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How to Choose a Payments Gateway Provider


 March 25, 2018

Thinking of accepting payments online? Great idea. Online shopping is a booming industry across the globe, with U.S. small businesses earning approximately $313 million in revenue from online shopping in 2016. And in 2017, 38 percent of small business owners surveyed said they expect revenue to increase year over year supporting compelling reasons to get selling online!

To get started, you’ll need to select a payments gateway provider to integrate with your current payment system, build your online shopping cart and process your customers’ online payments similarly to how payments are processed in-store.

But with so many payments gateway providers to choose from, finding the one for your business can be overwhelming and confusing. Here are the top nine thing you should consider before making a selection.

  1. Your customers’ experience. It’s common knowledge within the industry that offering your customers more ways to pay creates a better customer experience. Great customer experiences lead to repeat customers, which often leads to referred business. Adding an online element is a great step toward creating a positive experience in your customers’ minds.
  2.  Technology and functionality. Speaking of customer experience, you want to make sure your gateway provider can support the type of functionality (i.e., reporting, emailed receipts) that best suits your business and appeals to your customers. Easy integration is key. Your gateway provider should offer the flexibility that allows you to do business today, AND as your business grows in the future. Look for a provider that is constantly developing new ways to elevate user experience and ease of use.
  3. Your business location and incorporation. Where your business is located, and where your provider is located can make a difference in how you incorporate your business, which is what most gateway providers will ask of you. This means there are a different set of incorporation rules for an American business seeking processing service from a gateway provider in the UK, and vice versa. It’s important to know those details ahead of time to get you accepting online payments quicker.
  4. Your business model, products and services. The type of business you have is just as important as the type of gateway provider you choose. Some payments processors don’t support businesses and services that are considered “high risk”. Before you make a selection, save yourself some time by making sure the payments processor you choose doesn’t put your business in that category. Examples of high-risk industries are: Gaming, Gambling, Dating, Travelling and Adult entertainment.
  5. Pricing, fees and service value. How much profit do you make on a single sale? What’s your average margin? Knowing your business’ numbers are key when you are negotiating payments processing fees. Keep in mind, however, that the lowest fees don’t always mean the best value for your business. Many providers will boast of lower fees to attract you, but will your site’s look and feel attract customers to you? To get the best bang for your buck, look for a transparent fee structure, hidden fees in the fine print, conversion rate, and value-added services.
  6. Technical and customer support. There’s nothing worse than losing a sale because of a technical glitch, or not being able to accept a payment because you’re confused about how your gateway processor works. Be sure the online payments processor you choose offers live assistance from a responsive team or account manager. Hopefully, you’ll never need it, but you want to make sure it’s there to ensure you’re always up and running.
  7. Payments security. You may offer the best product or service possible, but if customers don’t feel safe shopping on your site, it’ll be hard for you to make a sale. Your gateway provider should at least meet these minimum requirements:
    Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance on their end.
    Maximum protection of cardholder data, including card information storing, tokenization, verification from card brands, etc.
    Tools to help you meet and maintain PCI compliance for your business.
    If you are unsure about what any of this means, it’s best to do your research on PCI and payments security before you contact a gateway provider.
  8. Getting paid and reserve. You’ll want to be aware of how your money gets to you before you choose a payments provider. Many offer daily or weekly settlement options, which will make a difference in how quickly you are able to access your funds. These services may come with additional transfer fees, so be sure to ask for those details upfront to eliminate any surprises. Have you thought about chargebacks? Do you know that as banks get to know your business, they may withhold a portion of your funds for a period of time to account for any fees your revenue doesn’t cover? Get a clear explanation of these policies as well.
  9. Recommendations from peers. Who are your peers using? Your competitors? It’s not one size fits all, but you may be able to pick up tips and pointers from fellow business owners who have already gone through the selection process. Consider their advice as you go through your selection process.



Bevel Launches BevelPay, a Semi-Integrated Payments and Hosted Gateway to Bring Flexibility, Reliability and Security to In-Store Retail


 January 28, 2018

Bevel, a leading merchant service provider and retail software company that brings personalization and measurement to the offline world, today launched BevelPay Semi-Integrated Payments for Verifone and Ingenico devices, and BevelPay Hosted Gateway for First Data, Vantiv, Chase Paymentech and Worldpay. These new offerings provide retailers with turnkey solutions for EMV, point-to-point encryption (P2PE), processing flexibility and value-added services including customer analytics and personalized marketing.

