We recently sat down with Curtis Bauer, Sphere Chief Product Officer, to learn about an innovative new product, Hosted Multi-Channel Payment Suite. This solution gives software vendors the power of accepting payments via many channels through one single integration.
Q1: You recently launched a hosted payments product suite for software vendors, what sparked the solution?
Bauer: That’s actually an interesting story. The Sphere Product team is constantly thinking about ways in which we can solve ISV needs in the most impactful, secure, but lightest way possible. One of our most successful ISV solutions is our Premier hosted payment page, which enables ISVs to accept card not present transactions within their SaaS based solution, e-commerce site, mobile, text or even email. In fact, calling it a hosted payment page is probably a bit of an understatement as it somewhat minimizes its robust capabilities. ISVs love the product due to its simple integration, branding and style continuity, as well as PCI scope reduction.
The Product team thought about ways we might be able to leverage all of the benefits that are inherent with our Premier hosted payment page, but allow us to expand it into other user scenarios, including the ability to accept EMV card present transactions. The team came up with an idea to leverage a fairly underutilized technological approach, which the team theorized might allow us to connect a traditional EMV card reader to a PC and process EMV transactions through a browser, without the need to install software on the desktop or leverage any antiquated java scripting to communicate with the EMV device. To test the theory, the Product team worked with our Development team and to make a long story short, the approach was proven to be viable and it ended up being the foundation for expanding our hosted payment page into an entire multi-channel hosted payment product suite.
Q2: What are the main problems this solution solves?
Bauer: ISVs have four critical challenges as it relates to adding payment acceptance to their core product solution:
- How do they enable payments to their solution with the least amount of development effort
- How do they enable payments in a way that does not interrupt the user experience, keeping the same look, feel and flow
- How do they enable payments across multiple acceptance use cases
- Possibly the most important challenge, how do they ensure cardholder data does not reside within the ISV’s platform, minimizing their PCI footprint, while protecting their customers from cardholder data breaches
Our new hosted payment product suite solves for these critical challenges and much more. ISVs face so many challenges with bringing their products to market. As a payment processor and gateway platform, we have a responsibility to ensure payment acceptance doesn’t become one of those challenges, but more importantly, ensure payment acceptances enhances their core product offering to improve the overall value proposition to their customers.
Q3: How can this product suite fit into software vendors business models? Can you share an example?
Bauer: One of my favorite examples is an ISV that creates business management software for a bakery. Let’s say that the bakery sells their products from a retail location. They need the ability to accept card-present EMV transactions from their in-store customers through the ISV’s SaaS-based business management solution. The bakery also has a website where they accept orders for birthday cakes or other items, in which they need the ability to accept credit card transactions online. The bakery also has a cookie of the month club, where subscribers pay a monthly fee to enroll into receiving a dozen of their specialized cookies each month at a discounted price. The bakery needs the ability to accept a credit card, either in person or online, and then setup the card for a monthly recurring subscription billing. Finally, the bakery also takes orders over the phone for delivery. They need the ability to accept credit card information over the phone and process the transaction securely. Our hosted payment product suite not only provides the ability for an ISV to enable accepting payments via all of these scenarios, but it also allows them to do so while ensuring sensitive cardholder data is never stored within their platform, but is instead transmitted, processed and stored within the Sphere secure gateway. In addition, this only requires one simple integration, which allows the ISV to spend more time focusing on enhancing their core product instead of allocating precious development resources to managing their payment acceptance program.
If you would like to learn more about the Hosted Multi-Channel Payment Suite, read the fact sheet. To schedule a demo, click here.
Curtis Bauer, Chief Product Officer, brings more than two decades of payment industry experience with a core focus on Product, Technology and Corporate strategy. He has held Senior Leadership roles at TSYS, TransFirst and Vantiv. He is responsible for identifying and executing on our product strategy to help deliver growth by providing innovative solutions to our customers.
In our new series, Small Business Huddle, the Sphere team shares insights and tips that help small to medium sized businesses stay ahead of the game.
In times like these, small businesses must quickly and efficiently adapt the ways they sell their goods and services. In a broad effort to protect the public, we have seen so many industries affected by government, city and other civic agencies’ restrictions due to the COVID-19. Here are ways small businesses can adapt and accept payments electronically using the Sphere solutions you have available today when cash isn’t an option. These include:
- Virtual Terminal – secure, web-based application that lets you enter in credit card and ACH details manually.
- Hosted payment pages – through a simple integration, this solution directs a customer to a secure payments page to enter their credit card information, which is securely hosted within a Sphere environment. The credit card information never touches your systems.
