Saturday, December 26, 2009

Schemes Target Local Businesses

As a business owner you must be vigilant against taking credit cards that might be stolen. As I addressed this subject on this bog before it is worth mentioning again. In an article that appeared in the Tampa Bay Business Journey. See the link below. In my other posting it dealt mainly with retail type businesses where a business might deal face to face with the customer. In a telephone order environment, a company that could get an email or phone call to place an order, needs to be perhaps more vigilant. If you do not know the customer it or could be a new customer, always obtain all information you can. You need the full credit card number, expiration date, billing address with zip code, the card code. After running the transaction, if you find that you do not get a zip code match, you should be suspicious. In the industry the zip code is used to check for what is card an address verification match. Also known as “AVS”. Note it is not possible to have international cards use the AVS as overseas addresses do not use a zip code. However if you are given a card with a billing address in the US and it is shipping overseas then this is a give away that most likely a scam with a stolen credit card. If the card is decline and they keep giving you different cards to try until you get an approval is another give away. Another possible scenario they want to charge more on the card that what the order is for and you are send the difference to them is a scam.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Salvation Army Accepts Credit Cards At Kettles

The following articled appeared in the St Petersburg Times. I have talked to many business owners that do not accept credit cards and found that they believe that a customer will purchase from them regardless whether they take credit card or not. Another misconception is that because of the recent credit crunch, credit cards are being used less. The reality is because of check cards and debit cards, more people use plastic because of the convenience. It is rare a consumer will complain because a business might not take credit cards. They will just go to a business that does because of the convenience. It is interesting to note in the article that at the locations where they are accepting credit cards, donations are up.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Turn Your Credit Card Receipt Into A Coupon

Did you know many credit card terminals have the ability to place a message on the bottom of receipt? Instead of the plain “Thank You Come Again” why not have it read “Present This Receipt Back Within 30 Days for 10% off your next purchase” Or an automobile shop might say “Bring This Receipt Back for 10% off your next oil change” There are many possibility with this program. You just have to put your thinking cap on. Some terminals have text limitation that might have to be considered. The important part is turning a customer in a repeat customer sooner. If you like this idea, contact me and I will be glad to help you with “Receipt Advertising”

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Non customers Want To Use My Restrooms

Many restaurants and retail owners face the same question. What do you do with non customers who want to use your restroom? 
Lots of restaurant and retail owners freak out at the prospect. They do not want non customers using their restroom. Many businesses post signs on their front window stating, "Restroom for Customers Only."
 On the other hand, many retail stores take the opposite point of view. Lots of department stores pride themselves on having clean attractive restrooms. Lots of business owners believe that they should do nothing to impede non guests from availing themselves to the facilities. 
It appears from my informal survey that most retailers and restaurants actually favor allowing non customers’ use of their restrooms.
 I agree with those retailers and restaurants who have clean attractive restrooms available to all. It's all part of a better customer experience. I just know that there are going to be lots of people out there sending me opposing view horror stories!

I would love to hear your comments!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Manhattan Restaurant Stops Accepting Cash

In a previous newsletter, I talked about several restaurants that were offering up to 20% discounts to customers paying by cash. Now, we have a Manhattan restaurant in Greenwich Village that stopped accepting cash.

If you’re not using a credit card, take your business elsewhere. According to the restaurant, 90% of their customers already pay by credit card. People use their credit cards to pay for a taxi ride and contribute to the Salvation Army. According to Commerce Restaurant, if you don’t have a credit or debit card, you probably don’t have a checking account and probably shouldn’t be eating at the Commerce Restaurant. Tony Zazula, the owner is a veteran restaurateur with an M.B.A. from Cornell University.

According to the owner, credit cards only, mean no more armored trucks to deposit cash in the bank and possibly less scrutiny by the I.R.S.

It’s a pretty interesting concept and the restaurant has surely received lots of publicity including an article in the Wall Street Journal. See it at:

Let me know your thoughts or email me at

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Protect Your Business From Stolen Credit Cards.

I receive many different questions from my customers. One item I am seeing on the raise is the use of stolen credit cards.

Retail Merchant: when your customer presents a credit card, ask for an ID to verify it is their credit card. This will ensure it is not a stolen credit card. If the person owning the card has not yet reported it stolen, the (stolen) card could be used for several hours or even days. Also it is a good idea to have the terminal to prompt for the last four digits of the card after you have swiped the card thru the terminal. This is an additional fraud protection for your business.

Websites taking payments via a shopping cart: always have the gateway set for zip code match, also known as address verification (AVS) and always require the card code*.

Locating *Card Code:
Discover, Master Card & Visa have three numbers on the back.
American Express has a four-digit number on the front.

As a merchant, it is your responsibility to protect yourself against stolen credit cards. These tips will avoid the risk of a charge back.

As always, anyway I can help you or your business, please contact me: As always, if I can help you or your business, please contact me at