Tag Archives: Card processing

Building the future of relationships with technology

shutterstock_2128837“Something—or rather, someone—has got to give.” This was the message in a recent CSPnet.com article that was published last week referring to the projected decline in gas consumption, which may decrease by 24% from 2014 to 2040. Businesses that grow have always known that “something has to give” in order to be successful. In the case of the convenience store industry, petroleum marketers must re-evaluate their business models to adjust to the prospect of significantly less gas demand. The petroleum industry has seen shifts like this in the past—economic downturns, environmental regulations, and war—as have other industries. One thing that we know is that our petroleum marketers are a tenacious and sharp bunch.  The key is to be flexible and innovative while finding the right solution.

According to CSP, the c-store industry continues to grow in number of sites, increasing 21% over the last decade. With declining gas consumption in mind, the new thinking is that marketers will need to find other ways to improve profitability. Our favorite response to this impending dilemma was stated by Tom Robinson, CEO and president of Rotten Robbie in California: “As volumes decline, the question is: Can they decline less at your stores than competitors’ stores? You can do that by spending money on stores, trying to upgrade programs, trying to upgrade your offering, trying to use technology as a way to build connections or relationships with consumers.”

Intevacon can help with the technology and relationship piece of this debacle. Our technology provides a payment solution that builds connections and relationships with customers, while also protecting margins by reducing swipe fees. In a future where loyalty is a premium, capturing fleet business is a valuable strength.  We’ll continue to develop valuable tools for our petroleum marketers to help them grow and increase profits. This is the rewarding part of our operation—we succeed when our marketers succeed.

To find out more about the Intevacon fleet card or prepaid card, call 678-739-4450 or email moreinfo@intevacon.com. We are excited about the future of the c-store industry, and we look forward to seeing how our marketers succeed.

Respond instead of being Re:swiped

registerSwipe fees recently made another public appearance in the news. Retailers have petitioned the high court to reconsider its March 2014 decision, which upheld debit card swipe fees at 21 cents per transaction as reasonable. This has been a hot topic for all retailers, with NACS being a large player representing the convenience store sector in this battle. Petroleum marketers want the limit lower than 21 cents for obvious reasons. Swipe fees—credit card and debit card—are reported as the second largest operating cost for petroleum marketers, just behind the cost of labor.1

The legal battle with swipe fees has been centered on the Dodd-Frank law passed in 2010 regarding debit card fees. The overall battle with swipe fees, however, encompasses more than just debit card swipe fees. Credit card fees were about 7 cents per gallon in 2011, averaging about 2% per transaction.1 PayPal has an even higher rate starting at 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction.2

Margins on petroleum in this industry are already small, so any percentage “swiped” by credit card processors has a big impact to petroleum marketer operations. Mastercard and Visa have been named in the current swipe fee lawsuit, but they are by no means the only card processors in the gouging game. Nearly three quarters of all transactions made at the pump are made with plastic—think about how that equates in total swipe fees.3

Intevacon is a proprietary card processor but we offer more services to the petroleum marketer than the standard credit card company. More important to your bottom line, our pricing lets the petroleum marketer keep his/her margins. Convert one of your current Mastercard or Visa customers to a local house account and automate the process through Intevacon.  We offer an online system that empowers the petroleum marketer with all of the controls needed to manage and grow his/her fleet accounts. We also provide the petroleum marketer an advantage to capture loyal fleet accounts by offering the option of online access to the cardholder. Intevacon succeeds when our customers succeed.

Converting cardholders who currently pay with a standard credit card or debit card to the Intevacon fleet card or prepaid card reaps huge savings every month. If a petroleum marketer converted $1.5 million of his current monthly business to the Intevacon fleet card, the savings from a standard credit card transaction fee of 2% would be approximately $340,200 a year or $1.36 million over four years. The higher the dollar volume on the Intevacon fleet card, the greater the savings from swipe fees. Supplement the fleet card with the prepaid card to get even higher returns and increase cash flow.table

Swipe fees may be a necessary evil for a certain percentage of fueling customers, but there is a large cohort of cardholders who would benefit from the advantages of carrying a fleet card. Get to know your customer base and grow your business with Intevacon.

