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QuickBooks for Nonprofits: Costs, Pros and Cons, Alternatives

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QuickBooks for Nonprofits, a line of accounting software for small to midsize nonprofit organizations, features nonprofit editions of QuickBooks products with donation tracking, bookkeeping, invoicing and other accounting functions. In addition, QuickBooks offers discounted products for nonprofits through TechSoup for both nonprofit and other editions of the software, a great deal for organizations with a tight budget. In this review, the term “QuickBooks for Nonprofits” will refer to nonprofit editions of QuickBooks Premier.

Compared to other accounting software for nonprofits, QuickBooks is simple, though it may initially take some time to learn. Nonprofits can choose to either use QuickBooks Premier Desktop (which comes in nonprofit editions) or QuickBooks Online, depending on their needs. QuickBooks Online makes it easy to give the volunteers who help with accounting functions access only to the QuickBooks features they need. And if you do need professional help with your accounting, it is easy to find an accountant who is familiar with QuickBooks products.

Deciding factors

Note: QuickBooks has adopted a subscription model for Premier products starting with QuickBooks Premier 2022. Pricing for QuickBooks Premier 2022 is not currently available through TechSoup. Pricing does not include any add-on features, such as payroll or applications.

QuickBooks Online Plus (5 users, 1-year subscription): $75 through TechSoup.

QuickBooks Online Advanced (25 users, 1-year subscription): $160 through TechSoup.

QuickBooks Premier 2021 (desktop, 1 user): $78 through TechSoup.

QuickBooks Premier 2021 (desktop, 3 users): $168 through TechSoup.

QuickBooks Enterprise Nonprofit (desktop, scales to up to 30 users): starting at $130/month through QuickBooks.

Maximum number of users

Varies by product.

Ease of sharing with accountants

Excellent. QuickBooks Online users can invite their accountants to access their QuickBooks information directly. QuickBooks Premier and Enterprise users can send an accountant’s copy or use a shared server to share data with their accountants.

Scalability

Excellent. Upgrades are available for each QuickBooks product, either directly or in the form of add-on applications.

Ease of use

Good. QuickBooks products require some training, but support is easy to find.

How does QuickBooks for Nonprofits work?

As with other QuickBooks products, QuickBooks for Nonprofits requires users to enter transactions using familiar-looking forms (invoices, bills, checks, etc.). The accounting happens in the background. It makes it easier for employees and volunteers who are not accountants to assist your nonprofit with some bookkeeping.

Overall, QuickBooks for Nonprofits really shines when it comes to fund accounting and reporting. Even though the nonprofit editions work in much the same way as other QuickBooks products, the back-end setup for nonprofits ensures your books are kept — and reporting is done — in compliance with best practices for nonprofit organizations. You can customize, save and automate the delivery of the reports your board of directors and donors need. And perhaps most importantly, it can help you organize the information you need each year to file your Form 990, the “return of organizations exempt from income tax” document that provides public financial information about the organization.

QuickBooks discounts for nonprofits

QuickBooks partnered with nonprofit tech marketplace TechSoup to offer discounted software and subscriptions to nonprofit organizations.

Of the options, the QuickBooks Online Plus options don’t come with a nonprofit edition but can be used for nonprofit work:

  • QuickBooks Online Plus (5 users, 1-year subscription): $75 through TechSoup.

  • QuickBooks Online Advanced (25 users, 1-year subscription): $160 through TechSoup.

The desktop versions do have nonprofit editions:

  • QuickBooks Premier 2021 (desktop, includes nonprofit edition, 1 user): $78 through TechSoup.

  • QuickBooks Premier 2021 (desktop, includes nonprofit edition, 3 users): $168 through TechSoup.

  • QuickBooks Enterprise Nonprofit (desktop, scales to up to 30 users): starting at $130 a month through QuickBooks.

It’s important to note that, starting with QuickBooks Premier Desktop 2022, Intuit has adopted a subscription-based model. A discounted subscription for QuickBooks Premier is not yet available through TechSoup. Suppose your nonprofit needs features beyond basic accounting — including payroll, customer support and data backups — and you want to use a desktop version of QuickBooks. In that case, your pricing will be as follows:

QuickBooks Premier Plus (annual subscription; nonprofit version available)

  • One user: $549.99.

  • Two users: $849.99.

  • Three users: $1,149.99.

  • Four users: $1,449.99.

  • Five users: $1,749.99.

QuickBooks Enterprise Nonprofit

  • Starts at $130 a month.

QuickBooks Enterprise Nonprofit is a robust platform suitable for larger nonprofit organizations. Small to midsize nonprofits will be best served by QuickBooks Premier, QuickBooks Premier Plus or one of the QuickBooks Online options.

Benefits of QuickBooks for Nonprofits

Easy to find support

Most professional accountants and bookkeepers — and many business owners — are familiar with QuickBooks products. So whether you need an accountant’s help or want to enlist the support of your volunteer team for bookkeeping, you likely will be able to find people who can support you.

Scalability

It’s easy to start with a smaller QuickBooks product (like QuickBooks Premier) and convert to a more robust product (like QuickBooks Enterprise Nonprofit) as your nonprofit grows. This helps you better budget your nonprofit’s technology dollars. You can also customize your nonprofit’s accounting and fundraising functions using the various add-on applications available.

Drawbacks of QuickBooks for Nonprofits

Price

The biggest drawback of using QuickBooks for Nonprofits is the price. If your nonprofit’s accounting needs are basic, the discounts available through TechSoup can offset much of the cost. If, however, you need more than what’s available through TechSoup, you could easily spend much more for QuickBooks than for other nonprofit accounting software.

Alternatives to QuickBooks for Nonprofits

For small organizations: Aplos Accounting

Unlike QuickBooks, Aplos was explicitly designed for nonprofits. As a result, it is especially suited for churches and small nonprofit organizations.

Aplos includes:

  • Fund accounting functionality.

  • The ability to accept donations online.

  • Donor management.

  • Email marketing.

The price for Aplos is perfect for nonprofits, too. Pricing ranges from $59 to $79 a month for most users. Customization starts at $179 a month if you need advanced accounting solutions.

For large organizations: Blackbaud Financial Edge

Blackbaud is the gold standard for nonprofit accounting and management. Its module-based system lets you choose the right solutions for your nonprofit organization.

Financial Edge by Blackbaud is a cloud-based fund accounting solution. Like all of Blackbaud’s products, it was designed specifically for nonprofits.

Financial Edge provides all the features you would expect from enterprise-level software, plus some:

  • Fully compliant fund accounting.

  • Financial planning and analysis, including budgeting and reporting compliant with the Financial Accounting Standards Board.

  • Grant accounting and administration.

  • When paired with Raiser’s Edge, Blackbaud’s donor management solution, you have fully functioning enterprise resource planning for your nonprofit.

As you might expect of a software company with customizable products, Blackbaud does not publish its pricing. Instead, it provides a custom demo and quote based on your nonprofit’s needs.

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13 Best Credit Card Readers for Small Businesses

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A credit card reader is essential to many small businesses, and choosing the right card reader can help your company operate more smoothly.

The best choice depends on your budget, features needed and whether you’re accepting payments at a counter or on the go. Some card readers — such as those that work with iPhones — are portable, while others are attached to a countertop register. A basic card reader without a screen is the cheapest option, and sometimes free. A comprehensive POS system, on the other hand, comes with sophisticated features and can cost over a thousand dollars.

Below is a list of the best credit card readers for small businesses and what they can do for your business.

Quick comparison: Take a quick side-by-side look at our top picks in this table.

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Square Contactless and Chip reader

Best free option with basic functions

A man holds the contactless and chip reader by Square while running a credit card

Image courtesy of Square

Style: Connects to compatible phone or tablet via Bluetooth.
Price: $49 for reader and $29 for optional dock.
Fees: 2.6% plus 10 cents for most in-person transactions; no monthly fees.

Square’s contactless and chip card reader enables you to accept credit cards with chips and digital wallets, such as tap-and-pay credit cards and smartphone apps, including Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay. It uses Bluetooth technology instead of connecting directly to a device, which means you don’t have to keep your cell phone or tablet out with you all the time.

The reader must be charged, but the charging dock can double as a support for the reader for a counter or table. You can also charge it with a USB charger.

   

Has a compact design.

Doesn’t swipe credit cards.

Reads chip cards, digital wallets and contactless cards.

Takes up to two hours to charge.

 

Best for on-the-go payments for all card types

A white square Clover Go card reader

Courtesy of Clover

Style: Connects to compatible phone or tablet via Bluetooth.
Price: $99 for reader.
Fees: Varies from 2.3% plus 10 cents up to 3.5% plus 10 cents depending on method.

