OMEGA Processing’s Daena Sprafka Elevated to Chief Operating Officer

May 31, 2018

Newly created role to focus on operational efficiency and the highest possible attention to customer satisfaction

[FORT THOMAS, Kentucky – June 1, 2018] OMEGA Processing Solutions is proud to announce the promotion of Daena Sprafka, CPP, to the newly created position of Chief Operating Officer. In this role, Sprafka will have responsibility for OMEGA Processing’s merchant operations and relationship teams, as well the company’s customer and technical service departments.

“As OMEGA’s first employee, Daena has always had OMEGA’s best interest in the forefront of all she does,” says OMEGA Processing Solutions President and CEO, Todd McHugh. “She will be laser-focused on streamlining OMEGA’s operational processes for maximum efficiency, while maintaining the best possible customer experience from the first moment a merchant is with OMEGA.”

The creation of the Chief Operating Officer role centralizes the entire life cycle of the merchant portfolio under common direction and allows OMEGA to better serve its customers. Previously Sprafka served as the company’s Vice President, Operations, as well as Director of Merchant Operations. She holds a Certified Payments Professional (CPP) designation from the Electronic Transactions Association.

“As an OMEGA Processing employee for 15 years, I am proud and excited to embark upon the challenge of Chief Operating Officer,” says Sprafka. “This company is a very large part of my life, and I look forward to bringing a renewed sense of customer focus and streamlined execution to our organization.”

About OMEGA Processing Solutions

Celebrating its 15th year of operation in 2018, OMEGA Processing Solutions is a premium provider of electronic transaction processing and data delivery. The company offers electronic payments processing, B2B and e-commerce solutions, mobile payments, point-of-sale system integration, short-term capital funding and gift card programs to thousands of businesses across the United States. OMEGA has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the Cincinnati BBB’s Ethics Allies. Headquartered in Greater Cincinnati, OMEGA also has regional offices in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Louisville, Kentucky, markets. For more information, please visit www.omegap.com or call 866.888.9724.

Daena_with watermark_2018

Photo Credit: Bruce Morris Photography

 


Interchange Explained

May 22, 2018

Interchange fees, which account for the majority of the processing costs on a merchant’s monthly statement, can be a mystery. Interchange rates are established by the card brands (Visa, MasterCard and Discover) and reflect the underlying costs of a credit card sale.

Let’s say a customer makes a credit card purchase of $50 at the grocery store. The bank that issued the credit card (issuing bank) then funds the $50 to the grocery store before they can collect the money from the customer. Interchange rates refer to fees paid by the merchant’s bank (acquiring bank) to the issuing bank for this service.

What Affects a Merchant’s Interchange Costs

The interchange rate for a transaction depends on the interchange category for which it qualifies. Interchange rates will always have two components: a percentage fee for the volume of the sale and a per-transaction fee.

A number of factors are used to determine the interchange rate, some of which you have some control over and some, you do not.

Factors merchants can influence include:

  • Processing method: In general, card-present interchange categories carry smaller fees than card-not-present categories
  • Transaction data: Proper and complete transaction data (i.e. correctly and completely filling out all the data fields) is especially important for merchants who process card-not-present transaction. This also applies to government and corporate cards.
  • Merchant Category Code: Specific interchange categories exist for businesses that fall under certain MCC designations.

Factors merchants cannnot control over include:

  • Card type: Separate interchange categories exist for credit and debit card transactions
  • Card brand: Reward cards typically carry higher interchange fees than non-reward cards because the card-issuing bank has additional costs to recoup, such as rewards, points or airline miles
  • Card owner: Cards issued to individuals, businesses, corporations and municipal agencies all qualify for varying interchange rates.

In addition to interchange fees, there are other fees that the card brands assess for the right to use their networks and systems. These card association fees can be difficult to keep track of and are based on many factors.

Does Interchange Change?

While the card brands can update interchange rates and fees at any time throughout the year, they typically do so in April and October. Here is a summary of April’s interchange modifications.

