Enhance Your Mobile Site with These Tips

With mobile phones becoming indispensable in our daily lives, it may be no surprise that more than 50 percent of online searches are conducted on mobile devices. Simply having a website is no longer enough for business owners as those sites need to be customized to be navigated from a phone or tablet.
Users are demanding a quick, engaging, and easy mobile experience, and companies may lose business if that is not delivered. How should you enhance your mobile site? Consider these tips:

The One Finger Rule

While desktop users can use a mouse or two hands to navigate a website, most mobile users will use one finger (the index finger or the thumb). Therefore, a mobile site must be designed with this in mind. The content, images, and text need to be large enough to be viewed without having to pinch to zoom, yet small enough to fit into the various sizes of mobile screens.
As most mobile users use a touchscreen device, the buttons need to be designed for fingers of different sizes. People with larger-sized fingers often have trouble navigating mobile sites because their fingers cause misplaced clicks. To avoid this issue, mobile interfaces must make targets easy to select. Mark Rattin, executive creative director at Lyons Consulting Group recommends giving “buttons or tap elements at least 45 pixels of space for selection areas,… [as] this allows the targets on screen to be easily selectable and removes many of the accidental taps from the user experience.”

Use Icons


A mobile site needs to be clean, simple, and uncluttered; to facilitate this, try using minimal text  and concentrate on icons whenever possible. There are many benefits to using icons; for example, the standard ones are easily recognizable and don’t need to be translated for international users, unlike text. Icons are also typically designed to be easily finger-operated on a mobile interface, as well as clickable with a cursor.

Speed it Up

While desktop users may spend the time researching products and reading details online, mobile users are usually on the go, wanting a quick online experience. To accommodate the unique needs of mobile users, mobile sites need to be fast. In fact, studies have shown that 57 percent of people will leave a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
To make your mobile site faster, strip it off large media files, such as photos and videos, that will cause it to lag. When using images, use lower resolutions, resize and crop them, so that they require less time to load.

Customize Contact Forms

Remember that mobile users are typing with one finger and usually are on the go, which means that they don’t have the time and ability to fill in tons of information. To make the mobile experience better, design the contact form to require a minimal amount of information. For example, include a GPS component which can track the user’s location so that you don’t need to require them to enter their city, state or zip code.

If you don’t have someone on your team to help, you will likely need to involve the services of a professional web designer to design or enhance a mobile site. IOU Financial can help you improve your online presence with a small business loan in under 24 hours. Click the banner below to find out more.

IOU Financial is Expanding Its Fast, Easy Loans to Canada

The demand for business lending in Canada is red hot, according to official statistics from the Canadian government. The Biannual Survey of Suppliers of Business Financing, last updated for the second half of 2014, shows business lenders disbursed 9.6 percent more money compared to the first half of 2014. That reflects the highest growth rate since 2011 and continues several years of consecutive increases.

Figure 1 Value of Credit Outstanding and Disbursed to All Business (CA$ billions).

Figure 1 Value of Credit Outstanding and Disbursed to All Business (CA$ billions).

The figure clearly indicates the need for significantly greater lending resources in Canada, which is why IOU Financial, one of America’s fastest growing commercial lenders, has launched its Canadian business loan product. With this lending program, Canadian small businesses – both English speaking and French – are able to borrow money in as little as one business day.

Canadian small businesses will appreciate the many advantages we offer to small- and medium-sized enterprises:

  • Quick Application: If you are accustomed to the mountain of paperwork banks collect from prospective borrowers, you’ll be astonished at how quickly you can apply to IOU Financial. It takes 10 minutes or less, and you can get a pre-approval right away.
  • Convenient Repayments: Unlike many conventional lenders that hit you with a huge monthly payment, IOU Financial collects daily fixed payments directly from your bank account. This greatly reduces the impact on your working capital.
  • No Upfront Costs: There are no upfront costs or hidden fees when you deal with IOU Financial. The application process is completely free and no-obligation.
  • No Prepayment Penalties: You can repay your balance at any time without penalty. We charge simple interest on our loans, which means you pay interest only on the principal you owe, not on accrued interest.
  • Affordable Rates: Our loan rates start as low as 6 percent. Our rates are half of what you would pay for a cash advance.
  • Loan Renewals: You can renew your IOU Financial loan after you’ve repaid 40 percent of the principal amount.