This credit card reader by Clover works with phones and tablets via Bluetooth. It also processes every type of credit card payment your customers could want: magstripe-only cards, chip cards and contactless payments. It costs $99 and requires users to purchase a monthly plan.

Features depend on the plan you choose. The Essentials Plan for $9.95 per month provides basic payment processing, inventory management, taxes, reporting and employee management with 24/7 support.

   

Includes interest-free installment plans.

Takes about 2 hours and 20 minutes to charge.

Charges via standard USB charger.

Requires a monthly fee for advanced POS features.

Uses passcodes for employees.

 

PayPal Zettle

The PayPal Zettle card reader sits on a coffee shop counter

Image courtesy of PayPal

Best for PayPal and Venmo payment options

Style: Connects to compatible phone or tablet via Bluetooth.
Price: $79 for reader; new customers can get their first one for $29.
Fees: Varies by method, starting at 1.9% plus 10 cents for PayPal and Venmo QR code transactions over $10.

PayPal’s Zettle accepts chip and contactless payments, but it doesn’t read magstripes. It does, however, let customers pay with QR codes on PayPal and Venmo platforms. Its POS software offers invoice creation, inventory management, tracking sales performance and more.

Transaction fees generally fall in line with competitors with lower rates available for transactions made by QR code. All funds go into your PayPal account rather than a bank account. You’ll need to request a transfer to move the funds to your business bank account before you can use them outside of PayPal.

   

Has lower rates for PayPal and Venmo platforms.

Deposits funds into your PayPal account, not a bank account.

Includes new customer discount for first reader purchase.

 

Has a screen to show transaction details.

 
 

SumUp Plus

A customer holds a credit card up to the SumUp Plus reader

Image courtesy of SumUp

Best for a low-cost do-it-all reader 

Style: Connects to compatible phone or tablet via Bluetooth.
Price: $19 for reader.
Fees: Varies from 2.75% and up depending on method.

Powerful and compact, the SumUp Plus credit card reader works through Bluetooth with Apple and Android devices and promises more than 500 transactions on one charge. In addition to having a screen to show transaction details, the reader comes with a few helpful POS software features, like inventory management and permissions for employee access, as well as customizable invoicing. However, you might find that the overall POS is lacking when compared with the more robust options on the market.

SumUp charges only for transactions and doesn’t require a monthly fee. You can order the reader for $19 and start accepting card transactions in a matter of minutes once it’s connected to the SumUp app.

   

Accepts swiped, inserted and contactless payments.

Has less robust POS software features.

Has a screen that displays transaction details.

 
 

Clover Flex

A hand holds a white Clover Flex credit card reader

Image courtesy of Clover

Best for an all-in-one handheld system

Style: Standalone handheld reader.
Price: $499 for reader; monthly contract required.
Fees: Varies from 2.3% plus 10 cents up to 3.5% plus 10 cents depending on monthly plan.

The Clover Flex is a small but powerful handheld credit card reader. It can process all three credit card payment types, scan bar codes and even print receipts. It’s one of the few options in this category that has its own screen, removing your personal device from the equation and allowing customers a bit more of a professional experience when checking out on the spot.

Depending on your monthly plan, the Clover Flex can help you manage inventory, view sales data and set up individual logins for employees. It costs $499, but the company offers payment plans to break up the cost. Payment processing rates depend on your pricing plan.

   

Works without connecting to a personal device.

Requires an initial investment.

Has payment plans available.

Requires monthly plan for advanced features.

Has a free monthly plan for basic features.

 
 

Helcim Card Reader

Best for low-cost transaction fees with volume-based discounts

Style: Connects via Bluetooth.
Price: $109 for the reader.
Fees: Varies by card type and monthly average transaction total.

Helcim’s card reader processes all three types of payments and connects via Bluetooth, meaning it needs to be charged. It also provides POS software with well-developed features, including customer management and inventory tracking that notifies you when your supply gets low. A standout feature is its self-service portal, which allows customers to log in to see their payment information and purchase history.

Helcim’s processing fees can be difficult to calculate because it bases its fees on the type of card and interchange fees, which are set by card networks. It also offers volume-based discounts based on transaction tiers. The more you average in transactions per month, the higher your discount. The processor doesn’t require you to sign a contract, choose a monthly fee or pay to cancel your service.

