In-Store Beacons | Abtek

Bring on the In-Store Beacons

Wondering what all the buzz surrounding in-store beacons is about? Here, we’re tackling the most frequently asked questions that both shoppers and merchants have about this new technology.

What are beacons?

Beacons are Bluetooth-enabled devices that, when placed in stores, communicate with shoppers’ smartphones with the goal of improving shopping experience by sending relevant real-time ads, coupons and more.

A beacon can scan a person’s phone for information about their shopping habits, preferences, history on the store’s website and more. Stores are using this data to send targeted information that users may find useful while shopping.

How is Bluetooth different from NFC?

It’s important to note that the Bluetooth technology used in beacons is different from Near Field Communication (NFC), a hot technology that’s used for making “tap-to-pay” transactions via smartphone. Here’s a look at he major differences between the two data transfer methods:

Bluetooth NFC
Longer range – up to 30ft Shorter range – approximately 4cm
Requires more power Typically consumes little power
Requires users to manually connect Automatically connects in seconds
Works best with minimal interference from other devices Short range makes it ideal for use in more crowded areas

 How do beacons affect shopper behavior?

Let’s say a shopper is walking down the toy aisle looking for Christmas gifts for her son. If her phone is connected to the store’s beacon(s) via Bluetooth, the technology may be able to collect information that she has an eight-year-old son. The beacon will recognize where the shopper is in the store, then respond to the collected data in real-time, sending the customer an advertisement and coupon for Legos, for example. In theory, this personalized, efficient delivery of information will entice the shopper to take advantage of the offer and purchase Legos.

What does this technology mean for merchants?

Beacons will affect stores in two major ways. First, they will improve merchants’ abilities to gather insightful data about their customers’ shopping habits, which will in turn allow stores to tailor their shopping experience to shopper preferences. Second, it will maximize communication between the store and the customer, making the shopping experience more interactive and customized. Think of it like having a showroom sales person in the back pocket of every customer.

How can you use technology to improve the shopping experience?

While beacons are a hot topic, they’re still far from being fully integrated into stores. In the meantime, there are a number of ways that you can use technology to improve the shopping experience for your customers:

  • Upgrade your POS System – If your current POS system doesn’t accept EMV® cards, you could be on the hook for paying for any fraudulent transactions. Plus, many the latest systems include NFC technology, which allows for contactless payments via credit cards and phones.
  • Implement a Mobile Loyalty Program – Consumers are all about mobile these days. Give the people what they want by digitizing your paper-based loyalty program.

To stay up-to-date on the latest happenings in the payment-processing world, follow Abtek on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

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Preventing In-Store Credit Card Fraud this Holiday

With holiday sales projected to increase by 3.7 percent this year, merchants are looking forward to ending 2015 with a bang. But, with the slow adoption of EMV®,  it’s quite possible that the criminals, thieves and frauds could put a damper on your holiday cheer (and profits). The good news is that you can help prevent fraud by taking these key steps:

Look for Abnormal Behavior

Preventing Holiday Fraud | AbtekOf course, there are the obvious tells that someone is doing something they shouldn’t be—they’re in a rush, they won’t make eye contact with you, they seem jittery, etc. But also know that every industry has its own type of clientele with unique buying habits. For example, in the jewelry industry, it’s quite common for customers to negotiate prices. If a customer comes in and has no problem forking over the actual ticket price for a high-priced item, it could be a red flag for fraud. Identify some key behaviors of your typical customers, and use these as a benchmark for identifying fraud moving forward.

Keep Good Records

Keep Receipts | AbtekLet’s say a customer comes in and claims that you charged them for an item they didn’t buy. This scenario could play out in a few ways:

  1. The customer made the purchase, but is running a scam
  2. The cashier made a mistake and rang up an incorrect or duplicate item
  3. The purchase was made with the customer’s stolen credit card (or a fake card with the stolen number)

While it’s important to handle this situation delicately, in case the mistake is on your end, it’s critical to verify the customer’s claims before making a refund. The proof is in the paperwork. This is where organized receipt archives come in handy. Pull up any receipts that are tied to the customer’s credit card. Verify that charge did take place, then take a look at the signature field and compare it with the signature on the customer’s ID. Signed documentation (i.e. receipts) can help you win a dispute against a customer who is trying to take advantage of the chargeback system. If you’re looking at a potential mistake on your end, but the customer signed off on the transaction, it’s up to your discretion whether or not you make the refund. If it turns out that the purchase was made with a stolen card, the liability will fall on the card-issuing bank (as long as all EMV requirements have been met).

Train Your Staff

Fraud Prevention Training | AbtekWe can’t stress enough how important it is that you train your staff on proper processes for handling credit card transactions. Now’s the time—before the holiday sales rush hits full speed—to hold a workshop for your employees on maximizing security and preventing fraud. Not sure where to start? The Abtek Team is here to help. Give us a call today at (800) 544-9145 to discover how we can help you prevent in-store credit card fraud this holiday season.

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Mobile Wallet War | Abtek

The Mobile Wallet War

Mobile wallets continue to gain popularity among consumers, but they’re struggling to gain wide-spread adoption amidst a market of competing platforms. A survey by Trustev showed that only about 20% of compatible iPhone users and 14% of compatible Galaxy users have ever used the mobile payment feature on their phone.

So what’s holding people back? According to recent reports, the top challenges facing mobile wallet adoption are fear of identity theft (68%) and merchant acceptability (33%). But, as security technology continues to improve and more and more merchants upgrade their POS systems, we expect these concerns to dwindle in the not-so-distant future.

With each new mobile payment platform launch, the payment landscape is gaining complexity. To help you get up-to-speed on the latest and greatest in mobile wallets, we’ve provided a comprehensive list of the current options and the pros and cons of each platform.

Apple Pay

Apple Pay | AbtekArguably the most popular mobile wallet platform to-date, Apple Pay, is a payment system that allows users to make purchases via their smartphone by hovering it near an NFC-enabled credit card terminal.

  • Pros: Apple Pay is accepted at more than 700,000 retail locations and is supported by 2,500 banks and credit card issuers. Transactions made through Apple Pay are tokenized, which maximizes data security. A fingerprint scanning feature also boosts security.
  • Cons: The provisioning process for adding a payment card to an Apple Pay account lacks security, which is causing credit card thieves to turn to this platform to make fraudulent purchases. Additionally, Apple Pay is not accepted at Wal-Mart.
  • Compatible Devices: iPhone 6/6s, 6/6s Plus and Apple Watch for in-store purchases and iPad Air 2, iPad Pro and iPad Mini 3/4 for online purchases

Android Pay (Previously Google Wallet)

Android Pay | AbtekAndroid’s answer to Apple Pay, Android Pay is a similar platform in which users can make payments from their smartphones to an NFC-enabled terminal.

  • Pros: By the end of the year, Android Pay is expected to be accepted at just as many stores as Apple Pay (more than 700,000) as well as in a large number of apps. The platform, powered by Google, also uses the secure payment process of tokenization.
  • Cons: Fingerprint scanning is not available on older Android phones.
  • Compatible Devices: Android phones that have NFC technology

Samsung Pay

Samsung Pay | AbtekSamsung Pay is a payment app that allows users to complete transactions via NFC connection or magnetic stripe.

  • Pros: Users are able to make mobile payments at terminals that are not NFC-enabled. The phones are equipped with technology that allows them to be “swiped” like a magnetic stripe card, making Samsung Pay is the most widely accepted mobile wallet.
  • Cons: The magnetic stripe feature doesn’t always work as well as intended.
  • Compatible Devices: Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Note5 or later

Chase Pay

Chase Pay | AbtekJP Morgan Chase has partnered with MCX and is expected to launch a new mobile wallet platform, Chase Pay, in mid-2016. Instead of using NFC technology like its competitors, Chase Pay will generate a unique QR code for each transaction that the cashier can scan.

  • Pros: Not all terminals are equipped with NFC technology, so the fact that this platform uses QR codes will significantly increase its acceptability. Additionally, since Chase has partnered with MCX, the wallet may have an edge with retailers who are resisting Apple Pay, such as Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and Shell.
  • Cons: The QR code process may not be as simple and efficient as competing NFC methods.
  • Compatible Devices: The app is expected to work with most Android and Apple phones

On top of these mobile wallets, other digital platforms, such as Snapchat and Facebook, now enable users to send money via personal message. With this rapid expansion of digital and mobile payment capabilities, the near future of the payment industry holds a lot of promise for change and growth. Stay tuned on the latest industry trends by following Abtek on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Prepare for Holiday Shopping | Abtek

Preparing for the Holiday Shopping Season

The holiday shopping season is quickly approaching, and you know what they say—“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” As data indicates, this year should be the most profitable yet, with 82% of merchants expecting their holiday sales to increase from the previous year. Make sure that you’re prepared for the boost in customer traffic (and sales) with these four tips.

