Tag Archives: finance

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.


Ryanair Defiant Over Credit Card Surcharges Crackdown










A group of 14 people travelling together on Ryanair would pay £168 extra for their flights, despite only making one payment.

Ryanair has defied the government’s move to ban surcharges on payments to airlines and other firms by saying it does not charge its passengers any credit or debit card fees.

Airlines, cinemas and holiday firms will be stopped from imposing millions of pounds in “hidden last-minute” charges on internet bookings. Treasury minister Mark Hoban said the government is prepared to legislate to prevent airlines and other businesses from imposing hefty charges on credit and debit card bookings that are difficult to detect.

However, the budget airline said in a statement: “Ryanair, the UK’s favourite airline, today confirms that it does not impose any debit or credit card fees.”

Ryanair claims instead to charge an “admin fee” per passenger per one-way flight. This £6 charge is levied when a passenger comes to pay and can only be avoided by using the airline’s own prepaid Mastercard. It states on its website that this charge “relates to costs associated with Ryanair’s booking system.”

The charge means that, for example, a group of 14 people travelling together would pay £168 extra for their flights, despite the fact that only one payment is processed for the entire group.

John Holmes, principal economist at Which?, who helped compile a report into excessive card charges which formed the basis of a supercomplaint to the Office of Fair Trading earlier this year, said the Ryanair reaction was typical of the airline and would be dismissed by the government.

“The only time the airline charges that £6 admin fee is when a passenger presents a payment method to the airline,” he said. “The principle of this government legislation is about those charges that are practically unavoidable. You cannot avoid paying for a flight so you cannot avoid the charge.”

Which? says an airline incurs costs of between 8p-20p on debit card transactions. Those rise to between 0.88% and 1.8% of the transaction for payments by credit card. It means a passenger paying the average return fare of £136.09 should pay a minimum of £1.20 and a maximum of £2.45 for a credit card booking. Continue reading

Feds Try Out Simpler Credit Card Agreement

December 11, 2001

A simpler credit card agreement is getting a tryout.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released a prototype of a credit card agreement that’s written in plain English. The idea is to sweep away the legalese and make it easier for consumers to understand a card’s costs and terms.

The agency is asking for the feedback on the model agreement, which is at www.consumerfinance.gov/credit-cards/knowbeforeyouowe.

For now, there are no plans to require credit card issuers to adopt the form. But if the agency decided to make the form mandatory once testing is over, it could establish a consistent, industrywide template that would make it easier for consumers to comparison shop for cards.

As it stands, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau noted that the average credit card agreement runs 5,000 words and is packed with fine print that consumers don’t understand. The prototype agreement, by contrast, is just over 1,000 words and is broken down into three key sections — costs, changes and additional information.

The form will be tested with new credit card applicants at the Pentagon Federal Credit Union. Some applicants will get the existing version of the credit union’s card agreement so that the CFPB can compare consumer feedback.

The American Bankers Association, which represents the banking industry, praised the model form as a “good first step,” but said it could be made even shorter and less susceptible to costly lawsuits.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to police the financial products marketed to consumers. Consumer advocates have said that clearer mortgage disclosures could have helped prevent the subprime crisis that precipitated the financial meltdown.

Since it officially began operations this summer, the agency has focused on simplifying disclosures consumers receive with a variety of financial products. The agency is also testing simplified forms for mortgages and has asked for feedback on the issues borrowers encounter when applying for private student loans.

The rollout of the sample credit card agreement comes as the White House urges the Senate to confirm Richard Cordray to head the consumer bureau. Republicans have said they will block confirmation of anyone to head the agency until other regulators and Congress have more control over the bureau.

The White House says a recent study shows about two-thirds of credit card users say they don’t completely understand their cards’ terms.

Feds Try Out Simpler Credit Card Agreements.(2001, December 11). Retrieved from http://www.detnews.com/article/20111212/BIZ01/112120352/1001/biz/Feds-try-out-simpler-credit-card-agreement

Credit Or Debit? And Which Card Stocks Stand To Benefit?

December 12, 2011 – By Charles Sizemore

After a brief hiatus following the 2008 financial crisis in which debit card use outpaced credit card use, it appears credit is back on top. According to First Data, a major card processor, growth in credit card usage has outpaced growth in debit card usage in 2011, including the post-Thanksgiving shopping binge we call Black Friday.

After the 2008 meltdown — a crisis that was caused from an excess of debt — consumers “got religion” for a while, cut up their credit cards and chose to live within their means by using debit cards tied to their bank accounts. But ironically, the Dodd-Frank financial reforms — ostensibly rammed down the banking industry’s collective throat to protect us from the evils of irresponsible lending and borrowing — made credit more appealing than debit for banks and consumers alike. The Durbin Amendment to Dodd-Frank limited the revenues that banks could earn from issuing debit cards, leading some to charge monthly fees to consumers for debit card use. Not too shockingly, in many households, the debit cards got cut up and the credit cards came out of the desk drawer.

Only in Washington, D.C., could a law intended to encourage responsible financial behavior lead to an increase in credit card use.

As investors, it doesn’t pay to fret about politics. Instead, we should simply follow the money to see who best stands to benefit. We’ll start by looking at the two dominant card companies, Visa (NYSE:V) and MasterCard (NYSE:MA).

Visa and MasterCard are well positioned to profit from two powerful macro trends:

  1. The shift to a global cashless society.
  2. The rise of the new emerging-market middle class.

Every year, a larger percentage of purchases are made using plastic. In many U.S. cities, even the taxi cabs take credit cards. So whether the boom times return or we sink back into recession, the revenues of the major card companies should continue to grow. The explosive growth in Internet commerce will only accelerate this.

There always will be some demand for the anonymity of cash, and the paper check will continue to be with us for a while. But the march toward electronic payments is inexorable.

As is the rise of the emerging-market consumer. In much of the world outside of America and Europe, a large percent of buying and selling is done in cold, hard cash. Given the long history of banking crises and government confiscation, many emerging-market consumers prefer to keep their savings out of the bank and under their respective mattresses.

Or at least they used to. As living standards improve and millions of consumers join the ranks of the middle classes, there is a growing preference for electronic payments. And this trend isn’t going to be reversed anytime soon.

I’m somewhat partial to Visa, as the stock has been one of my best-performing recommendations of 2011. And barring a dramatic turn of events, Visa also will be the winner of InvestorPlace’s “10 Best Stocks for 2011” contest. Continue reading

Welcome to the Official Merchant Hub Blog!

We hope to provide interesting and relevant articles on our blog to help keep you up to date on the latest news and trends in business, finance, payment solutions, banking, and much more.

Merchant Hub is a company like no other.  You probably do business with Merchant Hub every day without even realizing it. In fact, each time you use your debit or credit card, visit an ATM, buy a gift card or write a check, there’s a good chance we’re behind the scenes, making it possible.

We provide payment processing services to the world’s largest financial services providers, to the merchant around the corner, and to businesses and governments of all sizes in between. We will continue to leverage our global reach and scope of services to deliver real client value through a strong belief in and a solid commitment to our vision and our mission.

Merchant Hub teams up with or has relationships with National Merchants, Financial Institutions, Agents and Independent Sales Organizations to support the sales of product solutions and provide new opportunities to increase your bottom line. Whether it’s purchasing products, sharing revenues or selling our solutions, we offer you the ability to grow and expand your business through a strategic alliance with us. Now you can expand your payment processing capabilities with our guidance, innovation and experience, and profit from a long-term relationship with Merchant Hub.

We make it fast, secure and reliable for individuals and business arround the world to buy goods and services using virtually any form of payment.