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What EMV Means to You, The Business Owner

FullSizeRenderDid you know that nearly half of all credit card fraud worldwide occurs in the United States? Considering that only 24% of credit card sales are made in the US, this number is surprisingly high. To combat fraud, the United States is currently transitioning to credit cards that use EMV technology, which will increase security and reduce fraud for all credit card transactions. The technology is slated to revolutionize the way you do business by allowing merchants to transition to a safer standard of payment processing.

What exactly is EMV, you might ask? Taken from the name of its original developers Europay, Mastercard, and Visa, the technology includes a microchip embedded into a credit card that produces a one-time code each time it is used. A customer will still verify the transaction with either a signature, pin number or both. Small transactions, however, may not require either.

Because a new code is produced with each transaction, the cardholder’s personal information remains secure. Here’s why.

If a hacker does in fact steal information from a specific point of sale and replicates the card, the new card will be denied since the information on the original card changes with each new transaction. The stolen information is invalid—it was only valid with the cardholder at the time of purchase.

Cards with magnetic stripes, on the other hand, can be duplicated easily with a card-reading device. This device skims card information allowing criminals to create counterfeit cards.

Eighty countries have already adopted EMV chip technology. The United States will be one of the last countries to adopt this technology. By the end of 2015, the United States will have issued 70% of credit cards and 40% of debit cards as EMV cards.

What this means for merchants is that your business will need to soon become EMV-compliant, if it isn’t already.

The target date to acquire this technology will be October 1st of this year, at which point the Liability Shift starts. Merchants who are EMV-compliant will not be liable for losses due to card fraud; but if a merchant is not EMV-compliant, he or she will bear the cost of fraudulent activity. Prior to, banks were responsible for bearing the costs associated with card fraud.

To ease the transition, which is estimated to take three to five years, credit and debit cards issued in the United States will include both microchips and magnetic stripes.

The future of payment processing is upon us. Prepare your business to succeed by working with COCARD to transition to EMV technology today.

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Are You Ready for EMV?

silver American express chip card shown dipped, or being processed, in an emv terminalYou are probably hearing a lot about EMV in the news and maybe even receiving a few scary calls from merchant service providers who imply that EMV has something to do with PCI Compliance.  For the record EMV has NOTHING to do with PCI Compliance and no matter what software you are running on your POS COCARD can manage your EMV. Relax, COCARD is ready for EMV and we are here to help YOU be ready too.

A little background: EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa; it is the global standard for cards equipped with computer chips and the technology used to authenticate chip-card transactions.  Have you heard about all the data breaches in the last few years? EMV is the card association’s answer to these breaches, the technology has been used in Europe for more than 10 years and they have seen a drastic reduction in credit card fraud.

What happens?

In the beginning your exposure will be minimal because the only liability for fraud will be with cards that have chips implanted.  However, as time goes on, and if EMV becomes the new standard, your exposure will increase. If a chip card is used at a business that has not changed its system to accept chip technology and this chip card is fraudulent then the counterfeit card can be successfully used and cost of this fraud will fall back on the merchant.

What does this new technology mean to your business?

The switch to EMV means adding a new in-store technology to your current processing system or not.  Chances are you may already be EMV ready but in either case don’t worry, COCARD is here to help! Most importantly the EMV technology means greater protection against fraud in your business.

For ongoing updates and the most current information about EMV, PCI, card association updates and fraud alerts like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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Service Industry Boom

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Big news for the service industry: 2014 has brought a huge surge in the number of service-related companies. According to a recent article in Bloomberg, service industries—like restaurants and retailers—grew in July at the fastest rate since December 2005! Additionally, the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) non-manufacturing index increased to 58.7 (readings greater than 50 indicate expansion). The U.K. is experiencing similar trends in its service industry as well, which means your potential customers are ready and willing to spend. Terry Sheehan, an economist at Stone & McCarthy Research Associates is cited in the article as saying, “We’re seeing numbers that we haven’t seen since well before the financial crisis and recession, and they seem to be more sustained.”

