Mobile Credit Card Processing – Is It for Me?



Mobile Credit Card Processing – Is It for Me?

One really exciting development enabled by the Internet is the re-birth of small businesses featuring unique, hand-crafted items. Websites like Etsy allow furniture makers, jewelers, clothing designers and others to cheaply reach a global market of enthusiastic customers. And now that there is a viable business driven by the online marketplace in these types of hand-crafted items, there is a new popularity of such wares at local festivals and craft markets. Interestingly, the online space is changing retail at bricks and mortar locations. If you are a small business person – especially if you sell goods at festivals and other temporary locations where you don’t have a permanent business establishment, you may be interested in mobile credit card acceptance. The new technologies are cheap, secure and easy to use. Let’s take a quick look at some of the new technologies and sift through the possibilities.


Only Connect!

The first issue to think about – the issue that drives the other aspects of mobile credit card acceptance – is the method that the physical card uses to connect with the credit card acceptance system. The method that most people are familiar with is as old as credit cards themselves – a magnetic strip on the back of the card is swiped through a reader and thereby transfers the information about the credit card account to the computer. A much more modern technology is one in which the credit card has a micro-chip embedded in its surface. Instead of swiping the card, the payor inserts the card into the card reader (“dips” the card) and the chip on the front of the card makes physical contact with the electronics inside the reader. The third and newest method starting to appear in retail establishments is one based on “near field communication” (NFC). An NFC-based credit card acceptance system does not require physical contact like the others. It operates using radio waves and bring the two devices within about 4 inches of one another is usually sufficient for the data transfer to occur.


Apple Pay, Google Wallet

Now that you understand the methods of connection, we can talk about the newest payment systems that are coming out from tech leaders Apple and Google. Both of these systems are based on NFC technology and are extremely mobile. If your smartphone is equipped with NFC technology, then you don’t need any additional hardware at all to pay with either Apple Pay or Google Wallet. For the vast majority of people, the decision between using Apple Pay or Google Wallet will be as simple as which kind of smartphone you already have. Those who favor the iPhone will naturally use Apple Pay, while those using any Android-based phone can use Google Wallet.


Accepting Payment From Your Smartphone

Accepting payment via credit cards is slightly more complicated than making payments from your smartphone but it’s still pretty straightforward. The standard way most businesses start to accept credit cards is by first establishing a merchant account with a bank and then signing up with a credit card processing company. You can sign up to accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover and, once you’ve done that, activating the option to use Apple Pay and Google Wallet is easy. It is important to remember that you will have to pay a transaction fee for the convenience of being able to use credit cards in your small business. An even simpler way to get started is through using Paypal – which does not require a separate merchant account – but you may find that the fees are a bit higher. Finally, you will need to get your smartphone ready to accept credit cards by loading the correct software on the phone and then by getting hardware either for swipe cards, “dip and pay” cards with a chip and for Apple Pay and Google Wallet (NFC tech). Obviously, the more versatile your hardware, the broader range of customers you can serve.


Some of these procedures may seem technical and confusing, but they really aren’t. If you are a solo or small business person, come in and see us and we can help explain everything you need to know.

Computer Privacy In The Surveillance Age

Computer Privacy is at the forefronts of everyone’s mind in the electronic age we live in.


 Computer Privacy in the Surveillance Age

Information security is all over the news these days. We normal computer-using mortals are probably not being surveilled by the government or organized criminals any more than we ever have been, but there is a much greater awareness of the vulnerabilities after recent disclosures by people like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. Most computer users now realize how very vulnerable they really are to surveillance. The fact is, if you are engaged in crimes or espionage – or if you are a high net-worth individual – then the kind of people who will be coming after you are the well-funded types with plenty of expertise. In those cases, it is probably just a matter of time and effort required to crack whatever security measures you employ. But if you are just a “regular Joe or Jane,” hoping to surf the Internet and look at funny cat GIFs in relative privacy, then there are a couple of basic things you can do to protect yourself.


Be Careful What you Disclose

At its most basic, privacy simply requires a little foresight and discipline on your part. Sharing information about your life on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter has become so widespread that people barely think before they post some pretty intimate information. Remember – once you post something online, you never really know where it could end up. The other thing to keep in mind is that with ever-dropping data storage costs, anything you post online is likely now to stay online practically forever. Do not post your home address, information about your finances and accounts, or naughty pictures of you and your friends up to no good. Think twice about posting controversial opinions, political or otherwise. Avoid heated arguments online. If you use basic common sense and avoid posting when angry, intoxicated or otherwise not thinking clearly, then you will eliminate 90% of your online privacy exposure right off the bat.


