Posted by Uni Bul on Wednesday, June 18th, 2014, at 5:00 am

Your Merchant Account Is Terminated — Now What?

Your Merchant Account Is Terminated -- Now What?


So you’ve just received the dreaded termination notice from your merchant account provider. You may have even seen it coming if your transaction activity has been heavily scrutinized for the past week or two and no indication has been given about the status of your payment processing account. Alternatively, it may all have come out of the blue — for example, your processor may have suddenly decided that it would no longer serve businesses in your industry, for some reason or other.


Whatever your processor’s reasons for shutting you down may be, the important question is what you should do now — how do you find a new payment processor, one which would be unfazed by whatever may have happened with your previous merchant account and offer you reasonable terms of service? Well, servicing the high-risk end of the payment processing industry as we are, you may not be surprised to learn that at UniBul we get to work with terminated merchants all the time. What we’ve found over time is that re-enabling businesses to accept credit cards is mostly dependent on the merchants’ willingness to do what is necessary. More often than not, merchants are not following our suggestions, diminishing their chances of success in the process. Oblivious to the new reality, they wrongly believe that what worked in the past would work again. Well, you can follow their example and end up with no merchant account at all or do what I suggest below and start taking cards once more. The choice is yours...

Posted by Uni Bul on Monday, June 2nd, 2014, at 5:00 am

PIN vs. Signature Debit: Which Is More Secure?

PIN vs. Signature Debit: Which Is More Secure?


Every time the Federal Reserve surveys the public, it finds that consumers consistently rank security as the most important characteristic of payment methods, Joanna Stavins from the Boston Fed reminds us in a new paper. Yet, just as consistently, when they analyze the actual consumer payment use patterns, the Fed’s researchers find that security is not as significant as other payment characteristics, such as cost, convenience and record keeping.


Trying to explain that puzzle away, the Stavins digs deep into the data and finds that security concerns create an obstacle to the adoption of some types of bank account-based payments, such as debit cards, online banking bill pay and bank account number payments, but once adopted, the security rating has no significant effect on the use of those payment instruments. However, the reverse is found to be the case with more established payment methods, such as cash, checks and credit cards: consumers’ perception of security has no influence on adoption, but it does affect the actual usage of these payment types.


But debit cards present a particularly interesting case, because debit transactions can be processed in two distinctly different ways. On the one hand we have signature-based debit, which uses the same infrastructure, which is used to process credit card payments. On the other, we have PIN-based debit, where transactions are processed via specialized debit networks. And it turns out that consumer attitudes toward the security of two debit types are markedly different and once again, the actual usage patterns do not always reflect the professed attitudes. Let’s take a closer look at what Stavins finds...

Posted by Uni Bul on Wednesday, May 21st, 2014, at 5:00 am

Mobile Shopping Is Already Big. But These Charts Show What Is To Come… And It’s Breathtaking.

The Future of How We Shop


This isn’t going to come as a surprise to many of you. Mobile shopping has been growing at a break-neck rate for some time now — we’ve been writing about it on this blog and so has pretty much everyone else. And yet, every now and again I will stumble on something that would remind me of the sheer scale of the shopping revolution that is under way.


And that was the case again this morning. In the infographic below, Gift-Library.com tells a beautiful story of an industry undergoing a huge transformation and its struggle to come to grips with it...

Posted by Uni Bul on Tuesday, May 13th, 2014, at 5:00 am

What China Has Done in E-Commerce Is Mind-Boggling. These Graphs Say It All… Astonishing.

What China Has Done in E-Commerce Is Mind-Boggling. These Graphs Say It All... Astonishing.


China is big and it is growing at an unprecedented rate for a country of that size. But this has been going on for three decades now, so you think you would have got used to huge numbers, astonishingly fast growth rates, outsized companies, massive projects, etc. And then something new comes before your eyes and there you go again trying to wrap your mind around things you’d never seen before.


Case in point: the two infographics you see below. The first one is produced by Alibaba — a huge (I know, I say that word a lot today) e-commerce conglomerate that is soon to make an IPO in the U.S., which is expected to be bigger than that of Facebook. The other graph comes to us courtesy of the Search Laboratory, a search engine marketing company...

Posted by Uni Bul on Monday, May 5th, 2014, at 5:00 am

How to Raise Profits by Preventing the 3 Most Common Types of Chargebacks

How to Raise Profits by Preventing the 3 Most Common Types of Chargebacks


Chargeback prevention has a direct impact on profitability, which manifests itself in two different ways. On that one hand, your processor is charging you a hefty fee for each chargeback, whether successfully disputed by you or not. Additionally, you stand to lose any shipping and handling fees and even the value of the sold item, if returned to you in unsalable condition. On the other hand, and in the high-risk world this is where the real difference is made, your chargeback rate affects the terms and conditions a payment processor will offer you. These include your discount rate, reserve period and payout schedule.


Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned the industry rules, which threaten your merchant account with termination just as soon as your chargeback rate exceeds one percent. In the real world, a mainstream processor is likely to shut you down long before you get anywhere close to that threshold, but let’s leave that aside. The point is that chargebacks are very costly and the important question is what to do to keep them at bay. Well, over the past few months, I have examined in a series of posts all of Visa’s chargeback reason codes and offered some suggestions on how to manage them. Today, I will focus a bit more closely on the three most common types of chargebacks in the e-commerce world: “unauthorized use”, “authorization not obtained” and “recurring transactions”. If you can keep those three under control, you’ll be in good shape...