4 Cybersecurity Tips for Small Business Owners

You make your livelihood with your small business; don’t run the risk of hackers misusing the data and even your finances that you’ve accumulated through that small business! Here are four simple cybersecurity tips for small business owners.

4. Antivirus For All

Make sure your business network is well protected by antivirus software – viruses can be annoying and disruptive for individuals, but they can be truly problematic for small businesses, which tend to deal with much larger amounts of data than individual computer users.

3. Control Physical Network Access

All of the antivirus in the world won’t do much good if a potential attacker has access to even one of your computers. While you can implement a Miami ADT alarm system for the doors and windows of your business, you should keep a close eye on the screens, keyboards, mice, and USB drives of your company’s computers, as breaking in and stealing information is very easy with immediate physical access.

2. Secure your Wifi Network

If your small business runs a wifi network, make sure you’ve changed all relevant passwords on your router and wireless network; one easy point of entry for potential hackers is using the default password that comes with your wireless hardware. Make your network a difficult one to hack and you’ve got the equivalent of a good lock and key.

1. Make Backups

Back up your data constantly! Do so to both physical external hard drives and online backup services. Your information is the cornerstone of your business, and you’ll have to deal with a lot of angry customers if you lose that information. Backups help you keep track of where your data is all the time, enabling you to focus on the many aspects of the day to day work of your business.

Technological security is as important as home security for your small business. We’ll be glad to give you advice while installing your ADT home security in Miami – just give us a call for more information!

3 Bookkeeping Tips for Credit Card Merchants

As a credit card merchant, you may process numerous credit card transactions each day. In many cases, a credit card merchant like you will accept multiple types of credit cards, and some will even use different merchant accounts for online versus in-store or phone transactions. With so many transactions as well as with different types of transactions, this can create a bookkeeping nightmare for you. By following a few tips, you may simplify the efforts significantly and may even save time in the process.

Separate Your Transactions

Many business owners find it easier to manage their finances if they separate their various types of credit card transactions, and this may include using multiple merchant accounts to do so. In the event there is an accounting error or another similar issue, you will be able to narrow down your search to a specific type of transaction, such as an in-store versus an online transaction.

Use Advanced Accounting Software

Many of the most advanced accounting software now enables you to directly download information from your merchant accounts. This same information can then be directly provided to your bookkeeper, such as Choice Accounting Solutions Miami Bookkeepers. This can streamline and consolidate many of your financial tasks. Consider learning about which software programs your merchant accounts are compatible with and which programs your tax preparer prefers to work with.

Contract Professional Accounting Services

Another tip to follow is to contract professional accounting services in Miami. Monitoring your finances, looking for errors and more can take hours of your day in some cases, and this is time that is better spent focused on running your business. When you find the right accounting team to help you, you can entrust them with your finances while you run and grow your business.

Bookkeeping tasks can be confusing, time-consuming and complicated, and you may be looking for a better way to improve your efforts. These tips can help credit card merchants like you simplify your accounting tasks.

Three Ways to Save Money on Your Credit Card Processing Fees

Merchants, small business owners and retailers are all well aware that credit card processing fees can quickly add up. Over time, these fees can easily become a great source of frustration and erode valuable profit on transactions. However, there are some simple and straightforward strategies that can be used to reduce these processing fees.

Protect the Business Against Credit Card Fraud

It’s a guarantee that if a retailer succumbs to a fraudulent transaction via a fake or false credit card, then that retailer’s transaction fees will surely increase. In order to protect the business from such fraudulent transactions it is critical that employees both swipe the card, and have the card owner provide identification or additional information confirming their billing address. While this may sound tedious, it can make a real difference.

Rely Upon Experts

Don’t be afraid to rely upon an expert. Working with a credit card processing fee expert is an excellent way make sure the business’s account and terminal is properly set up. They can make sure the type of transactions, the number of transactions within a month or quarter, and finally, the type of customers the business will be dealing with is properly outlined. All of these of these aforementioned issues play a large role in determining processing fees.

Be Sure to Negotiate

A number of merchants simply assume that their fees are set in stone. Fortunately, this simply isn’t the case. Negotiation is essential to lowering processing fees. Merchants should use their volume of transactions to their advantage. The type of customers the business sells to, the value of the transactions, and finally, the number of transactions, all play a role in lowering fees. It is also a good idea to comparison shop for the best deal.

Lowering processing fees for merchants can be done. First, identify the business’s susceptibility to credit card fraud and eliminate it as a going concern. Do not be afraid to ask for additional information from suspicious customers. Second, ask for help from an expert; people do it all the time. Finally, try to negotiate the best deal.

