Important Information: SAN FRANCISCO BANS SALE OF FLAVORED TOBACCO, MENTHOL

June 23, 2017

The city’s board of supervisors approved the legislation unanimously. The ban will take effect in April 2018.

June 23, 2017

​SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a bill that forbids the sale of flavored tobacco products in retail stores, the San Francisco Examiner reports. The ban encompasses flavored chewing tobacco, flavored liquids containing nicotine for e-cigarettes and menthol cigarettes.

“We want to enhance our prevention strategies,” Supervisor Maila Cohen, who introduced the legislation, said. “The goal of this ordinance is to keep people from smoking in the first place.

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The ban, which will go into effect April 2018, will impact more than 700 local retailers, mostly convenience stores and gas stations, that sell tobacco products. To counter the lost revenue, Cohen supports more city funding under the Healthy Food Retail program to assist small stores during the transition.

The California Retailers Association opposed the ban because it failed to take into consideration how it would affect businesses and the decrease in the amount of sales tax the city collects. “This ordinance also ignores the fact that there are comprehensive state and local laws, that anti-tobacco advocates support as a means to curb youth access to tobacco, that are currently enforced,” wrote Angie Manetti, director of government relations for the association in a June 8 letter to the board.

The ordinance would not prohibit the use of flavored tobacco in the city. The City Controller’s Office of Economic Analysis estimated that 35% of cigarettes sold in the city are menthols, which will translate into lost sales of around $50 million yearly.

The Minneapolis City Council is also considering a ban on the sale of menthol cigarettes, having already prohibited the same of flavored tobacco products two years ago.

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7 Reasons Why Merchants Want to Change Their POS System

June 13, 2017

Over the past few years, many merchants – regardless of what kind of businesses they operate or how big their companies are – have come to reconsider their previous ways of handling purchases. Many decided to buy point-of-sale devices for the first time, while others were led to think about the ways modern payment technologies may be able to help their businesses take a big leap forward when it comes to security and customer engagement.

To that end, it’s worth thinking about the most common reasons businesses – and smaller ones in particular – may want to adopt or change their POS options these days, as a means of keeping up with changing preferences and security standards. The better they can keep up with industry-recommended best practices for point of sale security and adoption, the better off they’re likely to be going forward.

1) Staying on Top of the Latest Trends

While many managers have at least thought about making the switch to a point-of-sale device that can handle EMV or mobile purchases, some may still be on the fence, according to Digital Transactions. But the fact is, these new purchase types are the way the whole payments ecosystem is now heading, and merchants may need to consider such a move for themselves.

The vast majority of businesses nationwide now accept EMV, and most consumers also have at least one EMV card in their wallets these days. As a consequence, simply having the ability to accept such transactions can be a boon for any business, in addition to providing themselves and their customers with greater security.

2) Navigating Affordability

Many businesses may shy away from payment card processing of all kinds simply because of the cost involved, according to Shopify. For this reason, it may be wise for companies to look at their options for finding POS resellers who can meet their needs both in terms of technology and ongoing costs. This is especially true for first-timers who may not have as much operational knowledge when it comes to dealing with these issues.

In general, when resellers can explain what they do for merchants – and why it costs what it does – in plain language, that can provide a big boost for those getting on board with modern payment processing.

3) They Want to Branch Out 

For many smaller businesses that want to find a new revenue stream, the ease of modern e-commerce provides a crucial option, according to Business News Daily. The good news is that modern POS can meet both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar needs for just about any business, and all it may take is working with a reseller to determine the best path forward. Having the ability to handle both real-world and online transactions through the same POS can go a long way for any small business.

4) Getting Better Data 

Another key benefit of modern POS is that it comes with more tertiary features than ever before, which give merchants the power to collect and harness more information than ever from a single source, Business News Daily added. Now, POS platforms collect all kinds of data on every transaction to help merchants identify areas where they can potentially improve their operations, from managing the supply chain to better catering to evolving consumer preferences in real time. That kind of knowledge can really empower better decision-making for years to come.

5) Saving Time and Impressing Customers Simultaneously 

Another big innovation in point-of-sale technology in the past few years has come for restaurants specifically, according to PointofSale.com. Tableside POS devices are all the rage among chain restaurants, which favor the devices for their ease of use and help in increasing the efficiency of any operation. Now, smaller restaurants are taking the same step because of both that ease of efficiency and people are coming to expect this kind of ease in ordering.

