Are You Compliant?

Monday, February 22, 2016

1compliance

With all of the changes happening in the financial world these days, it pays to make sure your business is operating in a 'compliant' environment.  Security, regulation and equipment issues need to be addressed to make sure your business is operating within the guidelines set forth by the card associations.  

Security:  PCI Compliance has been mandated by the card associations and your business is required to have an annual certification. The process includes a questionnaire, requirements for a security handbook as well as quarterly scans for merchants connected to the Internet for processing.  Not being compliant can result in pesky non compliance fees, large fines assessed by the card associations or worse- the loss of your business reputation as your name will certainly become front page news in the event of a card breach.  Our team is dedicated to assisting you through this process so give us a call to verify that you are operating within the guidelines when it comes to Security.  You can also visit the PCI Page on our web site to learn more! 

Rules & Regulations: When you enter into any merchant services agreement, you are agreeing to abide by the rules and regulations set forth by Visa/MasterCard & the processor.  Operating outside of the regulations can result in funds being delayed, the loss of your business's ability to accept plastic as a form of payment and in some cases- financial penalties.  Some of the basic regulation violations include processing your own credit card, processing cards for others (outside of your business), over surcharging when your customer is paying with a credit card instead of cash or check and not settling or batching in a timely manner (just to name a few).  In the case of surcharging, now an approved action, it is considered a 'Best Business Practice' to include the cost of accepting credit cards in your overall product markup.  If you elect to surcharge, the amount cannot exceed 4%.  Processors also have guidelines that set volume and transaction amounts for your account as well as the % of cards that will be card present versus card not present.  Staying within these guidelines will keep your money flowing properly.  You can review all of the regulations by visiting REGULATIONS or calling our office if you have specific questions.

Equipment:  At TMC, we encourage you to squeeze every ounce of life out of your equipment investment!  That being said, it is also important to make sure that the equipment/software/devices that you are using- are compliant.  When you use out of date applications or hardware that can no longer handle the security mandates, you put your business at risk and your customer's card data at risk- this is not a Win/Win!  EMV & NFC enabled equipment are not only security compliant, they also enable your business to reduce your risk for fraud, accept the most secure technology in payments and accept higher tech methods for payment.  Check in with our office to make sure your system is up to date (Software/POS System/Credit Card Machine/PinPad).  If it is not, we will make a recommendation for you so you can make sure you are compliant!

Being in compliance is not like winning the lottery- it CAN however- prevent lottery sized fines from being assessed to your company AND it does something even more important:  it lends confidence to both you and your customers because you are taking the necessary steps to protect their valuable information and that is just GOOD BUSINESS!  Smile

Cheri Perry 2/22/2016

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