Expert Tips for Growing Your Business

We understand that a common challenge of all businesses, especially smaller ones, is that of cash flow. No matter how profitable a business, it requires increasing levels of working capital to support ongoing growth. The successful entrepreneur understands this need for cash and capital and takes steps to ensure it is available when needed.

ABTK-small-blog-image-ExpertTips-01Increasing Cash Flow with the Right Merchant Services

Many people think the only way to fund a small business is through incurring debt or selling equity. While both of these methods are common, we work with many creative entrepreneurs who find additional ways to help manage their cash flow. For those companies involved with ecommerce especially, efficient credit card processing services is just one of those tools.

The use of our modern POS systems helps business owners generate accelerated cash flow. We provide merchant services that facilitate all types of large and small business transactions, from retail to online payments. We also offer mobile merchant accounts that fit the needs of a wide range of businesses. Importantly, our systems help our clients minimize the common problem of chargebacks.

Low cost and dependable credit card processing are only part of what we provide to business owners who want to maximize cash flow. As a part of our package of progressive merchant services, we also offer different forms of advances and business loans for those who serve their customers with our state-of-the-art POS systems.

The advantages of these financing options are numerous. Instead of trying to get a loan from a bank and committing to a rigorous payment schedule, we accommodate our clients with convenient terms that automatically reduce the balance they owe based on the volume of business they do.

ABTK-small-blog-image-ExpertTips-02Other Tips for Financing Your Business

In addition to debt, equity and the correct use of credit card processing services, the savvy business owner will focus on these key areas of managing working capital needs:

  • Working with vendors. The longer you work with certain vendors, the better terms you can expect. It is important to set up your company’s financial accounting system to ensure you pay your accounts on time, building a strong credit history. Setting up a D&B account is part of this process. Depending on your industry, you can also work with vendors to smooth out seasonal peaks in buying and payment terms.
  • Managing inventory. Today, there are many inexpensive inventory control systems to help keep inventory levels at the lowest level possible while meeting customer expectations. Many companies reduce their working capital needs by as much as 20 percent when they pay attention to inventory levels. This is especially important for companies with seasonal business or products that may go out of date. Clearing out excess inventory at cost is far better than letting it sit on shelves.
  • ABTK-small-blog-image-ExpertTips-03Consider invoice factoring. Many companies today are turning to the concept of selling their invoices to a factor to improve cash flow. The great thing about factoring for a small company is that the factor looks at the credit worthiness of the company buying the products or services. These are often larger companies with established credit, allowing even a new business to sell their invoices quickly. While this can be an expensive route, it may be the right way to support growth for some companies. Over the long-term, factoring is preferable to some businesses wishing to avoid debt or selling shares in the company.

Taking Care of the Basics

Companies must generate profits and have sufficient cash flow to survive and grow. Meeting customer expectations with quality service and professional credit card processing services are one of the basics for businesses today, especially those involved with ecommerce.

Delivering what customers expect will ultimately improve sales, reduce chargebacks and increase your ability to attract the type of financing you need for growth. Abtek’s POS systems are designed to help you provide that level of service and build the revenue you want and deserve. We also work with you to provide part of the financing you need as your growing base of charges shows you are taking care of business.

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The History of Credit Cards, Part 2: Processing Before eCommerce

Today, sophisticated merchant services and mobile POS systems rely upon digital information transfers via the internet or phone lines. To those of us who have watched this technology develop, the existence of mobile merchant accounts that allow businesses to accept payments via smartphones from almost anywhere in the world almost seem like a miracle.

In order to get a picture of how far merchant services have come, it is interesting to take a look back at more primitive processes, which eventually evolved into the fast and worldwide credit card processing solutions that we provide to our current customers.

ABTK-small-blog-image-history2-01Early Manual and Semi-Automated Credit Card Processing Solutions

Most credit card transactions today are processed digitally by sophisticated electronic POS systems. Before that, accepting credit required quite a bit of manual effort, and most of the processes were at risk for errors and outright fraud. It may be that the development of reliable and safe electronic processes paved the way for the boom in worldwide credit card use by average consumers.

Store Credit Processing With Charge Plates

Before the 1950s, the ancestor of the modern plastic charge card was made of solid metal, flimsy paper or cardboard stock. Processing paper credit cards was an entirely manual effort with employees recording transactions and customer information on forms that got sent off for manual processing.

ABTK-small-blog-image-history2-02In the 1930s and 40s, some stores issued charge plates to customers, perhaps the first example of semi-automated processing. These were simply small metal plates with a customer’s name and address engraved on the face. When a customer wanted to use their credit plate to make a purchase, a store employee would run it through a small machine that used an inked ribbon, sort of like an old typewriter ribbon, to make an impression on a sales slip with carbon copies.

After filling in the totals, the employee would hand a copy to the customer as a receipt. In order to keep track of each customer’s debts and mail statements, the original form and other copies got retained by the store to be processed manually.

Customers were expected to visit the store or mail money to make prompt payments by the end of the billing cycle. Some stores employed “collection carts” that traveled door to door to collect overdue debts.

Interestingly, charge plates are not entirely worthless today; many collectors are interested in them for their historical or artistic value.