  • Effective April 1, 2018, Visa modified their Fixed Acquirer Network Fee (FANF) rates for certain monthly sales volume tiers for Card Not Present Volume, Fast Food Restaurants and Unattended Terminals. Monthly Visa sales volume in excess of $200,000 was affected.
  • MasterCard revised the pricing structure for the Acquirer Brand Volume Fee on signature debit transactions, as well as consumer and commercial credit volume less than $1,000.
  • Discover introduced new international fee programs for consumer and commercial cards.
  • Discover modified Fee Descriptors for certain fee programs.

 

 


Making Every Day Earth Day

April 20, 2018

Sunday, April 22 marks the 48th celebration of Earth Day, whose mission is to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide. More than 1 billion people are expected to participate in Earth Day activities this year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

To build on that momentum, we’re presenting some features that OMEGA Processing Solutions merchants can choose every day to help save our planet.

Pitching the Paper Statements

OMEGA merchants can opt out of monthly paper statements and utilize our secure, online merchant portal to view important sales data and manage their account. Our tool allows merchants to

  • View monthly credit card sales by type
  • Compare year-over-year monthly credit card sales
  • Manage and update account details
  • Access up to 18 months of merchant statements and 45 days of daily batches
  • Link multiple Merchants IDs together with one login

Online Versus Paper Reporting

OMEGA’s secure, web-based Virtual Terminal (OMEGA VT) features a robust, online reporting function. Up to three years of historical transaction information is securely stored online. Intuitive transaction search criteria options allow users to quickly find the data they are looking for without having to sift through a filing cabinet or match up receipts and settlement reports.

Mobile Makes Sense

OMEGA’s mobile processing devices give merchants the opportunity to send receipts via text or email, saving paper on those receipts that often get thrown on the ground anyway.

Graduating to Gift Cards

Gift cards are more secure, convenient, appealing and environmentally conscious than paper gift certificates. Plus OMEGA’s gift and loyalty program has a mobile app to ensure that merchants will never miss a sale opportunity.

Ready to do a small part in saving the planet? Give us a call to take advantage of these and many additional features and services offered by OMEGA Processing.

866.888.9724

http://www.omegap.com

 

Make-Every-Day-Earth-Day


What to Avoid When Searching for a Credit Card Processor

April 11, 2018

Finding the best credit card processing company for your business can be an adventure — and not always the best kind. Here are some pitfalls to avoid when performing your search.

Long-Term Contracts and/or Early Termination Fees

Be wary of processors asking you to sign a long-term contract with early termination fees. It’s common in the industry to find contracts of up to five years in length, and some processors have an auto-renewal clause.

In addition, there are processors who don’t charge a flat early termination fee but calculate the amount using a method referred to as “liquidated damages.” With liquidated damages, you’ll be charged the amount in revenue that your processor determines it will lose due to you closing your account. For example, if you have a three-year contract, and you cancel after one year, you will pay a cancellation fee equal to two years worth of processing costs.

Long-Term Non Cancellable Equipment Leases

Leasing versus purchasing a credit card terminal can seem like an affordable option, but lessee beware. Often times, these long-term lease agreements cannot be cancelled, which means that you are the hook for monthly payments for the entire duration of the lease term — even if you switch processors or stop accepting cards altogether .

Unexpected Rate Increases

Don’t fall for the classic “bait and switch.” Processors will quote aritifically low rates only then to raise them a few months later. Always read the Terms and Conditions to ensure that the processing company does not reserve the right to raise your rates.

Confusing Pricing and Statements

Credit card processors employ a few different pricing methods. One in particular — tiered pricing — can lead to confusing, hard-to-understand statements and unexpected higher rates.

With this pricing model, transactions are lumped into “rate buckets,” such as qualified, mid-qualified and non-qualified. Usually the processor advertises the rate associated with the qualified bucket because it is the lowest. What often happens, however, is that a large amount of the merchant’s transactions are downgraded and consequently charged at a higher rate.

Hidden Fees

The devil is in the details. Ask for an outline of all the extra monthly and annual fees you will be charged. Make sure that the rate they quote takes into account all of those fees. Take the time to reach through the Terms and Conditions to ensure that what you’re being promised is what you’re going to receive.

