April 2014

Protect Your Credit Card from Fraud

With credit card merchant account compromises becoming more common and card manufacturers scrambling to implement new technology, there are a number of things you should keep in mind when making transactions that can help to protect your accounts from fraud and theft.


Watch Your Accounts Closely

While it may seem obvious, keeping a hawk eye on your credit card merchant accounts is the first step in avoiding victimization. Many people skim over their statements, ignoring small charges for only a few dollars. However, these small charges are often the very ones that are fraudulent. If you notice these kinds of charges, immediately contact your bank. You have 60 days to challenge charges that you did not authorize and many accounts now offer zero liability, meaning that you don’t get hit with a penny if you successfully challenge the charge.


Don’t Save Your Account Info

When you shop with an online merchant, don’t let them store your credit card information on their servers. The more places that have your information, the more chance there is of you getting it hacked. It may be inconvenient for you to type in your information every time, but that lack of convenience means better security for your cards.


Watch for Reputable Sites

Try only to use sites that you know to be reputable. If you can, check seller ratings for the vendor, and make sure that when you are shopping, they use a secured connection that begins with “https://” which means that any use of the site is encrypted and secured against hacking. The secured hyptertext protocol is not foolproof, but it is a good sign that you are using a reputable and protected site.


Computer Updates

Always make sure that your computer is up to date with the latest critical security patches. You can set your computer to automatically download and install these, and this is recommended.


Keeping a few standard things in mind, and making a few adjustments can go a long way in protecting your credit card security.




Chrome Extension Helps Decide Which Credit Card to Use for Online Purchases

It seems like everyone has multiple cards nowadays, with credit card companies offering clever slogans and special benefits to entice you to use their card. But each company’s benefits and rewards programs are different. When shopping online, it can be tough to know which card to use to get the most out of your internet merchant account.  Now, a new Chrome extension promises to change all that, and make choosing a card as easy as choosing an online store.


Introducing Wallaby

Meet, Wallaby, a new Chrome browser extension that allows you to install a toolbar into your browser which will compare rewards for your different Internet merchant account cards to determine which card will provide the most bang for your buck when making a purchase.


Linking Your Cards

How it comes together is relatively simple. First, you sign up for a Wallaby account, and then connect your credit card accounts to your Wallaby account, which the company claims is secure and regularly patched.


After you connect your banks, Wallaby asks you a series of questions about your accounts, what Rewards they offer, and what kinds of rewards you would like to get out of the extension, be it shopping, cash back, travel miles, or other kinds of rewards.


The extension is ad-supported, but only to the extent that it will recommend a new card for you when you have finished linking your cards—you don’t have to accept this recommendation and you can quickly click through.


The site will also give you some interesting data on how you spend your money, which can be a help for those looking to track that sort of thing.


Install and Use the Extension

When you’re done setting up your account, install the extension in Chrome by simply searching it on Google and make sure you’re signed in. From here on out, when you are about to make a purchase or other transaction, Wallaby will pop up and display a list of cards, with the benefits you’d get from using each. It will also recommend the one it thinks is best for this purchase.


If you like the extension, Wallaby also offers a mobile app on both Android and iOS, for use at physical retail locations.




International cybercriminal ‘Eskalibur’ gets 14 years for Florida credit card fraud

As credit and debit card merchant account providers scramble to come up with new security protocols in the wake of the retail security breaches in the past year which left millions of debit card users naked and exposed in the face of cybercriminals, one of those responsible for the breaches is facing well over a decade in prison for his crimes.


Eskalibur Not So Mythic

Debit card merchant account service vendors are rejoicing as a man from the Ukraine who went by the hacker name “Eskalibur” has been captured and revealed as Egor Shevelev. The 27-year-old was charged, found guilty, and sentences to 14 years in prison for trafficking in over 118,000 stolen credit cards.


The hacker is believed to have been one of the leading salesmen of credit cards stolen during the security breaches, and targeted victims specifically in South Florida and New York City. At least three men in South Florida admitted to using the cards everywhere from Wal-Mart to office supply stores. These men were imprisoned and forced to pay almost $1 million in restitution.


