Could I Get Your Autograph?

The occasions where you are asked to sign your name for anything are quickly disappearing. You used to sign at stores for your purchases but as of May, 2018, it’s not required any longer, it’s up to the merchant. Almost no one uses checks at stores these days to pay for items and most bill paying is done online. Again, no need to sign your name.

In fact, it turns out that few merchants over the past decade have taken signatures on seriously. People scribble something, squiggle a line with their finger or a doodle and it’s accepted whether it is a bona fide signature or not. Most sales clerks don’t even check to see if it’s legit or ask for other dentification to compare your name or your signature.

American Express, Visa, Discover Mastercard, and retailers like Walmart and Target have already abandoned getting signatures as a way of authenticating transactions in some countries and for some circumstances. So, your signature is soon to be valuable only on reams of paper when buying a house or other big money purchase.

However, some merchants, namely restaurants, want to keep the signature requirement alive. If the customer doesn’t have to sign the bill for drinks or a meal, where is the new opportunity to leave the server a nice tip? Other business owners mention that signatures can be handy when fighting fraud claims. One owner had a signature on a receipt where a customer was challenging a hefty bill. She ultimately got her payment.

Smaller retailers want to retain the requirement for signatures and it’s their right to do so. However, getting a signature takes a few extra seconds, even if it’s a scribbled smiley face, and those seconds count during busy periods.

It seems that it makes credit card transactions just a tad less personal. Before, you had to at least put something on paper. Now you hand someone your card and get a receipt back. If you’re rushing or engrossed in conversation, you may not even look up from your phone. How is a motivated server or sales clerk to compete with that? A touchpoint between customer and server/retailer is vanishing, making our interactions with others more impersonal every day. And don’t get me started with self-serve checkout lanes where you are both customer and clerk to save the retailer money.

To fight this faceless trend, be present and aware when you are finishing a transaction. Pay attention to how much you’re being charged and to the person on the other side of the counter or table. Put your phone down, pause your conversation and smile. It will do both of you good.

 

 

Seven Ways to Protect Your Credit Card From Being Hacked!

close up of woman hand holding credit card
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The number of Americans having their credit cards stolen, compromised or hacked each year is staggeringly in the millions. While the new EMV (stands for Europay, MasterCard Visa, the major credit card companies behind the more secure cards) chips protect your cards in live, in-person transactions at a retail store or restaurant, the new cards are no match online or over the telephone.

 Here are seven ways you can add protection to your credit and debit cards.

  1. Get a secure wallet or purse

The new chipped cards are come with RFID (radio frequency identification) and NFC (near field communication) technology for contactless payments (Apple Pay, Google Pay, bank mobile applications and others). Unfortunately, this leaves them prey to contactless pick pocketing. A thief uses a portable RFID card reader to transfer money from your credit card as a “payment” to a nearby accomplice.

Sure, you can keep your credit cards in an Altoids mints tin or wrap your cards in tin foil. A more conventional option is to buy a wallet, credit card sleeve/holder or purse that blocks automatic RFID transmissions. These are not expensive and give you some peace of mind when you’re on the town or out of the country.

  1. Set Payment Limits on Contactless Cards

If you use contactless cards frequently, contact the credit card company and limit the size of any purchase made with the cards. You can always call them back and raise the limit for a specific purchase. Alternatively, you could disable the contactless payment feature, although that defeats the whole idea somewhat.

  1. Set Up Purchase Notifications

If your financial institution or credit card company offers notifications for purchase transactions, get alerts sent to your cell phone or email. You’re notified immediately of a transaction. If it’s legit, no action required. If it’s fraud, contact the lender and inform them of the unauthorized transaction. They put a hold your card and credit the fraudulent transaction. You can also set up other monthly notifications to help you monitor your credit. 

  1. Use Mobile (Contactless) Payments

Payment services such as Apple Pay, Android Pay, Google Pay and others use your cell phone’s camera to scan, read and store the data on your credit cards. To use these services, hold your phone close to the payment entry device and complete the purchase. Mobile payments can keep your wallet slimmer by leaving the actual cards at home. Just make sure you have a strong password on your cell phone so you’re not vulnerable in that way.

