Category Archives: Getting Paid

The End of Credit Card Signatures

What Does It Mean for Your Small Business?

By Andrey Bobrovskiy, smallbizdaily.com

Have you noticed something different about your in-store transactions recently? If so, that’s likely because the end of the signature requirement announced by Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover is finally coming into effect. Although it affects just one step in the payment process, it means a lot more for your small business in the long run.

It Makes Checkouts More Convenient

The payment card industry has been moving toward simplicity and convenience for years. Customers want seamless and secure methods of paying for goods and services, while merchants seek reliable and flexible ways to process these payments across a variety of channels. This paved the way to innovative forms of payments, including those using near-field communication and virtual reality.

However, convenience isn’t always about adding new features. Oftentimes less is more, and this happens to be the case with credit card signatures. By now, they’ve simply outlived their usefulness, a fact supported by Mastercard’s revelation that it already didn’t require signatures for 80 percent of its transactions even before the changes went into effect.

Removing this small extra step from the transaction process will have a large impact on both sides of the checkout counter. As a merchant, you’ll get to keep the line moving, and quicker, while your customers will face less friction at an important point in their in-store experience.

Fewer steps to complete during the checkout may also mean fewer technical difficulties capable of preventing the payment from going through. This could prove to be one of the biggest advantages, especially during the busy holiday season later this year.

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The #1 reason small businesses fail… and how to avoid it.

Cash flow.

Mention those two little words to almost any small business owner, and you’ll see them flinch.

Very few business terms get as cool a response. And sadly, those two little words (both of them four-letter words, interestingly enough), are the #1 reason small businesses fail. They take out more small businesses than any other factor.

In fact, 82% of small businesses fail due to cash flow problemsContinue reading

SCORE Tip of the Week: Use these invoice tips to get paid faster.

by SCORE’s CEO, Kenneth R. Yancey

More companies are paying slower these days—which can mean big problems for small businesses that rely on timely payments to keep their cash flow healthy. Using a few simple tactics when creating and sending invoices can keep your business in the black.

Include the relevant information in your invoices. Frequently, payment is delayed because one piece of information is missing. In general, include your business name, the invoice date, the date payment is due, your business’s Tax ID number or Employer ID number, a P.O. number (if required by the client), a description of the product or services sold with itemized costs, and the total amount due. If any special discounts were discussed, include the terms.

Keep it simple. Invoices that look too “busy” are hard to read, which can cause errors. Use a plain, white background. Consider highlighting one or two key pieces of information – such as the total and due date—with bold or colored type.

Offer payment options. The more alternatives you provide for payment, the better your chances of getting paid quickly. Specify how you accept payments, such as by check, credit card or PayPal.

Invoice immediately. Send the invoice along with the shipped product or as soon as you deliver the service. It’s hard to believe, but some small businesses actually forget to invoice customers! Set up a system that triggers an invoice on the completion of the job.

Get personal. Before you start the work, know the specific person you will invoice, including their email, phone number and mailing address. Otherwise, your invoice might sit unpaid on the wrong person’s desk or in the wrong email inbox. (If you email invoices, use a “read receipt” that notifies you when the person reads the email.)

Try e-billing. Tired of hearing that “the check’s in the mail”? Your bank can set you up with e-billing options, which not only save paper and postage, but also save time.