The Power of “Yes”

The biggest difference between IOU Financial Canada and ordinary banks is that we do everything possible to get you funded quickly, whatever your credit history or score. You see, we look at the whole picture when you apply for loan, including your company’s equity and cash flow. Many of our customers in the U.S. come to us after being turned down by a conventional bank. We are proud of the fact that we approve 85 percent of applications, based on the overall health of their business.

Our clients rave about our services. Voodoo Vapor Inc. told us, “We received our funding from IOU within days and it enables us to put newer product on our shelves more frequently. This gives us more reasons to engage with our target market on social media, attract new customers, and build relationships with loyal customers.” You can read the full case study here.

Our staff is ready to assist you with any questions you have! Canadian merchants and brokers are invited to call 844-750-5468 for more information on how the IOU Financial small business loan product could impact their business.

Small Business Finances 101: How to Profit

We finish this introduction to business finances by discussing the payoff for all your hard work – profit! In particular, we dive into how to use your business’ profits to get paid. Unless you’re independently wealthy, you probably need to extract profit from your company to pay your bills and live your life. Like many of the important things in life, you have options. In this case, you have to decide how to structure your business and how to tap into profit while creating the smallest tax obligation. Your particular circumstances will help determine the best type of business entity to use, and you should, of course, seek formal advice from a trusted accountant or lawyer.

Structuring Your Business

Your choice of the type of business entity to adopt will greatly influence the amount of time and work you’ll have to expend administering the business. A small business set up as a sole proprietorship is certainly easier to run than a limited liability company (LLC) or C-Corporation, but the latter give you all sorts of protections or tax breaks not otherwise available.

The five most popular business structures are:

  1. Sole proprietorship: A simple structure in which you are the sole owner of your small business. You file your taxes on your personal return, as there is no separation between you and your business. That means you have unlimited personal liability for your business’ debts, putting your personal assets are at risk. It’s also harder to get a business loan for a sole proprietorship.
  2. Partnership: This is much like a sole proprietorship, except it involves at least two owners. Once again, you file your taxes on a personal return and you have unlimited personal liability. You share the business’ profits proportionally with your partners, so it’s a good idea to ensure they are trustworthy.
  3. LLC: A separate entity that provides liability protection but not separate tax filings unless you chose to file as a corporation. It is easier to set up and run than is a C-Corp. However, it’s harder to get investors, since you can’t sell shares. Also, you can’t pay yourself a salary, although there are other ways to get money out of the LLC.
  4. S-Corp: Recognized in most states, its similar to an LLC except it can issue shares and can pay wages to shareholders while avoiding corporate taxation. The S-Corp requires more paperwork than does the LLC, and you are limited to 100 shareholders.
  5. C-Corp: A corporation is the most difficult to set up, as it requires its own set of books and separate tax filings. It’s the most professional approach to business, with limited liability and no limits on the number of shareholders. C-Corps provide many tax deductions and benefits not available elsewhere.

Extracting Money

Assuming you are running your business in order to make a profit, the question remains how to extract money from the business to pay yourself for your time and effort. Here are several options:

  1. Salary: You fill out a W-2 and pay yourself a salary, minus any withholding taxes. It’s simple, but not tax-efficient for a corporate entity.
  2. Dividend: A corporation can pay a dividend to shareholders. Any part of the dividend that is a return of capital, rather than profit, is not taxable. The IRS looks dimly on huge dividends.
  3. Shareholder loan: You can borrow money from your company, but if it’s at a below-market interest rate, you might be liable for gift or dividend taxes.
  4. Owner’s draw: Cash available only to sole proprietors or partners, this money is not taxed at the company level. The money must eventually be repaid to the company.

Clearly, the way you structure your business has profound implications for your after-tax wealth. Consult with a professional before deciding the best ways to take advantage of your business profits. If you need tools to grow profits through a maintained budget, check out our Business Budget Smart Sheet. This tool helps you stay on track so you can reach profitability sooner!

