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, 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...

Posted by Uni Bul on Tuesday, April 29th, 2014, at 5:00 am

How to Get Lower Credit Card Processing Rates for Your Hotel

How to Get Lower Credit Card Processing Rates for Your Hotel

The lodging industry is classified as high risk by Visa and MasterCard, which often makes it difficult for some hotels to set up a merchant account on reasonable terms. This is particularly true for smaller businesses and new hotels, with no previous card processing experience. The reason, as ever, is that lodgers have historically generated higher-than-average levels of charged back transactions. Well, whereas there is not much you can do about your industry’s chargeback history, you can certainly take control of your own credit card processing performance to ensure that your merchant account provider gives you the best available terms of service.

What you have to do is follow faithfully a simple and straightforward set of card acceptance rules. For the most part, these are the same rules every merchant should follow when taking cards for payment anywhere, but there are some procedures and programs, which are specific to the lodging industry and which you should know how to manage. In particular, most chargebacks and customer disputes related to hotel transactions have to do with authorization issues and additional charges. Here is how you should manage them...

Posted by Uni Bul on Thursday, April 24th, 2014, at 5:00 am

Why We Don’t Work with Small Merchants

Why We Don't Work with Small Merchants

In my posts describing how we work with merchant account applicants, I have often alluded to our size requirement — we typically like to work with merchants with at least some previous processing experience and a current monthly processing volume of at least $100,000. That wasn’t always the case — in fact, when we began all these years ago, our focus were new businesses and very small operations. However, experience taught us that serving this segment of the market was an extremely expensive and time-consuming proposition. And while we wouldn’t mind investing whatever resources were needed to make our project a success, the trouble was that the return was very low, not nearly enough to justify the effort. It took us a good few years and multiple changes of strategy, but eventually we realized that our approach wasn’t working and we decided to focus on a different segment. The new strategy worked and looking back, I just can’t understand what took us so long.

This past week I was reminded of our past mistakes when I decided to work on the application of a merchant who clearly did not comply with our requirements: his business was both too small and too inexperienced for us. Unsurprisingly, it turned out to be an error on my part. Of course I knew that the merchant was unqualified, but it was a slow day and I thought that the underwriting process would be a quick and straightforward one, so why not do it? Well, if it worked like that, our initial strategy would have succeeded, wouldn’t it? In the event, I was reminded of just how well we had done when we shifted our focus away from this merchant segment. Here is what took place...