 

  1. “Credit and Debit Card Fees.” NACS. Web. April 2014. http://www.nacsonline.com/Research/FactSheets/IndustryIssues/Pages/CreditCardFeesaGrowingChallengeforConvenienceStores.aspx
  2. Paypal. Web. June 2014.  https://www.paypal.com/webapps/mpp/paypal-fees
  3. “2013 Retail Fuels Report.” NACS. 2013. Web. May 2014. http://www.nacsonline.com/YourBusiness/FuelsReports/GasPrices_2013/Documents/CFR2013_FullReport.pdf

Changing Business Models: Learning to be Flexible

“One cannot alter a condition with the same mindset that created it in the first place.” -Albert Einstein

In today’s fast-moving society, businesses must adjust their bushutterstock_1561664siness models or face the risk of obsolescence. Western corporations are especially susceptible to relying on the methods that they instituted decades ago with a hope and a prayer that the economy will act in their favor. We still remember the luxury of big budgets, long timelines, and a structured approach to innovation. The 21st century, however, requires more of us. Corporations today succeed when they act fast, remain flexible, and manage frugally.

There is a lot of opportunity in our futures, and we can learn from the mistakes of corporations that have fallen away. Kodak was a pioneer in the film industry, but it failed to compete in the digital world. Barnes and Noble did not alter from their brick and mortar stores, hardly competition for the likes of Amazon. Entire industries have been trying to master the perplexity of marrying changing times with dinosaur innovation and operating methods. Big Pharma continues to increase the cost of R&D while producing fewer drugs. The auto industry required a bailout of the US government in 2008 in the amount of $62 billion, yet even with this second chance, they are still flagging against their foreign competitors. These bureaucratic, slow-moving business models are proving again and again to be unsustainable.

Hindsight is always 20/20, but there is much to be said of a proactive and flexible approach to growth moving forward. The convenience store industry has made great efforts to stay relevant in the retail space. Fresh, healthy foods are a new staple, complemented by every variety and flavor of coffee. Convenience is more of a premium than ever before, and petroleum marketers are meeting this demand with more products, cleaner facilities, and increased services. Social media is even being adopted as a way to stay connected to customers.

One area of change that directly affects petroleum marketers is that of the payment space. PCI, EMV, Chip and Card—the requirements keep changing and the fees and costs keep increasing. With credit card fees being the second highest expense to a petroleum marketer, Intevacon can offer a new approach to the payments game. There are several advantages in using Intevacon for your card processing. Our low rates are a good start when it comes to protecting your margins. Plus, our system keeps you in control and helps you manage your relationships to your cardholders. By offering your own proprietary card, you can increase the loyalty of repeat customers.

Intevacon continues to innovate and improve our business model. When we were founded, we made the decision to leave all of the legacy systems of fleet cards in the past. Intevacon is completely web-based, and we process card transactions in real time. The system is continually being improved as our R&D department functions in collaboration with our customers. In 2013, we introduced the Intevacon Prepaid Card to meet the emerging needs of our customer’s cardholders. Currently, we are developing the Intevacon Fuel Network to help link petroleum marketers across the nation and equip them to make their own business decisions.

In a world where technology changes so rapidly and information is abundant, it can be difficult to know which direction to dedicate resources. There is a Hindi word, jugaad, which translates ‘an innovative fix; an improvised solution born from ingenuity and cleverness.’While the U.S. is blessed with an advanced society, there is merit in evaluating the flexible practices being espoused by emerging markets that are forced to innovate out of necessity. Sometimes the best solutions are those that challenge our business models to shed the institutional constraints to which we have become accustomed. A flexible system with margin is much more likely to thrive in times of change.

 

1. Radjou, Navi, et al. Jugaad Innovation: Think Frugal, Be Flexible, Generate Breakthrough Growth. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2012. Print.

Challenging Tradition: Alternative Payment Solutions

For as long as consumers have shopped, merchants have provided payment solutions. Whether it was through a barter system when money got tight or during the advent of the credit card, both buyers and sellers have gravitated to the most economical and efficient payment methods at hand. That is why this season of payment solutions is so fascinating. The trends are definitely shifting, and consumers are choosing with their wallets, literally in this case. Merchants are also seeCaptureking solutions that protect their bottom lines.

Intevacon offers a unique payment solution focused exclusively on the oil marketer—we created this system for the marketer, and our business model is built for his/her benefit. As a card processor, Intevacon provides all levels of card processing data—transaction details, quantities, taxes, product codes, etc.—without having to involve the middlemen.