Captured on Vacation

Shevelev was captured when he left the Ukraine to take a vacation in Greece, and extradited to New York. Had he remained in the Ukraine, authorities say, he may never have been caught, as that country has no extradition treaty with the U.S.


After capture, Shevelev admitted to being a ringleader of the crime ring, which sold cards in batches of 50 to 100, and charged $5 to $15 USD for accounts with low limits and hundreds of dollars for high maximum cards.


Investigations Continue

As yet, authorities have not been able to determine the extent of Shevelev’s earnings, or whether he still has hidden assets, but there is little question that he made a great deal of money from the endeavor.


Shevelev had nothing to say when asked if he wished to make a statement on his own behalf.



Vision Payment Solutions Announces Attendance of Southeast Acquirers Association’s Annual Conference

Vision Payment Solutions, a credit card processing provider which provides services from next day funding to mobile processing integrations and e-commerce solutions, to online reporting and application submission as well as merchant financing solutions, will be attending the Southeast Acquirers Association’s annual conference this year in Atlanta.


The purpose of Vision Payment Solutions’ attendance is to join other industry leaders in payment processing services to provide education about the new and forthcoming industry regulations and government guidelines for payment processing in the wake of the recent rash of data breaches in late 2013 and on through today.


The conference lasts for two days and features an expansive exhibit hall with many of the leading card processors, equipment manufacturers and vendors, leasing companies, and other vendors and service representatives in the payment processing and merchant services industry. Amongst the services represented by attendees are EMV terminals, mobile solutions, POS and tablet systems, PCI compliance, cash advance, and address verification systems, amongst many others.


The conference is a well-known networking and collaboration opportunity for the industry and features breakout sessions for open discussion, and panel discussions by industry leaders which provide a broad venue for sharing information about the latest trends, movements, and regulatory advancements in the payment processing industry. Vision Payment Solutions will network with some of the leading minds in the industry to help inform and shape the coming major changes in the credit card and mobile payment environment.


The SEAA itself is a nonprofit and non-membership independent organization that seeks to help educate the ISO and MSP community and provide access to the latest trends and regulations in the payment processing industry. It seeks to provide opportunities for training, education, and networking for the entire community.


Explaining Merchant Account Credit Card Online Fees

In today’s marketplace, business owners from small to corporate-sized have a slew of options when it comes to merchant account credit card online payments. One thing that seems unclear to many, however, is just how the fee structures work for these things. Fees and pricing can be extremely complex, but if one understands how the structures work, it’s possible to demystify the process.


There are several levels to merchant account credit card online fees.


  • Set-Up
  • Monthly fees
  • Annual fees
  • Discount rates
  • Per-transaction fees
  • Miscellaneous fees


These levels are not all present in all services, but understanding how they work together can be helpful.


Setup costs for mobile processing are usually a lot cheaper than traditional processing accounts. Many, in fact, offer free card readers with additional readers available at a minimal cost. There can be other fees such as application fees, but these generally tend to be low.

Monthly fees are charged by most mobile merchant services and can be called account fees, bundle fees, payment gateway or wireless access fees, or by other names. If you are seeing this fee recurring monthly, you should question what the fee entails and includes.

Some merchant services charge annual fees on top of  monthly fees. These can be bundled with PCI compliance fees. You will want to know about these before you sign up for a service.

Discount rates come into play for per-transaction fees, which are charged by all merchant services. Transaction fees are generally anywhere from 10 to 25 cents, with discount fees being represented by a percentage rate. Discount rates are incurred based on the transaction, but include fees paid to both the processing company and the merchant’s bank.

Finally, some processors charge miscellaneous fees such as early cancellation clauses in the contract, bank routing fees, and other kinds of service fees. These should be included in your terms of service agreement; reviewing the TOS can save you a lot of headaches down the road.



Pranab Mukherjee Dedicates India’s Own Payment Gateway ‘RuPay’ to Nation

India has joined the small list of countries which feature their own credit card payment gateways. Today, the second most populous country in the world launched RuPay, India’s equivalent of Visa or Mastercard.

