Don’t Trash Talk the Competition

It’s a practice that really should go without saying—the only problem is, by not saying it aloud, the risk of some unsuspecting web developer stepping into a seriously sticky mess increases exponentially. Therefore, it must be stated, loud and clear: If you’re trying to win the business of a company seeking credit card merchant services, never trash talk the competition, especially when there are ways of doing so without resorting to name-calling.

Know Your Competition
As a developer, it’s incumbent upon you to know the competition inside and out. Those who would opt to play “out of sight, out of mind” games could end up holding the short end of the proverbial stick. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of other merchant account services can help you play to the strengths of your own product. It also gives your client the ability to more accurately compare merchant accounts.

Planting the Seeds
If you’ve got a point to make about the limitations of another merchant services provider, you can plant the seeds of doubt without resorting to mud-slinging or trash talk simply by posing questions to your clients about what it is they hope to gain from a working relationship with their provider. In the end, competitive merchant account pricing should be enough to sell itself. You just have to ensure that you tactfully toe the line.

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Host Your Own Secure Payment Form with AIM

Web developers and their clients enrolled in the merchant account affiliate program who’d rather host their own secure payment form rather than using the one provided by Authorize.net can do so with the implementation of AIM (and no, we’re not talking about instant messaging sensitive customer information). AIM stands for Advanced Integration Method, which is a payment processing software program that allows for the secure transmission of credit card information.

How Does It Work?
An easy answer could be “it works incredibly well,” but when it comes to issues of payment gateway integration, there’s seldom excuse to get cheeky. The down-and-dirty, nitty-gritty information is as follows: a secure connection to the Authorize.net payment gateway is initiated by your client’s server, whereupon the information is transmitted and the credit authorization returned to the merchant for invoicing and (in a perfect world) immediate packing and shipping.

What’s Required of the Web Developer?
In order to use AIM to properly submit transactions to the payment gateway, you’ll need just a few things:

A secure socket layer (SSL) digital interface.
The ability to provide encryption for both the server and the client.
To develop a script to integrate your client’s website into the payment gateway. The script should have the functionality to securely obtain all necessary information, initiate a secure HTTPS form, and communicate the gateway’s response directly to the customer (i.e., notification of credit card approval).

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As if Your Clients Needed a Reason to Own an iPhone, Now This

A good web developer is a business-savvy individual who cares for the needs of the client and never leaves them lacking. So what does it take to be a great web developer? Thousands of clients? Millions in revenue? Try psychic ability. Okay, maybe not psychic ability, but certainly the ability to think outside the box and anticipate unforeseen circumstances.

So how’s that accomplished? Funny you should ask. We just happen to have one idea that might go off like a light bulb over your head and give your clients reason to scratch their chins and think, “Now why didn’t we think of that?” In five easy words: the iPhone credit card terminal. But what good does it do to sell the iPhone’s groundbreaking ability to perform credit card processing for business clients who aren’t mobile and aren’t interested in ever going mobile?

The Ultimate Backup Plan
Armed with an iPhone as a wireless terminal, your clients never have to worry about losing sales in the event of a power outage, downed lines, technological meltdowns, or other such annoying facts of life. Even if they don’t use it as their primary point of sale, it’ll never hurt to keep it handy. Plus, it’ll give them a reason to own an iPhone without feeling as if they’re giving in to their inner gadget geek. In this arrangement, everyone wins.

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Authorize.net Helps Bridge Old School Sensibilities with High-Tech Advances

There’s been so much talk (or rather, type, unless you’ve been sitting at your computer reading all of this aloud to yourself) about the perks and benefits of referring your clients to sign up for an internet merchant account that we’ve gone and left something out.

In the world of convenience we occupy, where customers can place pizza delivery orders online without ever having to talk to a human being and where holiday shopping can be completed in record time without ever stepping foot outside, it’s easy to forget that there are merchants out there who still process orders by phone. It may not be a common occurrence for your clients, but it’s still something that happens. And Authorize.net merchants can process orders this way, too.

It’s called virtual terminal credit card processing, and to take advantage of it, all your client has to do is log into their Merchant Interface account and click Virtual Terminal. From this platform, they’ll gain access to a secure credit card payment gateway that will let them key in a customer’s credit card number for phone order processing. Granted, this may not be a feature that’s in high demand—but in a world sometimes caught in the lurch between old-school sensibilities and high-tech advances, it could prove to be a useful selling point.

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Getting Brick and Mortar Merchants Online

In order to really succeed as a merchant account reseller, you need to learn to think outside the box. Not only do you need to go after online companies that could use your expertise to raise their online profile with an attractive e-store front and competitive merchant account pricing, but you also need to train your sights on brick-and-mortar establishments that could benefit greatly from an online presence.

The Big Question: Why Go Online?
You may get this question from merchants who don’t see the benefit of ranking high on Google’s search results page, especially if the scope of their experience has traditionally been tailoring to the local community—and it’s a legitimate question. But as you probably already know, every legitimate question has an equally legitimate answer.

The Big Answer: Going After Bigger Business
Going after bigger business may not be what all brick-and-mortar establishments are interested in. That’s simply a reality you may encounter. But those that are interested can benefit greatly by extending their services to the world wide web—and you can be the instrument of that growth. Got a potential client with an antique store? Talk to them about how they could improve their sales by marketing their treasures online. Even shops with the best locations in town have nothing on stores equipped with credit card virtual terminals who can attract an international customer base.

