found in malls.

Investigators are suggesting that the three smaller attacks before the holidays were a sort of trial run, before the culprits hit Target and Neiman Marcus, and think that the breach originated from Eastern Europe, where most of the large cyber crime cases originate.

While the retailers have yet to disclose exactly how the attackers accessed their data systems, the experts seem to agree that it was most likely a piece of malware that is known as a RAM scraper. This malicious software grabs sensitive information, which is normally encrypted, when it travels through the live memory of the computer in readable text.

Target has stated that most of the stolen data is incomplete, but in instances where they have an email address, Target will attempt to contact affected customers. Because both online and in store purchases are potentially breached, anyone who shopped at Target.com or in stores should keep a close eye on their financial accounts.

Neiman Marcus is also working on letting its affected customers know of the breach, which so far only impacts customers that shopped in store over the holiday season.

Ready to secure your company’s data? Contact us today!

Protect Your Small Business with a Merchant Account

If you own an online business, then you should learn how to protect your cardholder data, your customer and business. Choose a merchant processor that uses a secure payment system such as Vision Payment Solutions. They offer secure payment solutions that protect your customer’s personal information. If you enter your customer’s data into your computer system, make sure you have security procedures in place. Keep antivirus software up to date, and limit access to your customer’s information from employees. Data theft is on the rise all across the country. Payment solutions such as VPS offers a variety of payments suited for all business types. You need to maintain a solid front-line defense against theft of your customer’s data.

Choose VPS as your payment provider to avoid using dial-up payment terminals at your business location. Your business Internet connection should have a firewall that protects your information from hackers. Unauthorized computer use is a common way that hackers retrieve personal customer information. Savvy online shoppers will choose to do business with companies that offer secure payment solutions. Newer online businesses often find it hard to secure a line of credit with their local financial institution. Choose VPS as your payment provider eliminates that problem. It is not easy to start a new business without the ability to accept a variety of payments from your customers.

Credit cards are a convenient payment method for millions of online shoppers. Many shoppers choose to use a credit card so they have payment protection services. If you are not able to accept credit cards, you can be losing a lot of valuable business. When you choose to work with VPS, you will have the ability to accept credit and debit cards and eChecks. Make sure you don’t send out your merchandise until the eCheck clears. This can often take three to five business days. Make sure your shopper understands your shipping policies.

Charge-offs are a common occurrence when accepting credit card payments if there is no communication between seller and buyer. Send your customers a confirmation email when your items ship. This will develop better communication and more satisfied customers. VPS payment solutions will give you one less thing to worry about in your business. Secure payments give your customers the confidence to do business with your company, and also allow your business to grow much faster.

Contact us today to start your merchant account today. .

Cash Is Out, Credit Cards Are In

Businesses that are just starting out, or take cash only payments, should consider accepting credit card payments. It is well-known that the majority of individuals do not carry cash around anymore. Bank accounts are allowing customers to have all of their funds accessible through a debit card. The debit cards will have a major credit card logo on them in order to work anywhere.

Credit card payments are easy to accept once your business gets a credit card processor. The processor is going to be able to advise you if the credit card has enough funds to cover the transaction needed. If the card has enough funds, the processor will state “accepted.” If there is not enough funds on the credit card, it will state “denied” and another form of payment will need to be used to finish the transaction. The credit card processors will charge a small fee each time a credit card is swiped. The fees may differ based upon the type of major credit card the customer is using. In some states the fee can be passed on to the customers.

When your business accepts credit card payments, you will be able to accept payments online for your products or services through your personal website. The customers will be able to order what they want from your company and pay for it online without ever taking a step into your business. This will help your business grow and become successful. You will also be able to take care of a larger variety of customers all over the United States.

Your business will be able to generate reports based off the credit card payments accepted. The reports that can be generated are going to show you the amount of transactions that you processed for your company. They will even show the amount of fees that were associated with the payments accepted. The reports can be pulled daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly. This can help your business to see what times of the year your sales were at their highest or lowest peak. Companies are able to staff their business accordingly to ensure they are saving the most money possible.

