- It’s always important to exercise caution when accepting credit cards, but use even more due diligence when you receive an order that is well above your average ticket or especially above your highest ticket. If an order seems almost too good to be true, it may be a worthwhile expenditure of time to reach out to the customer before delivering the item. Some merchants even request the customer to offer proof of address and/or a driver’s license, for example, when facilitating a high volume purchase. Obviously, you need to be respectful of your customer’s time and privacy but you always have to be on alert for potential fraud as well.
- Online merchants should strongly consider using AVS and CVV fraud preventative options — particularly during the Holiday shopping season when incidents of fraud tend to escalate. Some businesses will only ship out merchandise to the card holder’s address, confirmed with an AVS match. The customer should also be able to provide the exact CVV2 code found on the back of a credit card, proving that he/she has the card in hand. Once you decide to ship out product, you should receive signature on delivery.
- Review your specified processing amounts (monthly volume, average ticket, and highest ticket) which you may have indicated on your merchant account application (assuming the processor has agreed to cover such limits). In order to minimize any problems with your processor’s risk department, touch base with them as soon as possible if you exceed the aforementioned limits. You don’t want your funds to be held, if at all possible — particularly at a hectic time when cash flow is crucial.
- Retail merchants should strongly consider the use of a manual imprinter when keying in transactions. In the event that a customer’s magnetic strip cannot be read, you want to have proof that the customer authorized the transaction. If you don’t have an imprint of the customer’s card, and that customer decides to charge back the amount, you can very well lose the chargeback dispute. (Manual imprinters are cheap and your processor should be able to provide a complimentary encryption plate.)
- Spend time ensuring that your credit card processing equipment, if applicable, is functioning well. You don’t want to experience any downtime and lose potential sales. Too many retail merchants also forget to perform a quick inventory and assessment of their terminal paper, ink, and ribbons. Remember, if you receive a retrieval request or chargeback notification, you have to provide a clear, legible copy of the sales draft.
- Before batching at the end of the day (whether or not you use automatic batching), it’s vital to review your sales as you or your staff may have committed administrative glitches along the way. You don’t want to pay a discount percentage and transaction fee on an amount that was incorrectly inputted. Moreover, you don’t want your customer to become disgruntled over an erroneous charge and even risk a chargeback. If you find any errors, address them before batching: void the transactions and reprocess.
- You have to avoid any data breach, at all costs, as you can be subject to fines and penalties, legal fees, reimbursement costs, etc. Contact your provider to make certain that you’re PCI compliant or outsource all aspects of payment card processing to PCI compliant vendors. You have to consistently ensure that you’re compliant and this necessity is underscored during the Holidays when fraudsters target small merchants with even greater gusto.
By following the aforementioned tips, your Holiday business season will be a safer, more profitable, and happier one.