1. Adopt EMV Now

EMV for the Holidays | AbtekIf you haven’t upgraded your POS equipment to for the new EMV chip cards, it’s time to do so. Accepting EMV technology at your store is critical for ensuring the security of your customers’ payment data. Plus, if a fraudulent charge occurs at your establishment, and the victim had a chip-enabled card, you bear the responsibility of paying for the loss. To minimize potential liability, you’ll want to get this installed quickly, before the holiday rush is in full swing. You will need time to properly train your staff on how to use the new system.

2. Ramp Up Hiring Efforts to Ensure an Enjoyable Shopping Experience

Hire for Holiday Shopping Season | AbtekLines will be longer than usual, aisles will be more crowded, and as always, customers will be in a hurry. Take measures now to ensure that your customers’ shopping experience will be enjoyable, no matter how busy your store gets. Ramp up your hiring efforts so that you can operate smoothly at full capacity. Consider bringing on specialized employees to assist with decorating the store, gift-wrapping, de-icing any slippery conditions outside and other seasonal needs.

3. Make Sure You’re Working with a Payment Processer You Trust

Between the increased customer traffic, extra-large seasonal inventory, and recent changes in payment processing (EMV), things might get a little messy this holiday. When you’re hit with a chargeback, whether “friendly” or not, you’re going to want to be sure that you have a payment processor in place that will fight for you and be available to answer your questions 24/7.

4. Don’t Forget About Gift Cards!

Offer Gift Cards this Holiday | AbtekGift cards continue to be the most asked-for gift item, making the wish list for 62% of shoppers, according to reports from NRF. The average person buying gift cards will spend $172.74. Are you taking advantage of this huge sales opportunity? If you’re still offering paper gift cards, it’s time for an upgrade. Talk to your payment processor about putting a stored value card program in place at your store.

Black Friday will be here before you know it, and if you haven’t begun to prepare, you may already be falling behind the competition. For more tips and tricks on how to prepare for the holiday shopping season, follow Abtek on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn! Or, to learn more about your payment processing options, give us a call at (800) 544-9145.

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CNP Security | Abtek

CNP Merchants: How to Maximize Data Security

Fraud and theft is not a new problem in the card-not-present and e-commerce marketplace. For years, criminals have been crafting schemes to steal data and cracking the codes that are meant to protect it. According to the latest reports, merchants that sell goods online each spend an average of $10.1 million per year on fraud-related costs. And, with the crackdown on in-person fraud through the implementation of EMV chip technology, we can only expect to see card-not-present fraud numbers rise.

The United States is the last major country to make the transition to EMV, so we can look to other countries’ experiences for a glimpse of what we can expect to occur.. The general trend illustrates that as counterfeit and lost/stolen fraud decreases due to EMV, criminals find alternate routes to commit theft—primarily in CNP environments. While the UK was able to tame the problem by developing more advanced fraud analytics and using 3-D Secure technology, England is still working to combat the increase in CNP fraud since implementation of EMV in 2006.

So what can e-commerce and other CNP merchants in the U.S. do to protect themselves from the impending fraud spike? Being proactive is key. Here are some of the top imperatives for maximizing data security:

  • Secure Passwords | AbtekImplement Effective Password Policies – The more secure a password is, the harder it is to hack. By creating and enforcing password policies, you can help to maximize data security. One common “rule” is to require a minimum password length and complexity. For example, you may consider requiring passwords to be at least six characters and contain a mix of lower and uppercase letters, numbers and symbols. Another best practice is regularly enforce password updates—we recommend every six months.
  • Two-Step Authentication | AbtekUtilize Two-Step Authentication When Possible – The downside to data security is that it doesn’t always translate to user-friendliness. When a merchant requires customers to jump through hoops to make a purchase, it may deter them from completing the transaction. Instead, consider utilizing two-step, or two-factor, authentication. It’s a process that requires a user to verify their identity through the combination of two components—for example, a phone number, PIN, password, or security code associated with a credit card number.
  • USB CNP Security | AbtekAvoid Using USB Devices on PCs With Virtual Terminals – Did you know that anytime you attach a USB device to your computer, there’s a potential for being hacked? There’s no need to go throw away all your thumb drives, though. Simply be very cautious when connecting to PCs with virtual terminals where financial transactions are taking place, as they can be especially vulnerable to attack. And, never insert a USB to your computer that you’ve found lying on the ground—it could have been planted by a hacker trying to gain access to your data.

Are you a CNP merchant who needs help navigating through this post-EMV environment? Abtek is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about how to maximize your data security and minimize friendly fraud and other theft.