Be Careful About the Files you Open

The Internet today is teeming with Trojan horses that carry malware and viruses. Many times an email from your best friend is not what it seems! A Trojan horse is a file that conceals a harmful bit of software that can allows others to spy on you. If your friend or family member carelessly clicks on an executable email attachment, they can unwittingly download a virus or some malware that propagates itself by sending emails (for example, to you) that also include the Trojan horse. The malevolent software you might be downloading when you click on an executable file could be a keystroke logger that records everything you type on your keyboard and sends it to online scammers. In this way, they can get your passwords and account numbers. Be cautious and do not click on email attachments unless you know they are what they purport to be. The emails with these sorts of malevolent attachments are usually badly written and very brief. Read carefully and slow down!


Want to learn more about computer security or even have a security audit of your computer to make sure everything is safe?  Contact us!



Computer Hacking: Signs to Watch Out For and Tips to Protect Your System.


Computer Hacking: Signs to Watch Out For and Tips to Protect Your System

When it comes to the security and performance of one’s computer there is at least one item that everyone wants protected from malicious outside influences. Their personal information. In today’s society, hackers are more clever in their computer hacking techniques. What should you watch out for? What can you do to keep your personal information protected? Today, we have detailed a few of the common signs your system may be compromised as well as solutions, fixes and some ways to prevent your system from being hacked while protecting your personal vital information.

There are several signs that can signify your computer’s security system is compromised along with several techniques, tips and tricks you can use to fix your system if it has been compromised and to protect and prevent your system from getting hacked.

  1. False/Fake Anti Virus Warnings and Scans: A common technique used by hackers to get into a computer system is using that system’s own antivirus program against it by flashing a false message to trick you into initiating a system scan that is truly a false scan which in turn “discovers” a ridiculous amount of viruses on your system. They provide a link “offering” help, tricking you into a scam while accumulating your personal information. When it comes to this technique there are two points to hit on here. The first is “know” your antivirus software. If you know it, you’ll notice the difference in the software’s usual warnings versus the false warning and that should send the alarm bells ringing. The second is that it is always best to hit the power button and turn your computer completely off. Give it a reboot via Safe Mode that way you can then make good use of your true up-to-date antivirus software to destroy the malware.
  2.  Random and Fake Toolbars: Another common technique that hackers use to steal your personal information is an unwanted and bogus toolbar on your internet browser with a tidy little message telling you why you need another extra toolbar. This toolbar only makes it easier for the hacker or hackers to redirect your web browsing as well as cause those seemingly random pop-ups to appear. With this technique, simply run your antivirus software to scan and destroy the malware while removing the toolbar. Also, take the time to change all of your passwords.
  3. Strange Email Activity: The next common sign that your system may be compromised is your email contacts quite suddenly start receiving fake junk emails from your address. Once again, your antivirus program will be your best friend here, run it then take the time to check for any fake unwanted toolbars as this technique and the two listed above are sometimes implemented in tandem.
  4. Passwords Become Unsecured: The final sign we will address in this post has to do with your passwords. There are several different scams that can trick you via emails or email links and the next thing you know, your passwords are all different but you didn’t change them. Be highly vigilant in this regard. Unless you are specifically “resetting” your password for a site, you will likely not be receiving an email requesting you to change your password. If by some set of strange circumstances your password and the corresponding account does become compromised, change the passwords, alert your contacts. There are services that will allow one of your email contacts to help you get your account back under your control.

These are just a few of the common techniques hackers use to compromise computer systems but the best way to keep your systems safe is by remaining vigilant while on the world-wide web. If your computer or laptop ends up seriously compromised and the above list doesn’t help you much, then contact us or, if you’re in the North Carolina area then bring your device in to one of our three sites: Computer Repair Wake Forest, Computer Repair Durham or Computer Repair Raleigh.

The Heartbleed OpenSSL vulnerability and what it means for your security

The Internet is buzzing about one of the most widespread vulnerabilities seen in ages. The bug is called “Heartbleed” and it directly impacts all servers, network appliances and other devices that use OpenSSL 1.0.1 branch are vulnerable up to version 1.0.1g.  When exploited, Heartbleed allows attackers to read server memory in 64K chunks.  This can […]

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The impossibility of avoiding malware reactively

What if every day a new threat was on the horizon?  It would be seemingly overwhelming!  But what if every day tens of thousands of new threats were appearing, and the majority have yet to be identified?  Scary as that may seem we must face reality and realize that is the world we live in. […]

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Source: Arlington Computer Repair