I held off writing this email for many weeks now. I dread sounding like a condescending, finger-wagging, fear monger. But when I witness the aggravation and damage that business owners bring upon themselves day-in-day-out, I feel that I must speak out.  This must stop. Please forgive.

I am referring to what is known in the Credit Card Processing industry as “collusion”.

The purpose of a merchant account is to be able to accept credit card payments from customers – for the goods or services disclosed during the application process. A business owner may not charge a credit card to loan themselves money. Certainly not their own card!

Aside from bad economics (it costs 2% – 3% to get those funds = approximately 25% a year) … someone who swipes cards through their account for non-true-business purposes is putting their entire business at risk. The processors and card brands (especially Amex) are on high alert for such transactions and will detect these transactions most of the time. For a business that relies on being able to accept credit card payments, the fallout can be devastating.  The merchant account will get shut down by the processor with the business and business owner getting blacklisted by all US processors.  Many times the funds (that the merchant so badly needed) will get frozen for six months, leaving the business owner with a credit card bill to pay without even having the funds he tried to obtain.

We see these stories every day. A business who is accustomed to transactions ranging $500 – $1000, suddenly processes a $25,000 transaction. A quick review shows this was the merchants own card (or father, brother, neighbor, etc.) being swiped to cover payroll the next day. Please I ask all our clients (and please tell your friends too): don’t take risks. No loans on credit card. The processors and card brands are diligently scrutinizing every large transaction. (If you are in need of urgent funds, ask your processor for a cash advance. The rates might hurt, but at least you’re not risking your merchant account.)

I just want to end this email with an important note: If your merchant account was shut down by a card brand or processor and you were NOT doing anything wrong, please reach out to us.  We can help.

Happy Tuesday & Happy Selling!


Playing The System

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Many moons ago I walked into my first job interview and seated myself across the CEO of the company. This is how the interview went:


CEO: Do you know how to type?


Me: No. (I grew up without a computer in the house!)


CEO: Come back when you know how to type.


He then handed me a “Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing” disc and wished me a good day.


P.S. For the next 48 hours I was glued to my chair practicing typing. Two days later I returned the disc (and got the job!).


I am tremendously grateful to this CEO for forcing me to learn how to type correctly. When I start my day and find 100+ emails in my inbox, I can respond quickly and professionally without wasting all morning pecking away at the keyboard.


Today, employing a large staff who perform various computer tasks all day, I stress the importance of making sure every member of my team can type quickly and correctly.


The ROI is simple. Take for example a team of 10 employees earning $15 per hour and typing at 25 words per minute:

typing chart

This is probably one of the simplest and fastest investments you can make with your staff. It takes 2 – 3 days to learn how to type and they will practice and get faster as they go about their daily tasks.


Happy Tuesday & Happy Selling!


Typing or Pecking?

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168 hours a week! Really?

After getting my 75th reminder to say Parashas Hamon (before 9am!) I started thinking about just how many hours of our day/week we invest into “work”.


Since the Depression, when free time became equated with unemployment and “full time employment” was established as key a value; working 40 hours a week became the norm.


Today many employers consider full-time fewer hours (35 hours, or 37.5 hours). With the introduction of Obamacare, a new definition to the “full-time” was born = 30 hours a week.


Yet while the definition of full-time may be shrinking, Americans are working longer hours than at any time since statistics have been kept, and longer than anywhere else in the industrialized world.


In the last 10 years we are swimming against an even stronger current. The work day no longer ends when we leave the office! Our phones and laptops keep us attached to our work 24 hours a day.


We are slowly turning into non-stop workaholics and it doesn’t do any good for our physical, mental, or spiritual health.


People with a healthy view of work may work long hours but are not constantly worrying about it. Such people may put in 12 hours, close their laptop, and go do something else. However a workaholic will put in the same 12 hours but remain anxious about some of the tasks or decisions after work hours are over.


A true workaholic gets high from the adrenaline and cortisol, and without work, they go through withdrawal. It’s the inability to turn off, such as thinking through a work problem while watching your kid ride a bike for the first time.


A workaholic is someone who is on the ski slopes dreaming about being back in the office. A healthy worker is someone in the office who dreams about being on the ski slopes.


So here we are in the twenty-first century. Our jobs now serve the function that traditionally belonged to religion: They are the place where we seek answers to the perennial questions “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” and “What’s it all for?” Life outside the workplace has lost vitality and meaning, work has ceased being a means to an end and become an end in itself.


I’ve recently taken on a new commitment to be home by 6pm at least 3 times a week. For those of you wondering what the heck I’m talking about – kudos to you! But for those nodding their heads along – please share your feedback what you do to keep your work from taking over your life.


Happy Tuesday & Happy Selling!


How many hours a week do you work?

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Here at Banquest Payment Systems we often get calls from our merchants asking why a specific credit card transaction was declined. They entered all the information correctly and it still came back as declined. Why?


Most of the time the issue tends to be on the customer side rather than the merchant side.


The most common reasons for a credit card decline is because the cardholder reached their credit limit or failed to pay their bill. The issuing bank simply won’t let them borrow any more money until they’ve made a payment. There are many types of limits; daily, monthly, per transaction, etc…


Another reason may be due to today’s advanced fraud detection tools. If a purchase is being made outside of the customers usual geographic area, or if a transaction is significantly larger or out of habit for a particular shopper, the credit card issuer may decline the transaction due to fraud concerns.


All of the above declines are “Issuer Declines” for which as a merchant – there is not much you can do. The cardholder would need to either make a payment (in the case of reaching credit limit) or contact their credit card issuer (in the case of a fraud alert).


However there are declines that can be due to the settings put in place by the specific merchants business. Some merchants will set rules to decline orders with billing addresses or security codes that do not match the correct information on file. Such declines are really not a credit card decline (the card may actually be approved and authorized for the amount requested) but rather it’s the merchant who is choosing not to capture and go through with the transaction.


We are always available to help our merchants determine the reason for a decline. Feel free to reach out to support@banquest.com or 855-323-8300.


Happy Tuesday & Happy Selling!



P.S. Former President Barack Obama’s credit card was declined when dining out in NYC! Click HERE to hear him tell the story.

Card Declined

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