   

Has volume discounts available.

Might change processing rate if monthly transaction average drops.

Has robust POS software features.

Might be difficult to calculate monthly cost in advance.

 

Toast Go 2

The handheld Toast Go 2 swiping a credit card.

Image courtesy of Toast

Best for tableside payments at restaurants

Style: Standalone handheld reader.
Price: $389 plus $50 per month.
Fees: Typically quote-based; lowest listed price is 2.49% plus 15 cents per in-person transaction in Standard Starter plan.

The Toast Go 2 allows you to submit orders at tables and accept all three styles of payment. It’s also spill proof, will hold a charge for 24 hours and has a 6.4-inch touchscreen for quick checkout. The free version of Toast’s POS software comes with basic features, including point-of-sale and payment processing, but advanced features are available with paid plans.

The free pay-as-you-go monthly plan with basic features has a processing rate of 2.99% plus 15 cents for every in-person transaction. That rate drops to 2.49% plus 15 cents if you pay for your hardware upfront. Other plans come with quote-based pricing. One downside: The company requires contracts with a standard term of two years.

   

Is designed specifically for restaurants.

Requires quotes for advanced monthly plans.

Offers 24/7 customer support.

Requires a contract.

Is versatile and durable.

 
 

Square Terminal

A woman inserts a credit card into the Square terminal

Image courtesy of Square

Best compact countertop reader

Style: Standalone countertop reader.
Price: $299 for the reader.
Fees: Varies from 2.6% plus 10 cents up to 3.5% plus 15 cents depending on method; no monthly fees.

Square Terminal allows you to accept all three methods of credit card payments: chip, contactless and magstripe. And priced at $299, it comes in on the lower end of the all-inclusive card readers.

The company’s standard flat-rate processing fees apply and depend on whether you run the card in person or enter it manually. There’s no monthly contract.

   

Doesn’t require a separate device.

Can take over four hours to charge.

Shows transaction details.

 

Is compact and easy to use.

 
 

Square Stand

A customer signs on a Square Stand card reader in a bike shop

Image courtesy of Square

Best iPad-compatible register

Style: Register that connects to compatible iPad.
Price: $169 for the reader.
Fees: Varies from 2.6% plus 10 cents up to 3.5% plus 15 cents depending on method; no monthly fees.

The Square Stand is designed specifically for a single smart device: the iPad. Snap an iPad into the Square Stand, and use it as a desktop point-of-sale. The configuration allows you to provide a larger screen for transaction details, and the swivel feature allows customers to sign on the iPad without having to pass the device around. It can process magstripe, chip and contactless payments and connect with a receipt printer. However, it works only with certain iPad models.

The company’s standard fees of 2.6% plus 10 cents apply for credit cards and can raise up to 3.5% plus 15 cents for methods outside a swipe, chip or contactless payment.

   

Swivels for customers to use.

Only works with certain iPad models.

Can be mounted to a countertop.

 
 

Clover Mini

A Clover Mini card reader

Image courtesy of Clover

Best all-in-one register

Style: Standalone countertop register.
Price: $749.
Fees: Varies from 2.3% plus 10 cents up to 3.5% plus 10 cents, depending on monthly plan.

The Clover Mini is a countertop setup that doesn’t require a tablet. It allows your business to accept all types of payments, print receipts and scan barcodes. You also get some nifty POS features, including inventory, customer and employee management functions with paid monthly plans.

This product is $749. Payment processing rates depend on your Clover pricing plan.

   

Can be mounted to a countertop.

Requires paid monthly plan for advanced features.

Works without an iPad.

 

Has free monthly plan available.

 

Has payment plans available.

 

Clover Station Solo

A Clover Station with a screen faces the reader with a chip reader beside it

Image courtesy of Clover

Best full register with a single screen

Style: Standalone countertop register.
Price: $1,349.
Fees: Varies from 2.3% plus 10 cents up to 3.5% plus 10 cents, depending on monthly plan.

The Clover Station Solo is a register-style system that offers merchants a 14-inch high-definition screen and a receipt printer for the full checkout experience. The system works with Clover’s POS for retail, offering payment processing, inventory and staff management, reporting and more. For restaurants, the Station Solo fits nicely with customizing and tracking orders, managing table mapping and much more for streamlined service.

   

Has fingerprint login.

Requires one of the larger upfront investments.

Uses fast processing speeds.

Doesn’t have a free monthly plan option.