In essence, credit card processors are in the “trust” business. You trust them to safely process your credit card receipts for a fair price. By doing some homework, you can help ensure that you find the best processor for your business and its unique needs.

credit cards


The Importance of Choosing Your Referral Partners Wisely

April 6, 2018

At OMEGA, our business philosophy is to understand the roles of a credit card processing partner and what it means to a financial institution. As your partner, you are entrusting your bank’s customers to us — and you need to know that we are going to meet their needs.

Here are the four essential key components to the OMEGA Processing Solutions Financial Institution Partner Program.

1. Enhanced bottom line through augmentation of fee income and increasing the number of customers and the number of services within the same relationship.

2. Minimized risk. OMEGA takes on all risks and liabilities associated with the merchant services program, including chargebacks, security, fraud and compliance.

3. Care for the customer — is forgotten by most and taken for granted! Our goal is to become a true trusted partner of the bank and a one-stop shop for merchants. We do not have merchant contracts nor early termination fee, so inherently customer service is the backbone of our success.

4. Custom-designed marketing programs that provide options which are best suited for producing results and matching the sales culture of the bank.

huddle handshake


Merchant Guide: 10 Essential Tips for Preventing Chargebacks

March 14, 2018

A chargeback – also called a reversal – is the return of credit card funds that were used to make a purchase to the cardholder. A chargeback occurs when a customer makes a refund request through their credit card’s issuing bank.

stop chargebacks image

Most chargeback situations arise at the time the transaction is completed. Possible reasons for chargebacks include:

  • Unauthorized use of a credit card (stolen card)
  • Product or service not being received
  • Customer dissatisfaction with a product or service
  • “Friendly fraud” or the result of a consumers filing an illegitimate chargeback

Every business wants to keep their chargeback expenses to a minimum. Here are our top tips on doing so.

  1. When a cardholder disputes a transaction, the issuing bank may request the merchant to provide copies of receipts and other paperwork related to the sale. Always respond to these requests.
  2. Do not a complete a transaction if the authorization request was declined. Do not repeat authorization for payments that are declined.
  3. Make sure your billing descriptor is accurate. Often a customer will initiate a chargeback because the business name on the statement is unfamiliar and doesn’t match your DBA.
  4. Clearly communicate your contact information, as well as return, refund, cancellation and shipping policies.
  5. If a customer is ordering online, promptly send a receipt via email.
  6. Settle and deposit your sales receipts with your merchant bank in a timely manner.
  7. If a customer request cancellation of a recurring transaction, such as a membership or service, always respond to the request and cancel the transaction as specified by the customer.
  8. Be accurate and clear about your product and service to prevent any customer misunderstandings.
  9. Ship merchandise before depositing and transaction.

If a product or service is going to be delayed, advise the cardholder the option of a different product or service or canceling the transaction all together.


Little-Known Secrets of Credit Card Numbers

February 13, 2018

The string of digits on the front of your debit or credit card might look random, but they’re actually telling a story. While each card brand (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover) has a slightly different formula, here’s an overview of what the numbers signify.

A bank identification number (BIN) is the initial four to six numbers that appear on a credit card. BINs help ensure that transactions are routed through the proper card network and financial institution so that the transaction can be authorized.

The four most common credit cards in the US are Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. Their starting BINs are as follows:

  • Visa: 4
  • MasterCard: 51-55, 2221-2720 (New)
  • Discover: 6011, 622126-622925, 644-649, 65
  • American Express: 34, 37

Numbers following the BIN signify everything from the currency being used, card type, bank processing the transaction and cardholder account number. The final digit is referred to as a check digit, which is a random number used to protect against errors and fraud.

The Luhn Formula

This low-tech formula can show whether a credit card number is valid. Try it for yourself.

  1. Enter your credit card number
  2. Double every other number, starting with the second number from the right. Write those digits under your original card number. Cross out any number you doubled.
  3. Look at the new line of numbers. If a number has two digits, add those together. Again, write those numbers down in a new row, and cross out the ones added together.
  4. Add together all numbers that are not crossed out.
  5. Is the sum’s last digit a zero? If not, the credit card number is not valid.

It’s important to note that the Luhn formula was designed to detect accidental data entry errors and not as a defense against fraud. And, it’s a pretty cool party trick.