- Mobile payment acceptance – these solutions let you take payments via your mobile phone.
Anytime, anywhere, Sphere provides secure and compliant payment acceptance.
Many organizations and businesses are already adjusting to these major and sudden shifts in consumer behavior. Here are some great examples:
- Restaurants: From Dining Rooms to Delivery and Curbside Pick-up
Restaurants are having to mobilize their businesses quickly, closing dining rooms and pivoting to delivery and curb side pickup options. Today’s smart terminals offer many features and operate on wireless networks. These terminals can help businesses become more mobile, for example Poynt 5, VitalSelect, and CardFlight.
- Cashless Consumers: Mostly Cashless to Nearly Zero Cash
It’s no secret that cash has historically carried an elevated level of germs and with the world on high alert, consumers have turned to avoiding cash more than ever in favor of electronic, credit card payment methods. Through Sphere Merchant Services, businesses can implement contactless options via terminals that accept Apple Pay, Google Pay, and NFC capabilities. In addition, Sphere’s Virtual Terminal and gateway solutions enable businesses to accept card not present payments over the phone.
- Charity Events and Church Services: Collection Plates to “Donate Now” Buttons
Church services and charitable events across the US have largely been suspended in favor of social distancing. While religious organizations have mostly pivoted to online gatherings, they may struggle to collect donations from a congregation that is used to passing around a collection plate in person.
Through a web-based gateway, churches and other charitable organizations can begin to collect donations online while donor events are largely suspended for the time being.
Sphere’s partner, Qgiv, offers easy to set up and use online donation and fundraising solutions.
- Small Businesses: Store Fronts to Websites and Virtual Services
All non-essential businesses have been closing their doors to in-person foot traffic. Small businesses without a web presence will need to adopt online or mobile payment channels quickly. We are seeing a trend in offering services performed traditionally in-person shift to online technologies. For example, tutoring sessions, yoga classes and music lessons can be offered virtually. In these examples, the provider needs a payment method that can work in this new environment where there is not a card present.
This environment is requiring business to adapt quickly and our team wants to help you pursue business continuity no matter the circumstance. We are offering complementary consultations on all payment solutions. Call today. US Merchants 855.426.6842, Option 2; Canadian Merchants 855.330.7057, Option 2
The Nilson Report, a leading publication covering payment systems worldwide, recently published an article on Sphere’s integration with VisitPay.
Click to read the full article.
Below is an excerpt.
Text to Pay in Healthcare
In 2000, the out-of-pocket expense for medical services received by workers with employer-provided health insurance ranged from 2.5% to 5% of the yearly total. In 2020, individuals with employer-provided or private insurance will be responsible for 20% to 35% of the cost of the healthcare they receive. For providers of healthcare, particularly hospitals connected to physician groups and a full range of related service providers, this means that 20% to 35% of their total revenue must be collected directly from the consumer.
Managing payments for large integrated healthcare providers is the business of VisitPay, formed 10 years ago by former Capital One credit card executives. Its software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based VisitPay platform is provided on a white-label basis at the website of the healthcare provider. It combines charges from hospitals and physician groups to present a single invoice to the patient, minus any payments covered by insurance companies.
This is a guest post from the team at VisitPay.
See how Sphere and VisitPay enable health systems to meet consumer expectations through Text to Pay.
In this Q&A, Vincent Martino, Chief Product Officer & Co-Founder of VisitPay, talks about the impact of the partnership on the patient financial experience.
Why is it important to offer financial support to patients via their mobile devices?
Vincent Martino: Offering mobile-enabled tools to manage and self-service healthcare billing obligations has become a baseline capability for any financial engagement strategy. Demand for a text to pay solution is clear through our continual extensive consumer research. In fact, about 50% of our VisitPay platform logins today are from a mobile device with some of our clients seeing that number approach 60%.
Many variables determine how patients manage bills and the best way to engage with these patients. Because patient preferences vary so broadly, health systems need to consistently provide patient-tailored and accurate financial information across multiple channels of communication. A one-size-fits-all billing strategy lacks the flexibility and personalization required to meet people where they are in their lives.
Now that many people – and not just younger generations – manage their lives through their mobile devices, more consumers expect to be able to manage their healthcare needs anywhere, anytime, and on their own terms. Most industries, including healthcare, are investing considerable resources to reach and engage with consumers through mobile devices.
Why is Sphere the right partner for VisitPay and how can this partnership benefit health systems and their patients?
