What’s the VALUE in Value Added Resellers?

View the PDF.

Running a business is hard. Everybody realizes that it requires long hours and dedication. In an effort to stay focused on the product, many business owners find it difficult to become fully educated on how to select the right POS system for their business. Too often, an IT department is a luxury affordable by few, leaving management to add becoming a POS expert to their considerable list of tasks.

This is the VALUE in VAR.  They make running your business easier by providing sound advice and access to customized turnkey solutions resulting in owner confidence and more time to focus on their product and their customers.

RDS has assembled experienced teams that know and understand the products available, and how businesses in your industry stay in the black. Better than working directly with a manufacturer who delivers a one size fits all product, a VAR analyzes your business and develops a custom solution that reinforces your brand with your customers.

How? Value Added Resellers work with you, giving advice and providing many services such as PCI Compliant strategies, employee training, IT functions, custom integrations, installation project management, maintenance, skilled help desk support, payment services and financing options. It may be surprising for customers to hear, but manufacturers prefer working with VARs. They buy in quantity and their business is understanding how the products work. This relationship allows for some pricing advantages that VARs can then pass to customers.

How important are these services, really? It’s easy to see the value in a discounted price on hardware or software. But let’s look at just one of these added values– what is the real value of help desk support? The hard truth is that technology sometimes breaks. When it does, it is important to be able to get the help you need –quickly. Not all VARs are created equal. A comprehensive POS provider, RDS provides qualified help desk support 24/7/365.  Our Help Desk works constantly to maintain high standards in customer service. In some cases, they are able to prevent a full day of lost sales. But don’t take our word for it. Here are a few comments from customers:

 “You guys immediately get on the system to fix the problem. In a case when a replacement was needed, a new component was shipped overnight. Business still continued to run instead of being dead in the water like with our last POS company. The new terminal was up and running in two minutes. Just a quick call and up and running. Best of all the sites are NEVER down.”

 

– Alan Meyer, Meyer Oil Company

 

“RDS works hand in hand with our back office system and I can’t imagine not having RDS for our cash registers. For Instance, if we lose internet connection, we can still process credit cards off-line so it doesn’t affect sales and customer service. Any time there is a problem that we need to communicate right away, we are able to use after -hours support by calling. We always get a response right away.”

 

– Helen Daigle, Owner with Daigle Arby’s Franchise Group – Louisiana

 

“Honestly your whole support team is above the other vendors we use, so all of them should be commended.”

 

– Anthony Mann, Atlanta Botanical Garden

RDS has been assisting businesses for 65 years with POS solutions. In 27 offices across the country, our IT professionals are adding value to POS in Hospitality, C-Store, Retail and Grocery channels. Are you ready to cross off POS expert from your TO DO list? Call RDS at 855-737-1500 to talk about your options.

What is an EMV Card?

Visa does a great job of explaining to the masses what an EMV card is, what it isn’t and what it means to consumers and merchants alike.   Click below and use the arrows on the left and right of your screen to see what this means to merchants and consumers when the EMV Liability Shift goes live October 1, 2015.

Have a look at the Visa Chip Business Toolkit

http://usa.visa.com/merchants/grow-your-business/payment-technologies/credit-card-chip/resources/merchant-toolkit/index.jsp?page=toc

Also be sure to read our post by our own Janice Mackler, “What is EMV and what does it mean to you as the Merchant?”

The Myth of Free POS

View the PDF

We recently had a call from a customer who is planning on opening a location in Virginia that will be a full service restaurant with a bar. They were inquiring about a POS system that would be able to handle both operations. They heard that some companies offer “free” Point of Sale equipment.

The customer referred us to one of these companies on the internet and we took the time to read about their offer carefully. In today’s world, anyone can post anything online and reader beware, but the interesting point of this particular Review site was that it stated they do the research so that “you don’t have to.” To their credit, they did state that the supposed Free POS systems were accompanied by long contracts and that the terms/conditions should be reviewed carefully. They listed the top 5 advantages as follows:

  1.  Low Upfront Costs
  2.  Simple to Setup
  3.  Overnight Replacement Part Shipping
  4.  Lifetime Warranty
  5.  They Don’t Make Money Unless You Make Money

I will be addressing each point shortly, but the bottom line is that there is no such thing as Free POS. They still make plenty of money even if you don’t.

RDS POS offers tailored Point of Sale solutions systems focused on Hospitality, Retail, Grocery, and Petroleum/C-Store. Customers demanding an honest single source for their POS solution come to RDS POS for the best in Service, Software, and Hardware.

Most of us have heard the phrase “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Or how about “if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is not true.” Then how is it that there are still advertisements claiming “Free POS?” Is it possible there is such a thing as free POS for your business? Here are some common (and mostly misleading) phrases we found when researching this topic:

“Upgrade your Business to Point of Sale FOR FREE”

“FREE POS System for Hospitality, Bar or Retail”

“Is a FREE POS in your budget?”

“A comprehensive FREE point-of-sale solution for your business!”

To better understand, let’s quickly look at the components and pricing of a POS system: 19475626_m
1  Hardware – This could include the POS touch screen, all-in-one touch pc or separate processor (computer), customer display, barcode scanners, cash register drawer, kitchen display, and thermal printers.
2. Software: It is defined as the specific program than runs the point of sale operations and does have a variety of features.
3. Credit Card Processing– you must use their services, no negotiating on rates or terms
4. Training–  all remote, no  local, qualified trainer with any experience
5. Service & Warranty– at their mercy, no qualified support for on-site, nor any night and weekend support

It is easy to understand that all the above components cost money. Some imagine that the revenue from credit card processing may be able to allow sellers of POS systems to offer the system for free. This is typically NOT true. The share of revenues the POS provider receives is way too little to cover the costs involved if you are to get a real system. So, how is it that you see advertisements for “free POS systems?”

