Wednesday, July 26, 2017

MasterCard 2 BIN or Not 2 BIN - What You Need to Know

I've posted a couple of times since late 2016 about the MasterCard Mandate for 2 BIN (new number series on MasterCard credit and debit cards). Non-compliance fines has been mentioned in the past and now it appears that MasterCard is getting very series per this communication from MasterCard:

"As of June 30, 2017, compliance will be enforced for all merchant and ATM locations identified as not properly accepting a 2 series BIN card.  In the event of an acceptance failure, customers will be notified and granted an opportunity to remediate the identified issue.  Noncompliance assessments may be applied if the acceptance issue is not successfully resolved.".

Please ensure that you have done the following:
  1. Confirm that your payment terminals have been updated to accept the 2 BIN cards (Card Defender users need not worry as Card Defender is updated to accommodate new payment industry security requirements and mandates).
  2. If you have a point of sale system, confirm with your point of sale provider that the software can handle the 2 BIN cards.
  3. Review any letters or emails from your merchant services company that may contain additional requirements or possible fines for non-compliance.
  4. If you are orphaned or need help, contact myself or your merchant services company for assistance. I'm not familiar with every POS system or stand alone payment terminal but can usually direct you to the correct resources if myself or our tech team is not able to help you.
  5. For some of you, this may be enough of an issue that you may want to consider the replacement of an outdated point of sale system and/or outdated payment processing hardware.
Some additional information can be found via this 2 BIN webpage:

Final Thought: the payment industry is introducing new mandates and security requirements on a regular basis (8 digit BIN's are being discussed as a next standard).  Please ensure that you are investing in something (hardware and software) that can be updated to meet or exceed future mandates and security requirements.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Upcoming City Visits

Looks like I should break the 100K barrier in frequent flyer miles for 2017! Details are still being arranged but it looks like I am headed to the following places for the 2nd half of 2017 (mostly August - early November):
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Seattle, WA
  • Portland, OR
  • Denver, CO
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Tuscon, AZ
  • Jackson, WY
  • Minneapolis, MN
And, of course, helping out folks here in Idaho - over 160 retailers in the PacNW and Utah that have signed on for sales and service - including single location stores as well as 50 location chains (good thing that we have 10 support techs!).

I'll update this post with dates as the travel plans are finalized. Contact me if we need to schedule some time together at or 208-340-5632. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

ADA and Point of Sale Systems

I don't think that I've ever posted related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and how it effects point of sale systems. Mostly it seems that POS systems are designed to accommodate employees with various capabilities. Recently, I've run in to a couple of retailers who had been advised that that the payment terminals for the POS system needed to be lowered (or the whole counter needed to be lowered).

Obviously you never want to make it difficult for anyone to make a purchase in your business so it is wise to be familiar with any guidelines related to counter height and general accessibility.  It is possible that fines could be levied should your store not be in compliance.

As I am in no way an expert in this subject matter - it would be great if anyone who has some expertise could chime in. All I've seen in my travels is either one check out stand with a lowered counter or some payment terminals mounted on arms that can be rotated out and down to a suitable height.

If you are willing to contribute, please contact me at or 208-340-5632. Thanks!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Lightspeed Point of Sale Pains

Over the last 4 years, I've had the opportunity to meet with several retailers that use Lightspeed point of sale. From time to time, there have been a few concerns about Lightspeed but nothing major. That has changed over the last few months to the point where Lightspeed users have been contacting me about replacing Lightspeed with another point of sale system. The main issues with Lightspeed appear to be (based on what retailers have communicated to me):
  • Entire system goes down for around an hour every 1-2 months during normal retail business hours
  • No option for a customer price/pole display (which some states/cities require)
  • Peripherals need frequent replacement - not designed for retail stores with high customer traffic (eg: liquor stores or convenience stores)
  • *new* - had a Lightspeed user that I met with in person who explained how the inventory quantity on hands are not accurate whenever they initiate a transfer between the main warehouse and a store.
I want to stress that this information only comes from a handful of Lightspeed users but I wanted to pass along in case any other Lightspeed users might have feedback that they would like to share. As I meet with these retailers, I will pass along additional details as they become available.  You can reach me at 208-340-5632 or as needed

Monday, July 17, 2017

Minneapolis St Paul Visit

7/19/2017 Update - only slots that I left available while in MN are on August 3rd - if needed, I will schedule another trip to Minnesota later this fall.

