Five Tips for POS security

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Point of Sales security is always a relevant issue for a merchant services provider. With the recent string of data breaches that have happened to well-known businesses like Target and Verizon, there are plenty of reasons to feel like your POS’s security system may not be up to snuff.

Although hackers are becoming better each day at getting access to essential data, there are multitudes of ways to help toughen the process for a determined hacker. The two major forms of hacking involve either the use of an attachable hardware device to the POS system, or using malware to hack into a POS network. Although there is no surefire way to prevent either of these things from happening, here are five tips that will help improve the security of your POS system.

  1. Always maintain the most up-to-date POS software.

POS system updates can be a drag, but oftentimes these updates provide crucial security patches that ward off malware and other hacking technology. Rather than updating technology quarterly, update the technology as frequently as possible. It’s hard to stay a step ahead of cybercriminals, but if you’re always improving, it makes the task more difficult.

CoCard provides cutting-edge POS services, featuring top-notch security and management tools.

  1. Install Firewall and Anti-Virus Software to boost your network’s immunity.

Similar to keeping up-to-date POS Software, installing new Firewall/Anti-virus software is critical. It adds an extra dimension to the security system already in place at your firm, and puts yet another wall between you and a potential hacker. Programs like Barracuda and McAfee are good choices.

  1. Create intricate passwords that are frequently changed.

This is an extremely overlooked habit that should always be practiced. Many times, hackers have no problem getting past security systems because the passwords in place are entirely too simple and intuitive. Always change from the default password that was provided for your system, and never make it something simple like “Password1” or your birth date. Find something that isn’t easily guessed, and change the password frequently, preferably every two or three months.

  1. Deny internet access from POS Stations and Terminals.

Keeping POS computers off the internet vastly reduces the risk of viruses and other internet-based malware. Only connect your system to the internet for necessary POS activities, and avoid general internet usage. Don’t give a hacker the chance to get to you by staying clear of their sights.

  1. Disable Remote Access.

Although we get accustomed to allowing IT professionals and employees to use the POS system from remote locations (not necessarily in office), hackers have a far easier time finding your device’s information when it is used away from a terminal. Restrict access to programs as much as possible, and you have vastly decreased your risk for hacking.

Although none of these solutions are fool-proof, they are steps that over time can make a big difference in your program’s safety. When thousands of potential clients’ credit information is in your hands, why take the risk? Just like you take vitamins to protect your immune system, take precautions to protect your POS system!

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Meet Rex, Weekend Support Specialist

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Take some time getting to know one of CoCard’s most promising employees, Technical Support Specialist, Rex Peterson!

Currently a Computer Science major at Georgia State University, Rex’s love for coding, mobile applications, and all things tech has led him to CoCard’s headquarters in Decatur. His strong knowledge of Mandarin Chinese and program development makes him a fully qualified member of CoCard’s bilingual support team.

Rex is the newest member of our weekend support team, available to assist you when nobody else can. Rex is in place and on call to answer any questions regarding technical support, customer transaction services, and terminal download assistance.

Aren’t you tired of constantly dealing with automated voices and answering machines? Stop wasting time and money sitting on hold, and start receiving intelligent, insightful tech assistance from our 24/7 support staff! Call us for support today!

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Meet Your Clients’ Top 10 Demands

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American Express’s Open Forum recently published an article highlighting the top 10 items your customers will expect from you this year. Given the ever-evolving world of commerce, tips like these can be helpful when you’re trying to stay ahead of the curve in terms of meeting the expectations of your valued clientele. Take a look at this list, then share your feedback with us on Facebook and on Twitter @cocardatl.

Customers Want:

1. Personalized customer service. This goes beyond a warm welcome at your brick-and-mortar storefront. Today, customers expect a virtual hello anytime they browse your website. Meet this expectation by investing in a strong Web infrastructure and customer-relationship management system that includes email marketing, like Pegasus.

2. Ability to track orders and research history. Customers want to know the status of their orders as well as their purchase and viewing history, and want the option to be reminded of it via social media. To meet this demand, invest in a process that gives your customers access to info similar  to what you share with your employees.

3. Respond quickly to tweets and Facebook messages. Customers expect to hear back in around an hour after connecting with companies on social media. Meet this demand by employing a team large enough to stay on top of social media requests.

4. Quick delivery or shipment of a product or service. Impatience is the norm, with most customers expecting a two-day delivery time. Meet this expectation by offering (and charging a premium for) fast shipping.

5. Try and buy. Thanks to companies like Warby Parker and Rent the Runway, customers want the option to try a product before they buy it. Give your customers a no-questions asked return policy that allows them to feel confident in their purchasing decision.