Four Important Facts About Credit Card Fraud

Credit cards are meant to provide consumers with a convenient method of making purchases while at the same time building a positive financial profile. Unfortunately, cardholders are subject to attack from unscrupulous entities whose design is to steal personal information and gain access to an existing line of credit. Here are some facts about credit card fraud that all consumers need to know.

Credit Card Numbers Can Be Stolen

Most people believe their account information is protected by the use of a personal identification number. However, many online transactions do not require the input of any sort of password or security code. If a card number is obtained by an identity thief, fraudulent charges can quickly ruin the account holder’s credit standing. Most often, this type of thievery is accomplished by the sending of phony emails requesting account information or by uploading malware to a website that has virtually no security software protecting it.

Counterfeit Cards Are On The Rise

If personal information is stolen – such as a bank account password and social security number – an identify thief can open new credit card accounts without the knowledge of the victim. The person whose identity has been used will not even know that he or she is the actual account holder because billing information will be sent to the imposter’s address. It is a good practice to change and update password information regularly. Consumers should also perform a complete system scan with security software at least once every two weeks to ensure that malware has not been downloaded onto a computer or smartphone. Spyware can latch onto and pass along keystroke history.

Card Readers Aren’t Always Legitimate

Some identity thieves replace a legitimate card reader with one of their own. This is a common problem at gas stations and ATMs. The false reader passes the information to a nearby laptop monitored by the identity thief.

Card Thieves Are Rarely Caught

Even if the fraudulent charges are dismissed by the credit card company, the victim’s information can still be used to open new accounts or to make purchases from merchants that do not have access to account alert software. Therefore, protecting all card information to prevent an initial identity attack is vital.

Every year, hundreds of millions of fraudulent credit card charges are reported. In most cases, the charges are removed by the financial institution, but the victim can still suffer from illegitimate future charges as well as experience a lowering of his/her credit score. Protecting against identity theft is the most important aspect of managing any sort of financial account, especially credit cards.

‘Tis The Season To Prevent Credit Card Fraud: 4 Credit Card Fraud Prevention Tips For Small Businesses

As the holidays approach, you might be excited to see more business come your way. But some of your sales could come from dishonest customers who intend to commit credit card fraud. These tips can help you and any employees you have prevent this common business problem.

Train Employees to Recognize Fraudulent Cards

For in-person transactions, it’s important to ensure every card you and your employees run is legitimate. If a card stands out as seeming fake, it probably is. Make sure it features a hologram, a magnetic stripe, and a panel with the customer’s signature, for starters. The front of the card should also have a raised account number that is identical to the account number on the back.

Know How to Process Online or Phone Orders

If you conduct business online or on the phone, be sure you collect the right information from cardholders. This means you need to carefully record the whole card number, expiration date, and the three- or four-digit verification number on the front or back of the card. It’s also best to make sure the billing and shipping addresses are the same on the order.

Request Identification

Asking for ID is one of the simplest ways to reduce the chance of credit card fraud, but many small business owners and their employees simply forget to do it with every transaction. It might slow down the pace a bit, but it can help prevent fraud, so it’s worth it. If you’re not sure you want to ask every customer for ID, try saying the name on the card out loud before completing the transaction. If the customer does not respond to the name, request to see ID, because this is a hint that the card does not belong to him or her.

Know the Warning Signs of Fraud

If a customer is not willing to provide you with ID, a verification number, or any other reasonable information that you ask for, you should be wary. Most customers who are using their own cards have all this information available and are fine with providing it, especially since it could protect them from fraud, too. If you’re taking an order online or over the phone and the customer requests expedited delivery, such as next-day shipping, you should proceed with caution since this is another common sign of fraudulent card activity. After all, credit card thieves usually want to use the card before it gets cancelled.

Following these tips can save you the headache and expense of dealing with credit card fraud as the holidays come to a close.

Six Credit Card Myths Every Merchant Should Know

Every merchant has come across the customer that makes you want to tear out your hair. You know the one. He or She wants to charge for an item that costs less than a dollar and doesn’t understand why they can’t do it. Credit cards are convenient both for the merchant and the customer, but they also can cause headaches as well. There are six credit card myths that have made the rounds and have gone viral. Some are common sense truths that are ignored, while others are not as clearly defined.

Myth #1-Minimum credit and debit card purchases can be set by the merchant
Although since 2010, it is true that small “Mom & Pop” merchants can set a $10 minimum purchase limit for credit card purchases, debit cards can’t be rejected. It is important for the merchant to establish whether the person is using a debit or credit card for their transaction.