ABTK-small-blog-image-history2-03How Was the First Plastic Processed?

Even after plastic credit cards became common, processing did not change that much. Until a few years ago, many stores ran credit cards through small machines to produce an imprint on special forms. Copies of these forms still served as receipts and documents used to manually process and record credit transactions.

The biggest difference in the latter part of the 20th century, and early 21st century, was the that credit card processing companies employed data entry people who would manually enter information from these receipts into computer systems, instead of simply recording them in ledger books.

Abtek Moves Merchant Services Into the Future

At Abtek, we work with the latest innovations for safe, fast and reliable credit card processing systems. Though we provide the latest advancements in digital online payments, we also remember the past. One thing that hasn’t changed for our company over the decades is the importance of great customer service, which is why we treat every one of our valued merchant partners as if they are our only customers. Contact us to learn how we can improve your business and protect your bottom line.

Read more in this series:
The History of Credit Cards, Part 1: How Did People Pay Before Credit Cards?

The History of Credit Cards, Part 3: The Evolution of True Digital Credit Card Systems

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EMVs: The Future of Credit Cards Is Here

The serious data leaks suffered by Target and Neiman Marcus caused by hackers during the holiday season have re-energized the now long-standing question, “Are EMVs the future of credit cards?” US retailers are finally making the effort to catch up with the rest of the world.

Instead of leading the globe in innovation and cutting edge technology, the US has fallen behind in use of EMV (Europay, MasterCard, Visa) protocols. The recent breaches have magnified the security flaws in cards with magnetic stripes. These deficiencies have not been a “secret,” but obvious to all credit card issuers and manufacturers for some years.

ABTK-EMV-body-02EMV-Enabled Cards

With embedded computer chips and PINs, these cards are the height of security for retailers and cardholders. Credit card processing becomes equally secure, protecting both retailers and shoppers.

Commonly called “smart cards,” EMV-enabled cards use open-standard specifications to record payments on terminals programmed to accept them. EMVCo manages and maintains these protocols. EMVCo is owned by AmEx, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, Visa and other payment industry organizations, partnering as associates and technical consultants.

Where Are These Cards Now?

EMV cards are currently active for merchant services in an estimated 80 countries around the globe. Other countries not yet fully on stream with EMV smart cards, such as Canada, are in the process of converting to this embedded chip technology.

Instead of being the first, the US is one of the last countries to convert its mag stripe cards to EMV. In fact, EMVCo estimates that as far back as the fourth quarter of 2012, there were over 1.6 billion (with a “B”) smart cards active around the world.

  • Europe has over 95 percent of all payment terminals that are smart card active.
  • Canada and Latin America, including the Caribbean, have around 80 percent EMV-enabled terminals.
  • Even the Middle East and Africa have almost 80 percent smart card terminals.

ABTK-EMV-body-03Why the US Is “Late”

Those outside the banking and credit card processing industries often wonder why the US, typically a world leader, is so late getting to the dance? The delayed entry can be summed up in one word: volume. Migration to EMV cards in the US involves massive cost because of the number of magnetic stripe credit and debit cards, along with traditional and handheld POS systems, in circulation.

The merchant services industry and card issuers have been technologically ready for some years. However, the pure volume of mag stripe cards and terminals has generated the conversion delay. It was not until 2012 that major card issuers, such as MasterCard, Visa, AmEx and Discover, published strategies to perform the migration from magnetic stripe to embedded computer chip cards.
Since existing POS systems also need conversion, the cost of migration further increases for retailers of all sizes. Still, the benefit of using EMV cards and terminals remains indisputable.


The benefits of EMV technology are impressive and well known.

  • Fraud prevention remains the most important benefit. The recent unfortunate events plaguing Target and Neiman Marcus, where so much plastic card sensitive information was compromised, emphasized this benefit beyond a shadow of a doubt.
  • Increased use of ecommerce, mobile merchant accounts and online payments are much more secure with EMV-enabled plastic cards. While the “best” hackers try to stay ahead of the curve, smart cards enjoy a uniquely secure reputation at the moment.
  • EMV technology offers detailed cardholder verification techniques, which provide online security that mag stripe cards do not. Using EMV cards minimizes the current problems of counterfeit, lost or stolen cards.

Credit Card Processors

This industry eagerly anticipates the future conversion to EMV technology. Industry insiders predict fewer errors, chargebacks and processing delays through the migration away from magnetic stripe terminals to EMV-enabled devices. The reasons?

  • Increased card authentication during the payment transaction protects cardholders from counterfeit card use by others.
  • Secure cardholder verification further protects merchants and cardholders against use of lost or stolen cards.
  • Use of card issuer determined permissions increases security of transaction authorizations, minimizing many potential problems.

Some US banks have started issuing EMV cards to customers. The process of total migration will take some time, requiring the patience of the industry, cardholders and merchants. The resulting huge decreases in fraud losses will be worth the wait, however.

Since most current EMV cards also have a mag stripe, travelers from the UK and other EMV countries can use their credit and debit cards at US retailers until the conversion is complete. While issuing only chip-enabled cards is under discussion in Europe, for the foreseeable future, most international travelers should encounter no problems using chip and mag stripe cards in the US.

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