Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Security Console High-Level Report

I passed the test, or so said the Security Console High-Level Report on my computer. The Data Security test that was mandatory for me to be PCI Compliant –which is Payment Card Industry Compliant. Before the holiday I started

receiving e-mails regarding “Important Notice” and “Immediate Action Required” from First Data Security Metrics. At the same time I was bombarded with e-mails (even through my junk mail filter set on high) from Credit Card processing companies offering me lower merchant fees, direct processing, huge discounts and unbelievably great service for my merchant account business. I had disregarded the e-mails from First Data thinking it was some scam –even though they mentioned my bank by name, it still seemed so hyped up. As it turns out First Data and the need to become

“PCI Compliant” is legit and if I waited any longer I “could” face “the monthly Non-Receipt of PCI Validation Fee.” Also if I failed to become PCI Compliant the threat stated “Security breaches have affected merchants of all sizes. If you are compromised, the Association fines can range up to $500,000 per Association(!)"

These fines are in addition to other liabilities you may face in connection with the security breach.” Holy crap this is serious stuff –all because I accept credit cards 6 months out of the year. Thankfully, I called the merchant services department at my bank and confirmed that I needed to take a simple test from First Data Security Metrics, be informed of how to professionally and safely treat customer credit card numbers and be reminded not to sell those numbers over the internet or use a customers credit card for my personal shopping. My latest terminal/hardware was just purchased last summer so that was already PCI Compliant (my old one was not) thankfully it was deemed “compliant” because it set me back a cool $350. All of this credit card, merchant service talk had me thinking it was probably time to review what I was actually paying for my merchant services account. Ever since I read about Tracey considering taking credit cards it has had me thinking about how much I’ve actually been paying. I’ve put off researching my fees, transaction costs and percent of my sales for taking credit cards, since knowing what the cost of doing business can be depressing and puts that right up there with shopping for a used car and going to the dentist. I also need to look into purchasing a wireless terminal to accept credit cards at shows that have neither a phone line or power. That cool little gizmo will run me from $490 -$595 depending on the model, but will save me on “credit card present” and “swipe” fees and would guarantee me no rejected credit card numbers. What I do now at shows is run a customer’s credit card through the old “knuckle buster” then input the data back at the Studio and upload the batch for payment. This is not only archaic but time consuming for

both the customer and myself. My current terminal can “store and forward” after the card is swiped but it needs power and the Market has no power –hence the ol’ knuckle buster. I also found out I’m paying what I think are reasonable fees. I currently pay 2.53% of each transaction, 21¢ per item and a $8.50 Statement Fee each month. My merchant account is set up directly through my bank and it was satisfying to be able to talk to a real person over the phone who was not only just across town but was able to answer my questions, offer me options without taking me through 300 electronic prompts on my telephone keypad!

The photos are of my latest little art quilt “Are You a Good Witch or a Bad Witch?” The inspiration came from some Wizard of Oz scrap fabric in the clearance bin that was $1 for as much fabric as you could stuff in a small ziplock! I LOVED the Wicked Witch graphic -Cool huh? *Don't worry all of my loyal metal heads out there -I'm back welding today now that the temps have warmed up.


ang said...

it sounds like you're doing ok with merchant fees... always so much to read up on!! I'm waiting for the square to make it to oz its a brilliant option as merchant fees here are crazy....i may be waiting a while :))

cookingwithgas said...

gosh darn it all what ever happen to cash and carry!
We are all et up with fees!
Next we will be like the witch out hunting down little girls and sweet dogs just to get a dollar!
Of course the way things are here I would be happy with a charge or two.

Ann said...

Oh, Cindy! More on the witches, please!!! Let us see, let us see!!

Judy Shreve said...

I hate all that bureaucracy! You are fortunate to be able to talk to a 'human being!'

I love this quilt! The Wizard of Oz is my favorite story/movie.

cindy shake said...

Thanks for reading and commenting :o)

Yeah, I would love to do away with all of the credit card stuff but it seems that customers using credit cards (for mileage up here!) are about 75% of my sales.

I also LOVED those witches...I should make another one huh? Making the tornado was really fun and I've got some fabric left AND even made up a flying monkey that didn't get included on this quilt...

Patricia Griffin said...

Square is awesome! I'm using it in my studio now and it works great. I got an older version of the iphone last year (because it was a GREAT deal) and got set up with Square. It's really been easy and absolutely no fees. They sent me a free card reader and it works like a charm. Really.

Love the witches and whole wizard of oz theme. Brilliant!