The National Retail Federation estimates solid retail sales growth this holiday. E-commerce is expected to outpace overall retail sales growth in November 2015 and December 2015.
As many retailers are getting ready for a holiday sales surge, the National Retail Federation announced Thursday that it expects sales to increase 3.7 percent to $630.5 billion in November and December 2015. Online sales are once again expected outpace overall growth, increasing between 6 and 8 percent to as much as $105 billion.
The NRF estimates holiday sales will account for approximately 19 percent of the retail industry’s total annual sales of $3.2 trillion. These estimates exclude autos, gas and restaurant sales.
“With several months of solid retail sales behind us, we’re heading into the all-important holiday season fully expecting to see healthy growth,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “We expect families to spend prudently and deliberately, though still less constrained than what we saw even two years ago.”
“Price, value and even timing will all play a role in how, when, where and why people shop over the holiday season,” said Shay. “Retailers will be competitive not only on price, but on digital initiatives, store hours, product offerings and much more.”
NRF’s holiday sales forecast takes into account indicators such as consumer credit, disposable personal income and previous monthly retail sales releases. Forecasts include the non-store category which covers direct-to-consumer, kiosks and online sales.
Merchants impacted by Thursday evening’s PayPal outage took to Twitter to share their outrage.
Payments company PayPal suffered a massive outage late Thursday night, which took down payments through the service across a number of sites, including former parent company eBay EBAY -0.27% and Etsy, a marketplace for homemade goods.
The interruption, which was caused by an outage in one of PayPal’s data centers, lasted for two hours. Despite the outage only lasting for a short time, some merchants reported a loss in sales because of the disruption. Etsy ETSY 2.11% halted sales using PayPal PYPL -1.68% , and many merchants and users took to Twitter to express their outrage about the outage. PayPal has 10 million merchants using its payment service.
The economic impact of a PayPal outage is actually significant for the company’s 173 million users. PayPal processed $235 billion in payment volume in 2014, or $644 million per day on average. For two hours, that would equal $51 million in payments. While these are estimates, that’s a large loss for merchants.
It’s a sign of how widespread and significant PayPal has become in powering e-commerce globally. Hiccups with the service can have meaningful impact on merchants, their sales, and their sanity.
Of course, PayPal users, in many cases, could have switched to using their credit cards for their online shopping. So merchants may not have lost out entirely.
UPDATE: A spokesperson for PayPal issued this statement. “The network experienced an intermittent interruption during a period of relatively low traffic. At 7pm PT, the majority of volume is in APAC [Asia and Pacific countries] not in EMEA [Europe and the Middle East] or USA. This interruption was caused by a data center power outage and we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.”
Juniper global forecast: $125 billion in mobile/online transactions by 2018
Hampshire, U.K., Aug. 24, 2015 – New data from Juniper Research has revealed that the number of annual purchases made via mobiles, tablets, desktops and other connected devices should reach 125 billion annually by 2018, up by more than 60% on this year’s total.
The research, argued that medium term growth would be driven by a variety of factors including a rise in “commuter commerce” (on-the-go purchases) which would itself be fuelled by greater deployments of Wi-Fi and 4G connectivity on public transport. It also observed that digital transaction volumes would be further bolstered with the continued transition from physical formats (such as DVDs and CD-ROMs) to digital, and the rise in streamed subscription services.
China Overtakes US in eRetail Sales
Meanwhile, the new research — ‘Mobile & Online Purchases: Cards, Carrier Billing & Third Party Payment Platforms 2015-2020’ — highlighted the dramatic surge in Chinese eRetail, with Alibaba attracting more than 330 million buyers during 2014. It observed that with nearly $450 billion in eRetail sales during 2014, China had comfortably surpassed the US ($296 billion) to become the largest single market, with Japan, the UK and France completing the top 5.
Data Breaches Damage Consumer Confidence
However, the research cautioned that several high profile data breaches at retailers had resulted in significant consumer unease. As research author Dr Windsor Holden observed, “At worst, data breaches can lead to significant customer churn, together with possible remuneration requirements. Consumers need to be reassured that their vital information is not being compromised or shared.”