Myth #2-Merchants can’t negotiate their interchange fees
According to the electronics payment coalition, merchants can negotiate their interchange fees through a variety of incentive arrangements with their network. For example, a grocery store might look in their network to find competitive processing rates and card acceptance costs.

Myth #3-Your business loses money with cash payments
Credit cards are convenient and safe but there are fees involved with every transaction. A business, however, that accepts both cash and credit payments stands to gain and not lose money. The fact is that merchants profit with cash payments because they get the money immediately for the item instead of having to share it with the bank through interchange fees.

Myth #4-A small business doesn’t need to be PCI compliant
PCI is shorthand for the Payment Card Industry. Even if you run a small business that only accepts a small percentage of credit card purchases, it is in your best interest to be PCI compliant when handling sensitive customer information. Being PCI compliant will help your business remain secure and profitable.

Myth #5-Merchant service agreements are fixed for the length of the contract
Unfortunately some contract terms such as merchant fees and rates can change during the contract period due to changes in the market and other external factors. Both month-to-month processing agreements and the year processing agreements have many clauses that cover unexpected fluctuations in the market.

Myth #6-Merchants are not liable for chargebacks for items purchased on-line
All merchants, big or small, face the very real risk of having to pay for fraudulent purchases even when they were purchased on-line. It is important to keep good records of all your transactions and be able to back up any claims.

There are other myths about credit cards, but these six should give you a good start on what to look for when maintaining your business.

Yahoo! Finance Featured Story: SkyBank Financial Launches Advanced Payment Module For PrestaShop Addons Store

SkyBank Financial (SkyBank), a leader in electronic payment processing services for businesses of all sizes in the United States, has partnered with PrestaShop to provide users with a free payment module that is flexible and easy to use.

“We have always believed that the best outcomes for our clients are achieved when we provide clear options on the most advanced and sophisticated technologies available,” says Thomas Aronica, CEO of Miami-based SkyBank Financial. “Solutions may change with time, but our original focus remains the same. Every plan we make, every decision we implement, every action we take is driven by one fundamental principle – to help our clients in their quest to manage a successful business.”

Available November 2014, the module that SkyBank has designed for PrestaShop users features an advanced integration system which enables users to manage transactions directly from the PrestaShop Back Office without the need to ever log in to a third-party application. In additional to traditional payment processing, SkyBank’s module also features integrated ACH (electronic check) payments and an auto-ship feature which customers can use to create automatic recurring orders on a schedule they select.

SkyBank has future plans to integrate an advanced gift card and loyalty based rewards program which is set to release in Q1 of 2015.

About SkyBank Financial
Headquartered in Miami, FL, SkyBank is a leading provider of payment solutions, including credit and debit card processing, mobile commerce (mCommerce), check verification and guarantee services, and a variety of other payment processing solutions. With hundreds of millions of dollars processed annually through our partner payment network, SkyBank has consistently proven that their clients benefit from using its secure technology. For more information please visit or call 800-815-0935.

About PrestaShop
PrestaShop was founded in 2007 with a mission to provide world class ecommerce software for free through open source innovation. Today more than 200,000 ecommerce stores run on PrestaShop technology. The company provides software that enables users to have a fully functional online store at the lowest cost possible. The PrestaShop open source community includes 700,000 merchants, developers and web agencies from around the world. PrestaShop is the proud winner of the 2014 Best eCommerce Solution for SMB, from CMS Critic. PrestaShop has offices in the US and France, and is funded by XAnge Private Equity, Seventure Partners and Serena Capital. For more information, please contact Sandra Fernandes, Global Director of Corporate Communications at +33 (0)1 76 23 25 13 or via email

See original press release here:

5 Interesting Facts About Apple Pay

Apple Pay is a brand new feature that was released on Monday, October 20, 2014. It is considered a groundbreaking feature and is available for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus as it enables users to make payments directly from their phones. This is the type of feature that has been present in Android powered smartphones for several years, so Apple fans will be delighted that they can finally have such a privilege. There are a few facts about Apple Pay that you will want to know if you plan on buying an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus or if you are already the proud owner of one of them.

Apple Pay was developed and released with support from credit card companies MasterCard, Visa and American Express. This means that payments can be made if you have a credit card by one of those companies. At the same time, there is a bit more to it than that because your bank must also support the Apple Pay feature. Apple has revealed that the top banks are supporters of the feature. Some of these banks include Chase, Bank of America, Citi, Wells Fargo and Capital One.