About the RuPay Card

The new card, which was unveiled by President Pranab Mukherjee, will be accepted at merchant outlets both point of sale and online, and ATMs all throughout the country and is expected to reduce the number of cash transactions in India. The platform was developed by National Payments Corporation of India and will increase the available options for payment within India to consumers.

Joining an Elite Club

RuPay is the seventh member of an elite payment gateways club in the world, and NPCI chairman Balachandran M has discussed plans to take RuPay beyond India. NPCI is currently in talks with Discover Financial Services for partnership to make the gateway available in the United States and Japan.

Rapid and Broad Acceptance

There have already been over 25,000 new ATMs installed at public sector banks that will accept RuPay, with 9,000 more coming in this fiscal year. Part of the reason for the card’s rapid and broad acceptance is that it carries with it a 40 percent lower cost as compared to international platforms currently in use.

The RuPay card can be used at any ATM in India, and is accepted at 95% of all PoS terminals. In addition, roughly 10,000 e-commerce merchants in the country are set up to accept RuPay.

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRTCT) already has plans to unveil a pre-paid variant RuPay card, which will be used for booking railway tickets. President Mukherjee has dedicated the RuPay card to the nation, and considers it a major step forward for commerce in India.



Protect against Fraud when Accepting Credit Cards Online

It’s easier than ever to start a small business out of the comfort of your own home. Services like PayPal and other merchant services allow the acceptance of credit cards through the Internet and mobile devices and it’s easy as pie to get set up to do so. This new business model, however, carries with it, its own set of challenges and you need to be careful that you are protecting yourself and your clients against fraud.

Protect Your Customers’ Data

The PCI Data Security Standard makes you responsible for protecting your clients’ data. The 2013 LexisNexis True Cost of Fraud Study demonstrated that merchants accepting credit cards online account for 42% of fraudulent transactions, up from 2012’s 31%.

Fortunately, there are a few things every online merchant can keep in mind, to reduce the chances of fraud.


  • Verify the billing address
  • Match the shipping address to the billing address
  • Stay on top of your business’ PCI compliance
  • Understand that you are liable for failure to comply
  • Know that you can lose your card acceptance privileges


Breaking It Down

Verifying the billing address, and matching it to the shipping address, are important steps in making sure that the person making the payment is actually the account holder. An overwhelming percentage of false transactions go to addresses that don’t match the billing address. This is especially true if the shipment is going to a major shipping port like Miami or Los Angeles.


You should always do your homework regarding the PCI compliance of your merchant service provider. Make sure that they are meeting the minimum (and probably more) PCI standards. If they don’t, it’s time to change merchant providers. This is especially important because when it comes to online transactions, you bear the responsibility. If the transaction is fraudulent, you bear the total loss, and even worse, your business could suffer fines and you could even lose the ability for accepting credit cards online, which will be devastating to your business.




College Students Wary of Mobile Payments

Online credit card merchant account services are everywhere these days—they are, in fact, the key to a successful business. Everyone takes credit cards online. Now, however, the results of a new survey indicate that college students are very wary of using mobile payment surveys.


Startling Development

A poll in April of over 2,500 college students all over the nation showed 42% of college students would not make more mobile payments than they currently do, no matter how ubiquitous the options become. A further 42% would only make more mobile payments if the retailer or purchase was highly trusted, and only 16% of those surveyed would prefer to use only mobile payments.


This is an interesting development for online credit card merchant account providers, who are faced with a need to restore trust in the process after last year’s security breaches that left millions of card users exposed to fraud and thieves.


Study Insights

A number of important insights came to light from the study. Among these insights are:


  • Men are more likely to switch over to mobile payments than women—21% of men said they would use solely mobile payments, while only 12% of women said the same.


  • Students in career-oriented majors such as business administration are more likely to use mobile payments than are those in humanities such as English.


  • Graduate students represent the largest demographic of students willing to use smartphones for in-store payments, comprising 18% of those who indicated willingness.


  • Students on the East and West Coasts are more likely to use mobile payments than are those in the Midwest or central part of the country.


Surprise Results

The study was sponsored by Balance Innovations, who did not anticipate the results coming out as they did. The company anticipated much higher interest in mobile payments, but acknowledges that the study proves it is the consumer who drives the market, and that the insights gained are very valuable to merchant services providers.