Coinciding with this jump are an increase in new orders among service providers (they too are experiencing the highest ISM measure since August 2005) and an uptick in production (manufacturers have the highest ISM level since April 2011). Negative side-effects include an increased unemployment rate from 6.1 percent to 6.2 percent (given the influx of new job seekers into the labor market), a decline in the stock market (investors jumping on the anticipated uptick too soon) and an increase in competition for businesses in the service industry.

Worried about the influx of new competitors? Stay ahead of the curve by employing these business practices.

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Clover, a point of sale system which accepts contactless payments and EMV cards, shown in white with receipt printer and barcode scanner.

Feeling Lucky? Try Clover!

Clover, a point of sale system which accepts contactless payments and EMV cards, shown in white with receipt printer and barcode scanner.

At CoCard, we’re devoted to making sure our clients find the POS systems best suited to their needs. So we’re thrilled to be adding the Clover POS system to our roster of services! In case you’re unfamiliar, a Clover Station is a cash register, terminal and POS system in one that allows business owners to accomplish a range of tasks within one inclusive system. With Clover, you can track your inventory, view reports, and manage employees, while juggling various other tasks. While this system can certainly be implemented at numerous business types, CoCard finds that Clover is the best fit for quick-service restaurants, full-service restaurants and specialty retailers. Thinking about switching? Call us at 1.800.317.1819 or drop us a quick line at sales@cocard.info.

SEE THE CLOVER POS HERE

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Hacker Alert:

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In case you missed the news at the beginning of this month, in early August, a Russian crime ring collected the largest known cluster of Internet credentials to date, which included 1.2 billion user name and password combos and more than 500 million email addresses in a mega-security breach. Milwaukee’s Hold Security discovered the violation and says the security breach affected several large businesses, but was unable to share the names of those affected due to nondisclosure agreements and victim security. The hackers cast a wide net, going after large and small business websites alike in countries around the globe—including the United States and Russia. According to an August 5 New York Times article, it appears the hackers haven’t sold much of the data, but are instead using this hacked info to send spam through social media sites, like Twitter for a fee. This article identifies the hacking ring as a small group of less than a dozen men in their 20s, based in south central Russia.

While it’s always troubling to hear news like this, don’t panic. Instead, tighten your Internet security measures. Ensure that you’re using strong passwords and that you’re utilizing different passwords on different websites. If you know you’re guilty of being lax with your passwords (or use the same ones on multiple sites), updating them to stronger passwords is a good idea. You may also want to check out one of the automated password changing services out there, like this free one, to ensure you’re keeping hackers on their toes.

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Merchants Show Increased Demand for Integrated POS

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Basic processing systems will no longer cut it in the payment processing industry. A terminal is viewed as the bare minimum in today’s market, and merchants are finding it more necessary to integrate multiple technologies in their software applications. Now merchants are able to run their entire business and collect payments on the same device.

Aside from the decrease in technology prices, tablet technology now allows merchants to get all of the products they normally couldn’t afford in one simple tool. When this is coupled with the fact that merchants are becoming more skilled and innovative in the payment industry, it becomes apparent that tablet based systems is the answer to all payment processing problems.

POS systems used to cost thousands of dollars, but now with integrated technology, merchants are able to afford the programming with rates as low as $50 a month. Also, the fact that different merchants required varied solutions gives more power to integrated POS systems. Systems that cover more bases and provide more solutions are being created on a more frequent basis, and industry specific tools are developing rapidly.

Because the industry standard for tools has changed so much, it is more important than ever that your POS system is top of the line. CoCard not only provides state of the art POS programming for tablets and devices, but also has a mobile payment application called ‘CCMobile’ that completely integrates a merchant’s business transaction data. Whether your business is in retail, restaurants, or any other industry specific trade, allow CoCard to provide cutting-edge POS solutions to simplify your daily process and reduce expenses. Call us for more information!