BevelPay Semi-Integrated Payments routes payment data directly from the PIN pad to the processor, removing the POS from the critical path. Unlike traditional solutions that pass card data through the POS, BevelPay enables the POS to fully delegate payment to the PIN pad. With BevelPay, an IP-connected PIN pad collects tender, requests settlement, and returns a simple approval to the POS. BevelPay PIN pad software drives the in-store user experience, and BevelPay cloud services enable payment routing and a range of value-added services.

Key benefits of BevelPay Semi-Integrated Payments include:

  • Reduced PCI Scope and Improved Security – Because payment data never enters the POS, the POS is fully removed from PCI scope. With the POS out of the payment flow path, BevelPay makes it simple to deploy critical security improvements like P2PE and EMV.
  • Flexibility to Evolve Quickly – Simplifying the communication between the PIN pad and POS makes it easy to deploy new payment and loyalty services. Significantly, the PIN pad becomes an independent device that can be easily upgraded, serving as a powerful point of customer engagement.
  • Robust Device Management – Centralized configuration and remote PIN pad management makes it fast and convenient to deploy software and content updates.

The BevelPay Hosted Gateway provides a robust link from any POS environment to any payment processor. Unlike traditional solutions that require retailers to manage the technical and compliance burden of a direct processor integration or an on-premise server, BevelPay assumes that responsibility. In addition, the BevelPay Hosted Gateway supports a wide range of tender types including credit, debit, EMV, EBT, eWIC, Apple Pay and Android Pay, so retailers can easily accept new and diverse forms of payment.

Key benefits of the BevelPay Hosted Gateway include:

  • Fault-Tolerance and Reliability – With traditional gateways, card data routes through an on-premise server in each store, a costly solution that creates a single point of failure. With BevelPay, card data routes directly to the BevelPay Hosted Gateway, a cloud-based, fault-tolerant solution.
  • Processing Flexibility – BevelPay empowers retailers to select any processor of their choice. Changing processors no longer requires updating in-store devices or recertification — BevelPay simply updates routing preferences.
  • Simplified PCI Compliance – Because BevelPay provides a fully hosted PCI Level 1 Gateway, it simplifies the PCI controls and procedures required of retailers with on-premise solutions.

The combination of Bevel Semi-Integrated Payments and BevelPay Hosted Gateway provide retailers with tremendous flexibility, reliability and enhanced security for their in-store environments. With BevelPay, retailers not only future-proof their payment environment, but also have access to a wide range of value-added analytics, loyalty and personalization services to elevate customer relationships and improve revenue growth.

Bevel has uncovered important trends, from customer preferences and shopping frequency to store performance. This has been incredibly valuable as we expand our business to new locations, since our customers are always our top priority.




Bevel in Canada!


 December 12, 2017

Since we launched Bevel, by far the most frequent piece of feedback we received was: Bevel is great, but you need to make it possible for people outside the US to accept payments.

Starting today, Bevel is publicly available for use by any individual or business based in Canada. It’s the exact same Bevel that we offer in the US: instant approval, all major card types accepted, the ability to accept payments from anyone in any country, and simple, honest pricing, without any hidden fees.

We’ve been testing our service in Canada over the summer. We’re grateful to have received extensive feedback and help from companies including Authorize.net, and Shopify, all of whom have now been using Bevel for a few months. To them and our other beta users: a huge thank you.

In many ways, launching in Canada is a big step for us, going from 1 to 2 is often harder than going from 2 to n—but it’s only a small piece of what we have in mind. At Bevel, our extensive industry knowledge has allowed us to revolutionize the payment processing system, making working with us a seamless experience. We have one goal in mind which is to provide high quality service in a manner that is simple to use for an affordable price.

And so, to those who are not in the US or Canada: we want Bevel to support businesses and individuals anywhere in the world, We’re already working on the next set of countries.

To our friends up north: we’re very excited to work with you.