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New EMV Terminals | Abtek

3 Reasons to Adopt EMV® at Your Establishment Today

The liability shift has officially hit. Did your business upgrade its equipment in time for the deadline? If not, you’ve probably discovered that the world has not come to an end. However, while you might not feel the effects of the liability shift immediately, becoming EMV-compliant should still be at the top of your priority list.

Don’t just think of it as another task to add to your growing to-do list. By upgrading your equipment and payment processes, you’re truly being a responsible business owner, putting your customers’ data security first. Plus, at the same time, you save yourself the risk of taking on the (costly) liability should a fraudulent charge or data breach occur at your establishment. Here, we’ve rounded up the top three reasons why you should make the switch to EMV-compatible equipment ASAP.

  1. Avoiding Liability Costs = Greater Profits

EMV Decreases Credit Card Fraud | AbtekEvery dollar counts when it comes to running a business, especially a smaller one. And that’s why it’s so important for merchants to get on board with new EMV terminals. New POS systems are an investment, but it’s certainly an investment worth making. Since the liability shift on October 1, merchants with outdated equipment are now liable for any fraudulent charges made at their store with an EMV chip card. No merchant is completely safe from fraud, but by upgrading equipment, they can avoid liability costs—and at the end of the day, bring home greater profits.

  1. Meeting Consumer Demands = Happy, Returning Customers

EMV Technology Makes for Happy Customers | AbtekPicture this: It’s the day after Thanksgiving and your store is flooded with customers trying to snag the best deals. A customer finally makes it up to the checkout counter, ready to dip his or her shiny new EMV card, just to find out that they have to use the mag stripe (dun dun dun…). Consumers are smart—they know that it’s more secure to use the chip to make payments than the mag stripe, and they probably also know that your competitor down the street is able to accept the new technology. Chances are, consumers may value the security of their payment data more than the deal you’re offering. Don’t risk losing customers simply because you’re behind the times. Consumers will appreciate the fact that you’re making the security of their data a priority, and you can bet that it will pay off.

  1. New Terminals = Cool New Tech

New POS System for EMV | AbtekIt’s so easy for POS terminals to fall out of date. You miss one software upgrade and from then on, the technology is unable to live up to its capabilities. Use this opportunity to get a fresh start with your POS system. You can choose to include NFC or contactless payment technology, POS marketing capabilities, and many other perks that you couldn’t justify purchasing on their own. Your new terminals will be easier to manage (your employees will thank you), easier to use (your customers will thank you) and ultimately, they’ll make you look tech-savvy and cool. Bonus!

So, what are you waiting for? The sooner you adopt new EMV technology at your establishment, the sooner you can reap the benefits! Contact your credit card processor today to get started making the transition.

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Tami Cohorst Talks EMV on Channel 7 News

October 1st was the deadline for merchants to upgrade their POS systems to be EMV chip card-compatible. From now on, if a consumer uses an EMV card at an outdated terminal, the merchant will be liable for any fraudulent charges associated with the purchase.

Earlier this month COO of Abtek, Tami Cohorst was featured on WXYZ-TV Channel 7 in Detroit to discuss the current EMV chip card landscape in the United States. Learn why some consumers may not have received their chip cards yet and discover what this transition to EMV will do for our payment security as a country.

View the clip below!

EMV Chip Card Transition Deadline Is HereOur COO Tami Cohorst appeared on WXYZ-TV Channel 7 ahead of today’s EMV liability shift deadline to talk to Stephen Clark and JoAnne Purtan. Have questions about how to get your business chip card-ready? Call us at 248-623-4430 today!

Posted by ABTEK on Thursday, October 1, 2015

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3 Reasons Your Current Credit Card Processor’s Monthly Statements Are So Huge

Let’s face it: With the upcoming holiday shopping season, the EMV roll-out, and a number of other developments changing the way customers pay, your business has its’ hands full. So full, in fact, that you might be missing some of the fine print in your credit card processor’s statement.

If you did wade through the pages of numbers in your monthly statements, you might be surprised to learn that many processors have been gradually hiking up your monthly rates, by tacking on hidden fees. At Abtek, we’re onto what our competitors are doing with those multi-page statements covered in small print and we strive to be up-front. After all, we only win when you win.

So in the spirit of helping you win, we wanted to give you three reasons why your current processor’s monthly states are so huge:

Reason #1: The longer the statement, the less likely you’ll read it.

ABT_3Reasons_Icon1 Odds are, you’re too busy to sit down with a calculator and try to figure out what all those numbers mean. You may put it aside with intentions of getting back to it later. But will you have time to do a full line-item analysis every month? It’s not likely.

Reason #2: It’s easy to hide a needle in a haystack.