Other findings from the research include:
Retailers need to deliver a consistency of message, branding and shopping experience across all channels.
Retailers should also ensure that they scale up the resources on offer at peak periods (eg Black Friday or when promotions are being offered), to cope with the likelihood of additional pressures on online customer support.
The whitepaper, ‘Buying Into Online Shopping,’ is available to download from the Juniper website together with further details of the full research and the attendant Interactive Forecast Excel (IFxl).
Juniper Research provides research and analytical services to the global hi-tech communications sector, providing consultancy, analyst reports and industry commentary.
In the Card-Present environment, Apple Pay uses a NFC transmitter in either the iPhone 6, 6 Plus or Apple Watch to transmit secure transaction data from the user’s iPhone to a compatible contactless receiver in a merchant’s store. No real credit card data is transmitted, only a one-time token that is useless if stolen. The customer simply picks a card, taps the phone next to the terminal, and the transaction is completed.
How Do Merchants Accept Apple Pay? –
Merchants need a NFC receiver that is certified for Apple Pay and will need to be on the MSL First Data platform for now – other platforms will undoubtedly be added. Most of the recently-deployed terminals are already compatible with EMV and contactless payment methods (mostly NFC and Apple Pay), which means they only need a receiver to accept Apple Pay. There are a number of receivers that will be made available soon, and they will allow both new merchants and existing merchants to accept PIN Debit, EMV cards, and NFC/Apple Pay. These devices are intended to be backwards compatible with many existing terminals. Apple Pay is also 100% compatible with the CLOVER station using an upgraded FD-40 PIN Pad (available soon).
When Can Your Merchants Accept Apple Pay? –
Apple is scheduled to release final specs on 18th October, 2014. These specs will then need to be certified on the PIN/EMV/NFC devices and then we can start shipping. No merchants anywhere will be able to accept Apple Pay transactions until at least after 18th October. We are unsure exactly when the rollout will occur, but will keep you posted as news develops.
The shipping store discovered malware in the computer systems of 51 US stores in 24 states. Customer credit and debit card information may have been leaked.
The UPS Store is the latest retail chain to be targeted in a data breach leading to the theft of customers’ credit card information.
The shipping and business services store announced Wednesday that 51 US stores in 24 states had been hacked via a malware intrusion on the store’s computer systems. The breach affected about 1 percent of all UPS Stores.
The company has determined that customers who used a credit or debit card at these stores between January 20, 2014, and August 11, 2014, could have been exposed to the breach. Private customer information that may have been leaked includes names, postal addresses, email addresses, and credit and debit card data.
The company became aware of the breach after the US government notified the chain it had discovered a “broad-based malware intrusion” in its system. The UPS Store hired an IT security firm to investigate further. This firm then located the malware in the 51 stores’ systems.
The hack into The UPS Store comes amid an apparent uptick in security breaches at retail locations. Retail giant Target revealed in December that hackers obtained credit card data for more than 110 million customers who shopped in its stores late last year. And, over the past few months, arts and crafts retail chain Michaels Stores, department store Neiman Marcus, and restaurant chain P.F. Chang’s revealed they were victims of security breaches aimed at stealing customer’s credit card information.
The UPS Store said it eliminated the malware as of August 11 and has notified potentially affected customers of the breach. The company is offering identity protection and credit monitoring services to those customers.
Consumer spending growth hit an 11-month high in July as consumers traveled on summer vacations, according to First Data’s SpendTrend, a monthly analysis of the previous month’s consumer spending activity across the payment processing firm’s channels.
The report issued Tuesday compared the period July 1-July 31, 2014, to July 2 –August 2, 2013.
The payments processor reported spending in hotel and travel rose by 7.9% and 4.6%, respectively. In addition, spending grew at food and beverage stores by 5.3%, and food service and drinking places grew by 4.4%, the report said.
First Data also reported overall retail spending growth was at its strongest levels in a year as nearly all retail categories turned in improved numbers. Led by categories such as building material/garden equipment and furniture/home furnishings, the growth suggests the impact of fewer foreclosures and increased construction. Still, consumers remained hesitant to make big ticket and non-essential purchase, First Data said.