Small Business Finances 101: Making Payments

We’ll admit that its more pleasing to collect payments rather than make them, but you can organize your business to optimize how you make payments so that you minimize their impact. There are two ways you can optimize your payments – when you pay them and how you pay them.

Timing Your Payments

A good rule of thumb for timing your payments to minimize impact to your cash flow is this: Delay payments to vendors and suppliers until they are due, unless you can receive a discount for early vendor payment.

Many suppliers offer terms like 2/10 net 30, which means you get a two percent discount if you pay the bill within 10 days, and that in any event you have to cough up the money within 30 days. A two percent discount might not seem like much, but don’t forget that you earn it by accelerating a payment by only 20 days. That works out to a colossal annual percentage rate (APR) of 36.7 percent, which means you can cut your vendor cash outflow by more than one-third simply by taking advantage of this discount. Where else are you going to make a return like that?

Payment Methods – Business Checking Accounts

You set up a business checking account, or at least you should have, when you launched your business. There are three ways to pay from your checking account, and they each work best for different situations:

  1. Paper checks: You can write checks manually if the volume is small, but let’s assume you are running your business using some sort of software support, such as QuickBooks or an accounting system with accounts payable (A/P). In these types of programs, you set up all your payee classes, such as vendors, employees, customer refunds, tax payments and so forth. The system will prompt you to write checks when due, but more importantly, it will print the checks on your local printer. You’re too busy to write checks by hand, so printing them is a must. If you are a larger company, you might use a bookkeeper who will perform this function for you. You can also have the system print and mail checks to your payees from the cloud, so that you never have to physically deal with paper checks. QuickBooks supports regular and one-off auto payments this way.
  2. Debit card: You might use a debit card when making certain types of purchases, such as office supplies, business travel and entertainment, or even tax payments. The card is handy for both online and in-person payments, and there is usually no fee for using it. The only warning is to make sure your checking account doesn’t become overdrawn, causing the debit transaction to fail and even cost you penalty fees. (The same precaution applies to checks you write). Debit cards can be linked to electronic wallets, so that you can make a debit payment from your smartphone without having to whip out the plastic card.
  3. ACH electronic payments: You can authorize automated clearing house (ACH) electronic payments from your checking account, either on an individual basis or by setting up an auto-payment schedule with a payee. The latter is appropriate for monthly expenses such as rent, insurance and so forth. It’s also regularly used to pay employees electronically. On the payment date, the money is wired from your checking account to that of your payee’s. No checks are involved. You can set up ACH payments to push them out at your discretion, or to have recurring payees pull them from your checking account.

Other Payment Methods

Although you’ll handle most of your major business payments with your checking account, you can also optimize your other payment methods to make sure you’re using your money wisely.

  • Cash: Stay away from cash for everything except petty purchases. It’s a hassle to account for and creates problems when doing your taxes since you have to provide evidence for payment of your deductible expenses.
  • Credit card: A business credit card is useful, especially if money is tight and you have to spread out payments. Be aware that interest rates can be high, and that credit cards aren’t appropriate for some types of payees, such as employees.
  • Loans and lines of credit: When you need extra money, a loan or line of credit makes a lot of sense. One advantage of a commercial loan from IOU Financial is that you repay the loan in small daily installments via automatic ACH payments. Not only is this convenient, it means you don’t have to contend with large monthly payments.

If you’d like to learn more about making payments and other basic aspects of running a business, download the e-book “Cold Hard Truth on Small Businesses and Money,” written by Kevin O’Leary, star of ABC’s Shark Tank. There is no one better to answer questions about your small business payments than the small business expert himself!

Should your business join the Better Business Bureau (BBB)?

Whether you are starting a business or have been in business for years, you are no stranger to the amount of sites, platforms, organizations, and more that want you to join their listings for site rankings, customer reviews and business accreditations. When considering the many options, there is one you should really focus in on: the Better Business Bureau (BBB). In this post we will review the top 5 reasons why you should consider applying for BBB accreditation and how they can help your small business grow.