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What’s AVS?

One of the most contentious issues when it comes to e-commerce and credit card processing for websites is the issue of fraud. More accurately, it’s the implementation of certain methods to either completely eliminate fraud, or at least curb it dramatically. One of the weapons in the war against credit card fraud is known as AVS, or Address Verification Service.

Does AVS Work?
It’s probably not realistic to think that fraud can or will ever be entirely eliminated, especially in an environment like the Internet, where would-be criminals and repeat offenders can hide behind the veil of anonymity. But AVS is a tool that can be used to lower risk. Its usage can be decided by your client, the selling merchant.

Is It Required?
Banks and e-commerce merchant account providers don’t require merchants to perform address verification, but can bill higher surcharges for transactions that are completed without it. This leaves your client with a bit of soul searching to do: if they’re concerned about paying higher credit card processing rates, or if they’ve been frequently hit by fraudulent purchases, implementing some form of AVS is in order. But if your client can afford to absorb higher rates and experiences low instances of fraud, skipping AVS could be an option to explore.

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Take Action Against the Dreaded Beast Chargeback

Odds are, if you’re a web developer with little exposure to the credit card industry, you might not be aware of what those in the know are: that chargebacks are the work of demonic forces conspiring against the forces of good in the universe. All right, maybe that’s a stretch. Closer to the truth, chargebacks are a serious pain in the neck to all merchants. They’re an unavoidable fact of life for anyone who owns an internet merchant account, and even those who don’t. Anyone who processes credit card payments can experience a chargeback situation, and it’s certainly something that merchant account resellers (that’s you) should also be familiar with.

Scenario
Chargebacks happen whenever a customer contacts their credit card company to dispute a purchase that was charged to their card. When that happens, the credit card company sends notification to the merchant account provider, who in turn notifies the party that charged the card—in this case, your merchant account referral.

Advice
If you catch wind of this occurring, the best possible advice you can give to your merchant is to respond immediately, for time is the enemy of those who would drag their feet when the chargeback monster comes calling. The longer a merchant waits to refute a customer’s claim, the more likely they are to get stuck eating the cost of the purchase. And that’s a meal that goes down bitter.

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Tips for Helping Your Clients Pick the Best Accounting Software

If you’ve been doing your job well, your clients have come to rely on you not only for your expertise as a web developer but also for your keen insight into smart business practices. So why stop there? It’s known fact that all small businesses need good accounting software programs in order to be able to balance their books effectively and accurately. Here are just a few tips you can pass on to your clients for finding the small business accounting software program that’s right for them.

Budgeting and Forecasting Capabilities
If your clients are going to sink their capital into an investment as important as an accounting software program, they should make sure their choice includes the ability to look at historical trends and develop budgets and forecasts to assist them in maximizing efficiency in planning. Not all software programs do this.

Integrated Payment System
Don’t let your clients waste time and money on standalone software programs that aren’t equipped with the ability to integrate into daily operations. The ability to work with a software program that updates orders, product stock, and incoming payments in real-time is essential.

Your clients may be perfectly happy with the accounting software they’re currently using—if so, all the better. But being able to offer feedback on how they can maximize their efforts only serves to increase your overall value to them.

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The Art of Asking Questions

It’s important for you to convey to your clients that when they hired you as a web developer, they got a lot more than they were expecting. In a good way, of course—nobody should ever want to be the devil in disguise that reveals himself to a shocked and horrified clientele. Your aim should be to exceed beyond their best expectations.

Easy enough? Maybe so, maybe not so. It’s a known fact (although not yet scientifically proven) that you can’t please everybody. But it is accepted theory that if you do your best to try, you just might win over the majority. So what can you do to separate yourself from the universe of web developers who are constantly knocking at your clients’ doors, trying to lure their business away?

It’s as simple as asking questions. Probing, relevant questions. Know your customer so that you can know how to tailor your work to better suit their needs. Consider periodic meetings or conference calls to gauge their satisfaction level with their current merchant account pricing, or even take time to compare merchant accounts with other service providers to assure them that they’re still getting the best deal around. Being the kind of professional who has a broad range of flexibility is what will guarantee your own continued success.

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Tips for Helping Your Clients Pick the Best Accounting Software

If you’ve been doing your job well, your clients have come to rely on you not only for your expertise as a web developer but also for your keen insight into smart business practices. So why stop there? It’s known fact that all small businesses need good accounting software programs in order to be able to balance their books effectively and accurately. Here are just a few tips you can pass on to your clients for finding the small business accounting software program that’s right for them.

Budgeting and Forecasting Capabilities
If your clients are going to sink their capital into an investment as important as an accounting software program, they should make sure their choice includes the ability to look at historical trends and develop budgets and forecasts to assist them in maximizing efficiency in planning. Not all software programs do this.

Integrated Payment System
Don’t let your clients waste time and money on standalone software programs that aren’t equipped with the ability to integrate into daily operations. The ability to work with a software program that updates orders, product stock, and incoming payments in real-time is essential.

Your clients may be perfectly happy with the accounting software they’re currently using—if so, all the better. But being able to offer feedback on how they can maximize their efforts only serves to increase your overall value to them.

Twitter/Mobile (not to exceed 140 characters):
Make sure that your clients select an accounting software program that has the ability to look at historical trends and develop budgets and forecasts.
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