Three New Tips to Improve Credit Card Processing Costs


 October 15, 2017

As a business, each expense counts, including credit card processing costs. Credit card processing is a necessity to businesses today, but it comes at a price, is very complex, and complicated to understand. Furthermore, for online businesses and companies with recurring customers the threats of fraud and loss are very high. To improve your company’s profit margin and reduce risk, we discuss steps you can take to protect your sales and mitigate expenses, potentially saving thousands of dollars each year.

Chargeback Management

Chargebacks can be the death of a business, not only as a loss of revenue, sales and product, but with the potential loss of card processing services. The card brands have specific tolerances based on the ratio of sales to chargebacks and disputed transactions. Anything over a 1% ratio of chargebacks to sales, jeopardizes your ability to accept credit cards as a form of payment.

When shopping for payment processing services, processors look at each of the KPIs of your current processing to establish your risk profile. The more chargebacks that you have increases the processor’s risk of loss, as such your processing rates will be adversely affected. Bevel employs a team of certified payment professionals with the expertise and experience in helping businesses better manage their payment ecosystem. We can help you to not only win a chargeback dispute, but also identify and reduce chargebacks from occurring in the first place.

Interchange optimization

The primary cost element of your processing rate and fees is the card brand interchange, which is roughly 85% of your total card processing cost. The monies collected for interchange goes directly to the card issuing bank of the customer’s card used for purchase. There are over 900 different interchange rates and fees between Visa, Master Card, Discover and American Express. These rates are set by the card brands and vary based on numerous factors, such as: card type (debit, credit, rewards, business, international, etc.), card present vs. card not present, when you settle your payment batch, the data included with the payment record, and the various combinations of these elements.

There are a few things that you can do to take back control of this process and optimize interchange fees. First, you must be aware of all the variables affecting processing costs to adopt better processing habits to lower your overall processing rate. It takes a keen understanding of how this ecosystem works to be able to optimize how each transaction qualifies for the card brand’s interchange. Just like going to a CPA to ensure you are getting the most out of your taxes, Bevel’s payment experts know how to extract the most value out of this ecosystem, to not only improve how your transactions qualify but to make sure that you are not over charged or suffering from poor processing procedures. Due to the complexity of the fees surrounding interchange, it is common for many processors to inflate pass-thru costs.

Reduce Fraud Risks

Inflated costs are enough to worry about; however, fraud is occurring at the highest rate in history. Since 2008, both first-party and third-party fraud have grown by nearly triple digits. This explosion has impacted everyone from consumers, merchants and the financial institutions. As the rate of fraud has increased so have the processing costs of higher risk transactions, most commonly those where a customer is not face-to-face at purchase. Regardless, the expenses associated with these fraud losses trickle down to your overall processing costs. There are best practices and certain tools that can be used to mitigate payment fraud that will protect your revenue and keep payment processing costs down. Utilizing Address Verification Services (AVS) offered by the card brands is an inexpensive and very telling fraud mitigation tool when used properly. Many businesses will get card billing information but do not rely on the AVS response with their decision to deliver goods. Here is a key tip, card brands will offer protection from fraud if product was shipped to the billing address of the credit card.

Although AVS is a good tool, it does not protect so much against trained fraudsters that know how to get around it, hence why it is critical to utilize multiple fraud tools to stop fraud before it causes significant damage to your business. Bevel has built proprietary technologies to help merchants further decrease fraud with Card Account Validation (CAV) and Fraud & Reputation Database. The combination of these services provides insight to any known fraud associated with any card information provided to you by a customer. Additionally, these tools further reduce risk by allowing you to validate a card prior to accepting it as a form of payment in the first place, providing you with much needed insight and protecting the relationship with your payment processor.

As more businesses move online the increase of chargebacks and fraud continues to rise at alarming rates. Minimizing the costs associated with these losses as well as optimizing interchange can be done with expert knowledge and the implementation of the latest technologies. Working with partners like Bevel, that have certified payment professionals and multiple options to support your payment goals, is a critical step to building a credit card processing ecosystem that will reduce costs and keep your business growing.




Bevel’s eCommerce Solution Is Giving Businesses New Customization Control


 August 1, 2017

The Bevel Hosted Payment Page is more customizable than ever.

Earlier this year we announced the release of our latest Bevel Hosted Payment Page. This month, we’re happy to report that we’ve added even more value to the e-commerce solution we love so much. For businesses looking to sell online and need simple credit card acceptance functionality added to their pages, it’s the perfect fit.