Martino: We view Sphere as a market leader in payments technology, security and compliance. We’ve been working with Sphere for over six years to process payments securely on behalf of our health system clients. Together, we have launched a mobile payments solution called Text to Pay, which allows health systems to securely accept patient payments through text messages while integrating seamlessly with existing EMR platforms, like Epic. This solution gives patients an additional, convenient way to pay their healthcare bills.
What kind of health system can VisitPay and Sphere best serve?
Martino: Both VisitPay and Sphere are adept at serving large, multi-facility health systems. At VisitPay, we serve some of the largest health systems in the nation including Intermountain Healthcare, Texas Health Resources, Henry Ford, and Inova. These healthcare organizations typically already have a patient payment approach in place and are looking to open up new channels to collect payment easily and in a way that’s convenient for the patient. Another important aspect for our clients is that our platform is tightly integrated into their existing EMR providing ease for staff and a unified experience for patients.
How does it work and what are the key capabilities of Text to Pay?
Martino: The patient begins by opting into Text to Pay and storing a secure payment method. VisitPay monitors all billing activity and sends an automated notification via SMS when there is a new balance to pay. The system provides a great deal of flexibility in that patients can actually pay one or more balances at a time. For example, they can pay full or partial balances, create payments over time and set a payment threshold.
The system also has intelligence built in and uses automated text bot responses based on what the patient is trying to do. This gives the patient on-demand information should questions emerge while making payments. These text bots also share important information that a patient might require during the process, reducing the need to contact the health system call center.
All messaging to the patient, as well as text frequency, is customizable by the health system and configurable by the user.
How does Text to Pay help health system operations?
Martino: When patients are given self service tools, inbound calls to the health system drop significantly. Calls to make payments over the phone become less frequent, and fewer questions arise about how much patients owe since patient’s have insight and clarity around their bills.
An additional way Text to Pay supports health system operations is by having all payments automatically post back to the core billing system. This alleviates any need for manual intervention typically required for payment posting by revenue cycle staff. We also have created advanced proprietary logic to ensure no credit balances are created like many manual and automated payment methods do today.
What are the financial benefits for the health system offering Text to Pay?
Martino: One of the biggest advantages of Text to Pay for a health system is getting paid faster. Text to Pay is based on automated alerts to patients, who naturally pay faster because notifications come directly to their phone, the device through which they manage their everyday lives. They schedule appointments, plan their social lives, order products and services, and manage their money through their phones. We know that patients are very responsive to texts and through the Text to Pay solution they will be alerted once their balance becomes known. With patients paying faster we anticipate days AR to go down.
How hard is it for a health system to implement Text to Pay?
Martino: We’ve designed this to be very easy to implement. It’s meant to be fully complementary to existing tools so it can be plugged into any existing payment portal, including MyChart. It doesn’t disturb or disrupt any payment solution already in place today. Additionally, deployments are easy. Some basic data is needed from the health system before automated notifications to patients can begin, and in turn we send data back to the health system for posting and reconciliation purposes . This can all be done in real time if the health system has those capabilities.
How can Text to Pay positively affect the patient’s financial experience?
Martino: There are patients who want a fast, flexible experience and are comfortable paying from their phones. Text to Pay meets these patients where they are and in how they want to pay. We know that when patients are given options on how to pay, net promoter scores increase which in turn generates loyalty between patient and health system.
How does Text to Pay fit into and complement the broader VisitPay solution?
Martino: Text to Pay is one component of a much larger patient financial experience platform that incorporates machine learning, advanced analytics and the ability to capture data across ambulatory and acute-care billing systems. Through all our products, health systems can surface granular insights into patient preferences and expectations. This gives them the ability to present the right offer at the right time to each unique patient, while adhering to the health system’s policies. This ultimately drives higher patient satisfaction along with higher payments.
See Text to Pay in Action
To learn more about Text to Pay, click here to set up some time with a Solutions Consultant. If you are going to be at HIMSS, stop by booth #2488 to see it in action.
By Dr. Heather Mark, CCEP
The data economy has become so pervasive in today’s business that it sometimes is necessary to pause and think about where we’d be without the explosion of data that businesses have at their disposal. Cloud software firm, Domo, releases an annual report each year on the astronomical growth of data. Their report, Data Never Sleeps, provides a fascinating example of just how people are using the internet, leaving digital trails to be followed. According to Data Never Sleeps 7.0, more than 511,200 tweets, 18, 100,00 texts, and 188,000,000 emails are sent PER MINUTE. And that doesn’t include our unintentional data creation – the Internet of Things, or our browsing history, or geolocation data. Our world runs on data, which means that as consumers, we need to be able to trust that our data won’t be misused by the companies with which we do business.