We went searching and found the answers. Here is what we discovered when we tried to purchase a two station POS system for FREE for a restaurant from one of the nation’s leading advertisers of free POS:

  1. Basic Package: $60/month per station: Total: $120/month. Includes touch screen with receipt printer and cash drawer
  2. Optional Equipment: Total: $33/month. Includes remote printer (x2)
  3. There is a $250 per quarter maintenance. That is an extra $6,000 in the five year term.

Then we moved on to the fun part– THE FINE PRINT! Commonly, most business owners are so busy with setting up their business that they don’t read the pages of fine print and this is where you can come across surprises. We suggest that you spend the time to always read the fine print and ask questions. Here are a few interesting and frankly scary parts from it:

Terms: The monthly payment agreement is for 60 months and then it is automatically renewed for an additional 48 months if you don’t give them notice 60 days period to the termination of the first 60 months. Early termination fee is equal to the number of months remaining and the entire amount is due upon termination! So if after operating for 36 months, you want out, then you need to pay them 24 months’ worth of payments immediately.

Rate Hike: The POS seller can adjust the monthly service charges upon 30 days written notice. So at any point, they can raise the fees and you have to accept it.

Credit Card Processing: You have to maintain this service with them and pay any fees they like. There is NO OPTION! This is a huge unknown, and does not allow for any comparison in rates or costs. Count me OUT!

Equipment Ownership: They own the equipment and upon termination, you must return all the equipment in working condition.

The actual provider: Your POS provider is actually a bank. Don’t know if I want the bank to know everything about my transactions.  What does a bank know about POS?!?

We know it’s hard to believe, but feel free to read the entire contract yourself.
Cost of ownership: Basic Package + Optional Equipment + Tax
$120+$66= $186 x 60 months = $11,160
Plus 20 quarters of $250 = $6,000
Total: $17,106.00 (Depending on what State you are in, you may have to add applicable taxes to it.

This is the cost if they don’t decide to raise the monthly fee as they see fit and if you forget to cancel the term 60 days before the expiration, then you are stuck for another 48 months or $13,728. You still have to pay whatever they charge for Credit Card Processing and you still don’t own the EQUIPMENT and are at the mercy of the seller. And you are still stuck with low level service and support.

CONCLUSION:
When we tried to bring up this to them and asked “how is this free?” we were told that this is like a cell phone contract. I am no fan of mobile phone companies, but at least with the cell phone companies you own the phone at the end and they can’t just raise rates on you if you are in a contract.

Directly stated, it is not only dishonest, but also grossly deceitful. One must wonder, if this is how a relationship starts, how will the rest of it go? The only factor we are not certain about is the service they provide when you have the system. You are obligated, so you can be at their mercy. They may be wonderful service providers, but in business, trust is everything and if they are this way in the beginning, who knows. A POS System is an investment in your business just like your employees who need to be trustworthy.

SOLUTION:
If you want an honest and reliable POS solution provider, then contact RDS POS Systems. Our goal is to help you build your business instead of locking you into fine print. Your success directly reflects upon us and brings success to us.

Contact us today with any questions: POS is what we do!

by Garry Easterling

What is EMV and what does it mean to you as the Merchant?

By Janice Mackler

View the PDF

EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, a global standard for inter-operation of integrated circuit cards (IC cards or “chip cards”) and IC card capable point of sale (POS) terminals and automated teller machines (ATMs), for authenticating credit and debit card transactions. The EMV standard is moving the consumers to chip card technology. These new cards contain an integrated circuit containing payment related information protected by layers of security. The EMV standard allows for cardholder verification methods other than a PIN.

As a merchant there are three core areas of concern:

  1. Expand TIP – TIP will end the mandate for merchants to validate their compliance with the PCI Data Security Standard for any year where 75% of the merchant’s VIS transactions stem from chip-based terminals.
  2. Build Infrastructure – Chip acceptance will require service providers to be able to carry and process additional data that is included in chip transactions, including cryptographic messages that make each transaction unique.
  3. Shift Liability – Effective October 2015 the party, either the issuer or merchant, who does not support EMV, assumes liability for counterfeit card transactions.

EMV is not the silver bullet that can wholly insulate a merchant from the credit breaches common in the news today.  Credit card theft will continue, and merchants will still need to protect themselves. EMV transactions still send credit card data in clear text that hackers can use for credit card fraud.   Since creating fake cards is more difficult in the EMV environment, hackers will be more apt to perpetrate fraud in an on-line environment rather than in person. Therefore, your firewall is still extremely important for protecting your business.

Questions you need to be asking your POS provider?  Is your POS Hardware ready for EMV? Is your software version able to accept EMV transactions? Does your POS have enough memory to support the EMV peripheral devices for both contact and contactless acceptance?  Has your credit processor defined what is required of the POS system to communicate in the EMV standard?  Most POS providers will not have the code completed until 2016, as these requirements are still being defined.

What does this liability shift mean to you as a merchant? How many transactions are flagged as fraud in a given year?  What is the cost to the merchant for those transactions? We’ve heard many merchants say the liability shift is far less than the cost of immediately transitioning to EMV.

As your trusted POS advisor we want to ensure you are ready to successfully meet these new requirements.  Please call us to discuss your needs.

1.855.737.1500 | rdspos.com