Our favorite feature yet is the ability for our merchants to create a unique shopping experience for their customers by taking advantage of the complete control of the design and settings of their Bevel Hosted Payment Page account. Online shops can add their business logo, choose a color scheme, pick the accepted payment types, select and arrange data fields, build receipt templates and more. For a full list of features available with Bevel HPP, visit our Support Center. Bevel HPP provides a highly customizable experience that’s truly easy to navigate, so businesses can get up and running in no time. It’s also seamlessly integrated with the Bevel Payment Gateway, shielded by the protection of BevelSecure, our combination of PCI-validated point-to-pointe encryption (P2PE) and patented tokenization. What that means for our businesses is that their PCI audit scope is minimized and the cost and time put into managing compliance is reduced. Let’s also not forget that the Bevel HPP is completely complimentary to all of our Bevel users.

If you’ve already been using the Bevel HPP to process your online payments and want to see what’s new, we want to make sure you’re loaded with the right information, so you can get the most out of your account. Visit our Support Center for more details on the features of your Bevel HPP and you won’t miss a thing.

Our merchants processing with the Bevel Payment Gateway can log into their accounts and visit the Marketplace tab to get setup with a Bevel HPP account.
If you’re aren’t yet processing with us, to get signed up for your own Bevel HPP, visit www.bevelpayment.com/contact-us/.
Happy customizing.

 




Advantages of ACH for businesses – 5 Reasons why businesses should use ACH


 June 22, 2017

Next to cash, credit cards and debit cards have become the most popular form of payment. According to the Federal Reserve Payment Study, the number of transactions for debit cards and credit cards is 47bn and 23.8bn, respectively; both will continue to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 6.5 percent.

If debit cards and credits cards are so popular, then why are businesses exploring other mediums for making and receiving payments?

The answer lies in the high processing cost associated with each transaction when carried out with a debit card or credit card. This is where an Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfer comes in.

Here are the 5 reasons that makes ACH, a smarter choice for businesses.

  1. Lower transaction cost

One of the biggest appeals to ACH is low processing fees, compared to checks or credit cards. In a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article, Bank of America, stated that on average an individual spends $4 to $20 on writing a check (including printing, payment initiation, authorization, signing, mailing cost, and time spent). With an ACH, however, funds get transferred between the two bank accounts through a clearing house, keeping the transaction cost very low.

Let’s see how much you end up paying as a fee when you use a check, credit card, or ACH for a $100 transaction:

Check: $12 (Average of $4 and $20 based on the WSJ article)

Credit Card: Approximately $2.50

ACH: $0.25

Convincing enough to switch, right?

  1. Faster processing

Settlement time for an ACH provides a happy medium between checks and credit cards. An ACH settlement can take three to four business days; a check can take five to six business days; a credit card can settle payments in two to three business days.

Furthermore, National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA), the electronic payments association, has approved an operating rule that will make same day ACH transfer a reality. To facilitate same day ACH transfer, NACHA plans to create two windows:

A morning submission deadline at 10:30 AM ET, with settlement occurring at 1:00 PM.
An afternoon submission deadline at 3:00 PM ET, with settlement occurring at 5:00 PM.
Businesses can expect improved workflow efficiency, flexibility with payments, and quicker access to cash. However these improvements will take time to get rolling because NACHA plans to implement them in phases starting in next fall.

  1. Security

ACH allays some of the most common fears about checks. Unlike checks, which are vulnerable to both being misplaced and to signature forgery, ACH transfers are direct and eliminate intermediaries. Because your customer could be hesitant to provide his bank account details, some of ACH’s payment processors carry out two-way micro validation to confirm the authenticity of the two parties involved. The processors makes two micro deposits of $0.01 to $0.25 in the customer’s and the business owner’s account. The customer has to verify the exact amount in order to begin sending money. For the business owner, this verification ensures two things: the account information he entered is accurate and there are no transaction blocks to his account.

  1. Convenience

No more cutting checks! ACH is here to make money transfers simple. ACH gives you the best of both worlds: as a payer, you say good-bye to bulky check books, and, as a business owner, you give your customers the flexibility to make a one-time payment or set up recurring payments with ACH. Furthermore, since the transaction takes place between two bank accounts, ACH saves you the trouble of following up with customers on payment failure due to card expiry.