“It is also notable that both credit spending growth, which was 6.2% in July, and credit transaction growth, at 7.5% this month, were up significantly over June growth results,” said Krish Mantripragada, SVP for information and analytics solutions at Atlanta-based First Data.
“That growth was driven by the categories we’ve detailed in this report, where credit is the preferred method of payment. Consumers are once again motivated to travel, while those who opted for ‘staycations’ increased spending in home-related categories. Looking ahead, we anticipate August’s back-to-school sales and state tax-free holidays should spur spending growth in related categories, Mantripragada said in the company’s announcement.
All payment channels except for checks saw growth this past July over the same period in 2013, First Data said. Credit card dollar volume rose 6.2%, signature debit transaction volume rose 0.4%, PIN debit transaction volume rose 3.9%, and prepaid card volume rose by 3.3%. Check dollar volume dropped by 5.7%.
Chargebacks are when a credit card processing company takes money back from a merchant to refund a consumer. It’s intended for disputes with a merchant when, for instance, a product never showed up, or arrived damaged, was unsatisfactory, or if the transaction was fraudulent.
Though this was never intended to be a default way for consumers to resolve issues with merchants, 98% of consumers who had filed for chargebacks from January through March this year did so without ever even contacting the merchant first, according to a survey by eConsumer Services, a company that acts as a middleman to help customers and merchants resolve disputes.
The reason is simple: Calling a merchant can be annoying. Between dialing, punching different keypad numbers to get to the appropriate department and waiting on hold, it can feel like forever before one reaches a human who can actually help. But requesting a chargeback is simple — and in some cases can be done with just a few clicks. Still, experts say contacting the merchant is the first step to solving a billing problem, and consumers might benefit in the long run by resolving disputes directly.
Merchants hate chargebacks. They pay $2.79 for each dollar incurred in fraud losses, according to a 2013 LexisNexis report. In many cases, merchants would rather solve a customer’s problem and avoid chargeback-related fees from banks, which could run up to $100. That makes them more likely to yield to customers’ wishes.
And while chargebacks were designed to be a means for consumers to fight back against fraudulent transactions, they also produced another result. “It created a new problem. It presented these banks and consumers with the option to get an alternative refund method,” says Monica Eaton-Cardone, chief operating officer of eConsumer Services.
Friendly fraud — a phrase used to describe cases where consumers report legitimate charges as unauthorized — has accounted for about 20% of merchants’ fraud losses for the last four years, according to the LexisNexis report.
About half of chargebacks go unfought by merchants, according to a 2013 report by the anti-fraud payment technology company SecureBuy. “It’s gotten so bad that some merchants simply refund the customer without challenge, in order to avoid, at any cost, excessive chargebacks that could put their ability to process at risk,” the report says.
Financial institutions have 10 business days to complete an investigation, under the federal Electronic Fund Transfer Act. For consumers who are considering filing a chargeback, experts say there are some guidelines to bear in mind.
Contact the merchant first
Merchants feel the sting each time customers ask for chargebacks, so they’re likely to work with customers who communicate directly. A Wells Fargo spokeswoman said it could take up to two billing cycles to investigate a claim and the bank sometimes asks for relevant paperwork, like proof of an attempt to resolve the issue with the merchant.
Keep a paper trail
Save receipts, letters or emails to the merchant, recordings of phone calls to customer service and any other related documentation. Get proof of returns. Paperwork also means you don’t have to worry about forgetting dates. (Also see: What consumers can learn from Donald Sterling’s ex)
Get a second opinion
Some financial institutions, like Wells Fargo, recommend consumers get a third party expert’s opinion if a dispute revolves around the quality of an item or service. That will bolster your claim that the merchant didn’t meet expectations.
The chargeback was designed as a protection for consumers in the event of fraud. Beyond the potential moral implications of lying for a refund, experts say crying wolf can make companies leery of your claims, making it tougher to get your money back when you eventually face a real problem. Or worse, a card issuer could close your account if they catch you making false claims for chargebacks, says Greg McBride, a senior financial analyst for Bankrate.com. “It does raise a red flag that not too many people have that bad of luck.”