If you are ready to take your business to a new level and start taking credit card payments, be sure to get in contact with Vision Payment Solutions today. We will be happy to get you completely set up to take credit card payments online or in your store.

Changes in Credit Card Laws

Millions of people rely in credit card for their day to day living, yet these wonderful inventions have lead many users to financial ruin. Through misuse laziness, fraud, and lack of management many people have trouble with credit card debt and usage. This is part of what has brought about recent credit card changes and laws and to help customers with merchant account comparison. Here are some of the highlights of these new federal credit card laws:

Limited rate increases: Interest rate hikes that arr applied to any existing balances an be applied only under predetermined and limited situation like when a promotional or trial period ends or if late payments are made an the rates go up as a result. The rate of interest on new transactions can be raised only once the first year had passed. Significant changes in terms but be given 45 days notice before any alterations are made- especially changes in interest rates so that the customer has a chance to do some merchant account comparison  and find another credit company if they want to.

The right to opt out: Consumers have always been able to opt out of certain aspects of their policy. Now that the laws have been updated, it is now easier to opt out and it is now required that credit card companies alert you of upcoming changes so you have the chance to decline features, pay off your balance, and close the account.

Clear due dates: Credit companies can not set early morning or arbitrary dates for payments. Cutoff times that are prior to 5 p.m. are now not allowed and are not permissible by law. Payments due on a date that falls on a weekend, holiday, or a day when the company is not open are not subject to late fees. The law also states that due dates and times must remain the same month to month and if any change tot he date is planed the card owner must be notified in advance of the change.

Highest interest balances: When consumers have a card that has several purchases on it, payments over the minimum amount due will go to paying the balance purchases that have a higher interest rate before being applied to any other balance. What this means is if a card balance is for two purchases where one has an interest rate of %12 and the other has a rate of %17, extra payment  amounts must be applied to the %17 balance before any other.

Minimum payments: Credit card issuers are now required to tell card owners how much they will be paying in interest and how long it will take them to pay off the balance if they make only the minimum balance each month. 

Late fee restrictions: There is now a maximum of $25 for occasional late payments. If someone constantly makes late payments, the fees can be higher if this happens more than one or two within a six month time period.  Merchant account comparison is also worked into this area since many people look for new credit card companies because of late fee penalties.

Through misuse laziness, fraud, and lack of management many people have gotten into trouble with credit card debt and usage. Fortunately, some of the new credit card laws and regulations are making it easier to get a handle on your credit card usage and debt.

Interested in learning how a credit card can help your business? Contact us today at Vision Payments. With years of experience in the eCommerce field, we can help you find the perfect solution for your business!

Process Immediately with Virtual/Internet Credit Card Processing

If you are starting a new online business, there are a few things to consider such as your ability to take online payments. Vision Payment Solutions offers you the ability to easily take online payments. Their system is an easy way to avoid having to deal with banks or other financial institutions. Your webmaster can easily add a shopping cart to your website. Whether you have a physical store or an online presence, you will find merchant solutions at VPS.

Online shopping carts are actually safer methods of payment than physical stores. Secure payment methods allow fast payment processing services for online merchants. Most online shoppers expect to be able to use their debit or credit cards to make purchases. Secure payment gateways allow customer information to remain private and secure. Identity theft is on the rise and many online shoppers use their credit cards to protect their purchases. If you don’t offer the ability for your customers to use their credit cards, then you may be missing out on some sales.

An Internet merchant account allows the safe transfer of your customer’s money straight to your business account. VPS offers a wide variety of merchant solutions for its customers. You can typically expect your merchant account to be set up within two business days. VPS lets you fax the required paperwork directly to their offices. A typical transaction takes between 48 and 72 hours to process into your business account. You can reduce the number of chargebacks by providing verification services that match the credit card information to the cardholder. You can also require a signature on the merchandise you ship. Reducing the amount of chargebacks your company receives increases your profit margins.