Think of the traditional credit card processor. When you think of this credit card processor, you also have to think of all of the other players involved—the banks (both the cardholder and the merchant bank), the issuer of the card, the acquirer, etc. Credit card fees continue to increase as each player takes a piece of the pie. With margins for fuel counted in pennies, this cut is noticeable to a marketer. Not only does the marketer sacrifice his/her margin to processing fees, but he/she also loses the relationship to the cardholder.

We have seen traditional banks fall out of vogue more and more in time. An article in CSP News titled “Blowing Up the Bank” starts with the line “The banking system today is going to be totally blown up in the next 10 years.”1 Alternative banking and payment solutions are the way of the future. Another article corroborating this claim quotes the research firm, Packaged Facts, saying that approximately 40% of adults 18 years or older are unbanked.2 With this trend, we will continue seeing a shift away from traditional banking to “non-bank” funding accounts and reloadable prepaid cards.

Several non-traditional players have emerged, amongst them: Google, Paypal, and Amazon. We are excited for this new landscape of payment solutions, as it challenges the status quo and gives both consumers and merchants new options. When considering how you will choose to conduct business, consider your partners carefully. An article recently published in Forbes about the future of mobile payments stated, “Whoever ends up with controlling interests in this new digital ecosystem will reap billions in transaction fees, collect massive amounts of consumer data […].”3

Intevacon’s focus is to provide card processing services to our marketers so that you will be able to grow and protect your margins. Your success is our success. With Intevacon, you will always be in the center of your relationship with your customer. We are transparent and generous with our pricing model, and we offer the best customer service in the industry. Give us a call if you want to learn more about adopting a proprietary fleet card program through Intevacon. Now is the time to take back control of the transactions you are working so hard to achieve.

Contact us at 678-739-4450 or moreinfo@intevacon.com to get more information. http://www.Intevacon.com

 

  1. “Blowing Up the Bank.” CSP. April 2014. Web. April 2014. http://www.cspnet.com/industry-news-analysis/technology/articles/blowing-bank
  2. “General Merchandise: Prepaid & Financial Services 2014.” CSP. April 2014. Web. April 2014. http://www.cspnet.com/print/csp-magazine/article/general-merchandise-prepaid-financial-services-2014?page=0%2C0&utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily%20News%2004-28-2014%20%281%29&utm_content=&spMailingID=45724913&spUserID=MjU0MDQ1OTk0MjkS1&spJobID=423296958&spReportId=NDIzMjk2OTU4S0
  3. “Can PayPal Beat Apple, Google, Amazon And Icahn In The Wallet Wars?” Forbes. March 2014. Web. March 2014.http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevenbertoni/2014/02/12/can-paypal-beat-apple-google-amazon-and-icahn-in-the-wallet-wars/

Building Relationships and Profiting from Repeat Business

Intevacon is all about relationships —we value the relationships that we form with our marketers, and we do everything that we can to facilitate relationships between you and your customers. The Intevacon model puts the marketer directly in the center of the card processing relationship, and this is by design. It turns out that this is also a profirepeattable approach.

A joint study by Manta and BIA/Kelsey found that 61% of small business owners report that half of their annual revenue comes from repeat customers. It also notes that repeat customers spend 67% more than a new customer. Watching this trend, small business owners are starting to invest more resources into developing relationships with their existing customer base.

Are you growing a base of repeat customers? An article by MediaPost notes that many small business owners do not utilize technology to their advantage when it comes to building loyalty and repeat business.

We know that c-stores account for 34.3% of all retail outlets as of December 2013, according to NACS. A recent NPD study found that the average consumer visits a c-store six times in a 30-day period, but that number has decreased by 1.3% in the fourth quarter of 2013. An article in Convenience Store Decisions quotes an NPD convenience store industry analyst saying, “It will remain a challenging and competitive environment in 2014 and retailers will continue to fight for dollars. C-stores can hold on to their base with the right product mix, selection, and quality, all of which are growing reasons why consumers choose the stores they do.”

The Intevacon fleet card and prepaid card are valuable tools to help you maintain repeat visits from your customers, both with consumer and commercial accounts. The proprietary fleet card and prepaid card can be accepted at all of your sites and allows your customers to receive level 3 card processing data. To help manage your accounts, you can give your cardholders access to the system to see their own data and run reports. The Intevacon system is intuitively designed and it gives you all of the controls that your customers want to manage their fleet accounts. With the time saved by using our system, you will have time to turn more new customer business into repeat customer business. Protect your margins by saving yourself from swipe fees, and increase repeat business by providing a fleet or prepaid card.