Greenbacks may have been around for hundreds of years in this country but it’s plastic currency that handles most purchases these days.
More than a billion credit cards are reportedly now in circulation in the United States. Credit card offers arrive in the mail on a daily basis for many Americans.
Sixty-seven percent of all clothing sales, 64 percent of gas transactions and 62 percent of travel expenses are put on a credit card these days, according to creditcards.com.
There are a lot of significant dates to review in the evolution of the U.S. credit card such as 1946, when Brooklyn banker John Biggins introduced the “Charg-It” bank card, or 1950, when Diners Club got started. There was also 1958 when the Bank of America sent out the first mass mailing (in Fresno, Calif.) of a credit card called BankAmericard.
But 1959 might have been the most important year of all. That’s when MasterCard introduced the idea of a revolving balance, allowing customers to hold off paying their bills — and accumulate finance charges.
Today, credit card companies make up an industry all of their own. The names are well-known: American Express, Capital One, Discover, MasterCard and Visa.
Also well-known are the problems associated with credit card usage — and not just about making payments on time.
Recent massive data breaches at stores like Target and Neiman Marcus have made headlines, possibly compromising millions of debit and credit cards.
But Americans remain attached to their plastic. Visa, the world’s largest processor of debit and credit card payments, announced that first-quarter earnings were up 9 percent in January.
That’s despite a lackluster holiday shopping season with U.S. retail sales rising only 0.2 percent in December, according to the Commerce Department.
Visa reported processing 16 billion transactions during the last three months of 2013, up 13 percent from a year earlier.
Consumers need to do some research on the different types of credit cards available, said Mary Conrady, vice president of consumer lending at the CEFCU credit union.
“You need to see what you can afford. Credit cards are a nice tool for short-term purchases but not to live on,” she said.
Be aware that even zero-interest credit cards come with a condition, said Conrady. “If the customer doesn’t pay their bill in time, the credit card company can add all that interest,” she said.
It’s wise to check the credit card statement every month — and not just for a big charge that might jump out at you, added Conrady. If you see a $9.84 charge on your credit card statement, for example, give it a hard look, she said.
Electronic Transfer, Inc. named Best Internet Credit Card Processing Company
Ten Best Internet Credit Card Processing Companies Named by topcreditcardprocessors.com for June 2013
The independent authority on credit card processing, topcreditcardprocessors.com, has announced the ten best online merchant services for June 2013.
The independent authority on credit card processing, topcreditcardprocessors.com, has released their list of the ten best online credit card processors in the payment processing industry for the month of June 2013. Each month topcreditcardprocessors.com evaluates and ranks the best merchant services offering an online credit card processing service which aims to allow businesses to accept credit card and debit card payments over the Internet. While thousands of merchant services are evaluated each month only the ten best providing an online merchant service are included in the rankings.
The Ten Best Internet Credit Card Processing Companies for June 2013 are:
1) National Bankcard
2) Advanced Merchant Group
3) Electronic Transfer
4) Leap Payments
5) Merchant Warehouse
7) Credit Card Processing Specialists
9) Merchants Bancard, Inc. (MBN)
The process for evaluating online payment processors involves the use of a set of evaluation criteria to benchmark and compare processors, connecting with client references to validate claims made by the agencies, and performing industry and market analysis in order to identify the latest trends and developments within the payment processing industry. The results of the meticulous evaluation process are used in order to generate the rankings at the start of each month which highlights the ten best services for processing payments online.
The independent authority on Internet credit card processing, topcreditcardprocessors.com, is a research firm dedicating to identifying and ranking the best online credit card processors in the United States. These merchant services are able to provide national services with flexible payment terms and service offerings for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
The earliest form of the bankcard was “Charg-It”, a system of credit developed by John Biggins in 1946 which allowed customers to charge their local retail purchases. The merchant then deposited the charges at Biggins’ bank, and the bank reimbursed the merchant for the sale and collected payment from the customer. This system helped introduce the first bank credit card, which was circulated by Franklin National Bank in Long Island, New York in 1951. Once an application was submitted for credit worthiness a card was issued. Merchants copied information from the card onto a sales slip and called for an approval for each transaction over a specified limit. The bank would then credit the merchants account for the sale minus a discount to cover the cost for providing the loan.
