Tag Archives | square

Drama Credit Card Processing

Look how happy the lady in this stock image is to buy something online!

I've been through my fair share of Credit Card Merchant providers. It's a mess of an industry. If you are new to e-commerce you may be scratching your head in frustration.

I'll first describe some of the common issues I've dealt with then I'll give you the solution.

Sorry, You Need Signatures

Yep, had a provider a few years ago start to hold back 20% of my money in a reserve account because I don't get customer signatures. Have you ever heard of the internet?

Sorry, We Don't Support Your Industry

Yep, I'm in the firearm industry and way too many hipster startups in silicone valley and most of the other moron credit card companies hate guns and anything associated with them. My industry isn't the only one on the no-charge list either.

Sorry, You Need To Connect The Processing Gateway to A Merchant Provider and Then Maintain PCI Compliance With This Other Provider

You would think the government runs this industry with the amount of confusing stuff you have to deal with. It's sometimes like trying to juggle 3 plates at the same time. Forget dropping them I can't even remember which plate does what.

Sorry, You Have To Respond To This Chargeback Via Fax

Sometimes customers don't recognize your company on their card statement or they hate you or you legitimately have been taken advantage of by a con artist who has used a stolen card to buy something on your site. When this happens the Card company sends you the Chargeback paperwork via snail mail and expects you to respond within 2 days explaining why you charged the person's credit card and include proof like signatures (remember it's the internet) and shipping tracking info etc. My last 2 providers gave me 2 days to respond and required I do so via fax. Follow up info about these chargebacks was also send via snail mail. I had spreadsheet just to keep track of this nightmare.

Sorry, You Have To Be Approved By The Underwriting Department

At the point of initial application merchant providers love to pretend they are considering giving you to secret clearance. The application process reminds me of getting a home loan. Recently our company changed company names and I was informed this required submitting a new application for which I was NOT approved.

Sorry, We Don't Work With / Connect With That Software

There are endless shopping cart applications and our company has 4 different systems that capture customer credit card information for purchases. There are only a few credit card gateways that work with ALL of those systems. This question of compatibility is sometimes more complex as a software system may show it works with your provider only to find out some features are not supported with your gateway.

Sorry, Your Charge Activity Has Grown Too Much/Too Fast

Remember these companies make money when you make money so you might think they would send me a bonus gift and lower my rates when my charge volume increases. I had one provider increase my reserve and make me get emails from customers confirming they did indeed authorize charges.

My Solution? Stripe

I opened a Stripe account about a year ago and at first I didn't think it could be legit because they didn't run be through any sort of complex approval process. Despite this we decided to use it for a few of the applications where it was the only option and it worked.

Further there is no question about gateways, merchants, and compliance partners. Its just Stripe.

When we did our company name change I contacted their support… and they changed it. End of story.

They connect with everything because one of their core company “dealios” is an awesome API. My developers LOVE Stripe and apparently every other application dev team does too.

Chargebacks? No more letters in the mail. They send an email and I respond online via an interface!

Life is good again. What are you using? Do you love or hate it?

I’m Obsessed With QR Codes: What Are They & How Do You Use Them?

qrHow you seen these around? Primarily found on advertisements, QR codes are mobile friendly, square barcodes that can be scanned by smartphones. QR codes can contain a variety of different types of information from URLs to PayPal buy now links. The QR code directly to the left, when scanned, will take you directly to this exact same blog post in your mobile browser. Businesses are utilizing QR codes as a way to drive more engagement with their audience and track the effectiveness of their advertising. Let me give you an example.

When you browse for a new car on the lot of a car dealership you always look closely at the sticker in the window. That sticker shows all the options, fuel economy, and price. Did you realize that the average vehicle will go through 7 new window stickers while it is on the lot. That is a lot of wasted paper. Today some dealerships are instead printing off QR code stickers to put into the vehicle window. Those QR codes, when scanned, can direct users to a mobile friendly web page that shows all the same information. When pricing changes the dealer can update the webpage without printing off a new sticker for the car on the lot. In addition, because web traffic can be measured, the dealer will know which cars on the lot are getting the most interest and he will be able to track which cars are looked at after hours when window shoppers are still on the lot.

Here is a short list of different types of information you can embed into a QR Code:

  • Text
  • URL
  • Telephone Number
  • SMS Message
  • Email Address
  • Email Message
  • Contact Details (vcard)
  • Event (vcalendar)
  • Google Maps Location
  • Wifi Login (Android Only)
  • Paypal Buy Now Link
  • Social Media Links (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Foursquare)
  • iTunes Link
  • YouTube Video

The possibilities are endless and the beauty is in your ability to better engage a consumer. Another example scenario. You run a static print ad in the newspaper, on a billboard, a magazine, or the back of the city bus. Print ads don’t allow you to show any videos, animation, or audio testimonials. They are static and simple. If, you include a QR code on your advertisement you open up a world of possibility. A consumer sees the ad and scans it with their phone. Their phone opens up a mobile friendly page specific to that ad campaign that shows the live video, plays the live testimonial, or offers to take the consumer directly to your store via Google Maps.

How do you track the engagement. Only when you are directing the consumer to a webpage can you track the engagement. Utilize a URL tracking service such as Bit.ly to shorten each URL before you embed it into a QR code. That will allow you to track each scan of the QR code on the bit.ly dashboard.

How do you create a QR code? There are many different types of QR codes. Some can only be scanned by a specific app and other are generic and can be scanned by any barcode scanner app on any smartphone. To create the most generic type of barcode visit http://qrstuff.com. Follow the instructions on the screen to embed your content into the QR code, then just click on the download link to the right to save your image.

Go Ahead… create and scan as much as you can.

Jacob S Paulsen