Tag Archives: Credit Card

A B2B e-commerce success story: Airgas

Game Plan B2B E-Commerce Forum in Chicago last week hosted a plethora of great keynotes and industry experts to talk all things e-commerce in the B2B space.

The attendees heard from Steve Max, director of e-Commerce at Airgas,  during a featured address with author and TV personality Mark Jeffries moderating.

Max discussed “The Airgas Story – Reinventing Your eBusiness: Platform, Operations and Organization.”

Through its subsidiaries, Airgas the largest U.S. distributor of industrial, medical and specialty gases, and hard-goods, such as welding equipment and supplies. Airgas is also a leading U.S. producer of atmospheric gases, carbon dioxide, dry ice, and nitrous oxide, one of the largest U.S. distributors of safety products, and a leading U.S. distributor of refrigerants, ammonia products, and process chemicals.

It was insightful to get a peek into the Airgas customer base by market and how they sell gas online.

Airgas launched their first website in 1997 that resembled “brochure-ware” and in 2001 moved over to an e-commerce site.  Max stated that back in 2001 many folks thought e-commerce was “just a fad.”

“You say that now-a-days in a board room and you get kicked out,” said Max, when asked by Mark if he saw e-commerce as a solid career path.

B2C has set customers’ expectations for e-commerce. But for B2B, online procurement is just as important as online ordering.  Based on Max’s comments, his customers are telling him that, even more than being able to research and order online, they want to be able to complete the transactions with online (and even mobile) payments.

Companies need to ask themselves, “how does e-commerce fit into my overall brand?” before developing their strategies. After identifying what the e-commerce strategy is, then they need to find out what the customers really want out of it. The final step is bringing that strategic plan to management with a solid business case for making the investment.

E-commerce cannot be “siloed,” it must have an omni-channel focus. And as Max put it, “What is online cannot be too radical to what we do offline.”

A B2B e-commerce success story: Airgas, Retrieved from http://www.the-future-of-commerce.com/2013/10/11/airgas-ecommerce-success.

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40 Percent of Small Businesses Using Mobile Credit Card Readers

As many as 40 percent of small retail and service businesses are using some form of mobile payment technology like credit card readers, according to the latest findings from the Local Commerce Monitor, an ongoing study by BIA/Kelsey that looks at the advertising behaviors of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Mobile payment acceptance has been gaining significant traction with these businesses, who state that they now accept payments at the point of sale with a mobile credit card reader attached to a smartphone or tablet. Credit card reader devices are now available for most smartphones, from technology companies like Intuit, PayPal and Square. As much as 16 percent of respondents said they plan to add mobile payment capability within the next year.

Many small businesses are also turning to mobile to get customers in the door, with 32 percent of the small businesses surveyed are also using some form of mobile advertising to promote their businesses, up from 28 percent in 2012. Continue reading

How Citibank Made South Dakota the Top State in the U.S. for Business

This article is part of an America 360 series on Sioux Falls. 

When the international banking giant Citibank moved its credit-card operations to Sioux Falls, S.D. in 1981, it altered the small Midwestern city overnight. With a population of barely 80,000 at the time, Sioux Falls still had an economy built on agriculture and meat-packing. But when state leaders, desperate to attract outside businesses during the economic recession of the early 1980s, changed South Dakota’s usury laws to eliminate the cap on interest rates and fees, Citibank came calling.

The company initially promised to bring 500 jobs to the area and to build a large facility in northwest Sioux Falls. Citibank now employs more than 2,900 workers in the city, and it anchors a financial sector that provides more than 16,000 jobs in a metro area with a growing population of nearly 230,000 residents. And according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., South Dakota holds more bank assets—$2.5 trillion—than any other state in the country.

At the time, South Dakota was the only state with this unusually lax approach to banking laws, and Citibank was soon joined by Wells Fargo, Capital One, First Premier, and other financial institutions that were eager to relocate their credit-card operations to the Mount Rushmore State. A handful of other states, including Delaware and Nevada, have since followed suit, but other tax incentives such as the absence of personal and corporate income taxes—South Dakota eliminated both in the 1940s—provided a significant draw. (South Dakota does have higher-than-average property taxes and levies a franchise tax on financial institutions.)

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Mobile Banking Is Mainstream — What About Security, ROI, Payments?

Sitting alone at the back of a hotel meeting room, Theodore Iacobuzio had a stern message for bankers: “The train is leaving the station,” said Iacobuzio, a MasterCard executive, referring to the emerging mobile payment economy. “You have to get on.”

Earlier that Wednesday, Iacobuzio had spoken on a panel at the Mobile Banking and Commerce Summit in Miami about using data to drive relevant offers to cardholders. Mobile banking and payments are at the forefront of his mind.

After being more than a theory for the past several years, financial services companies have been iterating and tweaking their mobile banking models — offering mobile deposit capture (depositing a check with the snap of a smartphone camera) — for at least the past three. Continue reading

Why Business Credit-Card Holders Should Be Wary

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Most small business owners are aware that their personal finances and business finances are inextricably linked. Apply for a small business loan, and the bank will ask for a personal credit score. Miss a payment on a business credit card, and the issuer is likely to report the transgression on the owner’s personal credit profile. Credit-card issuers can also go after personal assets in the case of default.

Since issuers treat business owners as proxies for their companies, it might seem business credit-card accounts would be afforded the same protections as are personal credit-card holders. Not so, says Odysseas Papadimitriou, chief executive of credit-card comparison website CardHub.com. Four years after Congress passed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, & Disclosure (CARD) Act to make credit-card borrowing more transparent, business owners lack protection that individual consumers get.

Of the eight major credit-card issuers that offer business credit cards, says Papadimitriou in a report released today, only Bank of America (BAC) offers business card holders protection from arbitrary rate hikes on existing balances. At the other seven issuers in the report, “a credit card exec can wake up and say, ‘Today is Sunday, let’s raise rates” says Papadimitriou. Continue reading

American Airlines, Citigroup Agree to Uphold Credit Card Tie

Citigroup Inc. (C) and American Airlines agreed that the airline would retain the bank’s partnership in its loyalty credit-card and mileage program, according to a court filing.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Debtors irrevocably and as of the date hereof waive any right to seek to reject the Citibank Agreements unless the Plan is withdrawn or the Court refuses to enter the Confirmation Order,” lawyers for the airlines said in court papers.

American’s AAdvantage loyalty program has about 69 million members and will regain its ranking as the industry’s largest when the Fort Worth, Texas-based airline merges with US Airways Group Inc. The two carriers have been negotiating with banks including New York-based Citigroup and Barclays Plc to provide a branded credit card once they combine. Continue reading

Women Better At Handling Credit, Survey Finds

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Women may earn less than men but they are better managers of credit.

According to a new report from Experian , women earn 23% less than men, but men have 4.3% more debt than women. Women also have a slightly higher average credit score of 675 compared to the men’s average of 674.

The study found that men use more of their available credit (31%) than women (30%).

The average man carried $26,227 in debt from credit cards, personal loans and auto loans compared to a $25,095 average for a woman.

Men are also taking out larger mortgages–an average of $187,245 for a man versus $178,140 for a woman. Men also have a higher incidence of late payments on their mortgages (5.7%) than women (5.3%). Continue reading