Has robust POS software options.

 
 

Square Register

A customer pays with their cell phone on the Square Register in a bakery

Image courtesy of Square

Best full register setup with a customer-facing screen

Style: Standalone countertop register.
Price: $799 for reader.
Fees: Varies from 2.6% plus 10 cents up to 3.5% plus 15 cents depending on method; no monthly fees.

The Square Register is the first fully integrated credit card scanner system from Square and is a complete countertop POS system that can accept magstripe, chip card and contactless forms of payment. It boasts two screens — one for the employee and one for the customer to show transaction details — for a seamless experience. It also offers an extra-long cable that allows businesses to separate the Register and customer’s screen to encourage social distancing. Its software provides merchants inventory, employee and customer relationship management functions, plus a reporting suite where you can view sales data.

This small-business credit card reader option will cost your business $799, but there are payment plan options available. It processes transactions at the standard Square rates.

   

Has two screens.

Must be plugged in at all times.

Can be mounted to a countertop.

 

Has advanced apps and software options.

 

Clover Station Duo

Clover's Station Duo with a screen on top of a cash drawer, a receipt printer beside it and a customer screen facing the reader.

Image courtesy of Clover

Best system for full checkout experience

Style: Standalone countertop register with dual screens.
Price: $1,649.
Fees: Varies from 2.3% plus 10 cents up to 3.5% plus 10 cents, depending on monthly plan.

The Clover Station Duo ups the game with a combination of a 14-inch screen for you and a 7-inch screen for your customers. This makes it easier for customers to confirm orders and pay however they want — credit card, debit card, and contactless payment methods. Designed for retail and restaurant environments, the Station Duo offers the same features of the Station Solo with more power.

While this option tops the list for the most expensive system, the Station Duo is currently sold with a cash drawer and a receipt printer, giving you the gamut of checkout features.

   

Has fingerprint login.

Requires one of the larger upfront investments.

Uses fast processing speeds.

Doesn’t have a free monthly plan option.

Has robust POS software options.

 

Has two screens.

 
 

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Credit card readers comparison table

     

Payments accepted

 

Additional device required

Square Contactless & Chip Reader

Bluetooth.

$49 (reader); $29 (dock).

Chip and contactless.

2.6% plus 10 cents and up.

Compatible smartphone or tablet.

 

Bluetooth.

 

Chip, contactless and magstripe.

2.3% plus 10 cents and up.

Compatible smartphone or tablet.

PayPal Zettle

Bluetooth.

 

Chip and contactless.

1.9% plus 10 cents and up.

Compatible smartphone or tablet.

SumUp Plus

Bluetooth.

 

Chip, contactless and magstripe.

2.75% and up.

Compatible smartphone or tablet.

Clover Flex

   

Chip, contactless and magstripe.

2.3% plus 10 cents and up.

 

Helcim Card Reader

Bluetooth.

 

Chip, contactless and magstripe.

Varies by card type and monthly transaction average.

Compatible smartphone or tablet.

Toast Go 2

   

Chip, contactless and magstripe.

2.49% plus 15 cents and up.

 

Square Terminal

   

Chip, contactless and magstripe.

2.6% plus 10 cents and up.

 

Square Stand

   

Chip, contactless and magstripe.

2.6% plus 10 cents and up.

Compatible iPad.

Clover Mini

   

Chip, contactless and magstripe.

2.3% plus 10 cents and up.

 

Clover Station Solo

   

Chip, contactless and magstripe.

2.3% plus 10 cents and up.

 

Square Register

   

Chip, contactless and magstripe.

2.6% plus 10 cents and up.

 

Clover Station Duo

   

Chip, contactless and mapstripe.

2.3% plus 10 cents and up.

 
 

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Why Do Payment Processors Freeze Accounts?

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When a payment processor freezes your account, everything stops: You can no longer process credit cards and or access settlement funds until the freeze is resolved. These disruptive freezes can be triggered by transaction patterns that appear suspicious, such as higher-than-average transaction amounts or frequent chargebacks. You can typically get these freezes resolved by providing any information your processor requests — but you’ll also want to figure out what went wrong so you can avoid ending up in the same situation again.

Here’s what to know about frozen accounts, what can trigger freezes and how to avoid them in the future.

