Knowing What You Need – Before You Need It

Sometimes it’s the little things – the ones most easily overlooked – that really make a difference.

When you’re choosing a credit card processing solution, often you may not know what you need until you need it. That’s when Cliq’s experience, and the time we take with each new customer, often pays dividends in convenience and cost savings.

At Cliq we get to know you and your business, so we will not just serve as a provider of equipment and services, but also as a merchant processing partner that always makes sure you’re getting the most from the solutions we provide.

For instance – wireless vs wired credit card terminals. If your business is mobile the decision is obvious. But if you own a brick and mortar restaurant or hair salon, the wired option might seem sufficient. The terminal is just going to sit on the front counter near the cash register, so what difference does it make?

Well – what if there’s a food festival or farmer’s market held this summer at a nearby park, and you’d like to set up a booth for your restaurant and participate? A wireless terminal makes it easier to do so.

Or perhaps you have a largely senior population, as some salons do. Bringing the terminal to them might be an appreciated gesture, and may also make it easier for those with visual impairments to read the prompts on the screen.

These are the types of questions we’ll ask as we review your point of sales system options. We’ll also talk about other ideas to improve your business, and make it as easy as possible for your customers to pay for their purchases and be on their way.

Discover the difference that customized solutions from Cliq can make for your business

Cliq Solutions Give Returning Summer Camps One Less Burden

Last year was devastating for the camp industry, and for the tens of millions of kids and teenagers for whom summer camp is an annual tradition.

Because of the pandemic, more than 80% of overnight camps and 40% of day camps were forced to close.  But with vaccines now available and COVID case numbers dropping in every state, most of the more than 15,000 camps in the U.S. are preparing to welcome guests once more.

There are likely to be changes, of course. Occupancy numbers may be lower, sessions may be shorter, daily temperature checks may be required, and some activities may be limited due to social distancing. As a result, for camp owners, directors, and staff, this may be the most challenging summer on record.

With Cliq, At Least Payment Processing Will Still Be Easy

For the nearly 1,000 camps that rely on Cliq, payment and credit card processing will be handled in the same efficient and convenient way that it always has. That will certainly be welcome news given all the added restrictions and procedure changes camps must cope with this year.

Since most of these businesses are likely still recovering from severe revenue losses in 2020, it has never been more important to enroll as many attendees as possible, and to maximize the earnings derived from every sign-up. Cliq’s merchant processing services can help increase enrollments by making it easy for parents and guardians to pay for their children to attend camp. With Cliq solutions, no camp should ever have to turn away business.

Excessive risk holds and the inability to refund parents due to processor or gateway limitations are common concerns – working with Cliq is working with a company that understands your business and how best to support you.

Have you considered Text to Pay, Invoicing, Quickbooks integration or compliant surcharging tools?

For those considering a switch to Cliq, but who may be worried about difficulties in transitioning from one company to another – we’re here to help. Our team will work with you to integrate payment processing with your existing software, so the system will be easy to use from day one. And we’re always available to answer questions, offer assistance, and do whatever is necessary to assure proficiency.

Talk to a Cliq representative today about our solutions for summer camps

New Company Enhances eCommerce Marketing – With Help From Cliq

The pandemic has forced many eCommerce companies to change the way they do business. Amidst unprecedented challenges, was it even possible for a company to preserve its customer base while also attracting new customers?

One of Cliq’s clients, TicketSocket, had an idea to help its eCommerce clients succeed through a new approach for marketing, one that utilized the proven impact of social media and influencers. The theory was that one satisfied customer could become a means to attract more customers by incentivizing them to promote their purchase.

Did it work? It worked so well that TicketSocket spun off a separate company to handle the volume of interested clients. The new company is called Ice Cream Social.

“COVID fast-forwarded ecommerce businesses by about five years.”

That’s the view of Ice Cream Social Executive Vice President Brandt Young. Hard times often expedite innovation, and this company is thriving by merging one of the oldest forms of marketing – word of mouth – with cutting edge social invite tools and tech.

Through such social marketing tools as advanced email and Facebook invites and integrated conversion tracking, Ice Cream Social can turn every customer into an influencer, and reward them for spreading the good word about the brands they like.

“This company was built for our COVID times – this solution allows for people to take advantage of potential refunds on dollars they just spent when shopping eCommerce,” Young said. “It’s a way to help both clients and customers.”

