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Table of Contents

Lead Story

Security and the changing face of the POS

News

Industry Update

PayPal introduces dongle for smart phone payments

Good works make for good TV

Square deals

Retailers looking for larger role in POS mobile

TradeHill takes Dwolla to court

Features

Court affirms viability of merchant's direct claim against Visa

Eugene Rome and Liz Wang
Rome & Associates A.P.C.

Research Rundown

Mobile Payments Conference raises EMV questions

Meet The Expert: Justin Milmeister

ISOMetrics:
Payments industry 2012 salary guide

Selling Prepaid

Prepaid in brief

APPPA to tackle calling card complexities

Big challenge to comply with AML's 'Big Seven'

Views

Micropayments are no small matter

Patti Murphy
ProScribes Inc.

New developments in payments (and winemaking)

Brandes Elitch
CrossCheck Inc.

Education

Street SmartsSM:
A year of learning, writing, sharing

Bill Pirtle
C3ET Credit Card Consortia for Education & Training Inc.

Mining the digital gold rush

Dale S. Laszig
Castles Technology Co. Ltd.

Enhance your security protocols

Nicholas Cucci
Network Merchants Inc.

Pricing surprises: Don't let processors eat your lunch

Adam Atlas
Attorney at Law

Company Profile

2000Charge Inc.

New Products

An EMV/NFC ready POS terminal

Xion 2.5
First American Payment Systems L.P.

Mobilizing agents

CB Mobile Office
Merchant Warehouse

Inspiration

Big results from small talk

Miscellaneous

2012 events Calendar

Departments

Forum

Resource Guide

Datebook

A Bigger Thing

The Green Sheet Online Edition

March 26, 2012  •  Issue 12:03:02

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New developments in payments (and winemaking)

By Brandes Elitch

We have a few hundred wineries in Sonoma County, where I live, and even more in neighboring Napa County. It's a big business. Not too long ago, making wine was pretty simple: you planted the vines and waited. Waiting could last five years - if you were lucky.

Then, you picked the grapes and crushed them (that's why it's called "The Crush"). You let nature do its thing (fermenting); then you bottled and sold the wine. But technology changed everything.

Salespeople in the wine business sold the wineries new devices that altered the way wine was made: grape crushers and pumps, stainless steel tanks, chillers for the tanks, new types of fertilization, soil additions, cloning stock, different strains of yeast, French oak barrels and additives such as wood chips.

These changes affected the price wineries needed to charge and the type of customers they attracted.

Help merchants grow their businesses

Similar changes are occurring in the payments industry. ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs), like all other businesspeople, must ask from time to time, "What business are we in?" Are we in the payment processing business? The technology business? The transaction facilitation business?

Sometimes the answer is counterintuitive. And some of us are a bit overwhelmed by all the potential changes swirling around the payments space.

But let's be accurate about the environment most of our merchants live in: there's not a lot of technology there. It consists of a few laptops and possibly desktop computers, a fax machine, a telephone system, a POS system and some terminals.

Accounting or, more accurately, bookkeeping is done with QuickBooks. A vendor, if there even is one, handles computer support to network the computers and support a website.

For small businesses, technology is only a major concern when it doesn't work. Business owners are too busy "doin' it, doin' it, doin' it" (as The E-Myth Revisited author Michael Gerber said) to even think about how to grow their companies with technology. They probably don't have small-business consultants, unless you count bankers who supply their lines of credit for working capital.

Essentially, the biggest problem small-business owners face is isolation and lack of knowledgeable people to consult with on how to grow their businesses. How current events in the payment processing realm will affect them is not their primary concern.

Keep merchants informed

This presents ISOs and MLSs with a challenge. To add value in the ongoing calling process, you need to explain just enough of the near-term changes in the payments industry - like why merchants need to buy terminals that can handle Europay/MasterCard/Visa (EMV) and mobile transactions - so merchants don't feel that they're out of the loop. Here are a few merchant concerns to address:

Adapt like winemakers

And this brings me back to the wine business. Today's winemaker has to be knowledgeable about so many things: chemistry, biology, even botany.

(If you want to learn more about this, check out this wine expert's blog: www.vintageexperiences.com. The author, Dan Berger, is about as knowledgeable as you can be about this subject.) Old-time winemakers, like ISOs 20 years ago, would be astonished at how complex things have become.

But there is no going back, and just as wine-drinking consumers benefit from the higher quality finished product, merchants will benefit from a more robust payment system that includes more competitors and more products.

One thing hasn't changed though. The industry will still need the feet on the street to explain, sell and set up the evolving array of products and services available to merchants - and that is good news for the ISO and MLS community.

Brandes Elitch, Director of Partner Acquisition for CrossCheck Inc., has been a cash management practitioner for several Fortune 500 companies, sold cash management services for major banks and served as a consultant to bankcard acquirers. A Certified Cash Manager and Accredited ACH Professional, Brandes has a Master's in Business Administration from New York University and a Juris Doctor from Santa Clara University. He can be reached at brandese@cross-check.com.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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