A PwC survey conducted in 2017, tells us that consumers are becoming more cynical about how companies handle data. Just 25% of survey respondents believe that companies handle data responsibly and less than 15% believe that the data will be used to improve lives. Further, 87% of those respondents have said that they will take their business elsewhere if they don’t trust the data handling practices of a company.
In Francis Fukuyama’s book, Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity, he proposed the idea that trust and ethics was central to economic well-being. “If people who have to work together in an enterprise trust one another because they are all operating according to a common set of ethical norms, doing business costs less…” It costs less because we know that our colleagues and our partners will behave in ways that we expect, and that serve the good of the organization. Similarly, as consumers, we are more likely to do business with organizations that we trust.
An essential element of trust is transparency. Again, referencing the PwC survey, 71% of consumers find the privacy policies posted by companies to be difficult to understand. If a consumer believes that an organization is intentionally obfuscating its practices, trust erodes. When trust erodes, consumers say they will take their business elsewhere.
The moral of the story here is that as we move more fully into the data economy, we must also move more fully into being trustworthy stewards of personal data. We do that, by adhering to the letter and the spirit of the data protection laws and establishing strong information practices. Some of those practices include:
- Data Flow and Categorization – It sounds cliché, but you can’t protect what you don’t know you have. So, the first step that is typically suggested is doing a data flow or data mapping. This helps you to determine where the date is coming from, how it’s being used, and who you might be sharing it with. You may find that you’re collecting more data than you need, or that you’re sharing it with vendors that don’t need it.
- Limit Collection of Data – Another old axiom in the data security and privacy business is “don’t collect what you don’t need.” To put it simply, it’s difficult to disclose or inappropriately use data that you don’t have. Once you’ve done a data mapping exercise, you can review this with your team to determine which data is strictly needed as opposed to “nice to have.” Moreover, many of the fair information practices are built on the notion of only collecting the data that you need to complete transaction with the individual.
- Disclosures – Transparency with your constituency about what data you’re collecting and when, and how it’s being used is one of the simplest, but most important, steps that can be taken with respect to privacy. Visitors to your site, and consumers of your product or services, can’t make informed decisions about sharing their data if they don’t understand how that data might be used. Providing clear and concise information about your information practices helps to engender trust and stands you in good stead with legislative privacy regimes.
- Awareness and Training – In today’s economy, most of our businesses and non-profits run on data. Whether we intend to or not, we become dependent on data transmission, data analysis, data storage, and data collection. That means that everyone in our organization is going to encounter personal data at some point. Given that fact, it’s important that your team knows what data is considered sensitive, and how that data is to be treated. An important part of training, that can be easy to overlook, is how to report a potential incident. For example, what should be done if someone has emailed a payment account number?
The dilemma facing businesses today is encapsulated nicely in the January 2019 issue of the Frontier Technology Quarterly:
On one hand, the data economy is radically transforming many economic activities and creating new levels of prosperity. On the other, it presents the possibility of a perilous dystopia … A market economy cannot function without trust, and the data economy is no exception. Trust deficits can unravel the data market and undermine social cohesion, stability and peace.
The Sphere teams will be out and about at a variety of payments and industry events. Stop by and see us! Learn more about our end-to-end integrated payment solutions, security software, payments gateway and merchant acquiring products and services.
HFMA Symposium Region 10
January 12-15, 2020 | Las Vegas
WRUG Winter Conference
February 20-21, 2020 | San Diego
March 9-13, 2020 | Orlando
Parking Industry Exhibition
March 22-25, 2020 | San Diego
OCHIN Learning Forum
April 27-29, 2020 | Portland
This is a guest post from our partner, Qgiv.
As a nonprofit, much of your focus falls on fundraising and securing what you need to further your mission. But sometimes you’ll run into challenges like issues with payment processing or limited fundraising resources.
As proud partners, Sphere and Qgiv are working to change that. With Qgiv’s fundraising software, you can streamline each and every aspect of your fundraising process and boost your donation revenue. From there, you’ll be on your way to achieving your nonprofit’s goals!
There are many ways nonprofits can use Qgiv. From events to online campaigns, here are the top ways you can benefit:
- Online Donations
- Event Registrations
- Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
- Mobile Donations
- Silent Auctions
Leveraging a robust fundraising platform is the key to raising more. Let’s take a closer look!