Merchant Processing Solutions from Cliq Handle Thousands of Transactions

Ice Cream Social integrates with every major shopping cart, from Shopify and WooCommerce to Square Online, BigCommerce, Magento and more, while relying on Cliq for its merchant processing services. Within a few months of the company’s launch, Ice Cream Social has processed over 100 million dollars in payments and has converted more than 10,000 new transactions for its eCommerce clients.

It may have been inspired by the challenges of coronavirus, but the Ice Cream Social strategy is one with staying power, that will continue to be effective long after this pandemic becomes a distant and unpleasant memory.

Find out more about Cliq’s merchant processing services

Paper Checks – They’re Not Obsolete Yet

When is the last time you saw someone pull out a checkbook? If you are as unlucky as we are, it probably happened at the grocery store – with the person in front of you in the checkout line.

In an era in which fraud and identity theft are constant threats, how do paper checks measure up against other forms of payment?

The Good

Checks are safer than they used to be thanks to security measures utilized by banks, such as watermarks and gradient backgrounds. And for bigger purchases, they provide a paper trail, which can be helpful if there’s an issue.

The Bad

While security measures have greatly reduced check fraud, there’s no escaping the reality that a paper check may pass through several different parties before reaching its final destination. And all of those parties can see the check writer’s address, bank account number and routing number.

Why You Still Need to Accept Them

Whatever the convenience or potential risk, there is no question that this payment method, which might seem antiquated in the era of debit cards and payment apps like Venmo, is still used by millions of people every day, particularly seniors and lower-income families. Overall the numbers of checks used declines a little every year, but more than 14.5 billion checks, totaling more than $25 trillion, were written as recently as 2018.

These are customers you want – not just during the pandemic when many businesses are struggling, but long after COVID is a thing of the past.

It’s Easier to Welcome Checks With ACH by Cliq

It is counterproductive for business owners to reject any form of payment for their product or service. So while electronic payments are faster and preferable, you’ll want to continue to accept paper checks as well.

The best way to do this is with an ACH solution. Our ACH by Cliq® accepts remote electronic check payments, while also lowering paper check processing costs.

With ACH by Cliq you can automatically deposit checks to your account and eliminate trips to the bank. That’s a big time savings, and it is more secure as well. Plus, with Cliq you’ll always receive detailed ACH reports and 24/7 customer service.

Adding a COVID Surcharge? Be Upfront With Your Customers

After an unprecedented year of business upheaval, many companies enter 2021 with an understandable apprehension about the future. But with vaccines being distributed in greater numbers, the end of this crisis may be within reach, if you can hold on just a little longer.

One method many companies are using to recoup some of their 2020 losses is adding a “COVID surcharge” to credit card purchases. These additional fees began turning up in particular among restaurants, bars, hair salons and other businesses that were hardest hit by the pandemic. Some places added them to debit card and cash payments as well.

There is nothing new about surcharges, especially at a time when credit card processing fees were already rising, and merchants were looking for ways to offset that additional cost. Retailers are allowed to charge customers to cover the expenses of merchant fees, by passing along a charge equal to what they pay to accept the card, which can be up to 4 percent.

But in this case, the surcharge is added not to offset fees but to make up for lost income from months of being closed.

Will that make a difference to your customers? It might. Many restaurants were fortunate to have customers who tipped their servers extra, even if all they did was bring food out to their car. They had a vested interest in keeping a place they loved in business, and will likely not object to paying a little more to help.

Ultimately it is up to each business to decide whether a COVID surcharge is an appropriate measure. Just keep these tips in mind:

1. Make sure you’re allowed to do so. There are laws in California, New York, Texas and other states that made it illegal for merchants to add card use surcharges, though some of those rules have been loosened in recent years. Talk to us to find out more

2. Be upfront about the amount of the charge and why it is being levied. Clearly display the full price that your customer will pay — excluding tax — using each method of payment that you accept. Simply notifying customers that there is a surcharge, without disclosing detailed costs, is not enough.

Finally, it should also be acknowledged that while many businesses are suffering, many individuals are suffering as well, and thus paying closer attention to every dollar they spend. A surcharge that might have gone unnoticed in the pre-pandemic era might be an issue for those who are watching every dollar more closely.