6) Keeping Up with Consumer Expectations 

Indeed, the idea that larger merchants are taking steps to innovate on POS – often because they have the budget to do so somewhat freely – is something that should give reluctant small business owners pause, according to Payments Source. As consumers become more accustomed to ubiquitous next-generation POS technology at the big stores where they shop frequently, it’s vital for smaller competitors to do what they can to keep up. After all, if consumers already expect to be able to pay with EMV – which is a technology that’s still relatively new to them – just about anywhere, the need to keep up with those trends quickly becomes self-evident.

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7) Being Ready for What Comes Next 

Upgrading to modern POS isn’t just a good idea for the present, but also for the future, according to Silicon NYC. Having the ability to upgrade now allows merchants to familiarize themselves with the latest and greatest options in payment processing before the next generation of options arrives. “Skipping” a generation isn’t likely to be a wise move, because merchants could find themselves in the dark about where they should turn, and how best to take that next step.

Focusing on smaller steps to meet ever-evolving needs will be crucial for any merchant as they try to navigate the POS environment today. After all, if the goal is to simultaneously make owners’ lives easier and provide more options for their customers, the wide variety of options now available is just waiting to meet those needs.

 

Article from Sterling Payment Technologies June 2017 Newsletter “The Edge”

 

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NORTH CAROLINA STEPS UP EFFORTS TO FIND SKIMMERS!

June 9, 2017

NACS gives us this information:

The state Department of Agriculture is working on a program to train convenience store personnel on how to spot skimmers at gas pumps.

June 9, 2017

​RALEIGH, N.C. – Skimmers at the gas pump is a problem that isn’t going away, and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture is taking steps to ensure those devices are spotted quickly and removed, WNCN-TV reports. Recently, one North Carolina gas station discovered skimmers installed at the pump four different times in one month.

During its routine inspections of gas pumps, the agency looks for skimmers as part of its checklist. “[Skimming] certainly is a growing problem,” said Stephen Benjamin, director of the N.C. Agriculture Department Standards Division. “It’s a routine part of our inspections now to look for those skimmers.”

But with those inspections only happening annually, the department decided to ramp up efforts to combat skimming in other ways. To do that, the agency has been developing a training program for convenience store employees on how to spot skimmers or suspicious activity around the gas pump. The program will have online photos and reference material for gas station workers.

Obvious signs of tampering include broken security tape or ill-fitting card readers. Benjamin said the training program will teach some of the basic security measures employees can take to combat skimming.

“If they walk around [the pumps] a couple of times a day and inspect [them], that’s an opportunity to take a glance,” and ensure the pumps haven’t been tampered with, he said.

 NACS Online article found here.
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New Chrome Update Will Improve Your Laptop’s Battery Life

March 16, 2017

Google Chrome is a great browser, but it’s not great to your laptop’s battery. The more tabs you have open, the quicker your computer will run out of juice (although at a certain point, one more tab won’t make a difference for your already tanked battery, as a WIRED writer found out during a 2013 test). Now, Google is trying to fix the problem. The new version of Chrome dramatically reduces the percentage of CPU (central processing unit) your computer uses while running a large number of tabs in the browser. The result? Greater battery life and faster performance, according to Ars Technica UK.

Previously, you could download an extension like One Tab, which collapses all your open tabs into a list of links to reduce memory usage, but sometimes, you just need to be able to toggle between tabs while the pages are still loaded—especially if you’re working on a research project.

Chrome 57 increases how much the browser throttles background tabs, meaning it limits the amount of CPU that the tab can use. After 10 seconds of being in the background (so not the tab you’re actively looking at), Chrome limits how much processing power a tab can use to about 1 percent of each processing core, improving battery life. However, this doesn’t apply to some types of web pages, like those playing music.

As Sebastian Anthony writes for Ars Technica:

The Chromium team says it’s seeing ’25 percent fewer busy background tabs’ with the new throttling mechanism in place. Anecdotally, after updating to Chrome 57 and with about 20 tabs open, my laptop feels a lot more responsive. Switching between tabs feels a little quicker, and there seems to be less input lag when typing or otherwise interacting with the browser. I haven’t tested battery life yet, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s a significant improvement.