6. Social transparency. Customers want to know what is going on with the companies they choose to support. Keep the communication lines open and share news with your clients/customers through social media, on a blog and/or through a regular company newsletter.

7. Proactive customer service post-sale. Make clients feel valued for their patronage by updating them on payment deadlines, maintenance details and available savings after they’ve placed their order.

8. Value. People want a good deal, but they also want a quality product. Be upfront about your pricing and offer a loyalty reward program for regular customers.

9. Information available 24/7. In a non-stop world, it’s no surprise that customers are eager to access information or to contact people at your company at all hours. Even if you don’t have the staff to support such around-the-clock intel, set up a FAQ page on your website or a pre-recorded message on you phone line that answers common customer concerns at any hour.

10. Be listened to, and be heard. Face it, sometimes the customer isn’t happy. Even if there is nothing your company can do, customers expect a venue for voicing their complaints and concerns. Give them that option by supplying a responsive phone line/section of your website for voicing complaints.

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Out of This World

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It sounds like the premises for a sci-fi flick: Astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics just discovered a rocky distant “mega-earth” that weighs 17 times more than our planet, and that shows plausible implications for life. Given the moniker, Kepler-10c, this newly discovered planet is 560 light years from earth, circles a sun-like star every 45 days, and is approximately 11 billion years old (which resets our idea on the age of the universe). Rocky planets like this offer the best conditions for life. Given the age of this planet, scientists now know they shouldn’t count out old stars when they’re looking for signs of life. So, is there something else out there? Let the hypothesizing begin!

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New Bitcoin Debit Cards may make cryptocurrency a universal coinage

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The Bitcoin craze that began a few years ago is yet another one of the unforeseen curveballs that the internet has thrown at us. Although this form of electronic payment may seem futuristic and innovative—and to some parties, illegitimate—there’s no denying that it has altered the landscape of peer to peer payment forever. With financial service institution “Xapo” set to launch a Bitcoin debit card this month, it brings to question what exactly the future of this cryptocurrency and other open source payments may be.

For those who are a little less tech savvy, Bitcoin is a form of digital payment used to purchase goods, services, or merely trade among consumers. Bitcoins are earned through a process called “mining”, where users connect their computer to a server to process countless other Bitcoin transactions. These transactions go to an independent Bitcoin ledger called the “block chain”.

As users gain more Bitcoins, the processing of mining becomes increasingly difficult, and block chain rewards decrease per every block mined. There are only a finite amount of Bitcoins, and this method of accumulation is only expected to last until about 21 million Bitcoins are created. By that point, the only way to make a profit off of Bitcoins will be through payment transaction fees. This could possibly explain why finding alternative ways to use and transfer Bitcoins has become a topic of interest.

According to www.coindesk.com, the Bitcoin debit card will act the same as a regular debit card, and will be usable at any location a Mastercard can be used. Zapo analyzes the user account registered to the card, and then sells the appropriate amount of Bitcoins through the Bitcoin exchange service “Bitstamp”. The merchant will receive whatever localized currency is accepted in the area, so businesses will still receive real money, not Bitcoins.

With Bitcoin value currently fluctuating near $600 USD per coin on www.bitcoinexchangerate.org, this is a huge step forward for the use of this peculiar digital currency. Now, owners and investors will have legitimate ways to spend their Bitcoins on goods and services outside of the internet. But what affect will this new service have on the market value and liquidity of Bitcoins? Will this make Bitcoin a more legitimate form of payment? Bitcoins were highly popular, largely because their fees were so much lower than those of regular credit card processors; how will this affect the price relationship, and what affect will this debit system have on other merchant payment systems? What do you think? Let us know!

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Run a non-profit? Call CoCard!

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Did you know that CoCard counts multiple nonprofits as clients? We’ve worked with nonprofits across the country, ranging from churches to museums and everything in between. We’re even a Goodwill preferred vendor! Regardless of your mission or services, CoCard is able to help by offering affordable, secure, nonprofit merchant accounts—so you can focus your time and your resources on what’s really important: your nonprofit. Gain insight from our team on what equipment and technology best suits your needs, from dial-up terminals to electronic payment gateway, and enjoy it all at a discounted nonprofit rate! Visit our website or call us at 800.317.1819 to get all of the nitty-gritty details.

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City Spotlight: Rio

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You’ve already heard the buzz: Rio is the place to visit right now thanks in large part to its selection as the hosting city for two major sporting events. Starting June 12, it will host the 2014 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament and in 2016, it will play host city to the 2016 Summer Olympics. Whether you have plans to see either of these sporting events onsite or not, there are a few things you’ll want to know when planning an excursion to Brazil’s coastal city.