  1. Ideal for recurring billing

ACH is ideal for businesses that run on the subscription model because it allows them to accept payment in the most cost-effective way by saving them money on transaction fees. The more transactions these businesses make, the more transaction fees there are, and the more money they lose. Therefore, ACH is the best choice.

Make the switch.

Now that you know the advantages of ACH for your business, it’s time to stop cutting checks. ACH is easy to use. Plus, you save money and can apply these savings to other aspects of your business. So, switch to ACH, and carry out your financial transactions in a smarter way.

Bevel can set you up with an ACH account in less than 12 hours for only $0.25 per transaction with no set up fees. Get more info by emailing us at info@bevelpayment.com




What is the Difference Between an Authorization Fee and a Transaction Fee?


 May 18, 2017

Whether you’ve had a merchant account for a year or a decade, you may not completely understand each and every rate and fee that’s listed on your merchant statement. From PCI compliance and chargeback fees to interchange and batch fees, there’s a lot to learn, and trying to do so on your own may leave you scratching your head. One thing’s for sure, however: Authorization and/or transaction fees will almost always appear on your monthly credit card processing statement, so knowing what they refer to is imperative.

An Authorization occurs each time your customers debit or credit cards are submitted for payment.

When a consumer uses a credit card to make a purchase, the terminal or POS system will dial out to the processing platform—the organization authorizing the transaction—to confirm the card with the issuing bank and verify the funds are available. This process, which you pay for through an authorization fee, essentially facilitates the transaction.

Once the processing platform ensures the card is in good standing and the funds are accessible, it sends the approved authorization to the merchant service provider, who then completes the sale. Doing so transforms the authorization into an actual transaction. Consequently, your merchant service provider charges you a transaction fee to cover the cost of this process.

Occasionally, however, a card does not get authorized for a transaction, and the card is “declined,” at which point the customer needs to either pay with cash or another card that is able to receive an authorization.

So it is quite common for merchants to have more authorizations than transactions. It is NEVER possible to have a transaction without an authorization.

Most credit card processors charge merchants a fee per Authorization or Transaction.

Because every transaction requires an authorization, many processors simply charge merchants a handful of pennies for each authorization. Other processors simply charge for every transaction. But merchants should look carefully to make sure they’re not getting charged for both authorizations AND transactions. Some processors charge merchants both of these fees as a way of padding their profits.

The average authorization or transaction fee is anywhere from $0.00 to $0.30. But since credit card processing fees vary depending on your merchant service provider, authorization and transaction fees do, too. To find out what your cost per transaction is, take the total amount of fees paid and divide by the number of transactions.

If you’re unhappy with the amount you’re paying, consider contacting other merchant service providers to see if they can offer you a better deal.




Never Lease A Credit Card Terminal


 May 4, 2017

Would you pay $4800 for a $300 terminal?  One merchant that we spoke to did exactly that.  She had a $99/mo lease for 48 months on a terminal that could have been purchased for under $300.  Terminal leases are great for processors and horrible for merchants.  You can guarantee that any Credit Card Processor that pushes a lease on you is not looking out for your best interests. In addition to the lease they are probably going to overcharge you on the processing as well.  Lease companies pay processors a lot of money in return for these lucrative deals.

At Bevel we are not going to sell our merchants out for a signup bonus from the leasing company.  It is expensive when you are starting out or changing processors.  Spending $300 on a terminal is difficult, but it makes sense in the long run.  Purchasing your terminal and signing up with Bevel for a merchant account will save you a lot of money in the long run.  We know it is tempting to lease the terminal or to take the “free” terminal option from a processor.   The short term savings are not worth higher fees over the lifetime of your account.

Our Interchange Rates don’t take a high percentage of your processing. We know that some companies offer “Free” equipment, but they make up that cost many times over on the processing.  We decided not to take a high percentage of your sales so we cannot give away the equipment, but we are also not going to take advantage of you by singing you up for a lease either.  Buying the terminal upfront and paying the Bevel Interchange Rates is the best possible way to accept credit cards for most businesses.




Is Square a good Credit Card Processor for Every Business?