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Opposing Bitcoin Regulations Could Impede Currency Expansion

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According to Payment Source, the state of New York Department of Payment Services recently proposed the framework for ‘BitLicense’, a money transfer license pertaining to businesses that use Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Although this proposal still has yet to be approved, the potential effects could alter the course of Bitcoin’s use nationally.

The proposed Bitcoin license would require state businesses to not only provide full customer disclosure, but also transaction receipts, a complaint resolution center, and user account verification. A cyber security program is also a requirement of the proposal, with heavy emphasis on record keeping ot be spearheaded by a chief information security officer.

When this proposal is placed in comparison to more liberal Bitcoin states like Texas, there is an extreme conflict in both interest and practice; Texas’ current Bitcoin laws make the currency an unofficial form of payment that is unregulated by the market. Bitcoin is not treated as real money, but can be used for goods, services, and currency exchange would still follow state law. With varying forms of enforcement for this controversial cryptocurrency, it leaves many wondering which the best course is for the future.

The new proposal is not yet active, and must be voted on by state businesses interested in transmitting Bitcoin. The voting period began July 23, 2014, and will continue for 45 days.

Although these new regulations only apply to New York for the time being, it is still a largely relevant issue because a majority of New York’s financial policy acts as a model for the national industry. Also, any customer not based in New York would still likely feel the effects of the legislation because any and all Bitcoin transactions/advertisements that go through New York’s financial industry will still have to be regulated.

New York’s new license proposal would likely deter many businesses, simply to avoid the hassle of registering for a license. Although Bitcoin miners themselves would remain unaffected, businesses would not only have to report all Bitcoin activity on a daily basis, but also be subject to independent investigation by the Department of Financial Services.

The proposed changes to the Bitcoin market vary extensively from many of the current practices on a national level, although it may not be all bad; these changes can significantly reduce the risk of money laundering, Bitcoin thievery, and overall illicit financial activities that could otherwise be disguised through Bitcoin. The tradeoff is that many companies are more than likely not looking to go through the steps to obtain a license, especially when it is subject to so many regulations. Will this have an overall negative effect on the national Bitcoin market? Will other states follow suit? We will all soon have answers once voting is concluded.

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Credit Card Use is On the Rise

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Credit card usage is finally on the rise again in the United States. According to ISO & Agent, Consumers are more comfortable borrowing money and using revolving credit than they have in years, with the Federal Reserve Board noting a spike in annual consumer credit rates.

This year’s annual credit rate increased by 12.3% with consumers, a large difference from the 15% drop noted at the beginning of the Great Recession.  Although credit use has begun to improve, there is also a high rate of credit debt as well, with month to month debt being at its highest level since 2008.

Lower credit standards are mainly the cause of this increase, but a substantial influence has also been increased consumer confidence. People feel more trustworthy of the economy, optimistic that their funds will remain in order.

Even though the rate of credit usage has increased, there are still many variables affecting its slow, methodical pace; one of the most influential is the decrease in credit usage by the younger generations. Individuals 18-29 years of age are the highest percentage of those without any credit cards.

The American Banking Association claims the percentage of cardholders that fully paid off their monthly balance climbed to 29% in the fourth quarter, the highest level ever. Although credit card debt is still at an alarming rate, personal consumption financed by debt is still lower than its rate during the mid 2000’s.

With this increased capacity for borrowing, now’s a better time than ever for customers to use credit cards for spending. That being said, the market for credit card processing is at an all time high, and it’s important that you have the right people processing your transactions. CoCard is an industry leader in payment processing and merchant services, and is certain that we can provide an experience superior to any other.

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Growing New Farmers

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Contemplating adding the title of “farmer” to your growing repertoire of talents? Now just may be the perfect time. According to an announcement by the U.S. Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden at last month’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Advisory Committee meeting, attractive new implementations and policy changes are being made to the Farm Bill that offer financial security to newbie farmers and ranchers.

