How many Rewards/Loyalty Cards are in your wallet?

The most exciting news for our merchants is that KIS Payments is now offering you the opportunity to break into totally new ground, when we talk about Rewards, Loyalty, Membership, Pass, Admission, and even Business Cards.  We can offer the smaller and medium size merchants an opportunity to level the playing field and provide their customers with a loyalty program just like the big box stores, and its affordable.

The first two, Rewards and Loyalty, are exactly the same type of Card, depending on your perspective.  Rewards Cards are what the customer gets, while Loyalty Cards are what the merchant gives!  If you’re the customer, you want Rewards, while merchants want Loyalty! Membership, Admission, Pass, and even Business Cards are simply a variation on this program.

Rewards/Loyalty Cards can work in three ways, either separate or simultaneously together.  First the program can issue and keep track of some sort of customer rewards, whether they be collecting points, (think Air Miles), yearly cash back on percentage of purchases (think Costco membership), or even your own form of currency (think Canadian Tire money).  Your customers can redeem these Rewards as they see fit.

Secondly your Rewards program could be based on achieving a certain threshold – big or small.  Buy 5 coffees Get the 6th Free, is a threshold Rewards Program.  Buy $1000 Worth of Carpet for Two Rooms – Get Free Installation or a plumbing wholesaler whose promotion offers a free fishing trip to any customer who spends $100,000 in a calendar year, are other examples!

Thirdly your Rewards/Loyalty Program could be customized to be whatever time based promotions you decide.   A Tire Shop may plan a promotion for all their Cardholders to receive 30% off new tires purchased in a slower month.  When the customer uses the card at the payment terminal, the discount is applied directly!

The reason that we at KIS Payments are so excited about this program is the affordability and profitability it provides!  We are anxious to prove to you that this program drives business.  It especially targets the customer doing 50% of their business with you, who increases it to 80% as they take advantage of your Rewards program.

We will show you how to get it set-up as you take full advantage of our training.  After which, you will have a hard time spending $30/month for all your Loyalty/Rewards transactions!  And you have full control of your program.  You enter your timed promotions, your thresholds, and your points parameters!  This program is totally customized for you and your business.

We can hardly wait to get you started!

Gift Cards: Profit or Loss?

One of the most exciting developments for us here at KIS in 2016, is our new partnership with Akroo that allows us to launch our new line-up of quality plastic Gift Cards.  The variety and versatility that are available allows many exciting options for our merchants.  Let KIS Payments help you understand how this program can increase your business!

First and foremost, the Star of the Show for the Processing Industry is the Gift Card.  Gift Cards have been around for a long time and there is little doubt of their popularity with both merchants and consumers.  Statistics show annual Gift Card sales are approaching 14 Billion, yes that’s right – billion, worldwide.

Merchants can realize a boon to business because firstly, they are ready cash as nearly one-third of the cards bought never get used.  But secondly, Gift Cards often bring in new customers who typically purchase well over the amount of the card, giving a good shot in the arm to sales.  Thirdly, they are now convenient to oversee with such features as balances remaining on the durable card rather than needing to produce a new Certificate each time it is used.  Also our Gift Cards are reloadable, and have their balances available online, so customers can check beforehand how much of their purchase will be covered.  Cards are also great as a staff reward or given as a donation to community fund raisers!

So KIS Cards provide all of these common applications and then we can kick it up a notch!  Imagine a Photo Gift Card with your contact information on it to give away as a thank-you to your customers!  For example, a realtor gives a dinner Gift Card to clients who have purchased a house from him.  But not only is it a Gift Card for the local restaurant such as Cactus Club, White Spot etc, but it acts as a promotion for the Realtor as well complete with picture and contact information!  And the card works seamlessly with the processing terminal at the restaurant! Simply pay with the Gift Card as you would a credit card.  Impressive, right!

Now imagine you’ve decided to accept a last minute invitation to a birthday party and you need to find a gift quick!  What if instead of fighting traffic and crowds at the mall to purchase something, you could simply go online to your favourite specialty store and purchase an eGift Card to include in your birthday card!  All done in minutes, talk about convenient!

You could say that KIS Cards provide Gift Cards on steroids!