 

  1. Not everyone can join.

The BBB is not a social sign up site or built on a one-stop, register-and-done platform. You do not “join” their site. Instead, you apply to be accredited, and they verify the businesses they are listing. This enables your small business to uphold its credibility and showcase it to your customers. When customers see the BBB sign, sticker, or logo on a business, they see that your company is trusted and, therefore, can be trusted with a customer’s hard earned money.

 

  1. People trust the BBB.

The BBB is one of the most visited sites when it comes to people looking up businesses and information related to company practices.  The BBB has been around for more than 100 years, and they have built a trusted name in protecting the public from bad business practices. Having BBB accreditation adds value to your small business’s brand because it shows you are trusted by one of the nation’s largest organizations dedicated to…well, trust.

 

  1. It allows you to handle claims and complaints.

With word of mouth and many online methods for customers to share their feedback about your business, a few bad reviews tanking your business and its future is a gamble many people do not want to take. With the BBB they give your business a fair chance when it comes to addressing claims or complaints. The BBB verifies claims are by real customers and give not only the customer a voice, but  also the business owner a fair shot at addressing the claim. With the protection of BBB support your company can weather a few bad storms should rainy days head your way.

 

  1. It adds to your company’s visibility.

If nobody knows about you, you are not reaching any customers. The BBB offers businesses a blend of accreditation and visibility that no other site like it can promise. The BBB reports to get millions of visits a day to their site from customers looking to verify the legitimacy of businesses like yours. In addition, the BBB is known to be one of the top 350 websites in the United States (according to Alexa), adding visibility and even website search engine optimization to help your small business be seen.

 

  1. They want your business to do well.

The BBB does not exist to just place their stickers on storefront windows. They are in existence to help businesses grow and do well. With resources like webinars and training, the BBB is there to help you achieve your vision and goals.

 

When evaluating your options for listing sites, accreditations, and endorsements, the BBB should rise to the top of your list. They are there to not only protect the customer, but also to encourage your business to grow while adding legitimacy and standards to a market filled with many services that are below par. Consider the BBB and consider the benefits!

The Benefits of Good Budgeting for Your Business

If you’ve been managing your budget on the back of an envelope, you are denying yourself a powerful tool that can make the difference between your small business’ success or failure. A proper expense budget not only serves as a roadmap for how you will be disbursing funds, but it also functions as a reality check by tracking your actual cash outflows against your projections. Good budgeting lets you objectively gauge whether your business strategy is working and highlights areas that need improvement.

Budgeting and Tracking Expenses

For the typical small merchandiser or manufacturer, the first step in creating a proper expense budget is to tease apart the costs of goods sold from your other operating expenses:

  • Costs of Goods Sold (COGS): These are the costs that are directly related to the items you sell. They include the payroll costs of direct labor, purchases of raw goods and/or inventory, purchases of directly related non-inventory items (like lubricants and packing materials), outside services used to help produce or sell your product, as well as other direct costs. Most of these costs are fixed, but the inventory purchases will obviously vary from month to month.
  • Operating Expenses: All the expenses that didn’t go into COGs are budgeted and tracked as operating expenses. These include the payroll for administrative and support staff, non-inventory materials not directly related to the production of goods (such as office supplies), outside administrative services, rent, utilities, travel & entertainment, and loan Everything except utilities can be considered a fixed cost.

The difference between your sales revenue and COGS is your gross income, whereas you have to subtract your operating expenses and taxes to figure your net profit.

Benefits of Tracking Expenses

Here are four good reasons to adopt proper budget tracking:

