Wouldn’t it be nice if payment processing came with a textbook for beginners? Unfortunately, many times merchants are on their own to master key terms and skillfully implement best practices that help manage costs. One of the biggest challenges can be understanding the interchanges rates set by the card networks and other fees incurred in order to accept credit card and other payments.
With patients bearing more of the responsibility for healthcare payments, healthcare organizations are looking for ways to make it easier for patients to pay, thereby improving collections and decreasing the time and resources it takes to collect payments.
Healthcare payments landscape
More than $2.7 trillion of healthcare payments are made in the U.S. annually, which represents one sixth of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). Direct patient-to-provider payments represent $326 billion.1 According to a McKinsey & Co. report, about 35 percent of a provider’s total revenue will come from patients.
As 2012 approaches, and companies continue to pursue compliance with the PCI DSS, the threat of data theft still looms large for merchants. On December 12, 2011, CNN, and other news organizations, ran a story announcing that US authorities arrested four Romanian Nationals in connection with a data theft scheme that had been active since 2008. The four individuals would hack into Point of Sale (POS) systems and install Trojans and key-stroke loggers to capture payment card data. This data was then used to make fraudulent purchases, primarily in Europe. 150 Subway restaurants, as well as over 50 other retailers, were victimized and an estimated 80,000 cards were compromised.
As consumers, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the holiday season and drop our guard when it comes to safe shopping. The increasing balances on credit cards often result in people not checking their statements until after the holiday season. In a rush to make purchases, caution may take a back seat to convenience and the prevalence of goodwill may convince some shoppers that criminals wouldn’t take advantage of the holiday season. Unfortunately, the holiday season is when criminals are often most active.
Life was simpler way back when. Some of you may remember when televisions only had three channels. A pencil or typewriter was your primary means of written communication. When you made a purchase or paid a bill, you mailed a check or paid cash at the register. Choices were limited, but simplicity appeared to make everything a little more manageable.
Innovations have lead to more choices and greater convenience—especially in our payments world. Think of all the ways consumers pay today: cash, check, credit cards, ACH/e-check, debit cards, gift cards, etc. Merchants also have a multitude of ways to accept payments: POS, online, automated recurring billing, SMS, mail order/telephone order, kiosks, integrated voice recognition (IVR), mobile devices—you name it.
Some things are worth the wait! We are happy to post that the latest and greatest TrustCommerce Developer’s Guide 4.0 is now available for download within the TC Vault in PDF format. This new version comes with many improvements and several new chapters and sections. This document began as a revision to the existing TCLink Developer’s Guide, but evolved into a more comprehensive TrustCommerce Developer’s Guide.
Small businesses are the heart and soul of the U.S. economy. From local mom and pop shops to innovative web start ups, we rely on these merchants daily for goods and services. In the payments world, small businesses are referred to as Level 4 merchants, those processing less than 20,000 e-commerce transactions annually and up to 1 million transactions annually. There are more than 6 million Level 4 merchants in the U.S.
PCI compliance is a vital component of merchants overall, ongoing security program. However, Level 4 merchants have not always been well educated or encouraged by their acquiring bank to become compliant.
It is no secret that debit cards are a popular method for paying for goods and services. Customers use their bank ATM cards and check cards to pay for everything from a pack of gum at a gas station to monthly utility bills.
Debit card payments may soon take over credit card transactions! There were 507 million total debit cards in circulation in U.S. at the end of 2009. Debit payment transactions rose 17.1% to 6.38 billion, according to Visa and MasterCard.
On my morning commute, lost in thought, I drove right past the office. Snapping out of it, I realized what I’d done, took a right turn and began my detour back to the office. Having never gone this route, I saw buildings and roads I’d never seen before, discovering better paths for future trips.
Seeing things in a new light makes me think about the TrustCommerce professional services team. What I love about our team is how they look at a project from every angle – upside down, backwards, and sideways before arriving at a clear plan for reaching an objective. Our team has lead projects and implementations for leading organizations in key vertical markets and apply that unique knowledge to every project.
I am an information junkie. I sign up for a multitude of e-newsletters. I set up Google Alerts for topics that are important to me, watch Twitter trends and follow thought leaders on social media. Each morning, I sift through the information to find the day’s gold nugget. Here’s what I learned from my inbox this morning:
- 57% of U.S retailers are preparing or already have a mobile commerce strategy.*
- Mobile commerce will generate $6 billion in sales this year and is expected to double in 2012.
- “Life is luck, make it.” –Mother Teresa
Mobile commerce is here to stay. As you develop your strategy, I offer food for thought: