Covington Partners: Mentoring ONE Student, Changing TWO Lives

August 23, 2017

OMEGA MVP Making a Difference for Years to Come

Covington Partners Summer Program 2

“Children are apt to live up to what you believe of them.” – Lady Bird Johnson

We’ve heard it said time after time–children are the future. But have you stopped to wonder just what we are doing to ensure that their (and our) future is bright? For one Covington, Kentucky organization, they’ve made the success of the local children and teens a priority from day one.

In 1999, the Covington community recognized that youth substance abuse and violence were becoming a problem that the schools could not address alone. At that time, Dr. Janice Wilkerson formed a cross-sector coalition to address these topics and Covington Partners in Prevention opened its’ doors.

Their Vision: Covington Partners envisions a future in which all Covington children realize the promise of their full potential.

It didn’t take long for the community to see the benefit of this work, lending more and more support from not just Covington, but the whole Northern Kentucky area. From businesses to schools, law enforcement entities and healthcare professionals, it was clear the success of the youth plays a direct role in the success of the region.

By 2001, Covington Partners in Prevention began a variety of mentoring programs, promoting mental and physical health, family strengthening, and staff training and support. In 2004, the organization became a registered 501 (c) 3 organization and by 2008, their name was officially changed to simply and inclusively, Covington Partners.

“While many youth serving organizations specialize in one activity or program areal, Covington Partners supports the whole child,” said Tom Haggard, Resource Development Coordinator at Covington Partners. “We know our students can achieve anything but they sometimes have barriers standing in their way. Our job is to help remove those barriers through programs designed to support academic achievement, youth development and family and community engagement.”

Covington Partners

Covington Partners programs includes before school, after school and summer learning out-of-school time programs, their one-on-one mentoring programs, a number of wellness initiatives and family engagement activities, and the Leadership and Resiliency Program (LRP).

Mentoring

If you think Covington Partners will simply change the lives of the children, think again. In fact, the tagline of their mentoring program is ‘mentor ONE student, change TWO lives’. Whether it’s playing a game, filling out college applications, lending some advice or simply sharing a laugh, it’s easy to see the positive impact each mentor has with their student—but that impact goes both ways. “Any adult who has been through our mentoring program will tell you that they learn just as much, if not more than the student,” Tom said. “Lasting relationships are built, each unique and special in its own way.”

These relationships are highly impactful on students’ school attendance, behavior, and academic achievement.

Prevention

Another incredibly successful program Covington Partners offers is their Leadership and Resilience Program (LRP). LRP is an intensive substance abuse prevention program designed for ‘at risk’ adolescents and teens. The program consists of resiliency groups, community volunteer experiences, and adventure learning and focuses on three main areas: goal setting, positive coping skills, and healthy relationships. LRP works with short term goals, such as reduced school behavioral incidents, as well as long term goals like reduced substance usage and high school graduation/college enrollment or employment.

The success is all in the numbers. With a 95.6% retention rate, 100% of LRP participants have graduated or are on track to graduate high school. Even more, 99.2% of LRP Seniors have enrolled in a post-secondary institution or the military.

For Tom Haggard, there’s one moment each year he holds especially close—Graduation Day. “You watch student after student walk across that stage to get their diploma and know that the work we do each day has touched their life. The work that we do matters.”

Covington Partners Mission: Covington Partners works every day to keep our community moving forward by eliminating boundaries to learning and success. Through innovation and collaboration, we create safe and engaging environments for our students and families to learn and grow.

Covington Partners Values: We believe our students have the potential for greatness. We create safe and engaging learning environments. We believe that learning has no boundaries. We believe with the unwavering support of schools, families and the community, our students will succeed.

Get involved! To find out how you can join, mentor, or donate, go to their ‘Get Involved’ information section. Learn more about Covington Partners by visiting their website and liking them on Facebook. Covington Partners is located at 257 Pike Street, Covington, KY 41011.

MVP LOGO

The OMEGA MVP program was organized to help recognize, celebrate and promote the Merchants, Vendors and Partners of OMEGA Processing Solutions. Covington Partners has been an OMEGA merchant since 2013.


Black Friday is Coming!

August 18, 2017

There are less than 100 days until Black Friday and the official start of the holiday shopping season. Are your gift card and customer loyalty programs ready? We can help.

