March 15, 2018
It’s no secret that technology is advancing at a rapid rate. This is also true for your payment technology. Whether it be your credit card reader or your web-based virtual terminal, it’s important to stay current with the best features to maintain an efficient and secure process for accepting payments.
If you’re shopping for a new payment provider or simply trying to decide between two credit card readers, look for these eight advanced payment technologies to make accepting payments effortless and safe. After all, accepting payment for your goods and services should be the easiest part of your job.
A step above point-to-point encryption, tokenization allows payment software to store cardholder information in a safe and undecryptable way. With tokenization, cardholder data is entirely replaced with a random string of characters. These characters can only be decrypted by the token vault, which is maintained at the final destination of the transaction process: the payment processor. All other payment-processing middlemen involved in the transaction have no way of decoding the string, nor do hackers. In contrast, traditional encryption simply masks the data; the true values can be uncovered.
Tokenization is one of the most important features to look for today because it enables the storage of customer cards and accounts on file. Storing cardholder data on file provides an unmatched level of convenience for your customers and staff, but it can come at a price if not done properly. Storing cardholder data in filing cabinets, for instance, is not PCI compliant and opens your business up to data breach risks and fines should someone access that information. With tokenization, all business that store, process or transmit credit card information can store cardholder information safely and well within the PCI guidelines.
2. One-click Transaction Modifications
Nothing is worse than not being able to help a disgruntled customer who wants a refund or needs a transaction adjusted. A customer who returns to your business with a complaint like this is already dissatisfied; making him return to your business or wait around for an adjustment can affect whether he continues to provide you with business moving forward.
You can delight your customers by storing cards on file to enable one-click transaction modifications. This allows you to edit, void or rerun transactions from the cards on file without inconveniencing your customers by having them physically return to your business. Finding the transaction in question requires a simple search for the transaction date, customer name or transaction amount. No more looking through messy transaction logs to spot the right line item to edit, digging through the day’s receipts or requiring the customer to return with the physical card.
3. Built-in Reporting
The old-fashioned way of keeping track of a business’s financial health was to maintain spreadsheets in which daily batch and deposit totals, monthly statement details, and chargeback information were entered in manually. Unfortunately, too many business owners are still doing that today.
Maintaining manual records of your financial health is time-consuming and error-prone. Luckily, many virtual terminals can now keep tabs for you. With built-in, automated reporting, you benefit from accurate and always-current recordkeeping.
4. User Access Controls
To run your business smoothly, your employees need to have access to the necessary, and appropriate tools. Look for virtual terminals that have built-in user access controls, especially if you’re looking at software that includes reporting. Such software will give you the ability to tailor access to information based on user roles. For example, an employee may need to run transactions and set recurring billing, but not run refunds or see reports, while your leadership team may need to see sensitive reports that require more privacy.
5. Automated Recurring Billing
Many businesses necessitate recurring billing for subscriptions, memberships, installment plans, and ongoing fees. However, sending monthly invoices to customers and waiting with bated breath for a check is a thing of the past. Now, you can find payment processing software that incorporates automated recurring billing. Another benefit of cards stored on file is that you can simply obtain one-time authorization for ongoing payments, set up the schedule and payment amount, and charge the card or account on file for the agreed-upon duration and amount. No more manual follow-up with customers.
6. Digital and Remote Signature Capture
Although chip and PIN is likely the future of credit card authorization, a signature will still be required for all magstripe transactions and is still a legitimate proof of purchase in the event of a chargeback. We’re all familiar with the traditional printed receipts that customers sign for authorization, but paper receipts are bad for the environment, contain harmful BPA and cost businesses money in paper and storage-related expenses.
On top of that, in the event of a chargeback, paper receipts are nearly impossible to locate in file cabinets or storage units full of receipts. Most businesses hold on to receipts for up to seven years! One way to reduce clutter, minimize your environmental footprint and save money is to adopt credit card technology that uses digital signatures for authorizations. For card-present transactions, a customer can provide a signature with a stylus that is then saved in the cloud permanently. The signature, along with the transaction record, is searchable in the event of a dispute down the line.
This technology is growing more commonplace, but here’s how you can take it to the next level: remote signature capture. If you take phone orders or have an eCommerce presence, you can obtain remote signatures for these transactions with the right provider. Simply email your customers receipts to sign via their finger on a smartphone or with a mouse on a desktop, and obtain the same authorization you would for card-present transactions via a terminal screen or paper receipt.
7. ACH Processing
Checks are still a prevalent payment form, but they aren’t terribly convenient for businesses. Checks necessitate a trip to the bank to make a deposit and follow-up to ensure all funds have been received. Instead, you can use a payment software that incorporates Automated Clearing House (ACH) processing. ACH processing results in faster deposit verification, cheaper processing costs and quicker notification of rejects or notifications of change. This process speeds up payments and broadens your acceptance of payment methods to better accommodate customer preferences.
8. NFC and EMV Technology
The future of payments is likely to be more digital and more secure. This is great news for business owners and the major credit card brands, but properly processing these new payment methods also requires updated technology. Mobile payments via smartphones, smartwatches, and even fitness trackers will likely lead to increased wearable adoption as credit card terminals advance to meet the demand.
Don’t choose a credit card terminal that will be outdated as soon as this new trend takes off. Select one with near-field communication (NFC), especially if your business deals with active, on-the-go customers or has previously received requests for mobile payment.
In contrast, EMV (Europay, Mastercard, and Visa) technology is new but already the standard. If you don’t have an EMV-ready device, you’re opening your business up to a huge liability, as credit card brands transferred fraud-related losses on improperly processed EMV transactions from themselves to merchants back in 2015. Fraudsters are aware that they can use fraudulent chip cards on traditional magstripe terminals, so the longer you wait to adopt EMV technology, the greater a target your business becomes.
The next iteration of EMV technology will likely include chip and PIN. Choose a customer-facing terminal so that buyers can enter their information securely and discretely when the next iteration of EMV cards takes off.
It may seem like a lot to consider, but you don’t want to be in the same position next year looking for more up-to-date payment technology. Shop smart now and reap the benefits of software that is ready to meet consumer and industry demands moving forward.
About Christina Lavingia and PayJunction
Christina Lavingia is the content marketing manager at PayJunction, an all-in-one merchant account provider and payment gateway that specializes in future-ready green technology and paperless processing. Qualifying businesses can obtain one free EMV and NFC-capable Smart Terminal to process paperless transactions.