- Online Donations
Many nonprofits are moving to online donation forms, but the ways in which they create their forms will vary. Some are turning to third-party payment processors, though there are other solutions that may be more appropriate and built with nonprofits’ specific needs in mind.
Fundraising software like Qgiv that allows you to create and customize an online donation form can drive more donations by encouraging completion. This is because you can:
- Brand the page to match the rest of your website. Maintaining consistent branding between site pages instills a level of trust with your donors. This will reassure donors that their gift is going directly to you and that their information is safe.
- Set up recurring donations. Recurring donations give your supporters the opportunity to give on a regular basis (monthly, annually, etc.) so they can continuously support your organization without much effort on their end.
- Suggest giving amounts. Suggested giving amounts help guide your donors who are unsure of how much they want to give. Having a point of reference is helpful and can often encourage donors to give larger gifts.
- Offset processing fees. Donors that use GiftAssist through Qgiv can offset the processing costs associated with their donation, which means you get to keep more of the donor’s gift.
Qgiv offers each of these elements while remaining PCI-compliant, which means your donors’ payment information and other personal data will always be safe and secure. Leverage online donation forms that can be customized to your organization (and offer security!) and you’ll be on your way to bringing in more donation revenue.
- Event Registration
When attendees register for your event, that’s your nonprofit’s first chance to make a great impression. Registering for events should be easy and efficient for supporters, and with the right platform, your nonprofit can make sure that signing up is a breeze.
With Qgiv’s registration software, you can create a smooth user experience when supporters come to register for your events. For example, you’ll be able to:
- Provide a variety of registration options, such as packages for groups, discounts, and private VIP packages.
- Boost event attendance by enabling social sharing options so guests can invite their friends.
- Automate your process by cloning annual events and accessing real-time registration data so you can focus more on planning an amazing event.
- Easily reach out to your attendees to remind them about your event.
By incorporating event registration software into your strategy, you’ll be able to boost event attendance, accommodate different registration needs, and ensure your focus remains on running the best event possible.
- Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
Peer-to-peer fundraising is a powerful, socially driven fundraising method that can help you tap into new donor networks that you wouldn’t have otherwise reached. During a peer-to-peer campaign, nonprofits recruit their supporters to fundraise on their behalf.
Here’s how it works:
- Your nonprofit sets a campaign goal and posts its main campaign page.
- After some coaching and training, your peer-to-peer participants set up their own individual campaign pages.
- Your participants share their campaign pages with their greater networks.
- People in those networks are encouraged to donate to participants or create their own fundraising page.
But just running this type of campaign isn’t enough. It’s important to leverage a peer-to-peer fundraising platform that handles multiple participant campaign pages and allows you to track the progress.
According to Qgiv’s guide on peer-to-peer fundraising, you can increase your fundraising results using software elements like gamification. Gamification incorporates “game-like” elements to spark friendly competition and further motivate your supporters. These include:
- Leaderboards, which display the participants who raise the most funds.
- Fundraising thermometers, which show your progress towards your goal.
- Badges, which reward participants once they’ve reached a certain milestone or achievement.
Using the right peer-to-peer fundraising platform can maximize your results and keep you on track to reach your ultimate goal. When you leverage software that offers gamification elements, provides robust reporting, and collects donations through personalized campaign pages, you’ll be on your way to hosting a successful fundraiser.
- Mobile Donations
As most of us are constantly on our smartphones these days, nonprofits can and should offer convenient ways to give straight from a phone. With Qgiv’s text fundraising features, you can offer an easy, straightforward giving channel to your donors.
There are two types of solutions you can take advantage of:
- Text-to-donate. This is a mobile fundraising method wherein donors initiate a gift via text before visiting a mobile form to complete their donation.
- Text-to-give. This is a mobile fundraising method wherein donors are billed the donation amount on their phone bill.
Both of these solutions make it easy to give on the go and can significantly widen your donor network, as more and more donors prefer to give on their phones. Find more donors by implementing this type of software into your fundraising strategy and provide a positive user experience as individuals give.
- Silent Auctions
When it comes to hosting large events, using a software solution that can streamline each aspect of your planning process is essential. We’ve already discussed event registration software, but what about creating donation opportunities at the event itself?
If you’re planning to host a large event that includes a silent auction, you can use Qgiv’s silent auction software to streamline the bidding process, payments, and more. Once you learn how to run a silent auction, you can raise a lot with the right tools.
- Real-time bidding. Rather than using web-based forms or paper auction sheets, use a silent auction software app that allows bidders to build a watch list and set maximum bids, and streamlines the overall bidding process.