Here are just a few ways that OMEGA Processing’s customized gift card and loyalty program can help your business:

  • Add new — and loyal — customers
  • Extra spend — the average customer spends MORE than the value of the gift card
  • Higher margins — consumers are more likely to pay full price when using a gift card
  • Decreased returns — gift card recipients buy what they want, meaning less returned merchandise for you
  • Improved cash flow
  • Customized rewards program to best fit your business

PLUS, with OMEGA Processing’s gift and loyalty program, you can order professionally designed accessories, such as envelopes, display stands, card holders and window clings. And our program comes with a FREE mobile app. Visit our website or contact us today at 866.888.9724 for more information.

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Happy (2nd) New Year!

August 9, 2017

August is back to school season, which means a new year, goals, challenges and opportunities. Now, expand that thinking from your childhood into your current world.

August presents you with the opportunity for a “reset” of sort and the chance to revisit opportunities and improvements you can implement in the remaining months of 2017.

Brighten Your Holidays with Gift Cards

With just over 100 days until Black Friday, NOW is the time to start preparing for the upcoming holiday shopping season. OMEGA Processing’s easy-to-use gift cards can help make your holiday shopping season brighter. And, our gift cards double as customer rewards cards as well. Register the customers into your loyalty program when they redeem the card and keep them coming back to your business.

Cross a Few Items Off Your Wish List

What could you do with $20,000 or $30,000? Expand your business…  retire debt… pay taxes… upgrade equipment… smooth out cash flow?

OMEGA Processing’s no-hassle business funding program provides short-term working capital so you can focus on your business and meeting financial goals. Get the cash you need now, and pay back the amount with a small percentage of each day’s credit card sales.

Streamline Operations and Improve Your Bottom Line

OMEGA’s virtual processing system (OMEGA VT) allows you to electronically invoice your customers, reducing paperwork and receivables. Plus you can earn lower interchange rates on B2B transactions. Finally, OMEGA VT provides e-commerce payment solutions, allowing your customers to pay directly from your website.

Never Miss a Sale

With our mobile payment solutions, you will never miss out on the opportunity to make a sale. We have two app options that both work on iOS and Android mobile devices, and our mobile card readers allow you to swipe or dip cards for lower interchange rates.

 


A Good Thing Just Got Better — SwipeSimple Dashboard Enhancements Released

August 3, 2017

SwipeSimple is OMEGA’s mobile EMV mobile payment solution. The system consists of a card reader, payment app and merchant dashboard. Some recent enhancements to the SwipeSimple web dashboard are good news for users. Here are the details:

Transactions Page

  • Transactions can now be located by Cardholder Name or Auth Code, in addition to the standard transaction details.
  • Transactions can be sorted by Transaction Number, Amount, Auth Code, Cardholder Name (on swiped and dipped transactions) and the last four digits on the card.
  • You can also search for transactions by keying in the above options.

Transactions page.png

Transaction Details Page

  • Select a transaction on the page to view additional details, perform voids or refunds and resend receipts.
  • Transaction details now include Cardholder Name (on swiped and dipped transactions), Auth Code and any related transactions.

Transaction Details Page

Never miss a sale with SwipeSimple, OMEGA Processing’s powerful, mobile EMV payments solution. Call us to learn more — 866.888.9724.

 

 

 


MERCHANT FRAUD ALERT

August 2, 2017

In recent weeks, we’ve received reports of multiple credit card transaction fraud attempts on OMEGA Processing Solutions merchants. These attempts have followed some common themes:

1.   Merchants are being asked to “force” a credit card transaction (often for a large-ticket Item) because a customer says they are having an “issue” with their credit card. THIS SHOULD BE A RED FLAG FOR POSSIBLE FRAUD AND A STOLEN CREDIT CARD.

A fraud code will appear on the terminal if you try to run a transaction using a stolen credit card. By having you “force” the transaction, the fraud code is eliminated, and the transaction is completed using the stolen card.

2.  A customer attempts to make a purchase, and it doesn’t go through. The customer looks at his/her phone and says, “I just got an authorization for that transaction, so it went through.”

AGAIN, THIS IS A RED FLAG FOR FRAUD. If a customer says they got an authorization or notification “alerting” them that a purchase was made on their card, ask if you can view the message. Then call OMEGA Customer Service for verification.