 May 2, 2017

Square reported earnings and one thing from the report really caught my eye. They reported that a higher percentage of revenue is coming from large merchants. Square offers a simple pricing structure of 2.75% per transaction (or 3.5% and $0.30 if Keyed In). This is a great deal for some merchants but a bad deal for others. At Bevel we actually refer people to Square if they process small transactions. When your average transaction is $5-$8 it makes sense to pay a flat 2.75% and we are happy to point you in that direction.

The part of their report that surprised me was that they reported growth with large merchants. They consider large merchants anyone who processes between $125,000 and $500,000+ annually. Square is a great option for small merchants, but they are usually not the best option for large ones. 2.75% flat with no other fees works great for small transactions, but not if you process large ones. If you are a large merchant, paying 2.75% is one of the most expensive ways to process credit cards.

Large Businesses are Not a Good Fit

Interchange rates are set and published by the card brands and they are the same for everyone.  If you look at the long list of rates published by Visa and Mastercard, they range from .05% and $0.22 for a debit card, up to about 2.95% and $0.10 for some commercial cards.  So with Square you are guaranteeing that you will pay close to the highest possible rates available.

All of the  credit cards in your wallet have an interchange rate attached to them.  Square is paying that rate, but they are charging you 2.75% whether the actual interchange rate is higher or lower.  When I look in my own wallet I see 2 cards.  My Bank of America debit card has a rate of .05% and $0.22 and my Amazon Rewards card is 1.65% and $0.10.  If I purchase something with my Amazon card and the merchant is using Square, the merchant pays 2.75% and Square keeps the difference (just over 1%).  Reading through Square’s earnings report, they said that their average profit per transaction was 1.01%, so the example above sounds about average.

This Member Switched to Bevel and saved $4,000/yr

Below is a snapshot from an actual merchant who was using Square before switching to Bevel. He processed $26,823 and paid a total of $398.34 in fees (1.48%) with Bevel. This same bill would have been $737.63 (2.75%). This is the type of merchant that Square is referring to in their earnings report. He will save over $4,000 this year by switching to Bevel to process credit cards.

Square is great for certain businesses and we refer people to them on a daily basis, but if you are a large merchant, Bevel with our true interchange rates will save you money. Give us a call and speak to one of our experts. We can analyze your business needs and if we are not the right fit, we would be happy to suggest an alternative.




What Merchants Can Do to Keep Processing Safe


 April 19, 2017

Keeping payment card transactions secure is a shared responsibility. Merchants, credit card processors, card-issuing banks and the major card brands all have a role to play.

Visa provides the following suggestions for actions merchants can take to help make payments as secure as possible on their end.

Make the switch to EMV terminals.
EMV technology encrypts each transaction so the data cannot be stolen and duplicated on counterfeit cards, effectively reducing fraud at the point of sale. EMV terminals authenticate the card using the dynamic information contained in the embedded microchip. The cardholder validates that they are the owner of the card while the card is still in the EMV terminal, completing the dual verification process.

If you haven’t already made the switch to EMV at your business, you’re not doing everything you can to protect yourself and your customers from card fraud. Work with Bevel to identify which EMV terminals best suit your needs and budget. As an added bonus, many of these terminals are also NFC capable to accommodate your mobile wallet customers.

Merchants that choose a dual-interface terminal that handles both contact and contactless transactions can potentially qualify for Visa’s Technology Innovation Program (TIP) to reduce their annual PCI DSS validation requirements and associated costs.

Implement Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE).
P2PE technology eliminates account data from the merchant environment and encrypts sensitive cardholder data until it reaches an end point of secure decryption. Like EMV, this process makes the data useless to criminals.

Merchants should consult with their processors to determine the best solution for their business. Adopting a P2PE solution may also qualify them for TIP and provide a PCI DSS scope reduction.

Outsource the handling of e-Commerce cardholder data to a PCI DSS validated service provider.
Taking this step reduces risk exposure and costs associated with securing the merchant environment. It can also significantly reduce PCI DSS applicability for merchants who do not store, process or transmit cardholder data. Visa’s Global Registry of Service Providers provides a list of PCI DSS validated and registered service providers.

Bevel Payment Solutions consolidates a number of security solutions to help protect your business not only from fraud but from the crippling costs of a data breach. Protect your revenue, your customers and your reputation by taking a proactive stance to keep payment processing as safe as possible.