(540) 783-7100
Categories
POS Systems

Why Square May Not Be A Good Choice

Why Square May Not Be A Good Choice

If I had a nickel for every time we’re asked “What’s the difference between 610 Merchant Services and Square?” we would be sitting on an island beach sipping margaritas.

There are some differences between us and Square, but the biggest difference in our payment processing models is 610 Merchant Services is a merchant account provider, whereas Square is a processing aggregator.

610 Merchant Services is a merchant account provider, which sets up merchants with their own dedicated merchant account: a type of account required for businesses to be able to accept payments by debit or credit cards.

Square is a processing aggregator which simply means, merchants are set up to accept credit and debit card without having their own merchant account. Square bunch merchants together into one pool or aggregation, and each merchant processes payments with a joint merchant account.

Square has a quick set-up process and as a result, a low entry barrier for all businesses. This means that they can accept many higher-risk businesses that merchant account providers can’t or simply won’t work with.

Let’s Compare… 

610 Merchant Services Square
Merchants own their own dedicated merchant account. No dedicated merchant account
A longer application process Offers a quick and simple application
Merchant Service Providers gather information for example processing volumes and types of transactions. If there is any unusual behavior with the processing the merchant is notified, rather than finding out when the account is frozen or worse yet, terminated. Processing Aggregators usually experience a higher risk for fraud which means more account freezes, holds or sudden terminations without notice.
Merchant Service Providers are able to customize rates for each business, offering more competitive pricing. Offers fixed pricing. This does become very expensive as merchants process more
Merchant Service Providers provide next-day funding Merchant must rely on the payment aggregator to transfer funds. Payment aggregators can withhold funds if they wish

 

What does that mean for your business?

Both models have their pros and cons – it simply comes down to your unique business needs.

If your business is processing low volumes, or you’re a seasonal business Square is an ideal payment partner. The costs are straightforward and simple-to-understand. However, because aggregators offer fixed rates, businesses processing more than $10,000 will almost always save costs with a merchant account provider’s tailored fee.

For an established or growing business with a higher volume of transactions, a merchant account provider, like 610 Merchant Services will be more beneficial. It requires more time and commitment at the beginning, but once set up, you can rest easy knowing that you are working with a trusted partner.  610 Merchant Services has the tools and resources businesses need to help them grow.

Categories
POS Systems

Why a POS System is The Right Tool for The Right Job

Why a POS System is The Right Tool for The Right Job

One of the many challenges for business owners is finding the right tools to help them manage their businesses. Without the right tools, managing a business can become chaotic and expensive.

Imagine yourself ending the day with a stack of ledgers to account for all the products sold, the inventory that needs to be ordered, the taxes you have to pay, the hours your employees worked and more. Businesses used to hire bookkeepers to do this all day. Now, because business is run on such tight margins, you’re trying to do this yourself in the evenings or on weekends.

All that free time you thought you would have when you started your business gets eaten up by… well, running your business. Never mind the school play your son or daughter is in, squeezing in an occasional round of golf or even spending time with your spouse.

True story…

My husband Michael is an amateur chef and loves to be in the kitchen creating something new and decadent for our family to eat. He tells me all the time “use the right tool for the right job.” One night while trying to help in the kitchen, Michael asked me to chop up some vegetables. Simple enough, right? So, I got started…

I looked over and saw Michael staring at me with mild amusement while dodging vegetable peelings and the occasional errant piece of carrot shooting across the kitchen like a missile. Frankly, I don’t know what was so amusing – I thought I was doing a fine job. He walked over and politely shuffled me to the other side of the counter and said, “Using the right tools for the right job makes everything go smoother”.

Using the right tool for the right job is critical to running your business

I watched as Michael cleared my workspace and meticulously set up his workstation with the proper size cutting board instead of the small 6 inch cheeseboard, a vegetable peeler instead of the paring knife I was using, a chef’s knife rather than a steak knife, and a bowl to catch the peelings. I was admittedly in awe as I watched his precision knife skills and the ease with which he worked using the right tools for the job.

As an added bonus, there were no carrot missiles flying around the kitchen and what would have taken me 15 minutes (and possibly a fingertip or two) to do was done in about 3 minutes.

I tell you this not to give you an idea of the totality of my ineptitude in the kitchen, although that is real 😊, but to offer an example of where having the right tool for the right job creates a better outcome.

Are You Using the Right Tools for Your Business?

What’s true in my kitchen is true in business.

Are your employees still punching a time clock? Are you creating written schedules and tracking with sign in sheets? Wouldn’t it be better to have employees easily sign in and out of their shifts using a system that automatically calculates hours and pay?