Since the average age of the U.S. farmer is 58 and older, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is looking to attract fresh faces to the field with these appealing new perks. Among said incentives are: waiving service fees for new and beginning farmers looking to enroll in the Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program for 2014; increasing pay rates to beginning farmers and ranchers under the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program; and the development of a farmers website full of helpful need-to-know info for wannabe growers.

In the near future, the USDA is also looking to bring discounted insurance premiums to beginner farmers. Has the idea grown on you yet?

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Who We Are

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CoCard is an industry leader in Point of Sale / POS payment processing with advanced debit and credit card processing software and hardware.

Since 1999, CoCard has led the way in payment processing services, staying one step ahead of the curve. During this time, we’ve built a strong reputation in the processing industry and gained both the tools and management to turn your business into everything you have ever dreamed.

CoCard has also developed one of the most complete and robust selections of payment and authentication services in the industry, making CoCard the perfect option for a business that’s just getting on its feet, or one that’s been established for years.

What We Do

CoCard offers a wide selection of fully integrated, bank-neutral credit card and cash management products. We enhance our core-product offerings with best-in-class risk management and authentication tools. Your business’ security and safekeeping is the highest priority for CoCard.

We link merchants and entrepreneurs to customers and financial institutions, overseeing the secure transfer of funds. In seconds, we are able to securely process MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover, JCB and many other card types on behalf of any merchant card issuers.

Our Mission

Our mission is to make your electronic payment and authentication services simple, reliable, secure and cost effective. Simply put, we strive to offer you the best merchant services available.

HOW WE ACCOMPLISH OUR MISSION

Bank Certified and Recommended

Many merchant service providers claim to be as qualified and distinguished as CoCard, but very few have been certified and recommended by major banks. Bank certification ensures that all payment and financial systems have been rigorously scrutinized for accuracy and reliability. Banks only recommend organizations that have ample training and support mechanisms in place to serve their customers. Because CoCard is bank certified and recommended, you can be assured that we will serve your needs with the highest level of expertise.

Person-to-Person Service – One Call Resolution

CoCard works as a consultant for our customers. Our support technicians take the time to provide you with good advice and get you online fast and hassle-free. We are there for you when you need help the most. When you call our offices, you talk to a real person who can address your real needs. Stop arguing with an automated voice, and start conversing with a living, breathing professional.

Security

CoCard protects you and your customers with our industry-leading 4096-bit encryption and SSL. Our systems are monitored 24 hours a day by one of the leading firewall monitoring and intrusion detection firms. Any attempts at unauthorized access to our systems are immediately logged and appropriate security measures are taken. In addition, CoCard and its affiliates are all PCI compliant. Your business’ security and safekeeping are the highest of every employee’s priorities.

Speed

Every second counts for you and your customers. CoCard’s support and equipment ensures that your customer will be taken care of in a timely manner. Your marketing and sales strategies are optimized by efficient payment systems, so you spend less time calculating, and more time reaching potential clients.

Simplicity

CoCard specializes in electronic payments, so you don’t have to be an expert. We have a wide variety of integration methods and APIs available for all popular operating systems. We have invested in enterprise class servers and redundant data/banking feeds, and we hire skilled, trained technicians to oversee them all . Our systems are monitored 24 hours a day from 3 different locations to ensure that our services are always available to our clients.

Accuracy & Availability

With CoCard, your credit card transaction, electronic checks truncation, and gift and loyalty information is available to you for review 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Flexibility

We want to earn your business, which is why CoCard is dedicated to building commerce solutions customized to your needs. In addition to integrating the best in third-party, risk-management services, we have developed many of our own services in-house. The CoCard system can be used for small-business segment applications, as well as large complex financial applications.

Low Cost / High Value

CoCard provides the best value in the industry with our extraordinary services at low cost. Some of the most recognized names in business have chosen the CoCard solution for their needs.

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