By 1959, many financial institutions had begun credit programs. Simultaneously card issuers were offering the added services of revolving credit. This gave the cardholder the choice to either pay off their balance or maintain a balance and pay a finance charge.
In 1960, Bank of America, introduced its own bankcard, called BankAmericard, and began licensing regional financial institutions to act as the BankAmericard bank for their region. BankAmericard is now what we know currently as Visa.
Other banks began looking for other ways to compete, in 1966, 14 banks formed Interbank, a new association with the ability to exchange information on credit card transactions.
The following year, four California banks opened its memberships to other financial institutions in the Western U.S. (Western States Bankcard Association). The product was known as MasterCharge. They have purchased the right to use this name from First National Bank of Louisville (currently known as National City Bank of Kentucky).
The WSBA licensed Interbank to use the MasterCharge name and Logo. In the late 1960’s, numerous financial institutions became MasterCharge members to compete with BankAmericard.
MasterCard and Visa are worldwide payment service organizations composed of Member institutions.
They do not:
Issue credit cards
Create policies for solicitation of new cardholders or merchants
Establish criteria for evaluating applicants
Set credit limits offered to cardholders
Determine procedures for billing customers
MasterCard and Visa are managers of their respective brand. As such, they:
Create advertising and promotion programs to support their brand
Develop new products
Conduct clearing and settlement processing of transactions(Interchange)
Set and enforce rules and regulations governing their bankcards, such as operational procedures, interchange procedures, and graphic design approval of their cards.
Upon becoming a member of MC/Visa, a bank is licensed to issue cards to its members. These banks are also required to provide cash advances on MC/Visa cards at their teller windows. As a Member, banks are issued a Bank Identification Number(BIN) and pay membership dues and assessments to fund Card Associations.
The acquirer is a member of MasterCard and Visa, and is contracted with merchants to accept merchant sales drafts, provide authorization terminals, instructions, and support, and handle the processing of credit card transactions. The key responsibilities of the acquirer are:
The acquirer usually charges a fee or “discount rate” for handling the transactions. The acquirer is licensed by MC/Visa and agrees to follow the association rules and regulations.
Some financial institutions are both issuers and acquirers. MC/Visa both require that the merchant be financially responsible and of good repute. The merchant has a written agreement with the acquirer to accept the bankcards as payment and to abide by the terms of the agreement.
The issuer is responsible for the cardholder account program which encompasses nearly all aspects of cardholder account activities ranging from acquiring new customers to billing current ones. The Issuer’s responsibilities include:
Acquisition and marketing of new accounts
Processing application; establishing credit credit limits and policies
Overseeing design, manufacturing, and embossing of inventory cards
Handling of issuing and reissuing of cards
Overseeing PIN Numbers
Maintaining authorization file
Providing customer service
Processing payments and handling settlement and income Interchange
Establishing collections operations.
Managing a credit card program is expensive. Smaller banks can issue cards without becoming an issuing member by being an agent. The issuer usually keeps most of the income from the cardholder account: the agent receives a small compensation for providing the application. This allows small banks to retain customers who want a credit card program.
Components of Bankcard Fees
Processor Optional Fees
Chargeback and Retrieval Fees
T & E Authorization and Processing Fees
Ancillary Communication and Network Fees
Hardware and Software Fees
MC/Visa are at the center of the transaction process, maintaining the flow of funds between issuers and acquirers. Clearing refers to the exchange of financial information. Settlement refers to the exchange of the actual funds for the transaction and the associated fees.
Clearing and Settlement Occur Simultaneously.
The acquirer credits the merchant’s deposit account for the dollar amount of the sale (less the merchant discount).
The acquirer sends the transaction, through a data transport network, to INET (for MasterCard transactions) or Base II (for Visa transactions). A financial institution can be both an issuer and an acquirer.
MasterCard and Visa send the transaction to the issuer overnight, credits the acquirer and debits the issuer for the transaction. In essence, the issuer pays the acquirer for the transaction, via the Mastercard or Visa interchange system.
