About Austin Crockett

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So far Austin Crockett has created 54 blog entries.

2016: A Financial Rollercoaster

In just the first few weeks of 2016, we have seen that the markets, spurred on by the volatility in China, have been experiencing their worst record ever for performance in the beginning of a year. Uncertainty over the price of oil, Chinese currency manipulation, severe weather events, global terrorism and unrest, along with other factors has many financial soothsayers calling for an exceedingly turbulent year ahead.

In fact, it was only two weeks ago that analysts with the Royal Bank of Scotland urged their investors to ‘sell, sell, sell’ ahead of what they believe will be the next major market meltdown that will mirror, or be even more devastating, than the crash of 2008. As noted in the Guardian, RBS investors believe 2016 will be a ‘cataclysmic’ year, financially speaking.  […]

Merry Christmas – You’ve Been Compromised

In the World Wide Web there are bad actors who are targeting your business and your customers. With big names like Target, T-Mobile, and Hilton Hotels being put into the cross hairs of hackers, it’s clear that hyper vigilance is required in the field of cyber security. Heck, even the Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump, and his Trump hotel brand were shown to be vulnerable, being responsible for one of the largest data breaches of 2015.

Well, we recently were made aware of another major data breach that came to light on the night before Christmas. Hyatt Hotels identified malware that had infected their credit card processing software and immediately took action to rectify the breach while also sending out an emergency call to their customers to check their credit card bills closely over the coming months. Any unauthorized or unexpected charges should be reported to the credit card provider immediately. […]

Small Businesses Brace for Litigation

It’s a sad fact: a few bad apples can spoil the bunch. Unfortunately, too many small business owners in the northeast are now having to deal with the repercussions of a couple of bad actors in the credit card processing space.

Many small businesses don’t have the capital to invest in the purchase of state-of-the-art credit card readers. An option that many credit card processing companies offer is to lease the equipment rather than to purchase it. This allows the small business owner to accept credit and debit card payments, the payment method that is the most preferred by today’s consumer.

The Attorney General’s office for the state of Connecticut is investigating a couple of smaller firms based out of New Jersey who, it early appears, are charging many of their clients costs and fees far exceeding the agreed upon rate for leasing the equipment. Lease Finance Group and Northern Leasing Systems have been accused of extracting funds from the bank accounts of clients after promising monthly equipment leasing rates as low as $50. Once the equipment is in the establishment and accepting credit card payments, these two companies have taken extra hundreds and even thousands of dollars from the businesses they claimed they could save money.  […]

Take The Target Off Your Financial Back With EMV Chip + PIN

The largest competitor to Wal-Mart, Target Corporation, seems to have weathered the catastrophic data breach they experienced two years ago. But in a move announced this week, the retail giant has proven that they learned the lessons of the cyber attack that threatened to erode the trust their customers have with them.

Already a financial standard throughout much of the world, the EMV chip + PIN technology helps to ensure that a customer is who they say they are, significantly diminishing in-person credit card fraud while also vastly improving the protection of the cardholder’s personal data. Target Corporation announced their branded store credit cards will be reissued to all current cardholders under the MasterCard logo, and featuring the new microchip that all banks embraced as the new standard earlier this month. Target, however, is taking it a step further and will require their cardholders to select a PIN to be used in conjunction with their new chipped card.  […]

The Business World Prepares

What do these three things have in common: Skinny, Bean, and Credit/Debit Cards? We all know what it is to skinny dip. No Sunday afternoon watching football with friends would be complete without a bean dip. And, as of October 1, your business will need to accommodate customers who want to dip their credit/debit cards.

By now, as a business owner, you should definitely have heard about the new EMV (or chipped) credit and debit cards that are being issued by banks. Standing for Europay, MasterCard, and Visa, EMV cards were designed as a more secure payment method that will help to combat in-person credit card fraud, as well as protect banks and retailers from the all-too-common data breaches that have harmed consumers and reputations, alike. This is the first time in decades there has been a physical improvement upon the security of American credit and debit cards.  […]

Discover: The Card That Gives Satisfaction

With all of the different credit cards on the market, it can be hard to sift through them all to determine which is the best card for you. The perks offered by the multiple card providers can make the whole selection process confusing. If you want air mileage, go with this card. If you want to earn free gas, go with that card. If you want a percentage of your cash back, then this might be the card for you. But if you are looking to join the cardholders that find the perfect combination of perks and customer services, then Discover is, according to a recently published article on The Motley Fool, the card for you.

Discover Card overtook the major player in the credit card association market, American Express, who has long lauded that “Membership Has Its Priveleges.” However, in the latest J.D. Power Credit Card Satisfaction survey, Discover bested the premiere credit provider by scoring higher in each of the six categories considered in the survey. They are: […]

Polly Want A Prison Sentence?

An Oklahoma couple landed themselves in hot water when they used ill gotten credit card information to purchase a bird and pet care accessories from Birds, Etc. in the Oklahoma town of The Village. In all, Derrick and Mishia Clark rang up a bill of more than $1000 in their pursuit of procuring a pet bird. As reported by Oklahoma City’s KOCO Channel 5 News, the Clark’s were charged on Friday, August 14 with obtaining property under false pretenses.

When it was first believed the purchase was, indeed, fraudulent, the local police tracked the credit card information to its owner who claimed they had no knowledge of, nor had they granted permission for the purchase of the bird and assorted accessories. What may be the most surprising thing about this story is that who the owner of the card is just proves that no one is immune from having credit card fraud perpetrated against them.  […]

Which Credit Card Processing Company Is Right For Me?

As a small or mid-sized retail outfit, it can be difficult to sift through all of the credit card processing companies to find the one that suits your business. Unfortunately, too many retailers forego conducting their due diligence and sign up with the first credit card processing company they happen on in a search on Google or Yahoo.

The people over at Independent Retailer have put together an excellent primer on learning and understanding all of the credit card processing industry jargon in an article entitled “7 Things Retailers Need to Know About Credit Card Processing”, and Ignite Payments, a Fiserv® company couldn’t agree with them more.

They begin their list by explaining the different parties that play a role in credit card processing. A credit card association, for instance, is one of the major players like Visa, MasterCard, or American Express. Then there are the issuing banks (or credit unions) who provide cards to their members with the credit card association of choice’s logo. While there are many factors at play in processing credit card transactions, the piece touches on the role of a Merchant Account Provider.  […]

Paper or Plastic….or Virtual?

Over the last several years, the purchasing habits of consumers have been adapting to the multiple forms of payment that have come available. There was a time, (not so long ago), when we would ask our patrons if they wanted to pay with cash or charge. But the relationship with our money has evolved as more and newer options hit the market. Is your business ready to accommodate the multitudes of ways people choose to pay?

Credit and Debit Cards

Of course, using cash for purchases isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. But over the last several years, the increase in the number of credit and debit cards in consumer’s wallets has been drastic. Too many people have shifted away from using cash for almost every sales transaction. This increase is evidenced in the number of traditionally cash-based businesses, (taxi companies, vending machines, etc.), that have had to install card reading devices to meet the rise in use of plastic over paper money.  […]

Payment Systems

Payment systems have been around since the beginning of trade. Many people enjoy the benefits of a cash payment system. This may work great in person but there are many situations where it simply will not work. When this is the case, business owners will look for alternative options. Some of these options include secure […]