  1. Streamline areas of overspending: By tracking your actual expenses, you know immediately whether you are busting your budget with overspending, and if so, by how much. You then have two options. The first is to revamp your operations so as to streamline your overspending. This might mean changes to the sources and amounts of inventory and non-inventory items you purchase each month, as well as the size of your payroll, your use of outside services, and the amount you spend on travel & entertainment. The second option is to increase your budget for items that can’t be streamlined. Most businesses use both of these strategies to keep spending in check.
  2. See how your cash flow is affected with fixed vs. variable costs: You have immediate control over your variable costs, but fixed costs take time to change. If you see a lot of cash flying out the door due to high fixed costs, you can start planning ways to lower those costs. For example, you might want to find ways to cut your rent or your payroll. When too much money is being spent on variable costs, you can take steps to cut costs right away.
  3. Analyze spending patterns over time: Budget tracking helps you recognize trends. For example, inflation may increase the cost of your raw materials in a steady, predictable way. If that’s the case, you can incorporate this information into your budget going forward. Budgets also help you recognize seasonal spending patterns, which are extremely important in planning how much cash you’ll need on hand for the upcoming period.
  4. Realize areas of new opportunity for investing time and money: You might find that buying inventory in larger batches lowers your price per unit, but that you’ll need to enlarge your storage facilities to take advantage of this cost break. A budget will help you discover and plan for this and many other opportunities to lower your costs and/or increase your revenues. It can also show you when it makes sense to borrow money to finance your business’ growth.

Convinced? IOU Financial is making it easier to create and track your expenses by offering our free Business Budget Smart Sheet. Simply fill out the short form to download the planner, which is extremely adaptable and easy to use. Don’t delay, because the sooner you organize your budget, the sooner your business will reap the many benefits of tracking your spending!

5 Reasons to Choose a Small Business Loan Over Crowdfunding

On May 16, equity crowdfunding became a reality in the U.S. as a result of Title III of the 2012 Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act. The new rules allow a small private business to raise up to $1 million a year by selling shares to the general public without first registering the stock offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission. On the surface, this might seem like a boon to owners of small businesses, but closer analysis reveals that this well-meaning rule has a number of flaws. On the plus side, it does infuse up to $1 million into your business, but the price you pay for that money might make you think twice:

  1. New partners: If you are the sole owner of your small business, you might not like taking on a bunch of junior equity partners, each with a separate opinion, potentially offering advice on what they think you are doing wrong. Dealing with feedback and input from small or large investors can be a huge distraction, might influence decisions on how to run your business.
  2. Due diligence: The rules for equity crowdfunding subject you to a higher degree of time-consuming due diligence than what you’d experience through, say, a business loan. The reason is that your share sales must be mediated either by a broker dealer or an online funding portal, both of which are registered with the SEC and subject to its reporting standards. Basically, this means you have to allocate precious time and significant effort preparing disclosure documents about your small business, and then wait for the dealer or portal to its part.
  3. High costs: Did you know that you could spend anywhere from $30,000 to more than $100,000 simply to prepare the documents required for equity crowdfunding? Yikes! You’ll need to fork over paperwork for an SEC filing statement, legal disclosures, financial information and more. You must spend this money before you even know whether you’ll be successful in your capital raising efforts. And that’s not all – you’ll also have to pay the broker dealer or fundraising portal a share, usually 7 percent, of the money you raise. That’s $70,000 on a $1 million sale of shares, plus all the documentation costs.
  4. Ongoing reporting: Your paperwork nightmare doesn’t end when you sell your crowdfunded shares. The SEC requires that you produce reports periodically, because the agency is charged under Title III with monitoring the private market. This may likely require you to hire a lawyer and/or accountant to prepare this reporting properly.
  5. Limiting your options: Accepting funds from equity crowdfunding now can make it much harder to get any attention from venture capitalists or angel investors later on. Typically, these investors dislike petty shareholders even more than owners do.

Now, we are not saying that raising capital isn’t a good way to pump money into your business. But we think that it’s a lot easier and cheaper to start with a business loan. In today’s lending market, a small business owner can receive a loan with no upfront fees, no ongoing reporting, and no time wasted on petty shareholders.

If you’re looking for up to $150,000, IOU Financial can get you funds with instant pre-approval and funding in as little as 24 hours. When you compare the cost of a loan with what is required by equity crowdfunding, it’s clear that you can save a bundle by finding the right lender and avoiding the hassles of dealing with shareholders.