VPS also offers a mobile app that allows you to accept payments when you are away from the office. Process credit cards using mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad, Android or iPod touch. There is no need for a credit card terminal to accept payments on the go. The transactions are fast and secure while meeting strict security standards found within the industry. Tools include full address verification systems that reduce the possibility of fraud. You can capture your customer’s information through the mobile app. The information is then captured and saved in your merchant account.

Contact us today to learn more about a variety of merchant payment solutions that make getting paid much easier.

Why EVERY Business Needs to Accept Credit Cards

Last week we had a friend that went out to a little dive burger place for lunch, the kind that you risk food poisoning for the off chance that it is the greatest food you’ve ever had. When the check came, they put down their credit card. That’s when they heard the infernal words, “Sorry, we don’t accept credit cards.”  It had been so long since they heard that phrase that they were caught off guard. Luckily, there was an ATM nearby so their bill was paid in full, but we couldn’t stop thinking about how paying with a card has become so commonplace that when a business doesn’t accept them, we are taken aback.

For a small, skeevy burger restaurant, cash only might be part of the charm. But for a business conveying an image of professionalism, reliability, or at least a C health code score, accepting credit cards does add to the legitimacy of the business. Small businesses used to be reluctant to accept credit cards, citing high startup costs, interchange fees, and a high monthly minimum cost. While being a concern for the early adopters of credit card processing, technological advancement and lower costs have made accepting credit cards easier than ever.

Secure, reliable payment processing is an expectation among consumers and business that accept credit cards and now that expectation can be met. There is a perception with companies who accept credit cards. They are safer and more reliable. A business that accepts credit cards has a relationship with a credit card processor, other businesses, and a large number of clients. There is a level of legitimacy associated with card processing that will add validity to your brand image.

Credit cards also increase revenue for businesses. The average credit card user spends more per visit than a cash spender, increasing profits per shopper. Credit cards are also the default form of payment for the majority of consumers and a cash only business has the potential to turn away those who don’t carry large amounts of cash on their person. Instead of turning away ready to buy customers, a simple merchant payment account will ensure every customer can purchase the product or service.

Many companies are reluctant to start credit and debit card processing due to the hardwired card readers that were standard for many years. However, new technology allows for wireless readers and now mobile card readers used in conjunction with iPhone and iPad card reader applications. Now any out of office, mobile, or brick and mortar business can process credit and debit transactions with the ease and security of traditional card terminals. The point of sale is now in your pocket wherever your business takes you.

Whatever the business, VPS has a payment solution for you. Apply for a merchant account now at www.visionpayments.com or over the phone at (877) 674-2286.

Don’t Lose a Sale in 2014: Accepting Credit Cards

Accepting credit cards has become the way of life in business in this new global economy. Everyone from the pre-teen shopping in the mall to the elderly carries a debit of credit card to make purchases. However, there are still some businesses that are skittish when it comes to accepting credit cards. Having the systems set up for a business will allow the business to do more than simply accept cards for purchases. The options become endless with a payment gateway.

Payment gateways do open up traffic in retail stores. When customers see the credit card stickers in the window, they are much more likely to come in the store because they know that they can easily purchase something that they find. However, payment gateways also help to manage customer flow inside the store.

When customers can be checked out in seconds rather than minutes, they will leave more quickly, allow for space for other customers, and increase the chances that they will return. Customers remember when they had a quick and efficient shopping experience, and they will tell their friends as well.

A payment gateway can also change the way that a business operates. There are some businesses who want to have an online store but do not have a way to accept customer payments. A new credit card payment gateway allows that business to build an online shop so that customers can shop with them 24/7. This releases the business owner from worrying about how many sales they are missing when they are not open. Now, a business can earn profits all the time.

Finally, payment gateways make life easier for the business owner. Inventory can be tracked much more easily and sales can be recorded much more easily when there is a report every month of all the transactions that occurred over the new payment gateway.

Business owners need to have an easy way to check out their customers without compromising their sales figures or the customer experience. Payment gateways for credit cards help to improve the customer experience, increase sales volume, and even allow businesses to start web stores.