By 2020, Google plans to completely suspend background tabs from updating, rather than letting them continue running and using up CPU, a move that will likely increase battery life significantly. For now, however, Google estimates that Chrome 57 has led to 25 percent fewer busy background tabs.

You can update your browser by going to “About Google Chrome” in your taskbar.

[h/t Ars Technica UK]

article by

Shaunacy Ferro  @shaunacysays

Shaunacy’s Article is found here

 


Chargebacks on Credit Cards Happening NOW! #EMV

May 10, 2016

RETAILERS ON THE HOOK FOR COUNTERFEIT TRANSACTIONS

Chargebacks are on the rise following the October 2015 EMV liability shift, and convenience retailers are fighting back.
May 10, 2016

NEW YORK – Beginning with the October 2015 EMV liability shift, retailers that have not upgraded their payment terminals to accept EMV chip-card transactions are

on the hook

for counterfeit transactions, writes the Wall Street Journal, and this particular cost of fraudchargebacks—is adding up.

The news source reports that chargebacks among small and medium-size merchants increased 15% in Q4 of 2015 from a year earlier, according to a Strawhecker Group survey, adding that the volume of chargebacks has likely increased even more since then. Although the group didn’t put a dollar figure on the chargebacks, other experts put the total around the tens-of-millions of dollars mark.

Since the October 2015 EMV liability shift, many retailers are experiencing an outrageous increase in chargebacks that are mostly erroneous. Mike Lindberg, payment solutions manager at CHS Inc., commented during the Conexxus Annual Conference last week that some smaller retailers have reported a $10,000 to $15,000 increase in chargebacks per week, while larger retailers are experiencing $1 million in chargebacks per week.

I can’t imagine what will happen at the pump come October 2017,” Lindberg warned.

The No. 1 chargeback reason code since October 2015 is

merchandise not received,”

he said, which in theory makes no sense for the big box retailers. Some retailers are even seeing multiple chargebacks on the same credit card, and indicating that there is very little interest from card issuers or acquirers to help solve this costly problem.

Due diligence, however, can pay off. Convenience retailers experiencing a higher volume of chargebacks can successfully reverse the charges on challenge because convenience retailers aren’t within the October 2015 liability shift specification for type and applicability (i.e., the fuel dispenser).

“The banks will hopefully learn from the first October 2015 liability shift what is chargeable, because right now it’s a

‘charge it all back and see what gets challenged’

approach,” said Gray Taylor, executive director of Conexxus. He previously told NACS Daily that this approach to chargebacks “will have dire consequences for small to mid-size retailers, who can scarcely afford dedicated chargeback staff.”

NACS Online article found here


BACKUP YOUR DATA!

March 30, 2016

 

spring-clipart

That means spring forward

change the batteries on the smoke detectors

and

   —   BACKUP YOUR DATA   —

Backing up your data is like flossing your teeth.

You don’t have to floss them all

 just the ones you want to keep.

backup-backup


MAKING PEOPLE SMILE in Seattle

March 28, 2016

A Chevron gas station in Seattle uses its sign to entertain customers, rather than inform.
March 28, 2016

​SEATTLE – Usually signs are in the business of letting potential—and current—customers know about sales, special events and other information related to the company. Most convenience stores use outdoor signage to highlight specials and products, but the Wallingford Chevron gasoline station and convenience store has taken a different tack: humor.

For more than a decade, this station’s sign has posted amusing sayings to the delight of customers and residents. The genesis of the humorous postings is traced back to when the owners replaced an auto repair shop with a convenience store. To get the word out about the change, the owners hit on the idea of entertaining signage, the News Republic reports.

Popular messages include:

  • Ban pre-shredded cheese—make America grate again.
  • If attacked by a mob of clowns, go for the juggler.
  • When it’s raining cats & dogs, don’t step in a poodle.
  • A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.
  • Hold the door open for a clown. It’s a nice jester.
  • Ever stop to think and forget to start again?
  • The past, present & future walk into a bar. It was tense.
  • I child-proofed my house but the kids still get in.
  • If pride comes before a fall, humility should come by winter.
  • I checked into the hokey-pokey clinic & I turned myself around.

The station has a dedicated Facebook page for the Wallingford Sign with photos of its most popular ones.

Full article found here:

NACS online


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