Payment processors’ responsibilities

Payment processors must comply with credit card network operating regulations and federal law, which put them on the hook for certain unauthorized charges on stolen credit cards, money laundering schemes and other types of fraud. Allowing fraudulent transactions to go through can result in violations and fines for processors.

“We don’t have any flexibility on what we are required to uphold,” says Angie Dobbs, vice president of risk and fraud with Wave, a payment processing company. “Sometimes if we detect something that’s off, it’s actually our requirement to protect our business, to protect our customers and to meet the regulations that are set forth by U.S. and Canadian regulatory bodies, the banks and networks.”

A frozen account doesn’t mean the processor has determined you’re at fault; they’re just pausing transactions to investigate what’s going on.

“We know how scary it is when we have to reach out and say we’re holding your funds until we feel that it’s safe to proceed,” Dobbs says. “It’s a really difficult conversation to have.”

What payment processors are looking for

Customer fraud

Customer fraud can occur at various stages of the payment process. A few examples of how consumers defraud merchants include:

  • Using stolen credit card information to make a purchase.

  • Testing a list of stolen credit card numbers on a merchant’s website to see which are approved and still usable, costing the merchant money in processing fees.

  • Requiring a merchant to open an account with a specific payment processor to process a large amount on what turns out to be a stolen credit card.

Merchant fraud

Merchant fraud occurs when fraudsters open payment processing accounts with the intention to process illegal transactions or violate processor agreements. This can happen when a merchant:

  • Sets up an account under a stolen identity to avoid being identified.

  • Sets up illegitimate storefronts to accept payments but never fulfill orders.

  • Opens a payment processing account for a low-risk business while actually running a high-risk business.

Because some merchants are able to create accounts with fraudulent information and get through the onboarding process, payment processors continue to monitor activity after approval for any red flags that pop up when transactions are being processed. Each new transaction provides new data for them to analyze for potentially fraudulent behavior, says Dobbs.

This is why you might make it through the onboarding process and be approved for an account but be flagged for investigation after you begin accepting transactions. It’s not that the payment processor changed its mind about your approval — it’s more likely that something about those first transactions flagged its system and it wants to ensure no one, you included, is being scammed.

Why your business might have its account frozen

Your activity resembles that of a fake merchant

Merchant fraud occurs when a fraudster opens a merchant account using a fake identity. Because they’ve already developed credit with the identity and are able to answer all of the payment processor’s verification questions, a processor assumes the merchant is legitimate. However, fraudsters can use these merchant accounts to process stolen credit card numbers and run transactions that don’t fit the business model they were approved to operate.

Your transaction amounts are too high

Payment processors expect businesses to process transactions within certain price ranges, depending on the industry or types of products a business is selling. If a business begins processing transactions that are higher than that of the average business within the given industry, this can be a sign of a business either selling a different product than it originally applied to sell or processing stolen payment methods.

Your transaction details aren’t adding up

Processors are constantly looking for activity that doesn’t fit the template of an average consumer. For example, if you’re processing transactions on multiple credit cards with the same physical address, there’s a high chance that the credit cards are stolen. The payment processor might freeze your account while it investigates the charges to determine if they are legitimate and to ensure that you aren’t involved in fraudulent activity.

You’re getting a lot of chargebacks

A business that is constantly getting chargebacks is a liability for payment processors. Because consumers can request a chargeback as much as 60 days after a transaction — and up to 120 days in some cases — processors see frequent chargebacks as a signal that something isn’t quite right and want to hit pause on transactions until they can figure out why a company is having so much trouble.

How to avoid having your account frozen

While small businesses can’t avoid fraud altogether, they can implement practices and take steps to ensure they are on the same page as their payment processors to minimize the risk of having their accounts frozen.

Make your e-commerce checkout more secure

If possible, use any fraud tools that are available through the e-commerce platforms you already pay for, such as having a code texted to a cell phone or a temporary password sent to an email address, says Kimberly Sutherland, vice president of fraud and identity strategy at LexisNexis Risk Solutions, a technology company that focuses on reducing risk. “Being able to link that transaction back to a user is the way that a lot of businesses try to reduce some of that risk,” she says.

Don’t process a transaction larger than your limit

If your processor places a limit on how much you can process in one transaction, don’t try to process a larger amount. If your business will be regularly processing more than your transaction limit, talk with your processor about increasing your limit.

Notify your processor in advance of large transactions

Letting your payment processor know in advance that you’ll be processing a transaction that’s larger than your usual amount gives it time to ask questions and verify information. By being proactive, you lessen the chance that your processor is going to flag your account for suspicious activity, says Dobbs.