610 Merchant Services provides state of the art business management tools

Are you manually counting stock and using spreadsheets to manage inventory and order new stock? Are you analyzing what is or what is not selling? Wouldn’t having a system that automatically kept inventory and let you know what items are not moving well and which are then alert you of low stock quantities and when an order may be necessary be a better way?

Is your capturing of customer data such as email, birthday, buying habits etc. nonexistent? Are you reminding yourself of important customer birthdays with post its strewn around your office? Would a system that captured all of your customer’s data to provide them with incentives to purchase more of what they like and introduce them to new products they may enjoy be a better alternative? Would sending them a post card or email around their birthday increase their loyalty and allow you to market to them more often?

Are you spending your weekends and evenings manually maintaining spreadsheets and combining data to produce reports of dubious accuracy? Are you not producing reports of the information at all? Wouldn’t having multiple, accurate and preset reports with the click of a button be a better way? Would creating custom reporting to reflect the needs of your unique business with a custom report tool be better than no reporting at all?

Exatouch Point of Sale System by 610 Merchant ServicesStreamline your business with a full-featured POS system that keeps you up to date with the latest payment processing technologies, and helps you easily manage your day to day operations.

With a POS system, you can manage employees, improve customer loyalty, improve cash flow and inventory management, understand your customer buying habits and keep what your customers want in stock, create easy to use, one click reports on the health of your business, easily manage vendors, table mapping for your restaurant, manage scheduling for your beauty parlor, and more.

The Right Tool for the Right Job Saves You Time and Money

Whether it’s equipment needed to perform a task or software applications to handle processes and reporting, it’s important for your business to have the right tools.

Having the right tools can save you money in manpower, inventory control and more. It can help you create efficiencies in running your business and help keep you from making poor buying decisions with robust reporting tools.

After all, as business owners, we all want to save some money and be able to enjoy the little things in life again. So talk to your merchant services team today and create the time, the money and the peace of mind to laugh at all the miscues in your child’s first school play, grab some time to decompress and improve your handicap or get in the kitchen and cook that great meal with your spouse.

A POS system can save you money and time and isn’t that what we all want.

If you’d like to get started with a POS system that can save you time and money you can give us a call at (540) 446-0826. We’d be glad to help!

Categories
POS Systems

All Things Clover

Our payments processor – First Data, decided to buy out a small Android POS startup in 2013 named Clover Networks. Clover Networks decided to their go at the tablet market in early 2012. In the process, they forged their own applications market on proprietary hardware — bundling it into one package and sent it out into the world.  It’s marketed as a quick serve, restaurant, or small retail solution – not precisely meant to compete with legacy enterprise systems initially, but strong acceptance by merchants is changing that fact.

Hardware

Clover is something of a special case when it comes to hardware.  Everything comes in the same bundle: terminal, stand, printer, and cash drawer for one price.  Need more printers for the kitchen or a Bluetooth bar-code scanner? You can get those too.  There’s even an integrated scale for pricing by weight available.  Initially the basic bundle was  non-negotiable. Now however, one may obtain a Clover Mini or a Clover Mobile in lieu of or to complement the Clover POS station. Nevertheless the operation of all remain the same.

There are a few reasons for this.  For one, Clover wanted to ensure there is no confusion during setup; having one standard configuration – complete with color-coded cables – helps keep everything simple.  They also champion the security of a closed system.  Since the tablet is built especially for Clover, there is no risk of breaches due to unrelated applications or questionable personal use by unscrupulous employees (you know who you are!).  This argument has its counterpoints, though, as we’ll address later.

The hardware itself is attractive, with that sort of sleek, Apple-esque sheen that’s so chic in tech these days.  Aesthetics are well and good, but the design goes deeper than that.  Those aforementioned colored plugs make setup a breeze, and the high-speed printer that serves as the connection hub lives up to its name.  Clover’s stand boasts a smoothly swiveling arm that swings the tablet around to allow customers to sign with their finger; twisting as it rotates, the tablet displays in portrait mode for tip and signature while cashiers operate in landscape.

It’s all sturdily built, and the printer has additional USB ports for future expansions.  To say the least, the standard bundle gets owners started in style.

Software

First Data’s main selling point with Clover is its applications structure – and in truth, there’s a lot to like about it.  Taking advantage of the Android open source platform, Clover is based on the principle that any registered developer can step in and create additional software for the system.   Every function is divided into specialized applications governing the service in question.   Sure, it comes with a suite of basic applications – a register,  simple inventory,  table grid, and so forth – and many of them do the job just fine.  It certainly doesn’t lack for the most common features, and the level of modification is adequate to start.  However, sometimes you want a little more punch.  The inventory, for example, is extremely basic however.