WHAT TO DO

If you find yourself in these situations, do not run the transaction. Ask for another form of payment if possible, and do not accept payment while the customer is still in the store. Contact OMEGA customer service (866.888.9724 Ext. 7) for assistance. Take note of as much information as possible, such as customer description, card type, name on card, etc. In addition, you may want to alert your local police department.

Thank you for your help in reducing credit card fraud.

FRAUD UPDATE

OMEGA has also seen a recent uptick in unsolicited requests for “merchants” to apply for processing services. After doing our research, we have found that, in many instances, they are using fake company names, giving us incomplete information or other RED FLAGS. At OMEGA, we have a multi-faceted underwriting and merchant vetting system to prevent these sorts of attempts to establish fraudulent merchant accounts.

fraud


Back to the Basics — Merchant Processing 101

July 26, 2017

As a business owner, a topic you often have to discuss and review is ‘merchant processing’. With so many things on your plate, sometimes it’s good to take a moment and go back to the basics.

What Exactly is Merchant Services?
Merchant services. Electronic payments. Merchant processing. It goes by several different names, but what exactly is it?

Simply put, merchant services is the process by which businesses accept electronic payments, meaning credit and debit cards. In a broader sense, however, Merchant Services includes online ordering, mobile payments, gift and loyalty card programs, electronic check guarantee and processing and point-of-sale systems.

In order to process electronic payments, a merchant (or business) must have a merchant account with a credit card processing company or bank. Many banks have a referral relationship with a credit card processing company for their customers. OMEGA Processing Solutions has been providing merchant processing services since 2003.

Credit Card Processing Process
It sounds simple enough, but the processing itself can be complicated. Here’s a graphic explaining the process of how credit cards are accepted for payment and merchants are credited for their sales. For more information on credit card processing, visit www.omegap.com

Credit Card Cycle 2

Benefits of Partnering with OMEGA Processing:

  • Guaranteed lowest total processing costs
  • Billing and fee transparency
  • The latest hardware, software and point-of-sales solutions
  • 24/7 local service and support
  • Friendly, knowledgeable sales and service professionals
  • A referral bonus up to $100 per account

Beat the Summertime Blues

July 19, 2017

The weather outside is beautiful, the temperature in the office is freezing, and your coworker just headed out for a week-long vacation—it must be summertime! As you sit at your desk daydreaming of that trip you’re not on, it can be easy to lose motivation to finish the work in front of you.

Before you chalk this season’s productivity up as a loss, take a look at these five easy ways get your focused back and beat those Summertime Blues:

Go Outside

Study after study shows being outdoors boosts well-being, while Vitamin D (the sun) is proven to increase energy levels. Don’t miss out on the summer sun, use it to your advantage!

  • Skip the break room and head outside. Even 5 minutes of sunlight provides a good dose of Vitamin D.
  • Take a walk during your lunch break, or schedule a ‘walking’ meeting. Not only is exercise good for you physically, but also is shown to improve mental capacity.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Whether you’re moving around or sitting at your desk, it’s summer, it’s hot, and we sweat. When you’re dehydrated, you become increasingly tired and slow. Staying hydrated keeps both your energy and your spirits up.

  • Keep a water bottle at your desk to refill through the day. Add strawberries, lemons or mint for a bit of flavor. As an added bonus, peppermint boosts your mood and promotes concentration!
  • Avoid the up and down crashes of coffee or soda. If you need caffeine, drink green tea for a steadier boost of energy over a longer period of time.

Plot Your Ups and Downs

What time of the day do you have the most energy? When do you have your slumps? When you know when you’re going to be productive, organizing your day makes it all the easier to stay on task.

  • Write out a schedule of what you need to get done each day. If you’re productive in the morning, schedule projects that require more concentration. Lethargic after lunch? That’s your time for the mundane tasks.

Take a Break

If you’re losing focus, you’re not going to do good work. The boredom of a long, monotonous task could be draining your energy.

  • Change things up. Switch to a different task, refill your water, or talk with a colleague. Even a couple minute break can help refocus you on the work at hand.

Skip the Five O’clock Clock Out

It’s summer time—no one wants to spend their whole afternoon indoors. Clock out at four!

  • Try and arrange with your boss to come in an hour earlier and leave an hour earlier during the summer months.
  • You could also see if you can work through your lunch on Fridays and leave at four to jump start the weekend!