Apple Pay is more than simply a digital wallet on your iPhone. It runs on NFC or near-field communications technology, relies on the Touch ID feature built into the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and digitally stores your credit card information. It is also useful for adding dollar amounts to store rewards cards.

When you want to add your credit cards to Apple Pay on your new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, all you need to do is snap a photo of your card with the phone’s camera. Apple Pay will automatically detect the name and number on the card and remember that information. You are required to enter the security code and expiration date of the card and then select which card you want to use as your default if you add more than one to your iPhone.

Your credit card number is never present on your iPhone through Apple Pay. Instead, it creates a unique number each time you make a purchase. This is known as the secure element. Every time you make a purchase with Apple Pay, the credit card issuer will receive a unique number for any transaction and that number is then tied to your credit card account.

One of the best facts about Apple Pay is that it never stores information about your credit card or information regarding your purchases on a server. Everything remains anonymous so that the item you bought and the store from which you purchased it remains private.

Five Reasons Your Small Business Should Accept Credit Cards

In order to be competitive, small businesses need to accept credit cards. Though many business owners may look at accepting credit cards as an unneeded burden, the truth is that credit card processing is cheap, quick and easy. In fact, there are many good reasons that a business should begin accepting credit card payments as a way to boost profits.

Increasing Business Opportunities

In the modern business world, many transactions are completed over the phone and over the Internet. Though it is possible to take checks over the phone and Internet, credit card purchases are by far the easiest and most secure type of payment for businesses to accept. By being able to accept credit cards for purchases, a business will be able to sell its products and services to new and distant markets.

Legitimacy and Trust

Accepting credit cards makes a business appear more legitimate. As so much business is conducted through the use of credit and debit cards, customers expect businesses to accept credit cards for payments. In fact, customers may look skeptically at a business, even a small business, which does not accept credit cards.

Transaction Speed

Unlike handling cash and change or processing a check through an approval service, credit card transactions are approved and completed very quickly. This added speed makes it easier for customers to do business and reduces the amount of time that employees spend completing transactions. In addition, credit card transactions will be deposited in bank accounts of the business more quickly than cash or check purchases.

Boosting Sales

Numerous studies have shown that people spend more money when using a credit card than when using cash. This means that a business that accepts credit cards will not only enjoy more sales, they will likely enjoy larger transactions as well. Best of all, larger transactions will help to boost profits even more than more sales as there is usually no need for extra staffing from larger sales as there usually is from a larger number of sales.

Reducing Employee Theft

The use of credit cards to complete purchases will help to reduce employee theft. Employee theft is a serious issue for all businesses, especially the ones that deal in large amounts of cash. As it is difficult to monitor cash, it is easy for employees to skim cash without getting caught. However, by accepting credit cards, a business will have less cash on hand to tempt unscrupulous employees which will reduce the amount of theft that the business will sustain.

3 Ways To Save On Your Credit Card Processing

In today’s environment of electronic payments, business owners must accept debit and credit cards in their businesses in order to remain competitive. However, getting a merchant account can be expensive if you don’t understand the different ways credit card processing companies can charge you. Here are three major ways you can save on your merchant account.

Understand your business needs.

This is one of the most important things you can do to save money on your merchant processing account. Is your business seasonal? If so, you need to set up your merchant account to be placed on hold during the periods when your business is closed in order to avoid monthly maintenance fees and minimum charges. Do you process a lot of transactions a month or just a few? If you need processing throughout the year, but only process a few transactions a month, you need to ensure that your account doesn’t have a monthly minimum charge assessed every month to avoid paying more than you need to.

Understand the difference between discount fees and per item charges.

All credit card processors will require you to pay a percentage of each transaction back to the processor for their services. This is known as the discount fee. In addition, some will charge a per item fee, which is a flat fee for each transaction. Getting a low discount fee or rate is good, but if the company is charging a per item fee on top of that, you may be paying more per transaction than with a company that only charges a slightly higher discount rate. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples when comparing rates.

Make sure you understand the card acceptance rules for your type of business.

Credit card processing companies have a myriad of discount fees they will charge you based on the types of credit cards you accept in your business and how they are processed. If you are not abiding by the card acceptance rules for your type of business, you will be paying a higher rate for every transaction. For example, retail businesses are required to swipe every card through their point of sale device. If they key in the card information because they have accepted a telephone order or the card’s mag stripe isn’t working, the transaction will be charged a significantly higher rate due to Visa and Mastercard regulations. Do this enough and you will pay much more than is necessary to accept cards in your business.

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