Need to talk to someone about this? A Cliq representative is here to help

Four Tips In Choosing a Company For Payment Processing Services

In our previous blog we reviewed the basics of merchant processing solutions. The next step is meeting with providers to discuss how they can help your business succeed.

Think you’re ready? Great – now just keep these four tips in mind when you begin scheduling appointments:

Tip #1: Be Prepared

As you meet with different providers you’ll hear from each one why their product is the best one for your needs. But no one knows your needs better than you do. Write down your goals and your needs and prepare to ask questions. What will they do if something goes wrong? How fast will they respond if you have an issue?

Tip #2: Review Payment Options

Does the provider charge a flat fee or a variable fee on transactions? Is a monthly payment plan the best way to go? Is there a fee for new clients? What type of contract commitment is required? Will there be a cancellation fee if you’re not satisfied? These are some of the questions that should be asked with potential providers.

Tip #3: Security

Not a week goes by that we read about another company getting hacked, and customer credit card information being stolen. Security must be a day-one conversation with any merchant services provider. What protocols do they have in place? What is their track record with other clients?

Tip #4: Choose a Partner, Not a Provider

Acquiring a payment processing solution is not the same as buying any other piece of equipment for your business. Even if the system is running smoothly, there will be reasons you’ll need to contact the provider with questions or concerns. And if or when an issue does happen it will be vital to reach someone quickly, at any time, to expedite a resolution. Ask about customer support, and when and how (phone, email, webchat, etc.) a merchant services firm can be reached.

After you’ve gone through this process, we are confident that you will select Cliq as your merchant services provider. We know the payment processing industry inside and out, and we’ll put that expertise to use in a customized payment solution for your business.

Learn more about how our team can help simplify payment procedures for your business, all while providing excellent service to your customers.

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Cliq Recognized As One of America’s Top Retail Payment Solutions Providers

At Cliq we’re always looking ahead – to the next solution, the next industry breakthrough, and the next great idea to make payment processing simpler and more efficient for our clients.

That outlook has been well received by customers in a wide range of industries, and now it has been recognized in the media as well. The magazine Retail CIO Outlook published its annual listing of companies at the forefront of providing retail payment solutions, and Cliq was recognized as one of the nation’s top providers.

That award was accompanied by a cover story in the magazine featuring an extensive interview with our CEO, Andy Phillips.

As the article explains, 2020 has been a pivotal year in our industry. The evolution away from cash and checks and toward electronic transactions was already well underway, and the pandemic has hastened the trend toward remote contactless payments.

“This is where the prowess of companies like Cliq, a provider of innovative merchant processing services, ACH processing and prepaid card solutions, comes to play,” the article states. “With a mission to help reduce costs, increase sales, and provide the best possible customer support, Cliq empowers businesses with robust payment processing tools and technology.”

The article covers Andy’s four decades in the payment processing industry, and how he’s applied the lessons he’s learned toward solutions that address each client’s specific needs.

That includes an increased demand for information dissemination solutions. Cliq has the capability to deliver the data in just about any method or format that merchants are looking for.

“We live in the information age, and only a few companies can disseminate data like we do,” Phillips says in the article. “We are able to do that because of the information that we receive from our processors in real time and our vast internal capacity to develop specialized solutions geared toward the unique needs of merchants.”

Read the full article here

Ready to see how Cliq can help your business grow? Contact us here.

Don’t Buy Used Point of Sale Systems

It takes a lot of time, planning and, of course, investment to open a new business.

Before your first customer walks through the door you have already spent money on rent, equipment, inventory, staffing, and a dozen other essentials, including a payment processing solution.

Given all you’ve had to shell out just to get the doors open, there may be a temptation along the way to save money where possible, perhaps by purchasing used point of sale (POS) systems and terminals.

Our advice: Don’t do it. It’s simply not a risk worth taking.

Of course, even the sellers don’t call them “used” – they prefer the word “refurbished.” And we can’t say that every single provider will not deliver a decent product. But this is a situation much like buying a car. It may look great when they first show it to you, but you really won’t know how well it operates until after you buy it and start using it. And by then it may be too late.

Where do these “refurbished” machines turn up most frequently? Usually on platforms like eBay and Craigslist. That is also where the deepest discounts are offered. But when your terminal arrives in the mail, it may not work. That is because it was picked up from a company that either changed providers or went out of business, and is still technically the property of that previous owner.

When that happens the equipment is still locked, meaning it won’t function for anyone other than the original purchaser.