- Registration and check in. Make it easy for supporters to register for your event and check in upon arrival.
- Event purchases. Let guests purchase raffle tickets or merchandise via the silent auction app and add them to a running tab.
- Checkout. Streamline the checkout process by allowing guests to pay for auction items they won, as well as other purchases and donations, through the app.
- Reporting. Robust reporting features let you view event registration, bids, and other transactions. You can then export all of this data to your integrated CRM.
Simplify every aspect of your silent auction using Qgiv’s auction software. When your guests have a good experience at your event, they’re more likely to give again and take part in future events. When there’s less frustration surrounding the planning and execution process of your auction, this will benefit everyone involved.
Part of planning a successful auction also means procuring the right items. Check out a list of great auction item ideas here.
Your payment processing shouldn’t cause a headache. With solutions brought to you through Sphere and Qgiv’s partnership, you can raise a lot more through additional channels you might not have otherwise been able to access.
Keep your donations and payments organized and your campaigns running smoothly with easy-to-use software features that will keep your donors coming back. After all, they make up the foundation of your nonprofit. Reach new heights with the right solution for you!
Maybe it’s too early to think about warm cozy fires, holiday cheer, and family gatherings, but it’s never too early to think about the booming holiday season for retailers and consumers. November and December pack a large punch for retail sales, projected to exceed $1.1 trillion1 this holiday season alone.
For most businesses the holiday season can represent as much as 30% of total annual sales2. Before you panic and begin to plan, we put together a holiday season checklist to make sure you are prepared:
1. Make sure you aren’t overpaying to accept payments
Businesses have so many moving parts it can be natural to choose a payment provider and stick with that provider for the long haul. It’s important to make sure you are checking in regularly to make sure you have the best rates possible! It’s highly probable that there is a lower cost option available for your specific business needs.
Before you dive into the holiday season, make sure you have the right plan and the right provider with a no-cost no-obligation rate check. If your rates are fair, then you know you’re with the right provider, and if Sphere can beat your rates, you’ve found a better option and start to save money.
2. Don’t stick with faulty malfunctioning equipment
Having modern, easy-to-use equipment to accept payments is no longer an option – it’s what customers demand! Why make it more difficult on yourself and your staff this holiday season to accept all payment types. Make sure your equipment is working for your business not against it and you are adequately prepared to handle the holiday rush.
Getting new equipment doesn’t have to cost and arm and a leg. If you need new equipment but are worried about the up-front cost, consider leasing the equipment for a low monthly fee.
3. Adopt a system that works in every payment environment
Most businesses operate in multiple payment environments. Make sure you are giving customers the option to pay the way they want – don’t miss out on sales due to lack of payment technology. Your payment provider should support all payment environments: in-person, via mobile, online, and over the phone/key-entered.
4. Update your technology recovery plan to prepare for down-time
During the holidays you should expect the unexpected. Make sure your payment provider is reachable no matter what time you need support. Sphere’s support line is open 24/7/365 by phone. We want to make sure any issues you encounter are solved efficiently and that you speak to a real person any time you call in. You don’t have to settle for second rate email-only customer service, especially in the most important time of year for your business.
Click here for more information on choosing Sphere as your merchant processor.
Ever wonder who’s after your data? What about what they’ll do if they get it? The danger isn’t always obvious, so what do we need to look out for?
Join us Wednesday, December 4, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. PST to learn how to responsibly handle client data to reduce the impact of a possible security breach. Dr. Heather Mark, Director of Compliance and Security, will share tips on how to keep your data safe from potential security breaches, including:
- What to do with data you don’t need
- The importance of establishing information security policies and awareness
- Selecting providers that are focused on protecting your data
- And more!
Space is limited, so make sure you register while spots are available.
About the Speaker
Dr. Heather Mark, PhD, CCEP, Director of Compliance and Security, oversees compliance and security. In this role, she’s responsible for promoting and ensuring that Sphere is in compliance with relevant law, regulation, and industry standards, and that its products promote and enable compliance for clients and partners. Previously, she served in various senior leadership roles, most recently at a wholly-owned subsidiary of a global payment processor, card issuer, and merchant acquirer.