  1. Strong, Secure Passwords

Speaking of passwords, make them strong and secure. Use combinations of upper and lower case alphanumeric and special characters (check – some apps and sites don’t allow special characters) to make them too hard to hassle with. Many online sites (Amazon is one) let you use a two-factor authentication (2FA) so you receive a separate access code on your cell phone or email account to complete a transaction.

  1. Stick with Secure, Reputable Online Retailers

When you’re making an online purchase, even from a company as large as Amazon, make it a habit to glance at the address bar. There should be a lock icon and the first letters should always be https://. This means that the site is locked, encrypted and your transaction is secure. If you don’t see https, do not enter your credit or debit card information. It could be a fake site set up to look like the real site and take your money without a single glance back.

  1. Keep Your Card Within Sight

More restaurants are equipping their servers with portable payment devices so your card doesn’t have to leave the table to be run. You can always accompany your server to the machine if their system is not portable. Always be on the lookout for skimming devices on do-it-yourself payment systems such as self-serve gas stations. Gas station pumps are particularly vulnerable to skimming devices. If the payment entry device looks odd to you, move to another pump or pay inside.​​

For more information about keeping your credit and debit cards safe, contact Mike Krause at Sales Sense Payments, 585-704-6453, mike@salessensepayments.com.

 

7 Rochester Networking Events for March 2017

There’s a bunch of great Rochester networking events happening in March that you should consider joining. Take a look below at my list of the 6 Best Rochester networking events for March. I have also included a couple of my own events, like the ROC City Hot Sauce Festival. I hope you see you there, or bump into you at a networking event in the area!

1.ROC City Hot Sauce Festival

Hot sauce lovers can’t miss this event! It’s also a great chance to mingle with other business owners in the local restaurant industry. Your ticket includes access to the build-a-plate station with burgers, Zweigle’s Hots and all the traditional fixins, samples of all restaurants’ hot sauces at their individual booths, a chance to vote for your favorite hot sauce in the People’s Choice Award, and 1 drink ticket redeemable for beer, wine or soda.

  • Date/Time: 3/2/17; 6-9PM

  • Location: Burgundy Basin, 1361 Marsh Road, Pittsford, NY

  • Fee: $20 pre-sale (tickets must be purchased by EOD 2/28) or $25 at the door

  • Event Link: ROC City Hot Sauce Festival – Eventbrite

 

2. West TipClub Business Networking Event

From the event organizers: “Join us on Wednesday morning, March 8, for our powerful business networking event that comes with a unique twist. We use a structured format that allows for spotlight introductions followed by our famous “lightning round” so connections are made instantly! For first time guests, there is no cost to attend. Register early before the event closes out, and feel free to forward this invitation to an associate!”

 

3. FEI Rochester St. Patrick’s Day Networking Event

The Financial Executives International Rochester Chapter is hosting a special social networking event integrated with a presentation on insurance industry updates and learning opportunities.

 

4. Eastside Business Expo 2017

From the event organizers: “Join us for an evening of business awareness and networking with businesses from across the eastern suburbs.This event is open to the public and attendance for networking and exploring is free. Registration for attendance is highly encouraged to ensure we have enough refreshments available and to give our exhibitors an idea of how many people to expect.”

 

5. FemCity Rochester March Social

A business networking event for women:  “Come prepared to learn the impact that strengths awareness can have on you personally and on your performance at work, home and in your community — and how to identify the areas where you have the greatest potential for building strength.”

 

6. March vBeer Meetup for VMware Users & Professionals

From the organizers: March vBeer will be held at The Lost Borough in Rochester NY. The Lost Borough Brewing Company is the realization of a dream for two life long friends – Dave Finger and Dan Western – in search of the perfect pint of locally brewed craft beer. After years of experimentation with all styles of artisan beers, they have decided to leave their mark by opening a local brewery where they can share their passion with others while providing a truly different craft beer experience.”

