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October 2005

Sponsored Article: Credit Card Processing Update


NET1—Providing Electronic Payment Solutions

Who is Network 1 Financial?
Network 1 Financial (NET1) was established in 1989 and is a leading supplier of electronic payment processing services, merchant accounts, and merchant accounting services for retail, mail/telephone order and Internet businesses. NET1 is one of the fastest growing payment processors in the country. Since 2002, it has been a division of Verus Financial Management, Inc. Together with Cornerstone Payment Systems, NET1 forms the foundation of Verus Card Services. NET1 products and services offer one-stop solutions that improve our customers’ operating efficiencies and save them money.   

NET1’s proprietary payment processing system, NET1 Gateway, was developed in 1993 and revolutionized how, when and where merchants process payments, review transactions and balance statements. NET1 works hard to provide merchants with valuable customer retention tools and financial resources, which help to ensure business growth. 

Why accept credit card payments?
Offering your customers the opportunity to pay with a credit or debit card makes it easier for them to buy.  

·          Studies show that accepting credit cards increases sales by 15 percent to 50 percent.

·          The average household in 2005 has 6.3 bank credit cards, 2.2 debit cards, and 6.4 retail credit cards. (Source: Inc)

·          Americans charged $1.9 trillion to signature-based credit and debit cards in 2004. (Source: The Nilson Report)

·          There were 1.4 trillion payment cards (credit, debit, retail) circulating in the United States in 2004, and that number is expected to rise to 1.5 trillion in 2005. (Source: Inc)

·          Credit card customers are impulse buyers -- be ready!

 NET1 provides complete card processing for Visa®, MasterCard®, American Express®, Discover®, Diners Club®, JCB, debit/ATM, and private label cards for retail, mail order/telephone order and Internet businesses. Value-added services include merchant account origination, 24-hour customer service, equipment and supplies, voice authorization and both online and paper statements.

What are the benefits of accepting credit cards?

·          Increased volume -- Consumers typically spend more when using credit cards; your guests may be more likely to stay an extra night or upgrade to a more elegant room.

·          Guaranteed payment -- No more bounced checks. Reservation guarantees help to ensure that you will get paid for a no-show or a late cancellation. 

·          Security against damage or theft -- With credit card information, it is more likely that you will be able to get reimbursed for damages and stolen goods.

·          Special lodging rates -- NET1 offers special billing element tables to take advantage of the special lodging rates available from Visa and MasterCard card associations.

·          Convenience -- Who doesn’t take credit cards? Credit cards are everywhere and make purchasing easy for consumers, especially for the majority who do not carry a large sum of cash.

·          Credibility -- Consumers perceive companies who accept credit cards as more credible than companies that do not.

 How can I save money?
If you are keying in your credit cards and are set up as a retail business, you are probably paying too much for your processing. If set up properly, you may qualify for significantly lower effective rates that will save you money. You may qualify for special hotel pricing from Visa and MasterCard due to your industry classification. If you qualify for these special lodging rates, you will not be subject to expensive downgrades on transactions that you enter manually. 

What are the new trends in credit card processing?

Visa, MasterCard and American Express are competing for market share of the affluent travelers by offering rewards cards. These rewards cards cost more for merchants because they have many cardholder benefits and perquisites. Rates on most credit cards, especially rewards cards, have increased substantially over the last few years. At the same time, signature debit (check card) rates have been coming down, but many processors have “bundled” their rates. Unless you have a separate check card rate, you will not get the benefit of these significantly lower rates. 

Can I use gift cards to supplement my B&B’s gift certificate sales?

Gift cards have become extremely popular over the past few years. They are a great way to collect funds up front, bring in more guests, increase sales and build loyalty. Funds are received up front, and there are no cash back refunds -- whether the card is used or not. Gift cards can be purchased from NET1, and you can use them in lieu of, or to supplement, your own gift certificates. Cards can be printed with custom artwork from your B&B or with standard artwork from NET1. Innkeepers can choose to have cards prepared with a set value printed on the front, or you can have the flexibility of assigning your own value to each card.

Gift cards are surprisingly affordable moneymakers. They are more advantageous than the traditional paper gift certificates because they are more durable, convenient, and provide more marketing opportunities. They are less likely to be duplicated, fit easily into a wallet, and have the ability to retain value so your guests can reuse them. Consider offering gift cards as a way to market your B&B to get additional visits. Whether you realize it or not, guests will be talking about their stay. Why not let satisfied guests spread the word about your B&B by purchasing a gift card for themselves, friends, and relatives? There is no better way to explore a new place than by getting a referral from someone you trust. 

Where should I go for more information?
Please contact Connie Hobbs with any questions or comments, or for a free savings analysis.

1-888-802-0529 ext.1101


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