 

How Your Assets May Not Be Working As Hard As You Are

Why A Cash Flow Loan is Better Than Collateral for Business

Assets are the things your business owns. They include short-term ones, such as accounts receivable, cash, and inventory, and long-term ones, such as plant and equipment, intellectual property and goodwill. A business’s job is to convert assets into revenues and profits. If you are not fully leveraging your assets to help your small business grow and thrive, you could be missing out on profits.

There are two major ways that assets can be put to work by your business.

  1. Cash Flow Generation: Whether you are a merchandising company selling inventory, a manufacturer turning raw materials into finished products, or a service-oriented company relying on office space or equipment, you are using assets to generate revenue. The cash flow generated from your business assets can be put to work as the basis for obtaining a loan from an alternative lender. While banks look only at credit ratings, alternative lenders are usually much more interested in daily cash flows and lend based on healthy flows. A loan means working capital to pay down more expensive debts, purchase equipment, increase inventory purchases, expand operations, acquire a competitor or otherwise leverage your revenues so that the additional profits exceed the modest interest costs.
  2. Collateral: Another way to make your business assets work is to use them as collateral. Some lenders, often called factors, will make a loan collateralized by your fixed assets, such as plant and equipment, or backed by your accounts receivable or inventory. In an A/R loan, the factor advances you about 70 to 80 percent of the invoices it accepts, and then pays you the remainder, minus a financial fee, when the invoices are paid. This speeds up your business cycle by allowing you to purchase more inventory faster. It also relieves you of the headache of trying to collect from people or companies who are overdue. You can also sell your A/R for a fixed price to a collection agency.

Comparing the Two Methods

Both of these methods deliver capital to grow your small business, but there are advantages to cash flow generation instead of leveraging assets as collateral.

When you use assets as collateral in factoring, it puts pressure on your sales margins due to the fees you are charged when you pledge assets or the loss you take by selling assets. Also, if you sell your A/R, you could alienate your customers if they start being contacted repeatedly by a collections agency that is unknown to them.

In general, taking out a loan for cash flow generation is the better deal. Rather than tying up your main assets or, in the case of collections agencies, even selling them, you keep your business assets and maintain control. You also get a full sum of money rather than a percentage advance to use as you see fit, and you avoid the financial fees of factors. As long as you have daily cash flow and a solid plan, the profits generated from the additional inventory, expansion, or other project made possible by your loan will be a permanent gain that will let you pay down the loan comfortably. Now that’s putting your money to work!

If you’re ready to try cash flow generation, IOU Financial is a great starting point to find out what a loan can do for your business. You can work with a Small Business Loan Consultant to take you through every step of the process, and we approve 85 percent of applications we receive, including many people turned down by banks. Our base requirements are that you own at least 80 percent of the business, have been in business a year or longer, make 10 or more deposits per month, and have annual revenue of at least $100,000. To get started, give us a call at 866-217-8564.

 

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3 Factors that Can Make or Break a Business Expansion Plan

Business expansion is an exciting endeavor for any small business owner. Taking this step means that you have successfully sold your product or service, and it has been well received by the public. You now know that scaling your small business up could bring in some real profits. However, many small businesses fail after their first or second year because of their lack of planning.

Before you try to secure financing, take some time to reflect honestly on whether you will be able to maintain sufficient funding, execute the right marketing campaign, and hire the right employees. Without planning for these three factors, you could find that your attempt at business expansion creates a drain on your limited resources.

 

Sufficient Funds

It takes money to make money, and your expansion project will need funds to ensure your business continues to grow while maintaining normal operations. Calculate how much capital you would need to ensure your added revenue from expansion will make up for the costs associated with the project. Crunching the numbers will help you avoid either taking on too much debt or finding yourself short on funds. For information about the right questions to ask about your business’s cash flow and how to start securing financing, check out “3 Steps to Plan for Successfully Expanding Your Business.

 

The Right Marketing Campaign

While you may have had success with word-of-mouth referrals or small online campaigns to generate initial profit for your company, you will need to inform customers of the changes you are making to drive more traffic for your business. A targeted marketing campaign can help grow demand for your products or services, and even a small budget can make a big impact. Don’t know where to start? Check out our recommendations for getting the most out of your small marketing budget. If you don’t have the time or expertise to coordinate a campaign yourself, consider hiring a marketing professional or a PR firm to create and spearhead this marketing campaign for you. If you opt for this route, make sure to budget for these costs when you lay out your business expansion plan.