The Shame of Our Industry

Often when I walk into a merchant’s premises for the first time, after introductions, the first thing out of my mouth is an apology!  Why you ask?  Well, I have been in processing for many years now, and even felt compelled to write a book on the subject, as I got so discouraged that most companies in our industry are not out to help their merchants, but rather it seems they are trying to plunder them!  And if you ask merchants what they think, most would not only agree, but swear by it!

Did you know that from its beginning in the 1980s up until the change in legislation in 2002, the Canadian payment processing industry only allowed the big chartered banks to process credit cards?  That big bank elitist attitude continues to permeate our industry even to this day.

Obviously, merchants have a good reason to feel they are still being taken advantage of.  They might not know the specifics of “double dipping”, leasing a terminal for five times the original cost, or the hidden charges of non-qualified transactions, but merchants know when they are being fleeced.  And the sad part is that it’s the industry pioneers, the bank processors, who lead the way.

Another reason for their attitude of entitlement, is that the whole industry is based outside Canada.  That literally means that when you do a transaction in your business, the money exchanges accounts in New York City.   This makes it difficult for an independent merchant service like ourselves to link into this complicated system.  Thus, the bank processors feel that since they are the only available choice, they can gouge merchants mercilessly.

It is also the opinion of this humble writer, that the fact that these banks are both public companies and institutions contributes immensely to the ‘profit at any cost’ mentality.  And whereas the free enterprise system normally punishes this type of business practice for mistreating customers this way, for some reason we Canadians often live under a loyalty illusion that there is benefits to be had from dealing with the same bank forever!

The challenge for us is to show our merchants that bigger is not always better, but rather, as a local personal merchant processor we care about doing our very best to bring topnotch service at a reasonable cost.  No more 1-800  – “wait for the next available operator” frustrations!


When Card Not Present (CNP) leads to “Customer Negates Payment”

Part 1

As a merchant you want to make sure that you always keep your processing environment in consideration when you are accepting payment.

For example, if your business is in a face to face (card present) environment and you agree to accept a payment over the phone by manually keying the transaction, should that transaction be disputed by the cardholder there is a better than good chance you’ve lost against the chargeback before you even get a chance to respond. The minute you manually input the credit card information, as opposed to electronically capturing it (chip/swipe/tap) the transaction is considered Card Not Present or CNP.

When it comes to card payments, it does not matter if your customer is standing in front of you.  What matters is whether you can prove that the credit card was inserted into your terminal and that the individual using the card was indeed the legitimate cardholder.

Some useful suggestions that may help you to avoid chargebacks when you are accepting CNP payments are:

  • Provide your customers with all possible contact information and encourage them to channel their complaints to you first.
  • Be crystal clear with your return policy, as well as your shipping policies where applicable, and make certain that you can show that your customer understands them in their entirety before accepting payment.
  • Aside from verifying the billing address and Card Verification Value (CVV/security code), you can request the name of the card issuing bank as one of your purchasing policies. Failure to provide this should be considered a red warning flag. (Note: the name of the card issuing bank is found on the back of the card)
  • Always send confirmation e-mails to your customer. These should be automated e-mails which contain the invoice. If the products are being shipped, send another confirmation e-mail providing shipping details and tracking information as soon as you have it.
  • Whenever the shipping address provided differs from the billing address, you should confirm the information and exercise extra caution.
  • Many consumers ask for a chargeback when they do not recognize the charge on their credit card statement. Therefore, you will want to make absolutely sure that your company name and a clear transaction description will be reflected on their bill.

While the above suggestions can assist a merchant in preventing fraudulent transactions and successfully disputing chargebacks, they’re almost never enough.  Unfortunately, most chargebacks are not caused by fraud, identity theft, processing errors or the like.  The majority of chargebacks are caused by “friendly fraud.”

Friendly fraud is an industry term which refers to a fraud resulting from a customer making a purchase with his or her credit card, receiving the service or merchandise and then filing for a chargeback.  There is nothing friendly about this type of situation for a merchant.  In the face-to-face retail world, this would be shoplifting or stealing.  The perpetrators rightfully belong in jail when caught red-handed.  Not necessarily in the credit card world.

Stay tuned for Part 2.