Cliq: Quality Equipment Plus Savings

If the objective is to acquire a quality POS system and still save, the best way to get there is to compare reputable providers. Cliq provides POS terminals and equipment that will meet the needs of your business at a rate that meets your needs.

Plus, with Cliq you’ll also receive a number of value-ads above and beyond the terminals themselves, including unmatched service and support. We work with our clients as a true partner, being there when they need us to answer questions, provide guidance when needed, and making sure your payment processing abilities grow with your business.

The testimonials on this site illustrate how Cliq goes the extra mile for its clients. We hope you’ll give us a chance to show you how we can help your business.

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Still Confused About Merchant Services? Here Are the Basics

Every year thousands of businesses are opened by entrepreneurs who are skilled at delivering a product or service, but may not know as much about running a business.

For instance, if you are selling something you know that you’ll need to accept purchases from those who pay with a credit or debit card, as well as many of the new online wallet apps like Apple Pay and Google Pay. But how does all that stuff actually work?

We get it. That’s why, at Cliq, we always start with the basics when meeting with a potential new client.  We know you will now have to work with equipment and systems that you’ve never used before, and that the prospect can be intimidating.

Here is an overview of what merchant processing services are, and what they do.

Start here: merchant services are not one solution but a broad range of financial solutions used by businesses to handle monetary transactions. Companies generally use one provider for whichever solutions they need. These are the most common:

Credit and Debit Card Processing

You’ve used these terminals at thousands of stores so you know how they work. They are usually referred to as Point of sale (POS) systems. Prior to the creation of debit cards, businesses relied on dedicated credit card terminals, as that was the only option for payment outside of cash. Now, with debit cards, gift cards and other payment methods, POS systems were designed to handle several types of transactions through one terminal.

Payment Gateways

What if you sell online as well as in a physical location? A payment gateway is software installed on your company’s website or e-commerce store that allows for online transaction processing.

Check Guarantee and Conversion Services

While paying by check has largely fallen out of favor as a payment method, it still pops up from time to time, and you don’t want to turn away those customers. The solution here is Automatic Clearing House (ACH) check processing. This system will electronically deposit checks into your bank account, while providing the authorization that the check can be accepted.

Mobile Services

Perhaps you don’t have a physical business but you still need a way to accept payment for purchases outside of your website. With mobile payment processing you can take your business wherever you go.

What Do All These Services Cost?

Depending on how you wish to acquire the merchant processing services you need, there will be processing fees, and there may be monthly fees as well. They are determined by what the provider charges and which services are selected.

Cost is an important factor in selecting a provider of payment processing services – but it should not be the only one. The time it takes to process payments should be considered, as well as how well each company provides security for each transaction.

Finally, as you’ll be processing payments every day – perhaps hundreds or thousands of transactions – you should work with a company that also delivers great customer service and support.

We hope, when it comes time make that decision, that you will give Cliq a chance to earn your business. We are eager to meet with you let you know how our team can help simplify payment procedures for your business, all while providing excellent service to your customers.

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Convenient Tip Recording Has Never Been More Crucial

The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on everyone, but it has been particularly stressful for those who work in restaurants, bars and hair salons – three types of businesses that were forced to shut down longer than many others.

During the months that restaurants were only open for carry-outs, many customers tried to help keep their employees afloat by tipping in larger amounts. And now that most have re-opened to some capacity, owners must maintain their attention to tip recording, while also struggling to keep the doors open.

For servers and hairdressers and bartenders, tips are often the difference between making rent and being evicted. That is why having a reliable tip tracking and distribution system has never been more crucial.

TIPS by Cliq® Is the Answer

Business owners need a way to track customer tips and distribute them after a shift, in a way that manages these tasks quickly and accurately. That has always been important, but this year, when owners must also devote considerable time to other challenges, it might seem like there just are not enough hours in a day.

If that’s how you’re feeling now, we’d like to introduce you to TIPS by Cliq®. It’s everything you need in one solution:

  • Simple to use – no long learning curve required
  • It eliminates the cost and waste of paper checks
  • Eliminates cash miscount losses – tips are distributed electronically onto a prepaid card

With just a few “cliqs” of this solution, you will be compliant with IRS tipping regulations (TRAC/TRDA and GITCA). And your employees will appreciate receiving their tips in a way that is fast and safe.

Find out more about TIPS by Cliq