 

Experienced Employees

While you may have started your small business out of your garage with one great idea, make sure you plan ahead for hiring. Spend some time reflecting on your own strengths and weaknesses so you know when to ask for help. Depending on your area of expertise, there may come a time when you will need to hire managers to run certain aspects of your business so you can focus on new product development or customer acquisition.

Skilled and hard-working employees can often mean the difference between success or failure because you have to delegate tasks as you grow. Take interviews seriously and hire individuals who show high levels of drive to help your business succeed. Don’t overlook the dollars and cents of hiring as well. Taking time to estimate and plan for the costs for hiring staff can be just as important as getting the right employees in the door.

 

Taking on a business expansion project needs to produce a significant revenue boost to ensure the time, money, and energy are all well worth it. With some planning ahead and estimating the costs of things like hiring and marketing, you can set yourself up for success.

For more tips about how to jump start your expansion, contact one of our Small Business Loan Consultants. We are here to sort through your ideas and see how you can get financing to make your goals a reality.

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New Survey Sheds Light on Slow Adoption of EMV Cards

New Survey Sheds Light on Slow Adoption of EMV Cards

A new survey from TD Bank finds that several factors are holding back small business owners from quickly adopting cards with embedded chips, known as EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) cards. EMV cards are more secure than the older magnetic strip variety, which means their slow adoption leaves more consumers vulnerable to credit fraud from counterfeit, lost or stolen cards. Slow adoption can also leave small business owners vulnerable to footing the bill when instances of credit fraud do happen.

On October 1, 2015, the liability for damages arising from credit card fraud shifted from the card issuers to merchants for all swipe transactions performed on EMV cards (the new cards still work with the older terminals). Surprisingly, the survey finds that about 19 percent of merchants were either unaware of or indifferent to the new compliance rules for EMV payment terminals, and only a minority of small businesses have installed them, with many reporting concerns about or obstacles with adopting the new technology. The latest information is that new POS terminals are operational at only about 25 percent of locations.

Conversion cost is a factor mentioned by 58 percent of small business owners (SBOs) in the survey as to why they have been slow to upgrade. Part of the problem is misperceptions about the cost of switching to the new payment terminals. Although several pre-deadline reports put the price at $1,000 per installation, actual costs reported by survey respondents indicated the average cost to be about $450 per installation. Many merchants work on tight margins, and for those who perform relatively few credit/debit card transactions, the perceived high costs of transitioning to the new EMV technology can seem a significant roadblock.

Although 73 percent of SBOs expressed little or no concern about their exposure to the damages of credit card fraud, it is hard to say that indifference to security is holding back the conversion process.  Only 13 percent of non-adopters admitted a lack of credit fraud concern, and 70 percent of adopters listed security as the foremost benefit. The survey reports that 58 percent of adopters say that the new cards are better at protecting consumers’ information, and 54 percent mentioned that installing EMV card readers shields their businesses from fraud liability.

The last major obstacle reported by the survey (mentioned by 37 percent of SBOs) involves the amount of time it takes to set up and learn the new payment system  and the effort involved in educating customers about the new process (36 percent). The new terminals read EMV cards through partial insertion rather than swiping, and the transaction takes a few seconds longer with the new equipment.

While the survey indicates that SBOs face real and perceived obstacles to updating their point of sale systems, it’s important to consider that a single instance of credit fraud could easily exceed the one-time costs of upgrading systems to comply with new rules.  If your business is trying to figure out how to finance the installation and activation costs of new EMV terminals at your retail locations, it may be worthwhile to consider taking out a commercial business loan. Alternative lenders like IOU Financial look at factors beyond credit score, like daily cash flow, to assess whether your business is a good candidate for a loan that can be used for equipment upgrades.

If you’re interested in learning more about how commercial business loans can be used for technology and equipment upgrades, contact one of our Small Business Loan Consultants today at 1-844-750-5468.

 

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