Scattered with beaches, historic sites, rain forests and music, Rio is a vivid locale that’s vibrant with life. Its idyllic natural setting and temperate yearly climate makes it a strong candidate for outdoorsy types looking for a place to hike, surf and explore the flora and fauna. Sign up for a bike tour, swim among 100 area beaches, rock climb to the top of Sugar Loaf mountain and hike at the Serra Dos Orgaos National Park. A pick-up soccer game is always recommended.

Foodies who prefer centering their trips around local cuisine will be delighted by the options. Strong drinks, and spice-infused seafood, beef, black beans and rice are all staples of the local diet. Be sure to try Brazil’s national dish, feijoada (black bean stew with beef, pork, collards and rice) and to sample the area’s street food in-between the finer dining options. View travel expert Anthony Bourdain’s top food picks and takeaways here.

Renowned for its music and party-going atmosphere,  the nightlife scene in Rio is legendary. While you’re in town, take advantage of the vast nightclubs, bars and discos peppering the area. You can enjoy a truly unique experience during the 200-year-old tradition of Rio de Janeiro Carnival–which takes place in the four days before the beginning of Lent each year and includes a dancing competition between various samba schools at the annual parade.

Read more about Rio here 

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Happy Father’s Day!

From all of us at CoCard, happy Father’s Day! On June 15, we salute all of our leading men for their guidance, their love and their support. Make sure you pick up the phone and thank your old man for being a great guy. Thinking about doing something special for him? Plan an outing together that you know he’ll enjoy. Take him to a baseball game. Go play a round of golf, just the two of you. Go fishing. Take him out for a steak or a burger (depending on how dressed up he likes to get) and gift him something small but gentlemanly—a pocket knife, a beer growler, a shaving brush, cufflinks, a pocket square. Most importantly, ‘fess up that you love him.

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Apple unveils changes to Mac, and hints at potential watch

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Apple recently unveiled their most recent collection of products, most notably the Ios8 mobile phone.

Although there were many improvements with the iPhone, such as multi-app messaging and group message self-removal, there were also several other products that got some upgrades; this includes their signature personal computer, the Mac, and reportedly, a potential watch.

According to www.hufftingtonpost.com, the new Mac computers will run off a program entitled “Yosemite”. Yosemite has a few notable features, one being a new, “flat” design that makes every application on the screen appear more like those on an iPhone. It’s OSX programming allows users to make calls and send text messages from their computers.

Other improvements include an enhanced search bar, as well as enhanced email usability. Users now can send larger documents, and the Apple email app allows users to mark up emails and write signatures.

The most notable improvement may be the ‘DropBox-like’ storage device called iCloud Drive. The program allows users to organize and find documents from both Apple and Windows devices. They are set to be available his fall.

The potential iWatch also has interesting features, reportedly include a new Healthbook software that hosts multiple health-monitoring devices (blood pressure monitors, heart rate monitors, etc.), and notifies the wearer of any changes during exercise.

The “Quicktype” feature may also be featured for wearers, an app that allows quick messaging to contacts by suggesting words and phrases.

Although one can always speculate about the innovations that Apple intends to make every year, it’s undeniable that their work continues to change the landscape of technology every year. What do you think of the changes to Apple products? Reply and let us know!

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iOS8 Arrives

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Apple recently revealed its next generation of iPhone, the iOS8, at a conference yesterday. Although there weren’t too many changes, there were still some interesting improvements made to the device. Since iPhone’s are arguably the most popular and widely used phones in America, it seemed only necessary to review a few of the improvements made.

The most interesting (and arguably most useful) improvements to the iPhone are the notification updates. Users now have the ability to respond to messages in different applications while still using another one. For example, if you received a text message right as you were sending a tweet, you are now able to respond to the text message without having to close the Twitter application. The double-tap feature of the home button now also allows you to see your most frequent contacts.

Users are now also able to mark and delete emails in a single motion through the mail application, as well as now having the ability to look through the inbox while composing messages.

Another major improvement to the iPhone is the annoying ‘autocorrect’ feature that it has. Users are now able to get suggestions for the correct word while they are typing, but can ultimately ignore the changes if desired. The update also allows users to form a kind of jargon with their most frequent contacts; the iPhone will memorize specific slang and word choices that users associate with particular contacts.

Another major problem that is addressed with the update is that annoying, contantly buzzing, ever-glowing group message. You can finally remove yourself from any group you don’t desire to converse with! Another text message update is the ability to send locations to contacts for set amounts of time.

Overall, the updated iPhone addresses many of the issues that iPhone users frequently faced. Apple seems to constantly find new ways to improve their cutting edge electronics, and the iOS8 doesn’t disappoint.

What do you think of the iOS8? Let us know!

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