Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Merchant Credit Card Cyber Attacks

I've posted before about malware designed to capture credit card information from your stores point of sale system, it also appears that cyber criminals are attacking multi-location retails stores to steal multiple pieces of credit card data.

Multiple credit card cyber attacks specifically targeting Rosauers, Yokes, Super One and Trading Company. Link to the full article: http://www.ktvb.com/news/business/Rosauers-warning-customers-following-credit-card-fraud-attack-233388291.html

Merchant Services Best Practices - this is what point of sale technicians advice me related to credit card security and your retail point of sale system:

  • Make sure that the point of sale system is not on the same network as other networks in your store (separate routers, Internet access, passwords, etc.) 
  • Change all passwords every 60 days and make sure that the passwords contain letters, numbers, and special characters.
  • Use business class network equipment (ie. - not the $99 wireless router that Best Buy sells).
  • Make sure that your point of sale software and anti-virus software is kept current.
  • Check to see what type of credit card swipes, pin pads, and signature capture pads can be used with your point of sale system - newer and more secure equipment might be available.
  • Make sure that you follow the rules related to what types of credit card information you can keep "on file" (see your merchant services agreement for more information).
  • Use a IT company to make sure that your network and firewall settings are at their highest.
  • Make sure that you are doing your required PCI scans.
  • Consult with an IT professional or your point of sale partner/dealer for a more complete "best practices" list.
I realize this requires a modest investment (likely $500 or less, depending on the size of your retail store) but would you rather face these options if someone is able to steal credit card information from your point of sale system:

  • Fines in excess of $10,000 for not meeting credit card security standards.
  • Loss of revenue from customers (past, present, and future) knowing that your system was "hacked".
  • Loss of revenue due to your business no longer being able to accept credit cards (which could be a long term sanction from MasterCard/Via).
This is not a scare tactic from MasterCard/Visa - it is the reality of accepting credit cards in today's retail environment.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mac Based Point of Sale Systems for Retail Stores

From time to time, I am asked about retail point of sale solutions that run on Macintosh computers (not iPads or iPhones but actual Mac's). Over the last 14 years I have seen several Mac based point of sale solutions come and go.

Over the last few years, LightSpeed has developed a decent client base. Over the last few months I was able to visit some specialty retailers using LightSpeed (sporting goods store, candle store, and a boutique).

It was interesting that none of them actually bought LightSpeed specifically as they wanted something that ran on Mac computers. One bought LightSpeed since it had an open interface for add-ons related to automated purchasing. The other two owners bought LightSpeed as they felt both the software and the hardware had a cleaner and more updated look than the Windows-based point of sale systems that they looked at.

It appears that LightSpeed has mixed to mostly positive reviews (tough to tell which reviews are real and which are fake).  You can read more here: http://www.softwareadvice.com/retail/lightspeed-profile/#reviews

LightSpeed has also worked to grow a local dealer/reseller base which helps when it comes to local support. You can find more information about LightSpeed by visiting: http://www.lightspeedretail.com/

From what store owners have told me, LightSpeed is a viable option for smaller specialty retail stores - regardless of whether you prefer Mac's over PC's. Keep in mind that Mac's do operate somewhat differently from PC's so if your computer experience is all Microsoft Windows based, you may need to devote some time to learning the Macintosh Operating System.

Are you in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice? I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (mountain time) or via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com.

Monday, November 18, 2013

New Review of NCR CounterPoint

Update July 19, 2015.  The information below refers to a single review and, as time as passed, many more reviews have been posted. Either businesses "love it" or "hate it".  Some of the issues related to what businesses appear to not like about NCR CounterPoint related to getting full support and training from their NCR CounterPoint SQL Partner/Dealer and not using the correct computer hardware.

It is also possible that some of the businesses overbought based on their business size and technology needs when it comes to a point of sale system.

A new review of NCR CounterPoint has been posted on softwareadvice.com.  Here are the review highlights:
  • Business has been using NCR CounterPoint for 8 years
  • The overall consensus is that the program is very expensive (initial purchase, support, and ongoing maintenance)
  • There are unresolved functionality issues with barcode label printing and Z reports
  • Overall review was 2 out of 5 stars
You can read the whole review here: http://www.softwareadvice.com/retail/radiant-systems-counterpoint-profile/

Are you in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice? I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (mountain time) or via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com.