 

7. Monthly Young Professionals Happy Hour at Blossom Road Pub (Hosted by AMA Rochester)

About the event: Enjoy some great food specials and meet fellow marketers to put answers into action and solve the biggest problems in the marketing industry. We discuss a new topic every month. This a recurring monthly event on the 4th Tuesday. $1 Off Appetizers – $1 Off Wine – $1 Off Drafts

 

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Have an event you would like to see featured for next month?

Please send the following information to Mike Krause at mike@salessensepayments.com for consideration:

  • Event Name:
  • Brief paragraph about the event:
  • Event Time/Date:
  • Event Address:
  • Event Fees: We prefer to feature free or low-cost events that are open to the general public
  • Event Info/Registration Link:

About Sales Sense Payments

Sales Sense Payments can help save your business thousands of dollars a year in merchant processing fees. We also offer complete point-of-sale (POS) solutions and EMV-compliant credit card machines in addition to platforms for customer loyalty programs. If you process credit card transactions for customers, we can save you money.  Sales Sense Payments is a Rochester-based business, deeply supportive of the success of our local businesses.  Let’s talk!

 

6 Best Networking Events in Rochester, NY for January 2017

Rochester NY Networking Events

Here is my roundup of great Rochester area networking events for January 2017.  It’s a new year, and a great time to step out of your comfort zone to explore new opportunities for growing your business. A great way to take the first step is to make some valuable connections to other business owners and professionals in the community.  You never know what unexplored opportunities are waiting to be discovered!

Take a look below at my list of the 6 Best Rochester networking events this January. I have also included my own seminar in number 3, which I hope you’ll be able to join me for as we discuss 10 actionable tips for driving more business to your doorstep.  I hope you see you there, or bump into you at a networking event in the area.

1. Family First and Sales Sense Payments Wine and Chocolate Event!

About the event: Connect with professional business owners and enjoy some wine and chocolate!

 

2. Member Open House at Arthur Murray

About the event:  Please Join Us for a SPECIAL Brighton Chamber of Commerce Member Open House Networking Event

 

3. Seminar: 10 Ways to Drive More Traffic to Your Business

Join me for my own seminar!: I have been in the financial services industry for more than 20 years, and I will be sharing my insights and top 10 tips for driving more traffic to your business in this interactive seminar.

4. Rochester Chamber of Commerce Speed Networking Event

About the event: Meet over 20 people in just over an hour with this non-conventional networking event. You will sit down for 3 minute mini-meetings.  It’s an exciting combo of shameless self-promotion and forming new professional relationships and potential referral partners.

 

5. Monthly Young Professionals Happy Hour at Blossom Road Pub (Hosted by AMA Rochester)

About the event: Enjoy some great food specials and meet fellow marketers to put answers into action and solve the biggest problems in the marketing industry. We discuss a new topic every month. This a recurring monthly event on the 4th Tuesday. $1 Off Appetizers – $1 Off Wine – $1 Off Drafts

 

6. FemCity Rochester Morning Coffee Talk

About the event:  This is a casual meet and greet for women in the Rochester area. Get to know the group members, and feel free to bring a friend. Be sure to bring business cards to share as you make connections!

 

Want to get networking opportunities in your inbox? Sign Up!

 

Have an event you would like to see featured for next month?

Please send the following information to Mike Krause at mike@salessensepayments.com for consideration:

  • Event Name:
  • Brief paragraph about the event:
  • Event Time/Date:
  • Event Address:
  • Event Fees: We prefer to feature free or low-cost events that are open to the general public
  • Event Info/Registration Link:

About Sales Sense Payments

Sales Sense Payments can help save your business thousands of dollars a year in merchant processing fees. We also offer complete point-of-sale (POS) solutions and EMV-compliant credit card machines in addition to platforms for customer loyalty programs. If you process credit card transactions for customers, we can save you money.  Sales Sense Payments is a Rochester-based business, deeply supportive of the success of our local businesses.  Let’s talk!