By Dr. Heather Mark
In recent years, the payments space has seen an explosion of new players. This dramatic growth is good for the industry. It drives competition and innovation. The pace of change brings with it challenges, too. One of those challenges can be the adaptation of traditional software companies to the unique risk and compliance requirements in the payments ecosystem. These compliance obligations are often viewed as costly requirements that add friction to the process, but in reality they not only protect the company’s clients and end-users, it also protects the company’s revenue. A common question among those new to the payments world is, “how much does compliance cost?” That question, though, is a little myopic. A more cogent question might be “how much will it cost our company to be non-compliant?”
In the payments industry, the consequence of non-compliance that comes to mind is the assessment associated with non-compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards. Each of the card brands assesses penalties separately, so a non-compliance finding or a breach carried with it the possibility of assessments from each of the four card brands. For example, Visa’s published non-compliance assessment schedule (available in its Core Rules ) begins at up to $50,000 per non-compliance finding for the first violation. Mastercard’s assessment schedule can be found in their Rules, as well. The assessments increase sharply for subsequent findings. It should be noted that these assessments are merely for not being compliant with the security requirements promulgated by the brands. This is not an assessment as a result of a breach.
In addition to the card brand consequences of non-compliance, in the event of a breach that exposes cardholder data, the bad news piles up quickly. All fifty states now have data breach notification requirements, meaning that an entity that suffers a breach in which personal data is compromised and there is a high risk of identity theft or financial fraud must notify affected consumers. While the cost of notification and managing the public relations fall-out is high, so too is the likelihood of a class action suit. While these suits are often dismissed on the grounds that the plaintiffs don’t have standing (fertile ground for another blog post) the fact is that companies legal spend skyrockets in responding to these cases and working to get them dismissed.
In egregious cases, companies may attract the notice of the federal regulators. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is tasked with protecting consumers from unfair and deceptive trade practices. The FTC has used this power, provided by §5A of the Federal Trade Commission Act, to take action in the event of a data breach in which consumer data is exposed. A list of FTC enforcement actions regarding Privacy and Security related events can be found on the FTC website. In egregious cases, entities may face fines and penalties, pay remuneration to affected consumers, and may be required to submit their compliance or security programs to FTC oversight for up to 20 years.
Fortunately, there are means to reduce interaction with regulated or protected data. Some of these methods include:
- Hosted Payment Pages – merchants can accept payments through the use of a hosted payment page. The Payment Page is hosted by a PCI DSS validated, registered service provider. The payment information posts directly from the consumer to the service provider, bypassing the environment of the healthcare provider.
- Tokenization – in this solution, the payment information is replaced with a randomly generated value that used to represent the payment mechanism. The healthcare provider can still use that token to process subsequent payments, as may be useful for patients on payment plans, reporting purposes, patient payment analysis, and chargeback or dispute purposes. The benefit here is the reduced payment data footprint within the organization.
- PCI Validated Point to Point Encryption (P2PE) – a P2PE solution is one in which the cardholder data is encrypted from the point of interaction (swipe, dip, entry) all the way through the processor. The payment is processed, but when the authorization response is sent to the healthcare organization, the payment data is replaced with a token.
While the regulatory environment is constantly changing, and threats to data will continue to evolve, the payments industry continues to adapt technologies to mitigate the risk to data. Understanding how these technologies can be deployed to mitigate your data risk can help improve the customer experience and protect your bottom line.
If you’re thinking of adding payment functionality to your software solution, you’ll definitely want to get familiar with these six phrases. Why? Because with Sphere they could be a part of your daily payment experience.
Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) can embed Sphere credit card processing capabilities within their applications, allowing clients to take customer payments in one seamless process. If you’ve ever considered payments, you’ll quickly realize there’s a whole new language to learn and set of acronyms. To get the most out of your partner search, let’s take a look at these six phrases you’ll want to associate with your payment functionality.
Think of the payment gateway as a piece of a more complex and robust payment solution. A payment gateway doesn’t just let you accept electronic payment types such as credit cards, debit cards, and ACH/electronic check payments—it’s much more than that. Sphere’s payment gateway gives your company a compliant and brandable experience customized by you. They’re your customers after all, so they should experience your brand from beginning to end, not a cookie-cutter checkout experience.
No matter the size of businesses you serve, chances are you’re still looking for the essentials: competitive rates on credit card processing, compatibility with a multitude of payment devices, and white glove, friendly service. That is automatic with Sphere. We aim to be a single source for all your current payment needs with room to grow in the future.
Security and trust are important aspects of a business relationship. That’s why Payment Card Industry Standard (PCI) compliance is essential, especially when data breaches are reaching the news on almost a daily basis. Know that your customer’s information is handled safely and securely with Sphere. Our solutions are PCI compliant (and then some) and help reduce your scope.