Try to spot potential fraud before accepting payments

Some fraudulent customers will try to get away with multiple purchases if they can. Look for red flags before you accept payments. “Are you seeing the same device come across with multiple payment instruments or the same address is being used across multiple payment types?” asks Sutherland. “Being able to really pay more attention to the frequency of that identity appearing or aspects of that identity appearing is a really effective approach.”

Reduce chargebacks

You can’t avoid all chargebacks because some of them might be legitimate, like when a customer’s credit card number has been stolen and used at your business. But minimizing the frequency of chargebacks can potentially avoid a sudden freeze on your account. You can reduce chargebacks by offering return policies, responsive customer support and clear information about when items are shipped and delivered.

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How Small Businesses Can Benefit From Automation

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Small businesses need to take advantage of every edge they can get. Most do not have a labor force or resources that can compete with their competitors. This is where automation can come in to help many small business owners.

With modern automation systems, you can take a lot of tasks off your workload or off the schedule of your employees. This will allow you and your employees to focus on the critical work that requires the attention of a human.

photo credit: Mikhail Nilov / Pexels

Many small business owners are reluctant to work with automation solutions. They think automation is only for big corporations with a lot of money. While that may have been true in the past, there are affordable automation solutions for small businesses.

For those who may be wondering if they should start automating processes at their businesses, the following are some of the benefits of automation.

Reduce Costs

You have many business processes that do not require the attention of a human. These tasks tend to be tedious and necessary, but they usually do not generate value. In many cases, business owners need to hire employees just to do these tasks.

With the right automation software, you can save on the labor costs that go into this type of work. That means either you could cut the hours of the employees who do this work, or you could shift their focus to matters that may offer more value to the business.

Improve Customer Relations

Small businesses can do a lot to improve the customer experience with automation. Automation can be deployed to help customers as they use your products or services. It can also work as a tool to help your business serve customers better. One example is automating parts of the customer support experience.

Developing a chatbot to handle simple customer inquiries can be a way to make the experience better. With a chatbot handling many of the requests, customers can get support without having to wait, and your human support professionals will be able to focus on the issues that are too complicated for the bots.

Increase Productivity

Automation solutions excel at taking on simple, repetitive tasks. These tasks might need to be done, but they take time. When you can automate these tasks, your employees won’t have to do them, and it will make your team more productive.

Tasks involved in billing and invoicing are a good example. Many of these processes can be automated so salespeople don’t have to do them. This can give salespeople more time to focus on the parts of the job that are vital to selling.

Marketing team using marketing automation platform

Enhanced Marketing

Marketing automation can do a lot to help small businesses. There is a lot you can do to automate tasks and connect with customers with modern online marketing.

One example is email marketing. You can now automate emails that get sent to customers in response to different events. If they put a product in their online shopping cart but don’t make a purchase, you can automate emails to remind them of the product. You can also automate much of your social media activity to raise awareness and engage with customers.

Fewer Errors

While many of these tasks are simple, they are also tasks that tend to have high error rates. When people perform simple tasks for long enough, it is easy to make small mistakes.

One example is data entry. A small mistake can make a big difference in the dataset. Even once you know it is there, finding the mistake will be time-consuming. With automation software doing the work, most of these mistakes can be eliminated. This will ensure the work is done accurately, and it can save the costs that may come with some mistakes.

Make Better Decisions

Some advanced automation systems can help small businesses make better decisions. With business intelligence solutions that use AI and machine learning, you can get automated insights from your data.

Many of these systems can even automate the process of creating reports and visualizations. This can be valuable because small businesses can use these analytics solutions to inform their decisions without investing as much in an entire data analytics department.

Businessman is using workflow automation solution for running his service business

Improved Workflows

Automation can also be used to keep the work moving smoothly. Many workflows have small steps that need to be taken for a process to be completed. These small steps can take time, or they might get overlooked.

Automation systems can work to take on some of these smaller tasks to keep the workflow moving. If the task is too complex for automation, a system could be programmed to monitor the workflow. If a step is missing or it appears someone forgot to do something, the system could automate reminders to keep the processes moving.

Automation can be beneficial to a variety of small businesses. With that said, you have many options for automation software. Business owners should take the time to learn about their options. You might need to work with software consulting services to find the right solutions.

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