Yet,  therein lies the beauty of the Clover Applications Market.  Merchants can optionally download additional function programmed by first, –  second, – or third-party developers.  Stock (by developer Seven Spaces) is an excellent inventory application that solves many of the deficiencies found in the built-in software.  Similarly, there are numerous other integrations with more popular plug-ins such as NoshList for restaurant seating and scheduling.  Now clearly these developers are not in this for the sheer joy of programming, entertaining though it may be; while many applications are free or have trial versions, there are added costs for a number of these downloads.  Typically, they either require a license purchase or an added monthly subscription cost.  All pricing is determined by the developer — and thus is beyond Clover’s control.  Still, optional is the key word here.  Merchants are left to decide whether or not the added value justifies the cost.

So far, Clover has done a good job of vetting its developers to ensure only approved applications are made available through the proprietary marketplace.  It is growing, though, and new applications are always in the works.  Solutions for marketing, payroll and much more are available through a quick search of the Clover app web site.  Some applications (e.g.  register) work only via tablet in order to restrict actual POS to the hardware provided; many of them are available through the web portal, allowing owners to access reports and manage their POS off-property.

The applications work well – and indeed should be easy to master quickly for any seasoned tablet  user.  There’s still a small gulf between simple & intuitive (the same with Apple & Android alike). No matter what side of the fence you reside, learning the critical functions should pose no problem.

Something to consider, though . . .  the applications model lends itself well to innovation, but it doesn’t always  necessarily engender smooth operations.  As a dedicated Android users myself, I’m well versed in the platform’s tendency to experience slowdown — especially as more applications and functions are added to the device – keep this in mind when choosing which applications & functions to utilize.

Features

OK.  Buckle up, because this section is very important.  Let’s start with my most recent point: Learning the system.  Even accepting your storied mastery of all things technological,  let us say you have an issue with some app.  Where do you turn?

Well, instinct says you call Clover, right? Well, maybe.  Probably not the best idea however.  Clover will only support their built-in applications – and mostly they concern themselves with integration,  menu building, etc.;  past that, they foist responsibility on the independent dealers that sold the system to assist merchants in finding these solutions (here, whether you obtain your Clover from your bank or an independent merchant processor can make all the difference).

Official application support is left to Clover or the Processor.  Some preliminary support testing shows the choosing a dedicated independent processor who offeres Clover ot us a response 100% of the time – and the independent developers that did answer had smaller staffs with limited hours.  They often shoot for 24/7, but many of these calls result in voice-mail that must be returned later.

We’re not naming names – this isn’t about scapegoats – but any longtime smart phone user or open-source aficionado will recognize the inherent problems with this model.  I’m sure many of these applications never require late-night emergency support, but some bars and restaurants might need help with a few functions after hours.  And how many times have you had an application vanish from the market, or had an amateur programmer disappear after posting his work?  My experiences with WordPress has taught me the unyielding futility of engaging in Russian roulette with 10k home-cooked plug-ins.  Although First Data is working to ensure their system only features trustworthy developers, there is bound to be some difficulty organizing a seamless POS.  Not all software support is created equal!

Pricing

You must order your hardware through your processor, and – oddly enough–  really pushes to load your restaurant menu for you up front, before they even ship your package.  Some would rather do it themselves.  You can request to do this, but it seems a strange detail nonetheless.  Best,  however, is your unbreakable marriage to your processor.  Hardware is either purchased immediately, placed with a monthly usage fee, or spread out over the course of an ironclad lease.  And what if the merchant does leave?  He may hate his processing rates – and go.  Usually Clover hopes they will enjoy your thousand-dollar paperweight.  However, there are one or two ISOs which can & will buy back the Clover. Nevertheless, cancellations of processing will be rare.

That’s right: the hardware bundle works ONLY for the processor from whom it was purchased.  Pretend, for a moment, that your merchant  loves Clover and is merely seeking better pricing from a new First Data ISO, he will still have to buy a new hardware bundle.  This is not the case for 610 Merchant Services as we have a price match guarantee on processing

Part of the advantage of going to a First Data processor is your ability to negotiate pricing much more easily than, say, the bank.  Think of them like a huge oil company; they don’t really sell their product directly to most consumers, but they have hundreds of corner stations (ISOs, banks etc.,) conveniently willing to provide copious gasoline and personalized support at a small markup.  Sounds great in theory, but you’ve got to shop around to get a good rate – especially since you only get one shot with this Clover processor restriction.  Many processors like ours, have no-strings arrangements that enable users to switch processors fairly quickly.

We'd Love to talk!

Please fill out the easy form below or you can call us at: (540) 783-7100