Interchange makes it possible for the issuing banks and acquiring banks to exchange information, transactions and money on a standardized basis. During Interchange, fees are deducted by the issuer from the transaction amount and the net amount is paid by the issuer to the acquirer. These are called interchange fees.
MasterCard and Visa each own and operate their own international processing system. These systems connect thousands of banks around the world. Member Institutions use these networks to transmit information about bankcard transactions.
Transaction Process Overview
The cardholder purchases goods or services from the merchant.
The merchant transmits the transaction to the acquirer.
The acquirer then submits the ticket to the issuer for payment, via the MasterCard or Visa clearing and settlement systems.
The acquirer credits the merchant for deposits (net of chargebacks, returns, and agreed to fees — the merchant discount).
The issuer funds its cardholders’ purchases (net of chargebacks, returns, and agreed to fees).
The issuer bills the cardholder.
Finally, the cardholder repays the issuer for the goods or services originally purchased from the merchant. The issuer, via the MasterCard or Visa clearing and settlement system, has already paid the acquirer transaction amount, less the interchange fee.
From the cardholder’s point of view, it seems as if he or she is paying the issuer for the goods or services originally purchased from the merchant. In fact, the cardholder is actually repaying a loan from the issuer.
MasterCard’s data processing network is called Banknet.
Storage of paper(hardcopy) sales drafts and film cartridges
Retrieval of items in the hardcopy retrieval and chargeback process
Sales Draft Storage
Both merchants and acquirer store hardcopy sales drafts or POS tape. Acquirers and merchants typically hold drafts on-site for 3 years, and hold them off-site for 7 years.
Sales Draft Retrieval
Retrieval areas receive requests from issuing banks. MC/Visa regulations stipulate that a request must be fulfilled within 30 days from the date of receipt. Any request not fulfilled within that time frame can be charged back to the merchant.
Request for all hardcopy sales drafts are fulfilled as quickly as possible for disbursement to the issuing bank. MC requires all retrieval requests be fulfilled electronically through the MasterCom electronic image process system, while Visa will allow requests to be fulfilled through the mail along with Visa’s Copy Request Manager System.
Chargebacks and Collections
When an issuer disputes a transactions (either at the request of the cardholder or for reasons of its own), the matter is handled through a chargeback or compliance case.
In a chargeback, the issuer returns a transaction to the acquirer, and the acquirer returns the payment previously made in interchange. Chargebacks result either from cardholder disputes or from rules violations by the merchant or acquirer; they help enforce operating rules and correct transaction errors.
The initial, or first, chargeback is always initiated by the issuer. It can result from the issuer finding an error in the transaction, or it may result from a cardholder complaint.
MasterCard and Visa have developed standard procedures and time frames for submitting and processing chargebacks.
The Chargeback Process
The chargeback process begins when an issuer, on its own behalf or in defense of a cardholder, returns a presentment from the acquirer.
Presentment is the stage of interchange when the acquirer, via the MasterCard/Visa system, presents the issuer with the transaction information. The issuer is automatically charged for the transaction during settlement, which takes place at the same time as clearing.
In other words, the issuer receives information about a transaction, for which it has already paid, and realizes that the transaction may be invalid. At this point, the issuer wishes to charge the transaction back to the acquirer.
Functions of the Acquirers
Determine legitimacy of Chargebacks presented by issuers
Represent all “representable” items on behalf of our merchants
Handle Arbitration Chargebacks if the representment is disputed by the Issuer
Forward paperwork to the appropriate area for crediting/debiting of accounts
Acceptance of incoming collections cases from Issuers
Acceptance of outgoing collection cases from merchants
Submit Arbitration/Compliance issues to Card Associations
Reversal of inaccurate merchant transactions
Get a Quick Quote:
Learn How You Can
Lower Your Credit Card
Electronic Transfer, Inc. offers merchant services, merchant accounts and credit card processing to accept Credit Cards. ETI has helped merchants with their Credit Card Processing since 1989 - This web site is for Merchant Accounts, Credit Card Processing, Virtual Terminals, Credit Crad Terminals, Payment Gateway, Wireless Credit Card Terminals and iPhone Credit Card Processing.