Free Mini Analysis

Since I have had the opportunity to speak with multiple point of sale companies since the closure of DirectPOS, I have gleaned quite a bit of information related to which company is offering what solutions and what type of end of year promotions.

I realize that this is a tough time of the year to being thinking about technology equipment for your retail store or museum but we do have some pressing timelines related to the MasterCard Unique Terminal ID Requirement, the future of Microsoft RMS/HQ, and EMV Requirements.  This means that everyone needs to start thinking now about where they want to go over the next year with their point of sale system.

I am currently offering a free basic phone or email consultation to help you determine whether you need to upgrade (if you already have a point of sale system) or which point of sale systems might be best for you (if you currently do not have a point of sale system).  This is a strictly non-sales consultation since I do not currently represent any point of sale companies or software manufactures.

You can reach me via cell at 208-340-5632 or email at kevinantosh (at) gmail (dot) com. I am in Mountain Time and a typical phone consultation takes less than 15 minutes.  You will receive professional advice and related options to help chart your point of sale technology plan.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Incentive for Former DirectPOS Customers and NCR CounterPoint/Microsoft RMS Customers

With Microsoft being fairly quiet on what their plans are for their point of sale software packages (RMS Store Operations, HQ, and POS 2009), I've been receiving calls from retail stores who need to upgrade sooner than later.

If you are a current NCR CounterPoint or Microsoft RMS user, the folks at Big Hairy Dog (BHD) are offering some nice discounts if you switch to Retail Pro through Big Hairy Dog.  There are some details that need to be discussed so be sure to call me at 208.340.5632 or email me at kevinantosh (at) gmail (dot) com.

As a reminder - it appears that we will not be hearing much from Microsoft until April 2014 so it wouldn't hurt to start exploring other options sooner than later - especially since the MasterCard unique terminal ID requirement and EMV standards are coming up in 2014 and 2015.

Are you in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice? I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (mountain time) or via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

New Service Pack for Microsoft Dynamics POS 2009

For those of you using the Microsoft POS 2009 point of sale system, a new service pack was recently released. Note that you must be current on maintenance in order to download the service pack (you can do this via your CustomerSource account or by contacting your Microsoft Dynamics partner that provided your point of sale equipment.

Here are the service pack highlights:

New Features

  • Detailed Sales report directly in Microsoft Office Excel with improved performance - You can now view the Detailed Sales report for all departments, categories, or suppliers, directly in Microsoft Excel with improved performance. For more information, see About Detailed Sales reports in the Manager View Help.
  • Report viewing in Microsoft Office Excel - Certain additional reports can now be viewed in your choice of either the standard report window or Microsoft Office Excel. Simply select the new View in Microsoft Excel check box in one of these reports, and then click Refresh Report as usual. To view the list of reports that have this functionality, see List of reports in Manager View Help.
    Note Consult with your Microsoft Certified Partner to have this functionality added to additional reports.
  • New configuration option to disallow manual entry of weights when a scale is in use on a register - The store manager can now configure whether cashiers are allowed to manually enter the weight of an item while a scale is attached to the register. For more information on this feature, see POS Workflow Options in Manager View Help.
  • NCWM NTEP certification 13-005 - Microsoft Dynamics POS 2009 Service Pack 2 is compliant with National Conference on Weights and Measures, U.S. certificate number 13-005. For details, see About weighed items in Manager View Help.
    Note This is applicable in the United States locale only.
  • Support for the Ingenico iSC350 payment device - We have completed compatibility testing and provided some code changes in support of the Ingenico iSC350 payment terminal. To set up and install the iSC350 device, follow the steps in the Ingenico iSC350 setup document available in the Download section of the Microsoft Dynamics POS 2009 SP2 download page.

