Pondering on Payments

XBIZ World Magazine
Recently, XBIZ World Magazine asked several industry players "Do you think the card associations will put a stop to programs using multiple merchant bank accounts for processing cross sales?"

Here's what they had to say:

Both Visa and MasterCard already have rules in place to disallow the sharing of card data between merchants, which is essentially what cross selling is, even if protected by a payment gateway or third-party processor. Enforcement of these rules is certainly coming. Merchant banks are setting their own restrictions now and merchants taking advantage of customers with overaggressive cross selling are already being squeezed out as well. The Wild West v2.0 is not going to happen. This is not to say that there is not money to be made with upsells and cross sells when done in the correct manner.

— Mitch Farber, president, NETbilling

It has already been made quite clear that MasterCard intends to enforce its already existing rules regarding data transfer between merchants. This renewed interest in enforcement can only be attributed to an increase in cardholder complaints and/or increased fraudulent or unethical transactions. Not only do we anticipate an end to this practice, it probably will not be long before Visa and perhaps other card types make similar moves. Consumer confidence can be irreparably harmed when merchants use such tactics, often making it extremely difficult for any conflict resolution. In many cases, banks end up having to cancel and reissue affected cards at a significant cost, not to mention the problems related to cardholders changing card numbers.

— Rand Pate, director of communications, Epoch

There are already regulations in place for MasterCard and Visa, and other credit card associations will TRY to put a stop to programs using multiple merchant bank accounts for processing cross sales. There are ways around everything in this world, so there will always be a way around these regulations. The reason I use the word TRY is because of the efforts put forth by some individuals to exploit the credit card associations thus far, so you can expect these same people are hard at work on their next scam. As far as why the credit card associations should put an end to this is simple: it absolutely corrupts the surfer's experience and abuses any form of trust that existed between consumers and resellers (not to mention, it's illegal).

— JohnV, director of operations and business development, SilverCash

We also asked, "What is your preferred method of alternative payment? Why?"

As for alternative methods of payment, I have not found any that I like or have had any relevant success. We have found that in some areas they scrub too much and others too little. There is a lack of proactive tools to prevent large-scale fraud. In the end we have lost money by trying most of the more popular companies. What we have found that works well are the tools provided by NETbilling as well as the proactive tools and flags we have developed ourselves. Many of these tools we were not able to use when sending to alternative billing solutions. There is a need for alternative billing for certain parts of the world. For those we are currently working with to develop the proper integration with our tools and their abilities — something that was not available to us with the other alternative billers.

— Dan Hogue, CEO, CamZ

We looked into various methods of alternative payment and decided to focus on phone billing and SMS through Global Acces because the company offers the largest reach of countries, giving us and our affiliates the ability to convert more foreign traffic. We have also found that our risks are very low with phone billing and the rate of fraud is minimal. The surfers like the anonymity of billing through their phones, as well, since charges show up just as international calls. We also like the that fact that the surfer can bill either his mobile or land line to access our sites.

— Triple10Terry,

In the era of electronic payments, our company's preferred method of payment is the wire. We know who our customers are because they need to provide names, bank account information, and signed W-9 forms. There is a large minimum payout, which results in fewer transactions. The customer bears some or all of the cost associated with the transaction. Our second choice would be ePassporte because it's very easy to generate payment batches, instant transfers and is convenient for international customers. Also, the fee for ePassporte is only $2 — as opposed to the cost of postage and processing for checks; it is more cost effective as well as convenient. The cons are anonymity, it's sometimes associated with fraud and more difficult to keep track of in terms of record-keeping for the IRS.

— LauraLee, sales and marketing, TrafficCashGold