Quick note that I am headed to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN in the coming weeks and would be happy to meet at your business if you are in need of some retail point of sale advice or consulting. Due to my schedule, I'd likely only be able to spend an hour or so with you but this would be completely free as I will be in the area anyway.

Contact me at 208-340-5632 or for more information or to schedule a time to chat.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Best Point of Sale Systems for Thrift Stores: 2017 Edition

Wow - I've had around 8 thrift stores contact me over the last couple of months based on an older post. Now seemed like a good time to update with more current information when it comes to the best point of sale systems for thrift stores. Note that this applies whether you have 1 location or 500 locations.  Below is a matrix that also notes costs and some other basic details.

Please note that that first steps in searching for a thrift store point of sale system are documenting processes, coming up with a budget, and interviewing staff and leadership to come up with a feature/function wish list. The matrix is only designed to give a high level view of whats on the market today and a few details about each system.

Here is the matrix:

Thrift Store Point of Sale Overview – 2017

Kevin Antosh can demo or provide free trial
Cloud – low end
Shopkeep, Lavu, Silver, Clover, Revel
Super easy to learn and use
Weak for multi-location operations, limited reporting. Some systems lock you into contracts with specific credit card processing companies
$3000 - $4000 for typical 2 lane store for hardware + $120 - $200 a month per location for software subscription
Yes on Silver
Cloud – mid level
Easy to use and better designed for multi-location operations
Mixed reviews – somewhat pricey
$3000 - $4000 for typical 2 lane store for hardware + $200 - $300 a month per location for software subscription
Yes on Bindo
Cloud/Windows – high end
Microsoft Dynamics 365
Complete ERP software for entire organization
Fairly new (2017) and expensive
Easily $1000000 to $2000000 across the organization or around $60,000/month just for licensing
Yes – can be arranged
Cloud Retailer
Part cloud/part Windows, well designed for multi-location. Latest in payment processing security while still being processor agnostic.
Might need some minor adjustments to handle round ups if needed.
$5000 - $8000 up front for a single store with 2 check out lanes + $70/month per store for software subscription and support.
Yes + can provide your organization with a full access to Cloud Retailer for up to 60 days.
Windows – Low end
Retail Management Hero
Designed for all types of retail – fairly low cost – flexible
Multi-location version will not be available until Q1 2018
$8000 - $10000 for typical 2 lane store . No mandatory on-going fees
Yes – have full copy.
Windows – mid level
Retail Pro
Stable system
Not truly for thrift, fairly outdated
$12000 - $16000 for typical 2 lane store . No mandatory on-going fees
Windows – customized for thrift
NCR Counterpoint SQL
Lots of thrift store customizations – in use already at multiple thrift stores (of which many I have met with in person)
Amazingly expensive
$12000 - $18000 for typical 2 lane store . No mandatory on-going fees
Have full copy of the basic software – general information on thrift store enhancements
Windows – discontinued (but in use at a lot of chain thrift stores)
Microsoft RMS, Microsoft RMS HQ, Microsoft POS 2009, Microsoft POS 2.0, Microsoft Dynamics AX

Software in bold means that it is use at thrift stores and/or well designed for thrift stores.

Contact me at 208-340-5632 or with any questions or if you have interest in the onsite consultancy services that I offer.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Free On Site Consulting - well kind of free

So, I have some vacation time coming up in a few weeks but no real vacation plans at this point so I'm making this offer on a first come first serve basis: I'll waive our normally hourly rate for onsite retail point of sale consulting services. All that needs to be covered are my actual travel expenses.