Other Improvements

In addition to the new features listed above, Service Pack 2 includes fixes for the following issues:
  • Payment processing settlement requests do not contain card-level information and could lead to higher fees.
  • During label printing, long item descriptions overwrite the adjacent labels.
  • The Sold Price values in the Detailed Sales report are incorrect.
  • The days of the week headers in the graphs calendar in POS View display as Monday through Sunday instead of Sunday through Saturday. The days of the week do not line up with the correct days of the month.
  • You receive the following error message when you try to tender a transaction with a debit card:
    A problem occurred during payment processing verification.
    Details: Error receiving response from Vital. Failed to Read SSL Stream.
  • Credit cards that do not pass the Luhn algorithm fail to process. To resolve this issue, a new configuration option has been added to the Advanced Options dialog box for credit card payment methods.
  • In limited scenarios, vouchers (gift cards) can be redeemed for more than their value.
Are you in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice? I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (mountain time) or via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Microsoft Retail Software Conference

A quick reminder that sales of Microsoft Dynamics RMS and HQ to new users ends nest year (2016) so please keep that in mind if you are thinking of purchasing RMS or HQ as point of sale software for your business or organization.

I just received communication that Retail Realm and Microsoft will be hosting a conference in Las Vegas, NV on April 24th to April 26th, 2014.  The conference is slated to be dedicated to just the Microsoft family of point of sale solutions (RMS Store Operations, HQ, Nex Gen RMS, POS 2009, and AX for Retail).  Hopefully this will finally clear up what the future holds for current Microsoft RMS/HQ/POS 2009 customers.

You can read more about the conference by clicking here: http://www.rrdisti.com/blog/why-you-should-attend-the-retail-realm-2014-conference

In addition, it will be critical for Microsoft to communicate how they plan to update current software users for the upcoming MasterCard unique terminal ID requirement (being enforced in 2014) and the EMV requirements (being enforced in Oct 2015).

Are you in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice? I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (mountain time) or via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Updates on Clover Point of Sale

Updated September 4th, 2015: to summarize all the information below - 3 years ago Clover looked promising but todays advice is to avoid Clover like the plague - I've stopped tracking the number of complaints specific to Clover as its clear that choosing Clover is a bad decision. 

Update July 6, 2015: no shortage of complaints against Clover specific to expensive long term contracts, costly buyout clauses, unable to transfer licensing if the business is sold, and sales reps making promises for features/functions that Clover just can't do.  I believe the overall tally is over 400 verified complaints against Clover.

Update 1.January.2015:

Based on user feedback and the fact that First Data locks you into a costly merchant services contract when purchasing Clover, I do not recommend that anyone considers Clover as a possible point of sale system for your business or organization. There are much better systems on the market like NCR Silver and Bindo Point of Sale that perform at a same or better level and do not lock you in to costly merchant services contracts.

As I have mentioned in the past, I came across some issues with Clover point of sale when it came to actually selling the Clover solution (the folks at Clover said that they were "moving in a different direction" and didn't feel that they could support any new customers at the time).

I liked Clover as it worked well in both a retail and quick-serve environment.  Well, it turns out that First Data Corporation (one of the largest payment processing companies) has acquired Clover point of sale and relaunched Clover with updated hardware.  It will be interesting to see how this effects the merchant services options that Clover previously offered.

Even more interesting is that the Clover website states that Clover will be sold through First Data but there is no pricing information and only a "wait list" to be "one of the first" to get a Clover system.  You can see more information at https://www.clover.com/waitlist or www.clover.com.

NCR Silver is one direct competitor to Clover so it will be interesting to see how First Data markets Clover.  I suspect that there will be some incentives to use First Data for merchant service since there is more money to be made off of merchant services in the long term than off of the Clover hardware and software.

Bottom line: wait and see or look at a different solution if you need a point of sale system sooner than later.

*Updates 7/24/2014**Feedback Received in July 2014*
  • Returned it (Clover) the next day"
  • "(sales rep) couldn't even demo the system"
  • "they will raise my (merchant services) rates"
  • "don't want to be locked in to a credit card contract"
  • "good step up from a cash register"
  • "missing features"
  • "went with Bindo which does more and doesn't require me to use a specific company for credit and debit card processing services"
The Bindo solution was mentioned a couple of times.  Folks noted that Bindo does more than Clover and is even offering some various incentives like free hardware currently. If you are curious about Bindo Point of Sale, check them out at www.bindopos.com.

Are you in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice? I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (mountain time) or via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com.