ABT_3Reasons_Icon2 These hidden fees are like a bunch of needles, too. Sure, you were given a quote when you first signed on with your processor, though does that quote still hold? Many processors sneak in incremental price increases and while a 1% increase here or there may not seem like much, month after month, those numbers begin adding up–and eating away at your business’ hard-earned revenue.

Other processors specialize in luring a customer in with below-market rates, before selling your account to a larger operation. And that larger processor? They won’t necessarily stick with the lower rates you were promised. As the rates keeps going up, $100 here and $150 there, eventually you will be paying significantly more than you expected.

Reason #3: Transparency serves you more than it serves your processor.

ABT_3Reasons_Icon3 At Abtek, we’re very up-front about the fact that 85% of the fees associated with our accounts go directly to the credit card companies. We receive about 15% of the total that our clients pay. Our mission to serve our customers first is exemplified by our high chargeback win rate (89% with Abtek vs. 28% with our competitors) – we’ll go to bat for you. We’re also just a phone call away – so when you dial us up, there’s no phone jail, just one of our friendly, knowledgeable, dedicated customer service team members waiting to help you.

Are you tired of page after page of numbers in your monthly statement? Don’t pull your hair out. Get in touch with us and we’ll set you up with an Abtek account. Your statement will be easy to understand and the fees you pay for our service will be predictable and easy to understand. We know a thing or two about transparency.

 

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In the News: Small Firms Not Ready for Liability Shift

With the liability shift now less than a week away, merchants, especially smaller ones, are struggling to upgrade their terminals in time. COO of Abtek, Tami Cohorst was recently quoted on the topic in the Statesman Journal, sharing her expertise on EMV technology and how it will affect consumers. Here’s a look at what she had to say:

“The most important thing for the consumer to understand is that their card should be handled differently at the point of sale. Consumers will need to note that their card should be inserted into a reader rather – not swiped. If the business swipes their new card, then all of the security benefits of their EMV card are nonexistent,” Cohorst said.

Continue reading the full article on the Statesman Journal –>

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EMV Equipment Guide

EMV Liability Shift | AbtekBy now, if you haven’t updated your payment equipment to be compatible with EMV chip cards, you’re already a step behind. But, don’t fret—if you own a small business, there’s still time to get new terminals before the liability shift hits on October 1. This late in the game, it will actually be tough to find a new point of sale system that isn’t compatible with EMV chip cards. That’s good news for you because it will make your search easier, plus you’ll have a wide selection of options. We’ve put together a guide to help you determine which type of EMV terminal is right for your business.

What Exactly is an EMV-Compatible POS System?EMV Compatible Terminal | Abtek

An EMV terminal differs from traditional magnetic stripe terminals in one major way: it includes a chip-reading portal into which customers insert their EMV cards. This portal features technology that can read the unique payment information that’s generated by the microchip embedded into the card.

What are Your Options?

Different types of businesses have different needs when it comes to payment processing. Here’s a look at the most popular types of EMV-compatible terminals available.

  • Countertop Terminals – Like their name implies, countertop terminals are placed on top of the checkout counter for customer use. These terminals are available with a number of different features including WiFi connectivity, receipt printing, near-field communication technology and more.
  • Pin Pads – Pin pads function similarly to countertop terminals. The only difference here is that they can only be used to process debit transactions, which typically have lower fees for the merchant. Often, pin pads are used in conjunction with compatible countertop terminals.
  • NFC Peripheral | AbtekNear-Field Communication Peripherals – NFC is a technology that enables wireless data transfers between two devices in close proximity, often a phone or enabled credit card and a credit card terminal. NFC is kind of like a modern, cool “bonus” feature that can help to speed up the payment process. If the technology is not already embedded into the terminal, peripheral equipment is available.
  • Wireless Mobile Terminals – Mobile terminals will be key for businesses in the restaurant industry and businesses that interact with their customers on the floor. (Think Apple.) These point-of-sale systems are battery-powered, feature wireless connectivity and give the merchant the freedom to process payments from anywhere.

Where Can You Buy an EMV Credit Card Terminal?

If you work with a reputable merchant services provider (MSP), they’ll have a large inventory of EMV terminals for you to choose from. They’ll take care of all of the programming for you to ensure that it works properly in time for the liability shift. While you could technically purchase a terminal from an outside seller, it would still need to be reprogramed by your MSP, so it’s typically easier and more cost-effective to go directly through your provider.

Don’t Delay – Get Started Now!

Contact your merchant services provider today to place your order for new EMV-compatible terminals. The sooner you take action, the better the chances that you’ll get through this EMV transition chargeback- and fee-free!

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