We have seen and reported on a few actions that have been occurring over the last year in terms of the pressures on banks and payment processors. Recently, Chase has closed several checking accounts for people associated with the adult industry. The outcry has resulted in a very prestigious publication taking notice. The American Banker article that addresses this recent phenomenon is an excellent read that brings up several important points and followup questions for the reader.
Banking seemed to be a service that every legal business, and US citizen was entitled to but with the recent activity it is now evident that this is not the case. The banking system, which is regulated by the US government, can discriminate against who it offers it’s services to.
To read the full article you can go here.
By Melody Lashmar Operation Choke Point and increased pressure by bank regulators on Financial Institutions to identify and eliminate merchant fraud has certainly increased the monitoring efforts by banks regarding their payment services. Under Operation Choke Point, Financial Institutions, ISOs and IPSPs are being held liable and accountable for their merchants’ fraudulent activities.
The FTC has communicated that Financial Institutions and payment processors know or should have known about any deceptive acts or practices of their merchants. They lean on the assumption that Continue reading
By Melody Lashmar Bitcoin has certainly been an interesting phenomenon to watch over the last few weeks. We’ve had bankruptcies, suicides, arrests, thefts, marketing, adoption by retailers, potential identification of the creator and discussions at all levels of government. It seems this recent interval has contained all the makings of a good mini-series.
By Melody Lashmar The phrase “Operation Choke Point” conjures up many images and is representative of the spirit in which the authorities are using their power to target the providers within the payment industry.
Operation Choke Point is, in fact, the name that the authorities have given their combined efforts in stopping bad merchants by removing the payment processors that these merchants are using. I think that we can all agree that stopping bad merchants is a worthy endeavor, but the way in which it is being executed is causing unnecessary and unfair collateral damage to other merchants, consumers and payment processors.
Their “choke point” focus is akin to stopping illegal marijuana grow houses by Continue reading
By Melody Lashmar The Ivory Tower of Officialdom is at it again. They have spent time and resources on developing ways to reduce fraud in their network and they now want people’s opinions on their solution.
The current proposed solution is…. wait for it…. to do more of the same! Wow, what a brilliant idea; an absolutely stunning example of understanding the issues that exist and creating a solution which addresses those issues and, thus, reduces fraudulent payments.
Fraud is being measured based on Continue reading
By Melody Lashmar
Have you ever stood at a checkout line, swiped your card of choice and then were told that it had failed? When that happens, what is your next move? Many of us will Continue reading
By Melody Lashmar
Do you ever wonder why your underwriting experience can be so different when working towards the same goal with two different financial partners?
When you are looking for banking or merchant services you assume that you are going to be faced with nearly the same requirements from financial partner to financial partner. After all, the banks are heavily regulated and their exams are all based off of the same requirements.
But you and I know that consistency of requirements is not the case. As a merchant seeking processing, you will be asked for different underwriting documents, be given different reserve requirements, be charged different fees, be allowed different capabilities and be given different requirements for your offering to be “compliant”.
So what is it that makes bank requests and their outcomes so different for the same account?
There are a lot of factors that drive this diversity. The leading factor is Continue reading
By Melody Lashmar There are many things affecting an online merchant’s ability to stay afloat in the competitive Internet marketplace. A downturn in the economy, business rivals with a similar product on the market and dwindling consumer confidence can all take a toll on your profits. In addition to these factors is the very real threat of e-commerce fraud, one of which is deceptive chargebacks.
One example of a chargeback situation that had devastating consequences is a travel company that recently closed its doors. Several customers who paid for their tickets online by credit card then turned around and contacted their card issuers to initiate a chargeback because they weren’t able to take the trip they paid for. If you think you wouldn’t be held liable for this type of chargeback, think again. If the transaction is charged back for any reason, including fraud, the merchant has to pay for the chargeback. Even if the situation is resolved in the seller’s favor, and they’re able to recoup the cost of the stolen merchandise or services, chargeback fees can add up.
It isn’t just veteran scam artists who are engaging in e-commerce fraud. Hard economic times might cause the average customer to “steal” products from an online retailer by saying he or she never received the product that was ordered. For example, a well-meaning consumer may have made a large online purchase for a flat screen television, but then found himself out of work the next day, so he may claim the television was never received. These types of scenarios can be frustrating for hard-working merchants who are trying to develop a loyal customer base and boost their bottom line.
In the ever-evolving world of online fraud, there are very strict time frames that are imposed on a merchant to contest a chargeback. If the merchant does not reply in the required time period, the chargeback cannot be contested and the merchant has to pay the chargeback regardless of whether a merchant has proof that the merchandise was delivered. This translates to emboldened consumers who make “friendly” chargebacks, believing they have little to risk. In some cases, card issuers are not aggressive in pursuing their customers for fraud.
As a business owner, you need to be proactive about chargeback abuse to stop scam artists in their tracks. One way to be diligent is by analyzing sales records. This can help you identify customers who charge back items on a regular basis and give you the opportunity to decide whether you want to continue doing business with them. Also, there is information available online that helps you determine which zip codes are notorious for online theft, so you can remain on high alert when a buyer asks you to ship to that area.