Validated Point to Point Encryption (VP2PE)
Remember the “and then some” we mentioned before? This is it. Sphere is the leading provider of secure electronic payment acceptance and risk management solutions which is why we offer validated point to point encryption (P2PE), Powered by TrustCommerce. That means your customer’s sensitive data stays safe, even in its encrypted state. With P2PE, your customer’s confidential information will be indecipherable to third parties.
Affectionately called “the card with the chip thingie” by customers, Europay, Mastercard and Visa (EMV) is the new standard for smart cards. EMV adds an extra layer of protection for customers and is quickly becoming the preferred method of payment for many, becoming synonymous with “fraud protection.”
Hosted Payment Page
Having a hosted payment page means that you don’t have to take on additional liability customer’s data passing through your systems. Sphere will do that for you, and with our security features and complete branding continuity, you can be assured that your customers are using a secure e-commerce payment capture solution. This simple, yet sophisticated solution allows for text-to-pay, email, within app and online payment acceptance.
Does your current payment integration offer the same functionality as Sphere? If not, it might be time to upgrade to a company with a record for being secure, innovative and customizable. See these six phrases in action with Sphere.
When it comes to choosing an integrated payment partner for your solution, there’s a lot to consider: do you go with a familiar company? Or, a fresh option? Ideally, you want something that’s perfect for your business, but often solutions are either more than you need (at an exorbitant price), or not enough.
More often than not, money tends to drive these decisions. But there are other things you should ask yourself before picking the right payment processing engine for your solution. Perhaps the most important question should be:
“What can your payment processing partner do for you?”
Your business deserves more than “adequate” service, and that’s where we come in. With decades of experience advancing technology and putting clients first, Sphere is the natural choice for credit card processing. With Sphere, you instantly connect your customers with the most comprehensive, secure, end-to-end payment processing solutions. Let’s take a look at the top three benefits of integrating payments with Sphere.
- Sphere Helps Drive Your Business Revenue
Shouldn’t your payment processing partner do more than just meet your immediate needs? Sphere does. We help drive your business, providing you with more than just a point-of-sale system—in step with you as you grow.
Our products and services have all the payment features you need today and tomorrow, including:
- Virtual Terminal
- Transaction Security
- Open API
- Data Storage
- E-Commerce Payment Pages
- Reporting and Reconciliation
- Mobile Payment App
- Automated Recurring Billing Acceptance
Our applications support all major payment types including:
- Credit Cards
- Debit Cards
- PIN-less Debit
- ACH/Electronic Check Payments
- Purchase Card (Level II and Level III) Processing
- And More
Our systems integrate seamlessly with your current software requirements and adapt as you grow. The same thing doesn’t work for everyone; that’s why we offer custom options that work for you.
The right partner can make a world of difference. And in this competitive market, you should only trust the very best. We are an expert in our field, and we can help your business generate more revenue through technology and credit card processing.
- Strong Technology That Adapts
Technology is evolving quickly, and your payment processing system needs to be ready to change. Remember before credit cards had chips and certain outdated POS systems required awkward workarounds to make transactions work? Experience is everything, and your business needs a payment processing engine that’s future-proof.
Whether your software accepts payments through a single channel or many — Sphere can adapt to your business. With multiple integration options, and APIs in a variety of languages, it’s easy to get started.
There’s a growing need for a platform that can support more than just “basic” payment support. At Sphere, we understand the importance of flexibility. Businesses need integration that’s quick and efficient to support the way you do business today, as well as in the future. With our frictionless merchant application for credit card processing, we make it easy for your customers to sign up. To us, you’re a priority. We provide payment support that won’t slow you down.
- Manage Your Risk
Risk is never fun to talk about (and it’s even less fun to experience). Trust is an integral part of business, and a reputation of being secure and reliable is a necessity. Sphere helps you manage your risk by securing your data. We offer multiple methods to protect payments, including: validated point to point encryption, tokenization and hosted payment pages.
Get comprehensive risk management and security that allows you to defer much of the cost, risk and threat involved with handling cardholder information.
Payments shouldn’t be a hassle, nor should getting the support you need to resolve any issues that may arise. That’s why integrated software vendors who are specialists in these and other industries partner with us:
- Healthcare applications
- E-commerce & Shopping Cart Developers
- Membership management software
- Bar and restaurant applications
- Software Vendors
It’s time to take the complexity out of integrating payments. Accept payments your way with Sphere. Our payment processing solutions are designed for ease of integration with third-party software. Speak with the Partner team today.