When you are thinking of looking at a new payment gateway, give Vision Payment Solutions a call. We can help you put together a gateway and plan that works best for your business. Contact us now for more information at (877) 674-2286 to get your business started down a more profitable path.

Why You Need Secure Payment Gateways

Payment gateways are an effective and secure way to receive credit card payments from your customers both online and in a physical location. They are also an effective way to ensure customer information is secured between the merchant and customer. You can also accept online payments from almost anywhere. Credit card and eCheck processing services that utilize payment gateways reduce the number of fraudulent charges. Vision Payment Solutions offer a variety of tools for online merchants. Their payment gateways are easy to integrate into your website. VPS offers a complete line of e-commerce solutions for every type of business.

A payment gateway keeps credit card information safe with a secure line for transmitting sensitive data. The financial information is encrypted so hackers cannot steal the information. Customers’ personal information and credit card numbers are safely stored at Vision Payment Solutions’ secure servers. If you have an online business, you need to offer the same payment systems as your competitors. Payment gateways allow you to operate your merchant account online and from anywhere in the world. Secure payments allow your customers to trust their financial information is secure.

Starting a new business whether online or located at a retail store can be a difficult undertaking. Many new businesses cannot secure the financing they need to accept credit cards. Contacting VPS is the solution to your problem. They can get your business set up within 48 hours. Merchant payments are in your banking account within 48 to 72 hours after the payment transaction. There are many other payment gateways that can’t offer you the level of security your business needs.

Many online shoppers expect merchants to have the ability to accept credit card payments. Don’t lose valuable customers to your competition. Call VPS to set up an appointment to get started right away. Smartphone processing capabilities makes it easy to process payments when you are away from the office. Download their mobile app and make your life easier. The same high-quality security measures you expect for your business is the same for your mobile apps.

Smartphone processing is available to help you streamline your payment systems. More shoppers are using their smartphone to buy things than ever before. No matter what kind of merchant solutions you need, VPS can help you process payments faster. If you have any questions about getting started today with Vision Payment Solutions, give us a call at 877-674-2286.

You Shopped at Target, Is Your Information Safe?

Between November 27th and December 15th of 2013, hackers compromised the payment system of Target, putting the credit and debit card information of an estimated 40 million shoppers at risk. Unfortunately, this type of card fraud has steadily increased in recent years causing a reported $11.3 billion in losses worldwide in 2013. Luckily, most financial institutions will work with victims of fraud to refund any lost funds, but not knowing what information has been stolen can keep you up at night with many questions. As a business, this can be even more troublesome. Vision Payments can help you protect yourself and monitor all of your accounts–whether you are a small business or a large corporation.

Was my information compromised?

If you shopped at Target between the dates announced, there will always be a chance that the information in the magnetic strip of the card used was stolen. Some shoppers may have already noticed fraudulent activity on their accounts but many that were affected have yet to see any fraud. Access your online banking or visit a branch and go through all cleared and pending transactions since the breach occurred. If anything irregular has gone through, dispute the charges with your card provider.

Do I need new cards?

In this type of fraud, the information in the magnetic strip is taken, including your card number, security code, expiration date, and PIN. If you believe your card was affected, the best course of action is to call your bank or card company and reorder new cards with different numbers. Many banks have already started calling those they believe to be at risk. Your card provider will know best but a new card with a new number will cancel the card information that was stolen and protect your account.

Should I reset my PIN?

If you used your debit card, your PIN information is at risk as well. Resetting your PIN will ensure that the hackers will be unable to use your debit card with your PIN; however, debit cards can be used without the PIN. If your information was compromised, the thieves wouldn’t be able to pull money out of an ATM or anywhere a PIN is required, but would still be able to use your card without the PIN at most retailers. If your card information was stolen, a new card should be issued and your PIN should be changed.

Card security is extremely important for everyone. Instead of waiting for a huge breach like this to happen, take care of your information today. VPS works with the latest encryption software and will ensure that your and all of your customer’s data is secure.

Contact us today for more information regarding card security.