by Ty Hardison

Holiday returns eating into your profits? Here's how to lower your return costs

Don't let returns cut into your holiday profits any more than possible.

Every holiday season, as consumers scramble to purchase all the presents on their lists, retailers enjoy the boost in sales as a little gift of their own. However, they are soon snapped back to reality when revenue falls back to normal in January and customer returns start to eat into the stellar profits they recorded before the holidays.

In fact, most U.S. e-retailers can expect return rates of between 20 and 40 percent of their total online sales, according to Rakuten Super Logistics' recently published "Holiday Returns Handbook."

"Most U.S. e-retailers can expect return rates of between 20 and 40 percent."

For businesses without an optimized return process, these returns can cut into profits beyond just the cost of issuing reimbursements — they may lose even more on … more

Samsung Pay planning to allow online payments in 2016

Samsung Pay is looking to expand past in-store purchases and enable online shopping in 2016.

If 2015 was the year of mobile payment innovation, 2016 could be poised to be the year of online payments — at least for Samsung.

The smartphone company is planning to expand its new mobile payment option, Samsung Pay, to give consumers the option to pay online in the United States, according to reporting by Reuters.

Since it debuted on the company's Galaxy phones this fall, Samsung Pay has boasted to be the most widely accepted form of mobile payment. Despite its relatively recent entry into the market, Samsung Pay has been able to achieve this status by using technology that communicates with the magnetic swipe terminals most retailers already have in their stores, unlike Apple Pay, which requires merchants to install special near field communication (NFC) terminals. … more

EMV puts card-not-present transactions at greater risk of fraud, study says

With EMV bolstering brick-and-mortar stores against fraud, online retailers must be prepared to step up their security as well.

While the introduction of EMV payments has given brick-and-mortar stores an added level of protection against counterfeit transactions, it has put online retailers at an even greater risk of being targeted for fraud.  

According to a report by Aite and RSA, fraudsters will not simply give up when their efforts are thwarted at physical shops. Instead, their energy will be funneled into the path of least resistance. With card-not-present (CNP) transactions becoming the new lowest-hanging fruit for fraudsters, U.S. online merchants should expect to see a massive spike in fraud, according to the report, which cites similar trends following the shift to EMV in Canada and the U.K. 

"The data from Canada's EMV migration paints this picture clearly; counterfeit and lost/stolen … more

How retailers can drive successful EMV transactions

To help consumers successfully complete EMV transactions retails must be proactive.

Even two months after the EMV liability shift, many consumers still struggle to use the new card technology at the point of sale. In fact, people seem to have fewer problems using mobile payment solutions like Apple Pay, despite their relatively low adoption rates. This suggests that merchants and, more specifically, cashiers, still have a long way to go in educating consumers about how best to use their new chip cards. 

This responsibility was destined to fall on cashiers and floor-level personnel at retailers sooner or later, with 2016 promising to be the year that sees the end of magnetic stripe cards at nearly all U.S. merchants in favor EMV or Near Field Communication (NFC)-based payment methods. However, retailers don't necessarily have the luxury to wait much … more

Best practices for EMV fallback transactions

If a customer's chip is faulty, do you know the best way to process the transaction?

Since the October 1 liability shift, merchants across the country have rushed to adopt EMV-enabled payments systems. With this high rate of migration, the payments industry is observing an exorbitant rate of fallback transactions coming from newly deployed EMV terminals.

In these cases, chip cards presented at a chip terminal cannot be read due to technical issues with the chip. As a result, merchants are pressed to follow fallback acceptance procedures to ensure compliance with card acceptance rules. However, because these fallback procedures require merchants to revert to less secure transaction methods, such as magnetic stripe or key-entry, they must be especially careful when executing fallback purchases.

To navigate the proper fallback procedures, keep these … more

The payment technology of the future. Hint: it's not EMV

NFC technology allows any enabled device to send payment information to retailers with just a wave.

Although EMV technology has been around for decades, its relatively recent introduction to the U.S. (and the ensuing liability shift) has brought the new credit card technology to the forefront of American merchants' minds. While EMV transactions and compliance have come to dominate the merchant payment conversation as of late, another, more innovative payment technology has positioned itself to eclipse EMV as the new future of consumer payment technology: NFC.

To understand how this shift could take place, let's first take a moment to lay out the difference between these two payment methods.

EMV, which stands for "Europay, MasterCard, and Visa," is the technology behind transactions between a chip-enabled credit card and an EMV-enabled payment terminal or ATM. Chip cards have become … more

What you need to know before paying your employees with direct deposit paycards

This year, more people will be paid with paycards than paper checks, according to new research from Aite Group. By 2019, the study predicts, the number of workers compensated via paycard will jump from 7 million up to 12 million while those who receive paper checks will plummet from 6 million to 2 million.

The shift comes as more and more employers are recognizing the advantages of distributing paycards rather than paper checks, for both themselves and their employees. For businesses, paycards represent a massive savings opportunity, costing about $0.35 for a payroll deposit, compared with $2.00 for a paper check, according to a study released by the New York Attorney General's (NYAG) office last year. Researchers also found that employers that switched to payroll cards … more

Dissenting retailers challenge $5.7 billion Visa, MasterCard settlement

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York is currently reviewing its acceptance of a $5.7 billion antitrust settlement.

In the latest development of what has become a decade-long legal battle between merchants and credit card companies, several major retailers have rejected a $5.7 billion antitrust settlement. Now, a U.S. appeals court must decide whether to uphold its approval of the agreement between MasterCard and Visa and merchants despite the objections.

A lawyer for retailers including Target and Amazon urged the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York to reject the deal, saying it forces merchants to give up their rights to sue over various policies and practices.

"The defendants are trying to buy something that is not for sale," the lawyer, Thomas Goldstein, told Reuters.

On the other side, merchants who negotiated the deal believe it to be fair, providing more than just the $5.7 billion … more

What retailers need to know about the switch to EMV

This little chip could change everything about the way your company accepts credit card payments.

The U.S. rollout of EMV chip cards continues as merchants contemplate upgrades to their card acceptance technology when conducting in-person transactions.

The EMV "liability shift" that began October 1, 2015 places the liability for card-present fraud onto whichever party is the least EMV-compliant in a fraudulent transaction. In plain English, that means that as long as a customer has an EMV card, it is the retailer's responsibility to provide the point of sale (POS) terminal to take advantage of the added security of the chip. If they do not, they would be considered at fault if a counterfeit card is used that the new technology would have been able to detect and prevent.

Here are a few reasons merchants might want to consider being an early adopter of EMV:       & … more

How Samsung Pay can help retailers, even if they don't know it yet

Approximately 90 percent of all retailers can accept Samsung Pay, whether they know it or not.

As revolutionary as Apple Pay has been in its first year, giving iPhone owners, then Apple Watch wearers, the ability to pay with a wave of their device, it was not without its Achilles heel. For all its innovation, relying on retailers to install new point of sale (POS) hardware limited Apple Pay's adoption, rendering it unable to truly eliminate the wallets from our back pockets. 

Launched at the end of September, Samsung Pay might finally hit the mark, allowing both users and retailers to better take advantage of a more universal mobile payment system. While Samsung Pay might look little different from Apple Pay, the technology running under the hood is wildly different, and it makes all the difference. 

Apple Pay uses Near Field Communication (NFC) to pass … more