Who is this best suited for?
Small to mid sized chain retailers with between 4 and 400 locations who either want to get the most out of their existing point of sale system or are searching for a new/replacement point of sale system.

What locations?
Geographically, the following areas are the easiest for me to travel to and I've been to in the past as well:
  • All of Idaho
  • All of Utah
  • Western Wyoming
  • Western Oregon
  • Seattle, WA area
  • Portland, OR area
  • Reno, NV
  • Los Vegas, AZ
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Tuscon, AZ
  • Portland, OR
  • Las Angeles, CA
  • Sacramento, CA
  • San Jose, CA
  • Denver, CO
  • All of Texas
  • Lincoln, NE
  • Omaha, NE
  • All of MN
  • All of WI
  • Other?  I'm not limited to just the locations listed above.
What sort of services can be provided?
No actual technical or programming work but instead a focus on the following:
  • Process analysis and documentation
  • Budgeting for a new or replacement POS system
  • Options for Microsoft Dynamics RMS/HQ users
  • Creating a wish list for a new or replacement POS system
  • Solution comparison
  • RFP/RFQ/RFI Creation
How many days would you be onsite?
I'm very flexible here but I'm normally onsite for at least 2 business days all the way up to 5 business days..

Whats the cost?
Actual travel expenses - best estimate is $1000 to $1800. Terms are 50% down and remainder due upon completion of the onsite visit.

What's the dollar value?
Our normal hourly rate at RITE is $90 to $125/hour so even 25 hours of onsite consulting would normally run $2400.

What's are the non-monetary benefits?
This will depend greatly on your goals but some common past outcomes have been:
  • Labor cost savings via
    • Increased efficiency
    • better understand of what is needed in a POS system
    • Process documentation
    • Reduced research time 
  • Having an "expert" onsite to help coordinate steps to obtain goals and objectives
  • Using pre-existing documentation versus creating your own documentation
  • Full understanding of all options that are available
  • Q and A style assistance for multiple goals and objectives
Do we get our money back if not happy or if we purchase something from RITE?
  • I would not come onsite unless we both agreed that my time would be beneficial and my skill set matches your goals and objectives.
  • If you happen to purchase a POS system (Cloud Retailer, Retail Management Hero, or Microsoft Dynamics 365) from RITE "down the road", the travel costs would be applied as a discount towards the total purchase price.
Next Step if Interested:
Call (208-340-5632) or email ( me so we can have a general conversation about your goals and to ensure that my skill set would be beneficial to you.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Reminder on Consulting Rates

A quick reminder that I am still able to offer a large variety of on-site consulting services based around retail point of sale systems. Here are the common requests that I receive:

  • you need a better understanding of your existing POS system
  • some help documenting processes
  • looking for gaps in your existing system
  • budgeting for a new POS system
  • creating a wish list for a new/replacement POS system
  • comparing options
  • What to do about Microsoft Dynamics RMS/HQ
  • Replacement options for Microsoft Dynamics RMS/HQ
Generally you are looking at costs of $125/hour for these types of services but I also have flat daily or weekly rate options which run $2000 to $4000/week, depending on travel expenses. This would mean that my time would be exclusive to your organization for the entire length of my stay (example - a retailer in Minnesota with 40+ locations paid to have me onsite for 2 weeks and that my time was exclusive to them).

Discounts are available if there are multiple retailers that I can meet with in the same geographical area (example - multiple retailers in Texas combined to have me onsite with each of them during different days of the same week to save on travel expenses). 

On-site consulting costs can also be rebated towards the purchase of Retail Management Hero, Cloud Retailer, Dynamics 365, Microsoft RMS/HQ, Card Defender, or the other POS systems that the company that I work for is certified to sell, install, and support.

As each situation is unique, please contact me at 208-340-5632 or to have a no cost conversation about your specific situation. If you would rather contact me via my employer, my work contact information is 208-994-9404 or