What is PCI Compliance?

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard was created by credit card companies to keep customers payment card data secure. The 12 requirements will help you protect your customers from every conceivable angle in person and online. If you process, store, or transmit credit card information, you need to be PCI Compliant.

According to PCI Security Standards Council, small businesses are prime targets for data thieves. Home users are most vulnerable as their network is usually not protected. It’s not enough to have a SSL Certificate on your website.

If customer’s data is stolen, you could receive fines, penalties, and possibly lose the ability to accept credit cards. That will hurt your business as well as be an awkward conversation to have with a customer on why you cannot accept credit cards.

Start with the Self- Assessment Questionnaire. Your business size will dictate if you need additional technology. There is an ongoing 3 step process every 90 days to Assess, Remediate, and Report. In the first step, you look at your set ups and search for vulnerabilities. Second, you address the vulnerabilities. Finally, you create a report and send it to acquiring banks and card brands.

Technology is evolving and so are criminals. As determined as you are to make it, so are thieves. This is their livelihood. While this may seem inconvenient, imagine having your credit card information stolen. This is for your customers to feel safe with you. If they feel safe, they’ll do more business with you.

The Difference between American Express and Other Cards

As a business owner, you have many decisions to make and one of them is what credit cards you’ll accept. You may have noticed many small businesses accept everything except American Express.

While American Express offers great rewards and perks for its customers, it offers higher fees to business owners. Their rates are 2-3.5% versus 1-2% with other cards or even less with debit cards. While that may not seem like much of a difference, it adds up fast and when your margins are sensitive, you feel it. Many business owners risk the inconvenience of not accepting a fraction of their customers’ cards than accept it and pay a high price.

American Express works on a different business model than Visa, Mastercard, and Discover. They are a closed loop network where they issue cards directly to the card holders and merchant accounts directly to businesses. Because they do not have to answer to another financial institution, they can set their discount rates to what they want. While most credit cards make profit off of interest, American Express uses annual fees to card holders and higher swipe fees to merchants. They can so they will.

They also require businesses to undergo another application process before accepting their card. One more thing you’ll have to do.

There’s not much inconvenience to customers as many American Express cardholders carry more than one card because not everyone accepts American Express.

You know your business and what’s best for you. You’ll make the right decision.


Live Your Values and Find Your Tribe

You got into business to help people, but how do you find the right people? By being your true self and living what is important to you, like giving to charity at every opportunity.

People like buying from people who go above and beyond. Think about it: if two vendors offer identical products, but one gives to charity, you’d go with that vendor. Customers are fascinated to learn every time they use their credit card a portion of the fee is donated to a charity of the owner’s choice. It says a lot about you, the owner, that you’re prioritizing this value. Customers feel involved; by buying, they’re also donating and helping.

It’s a free perk. You don’t have to do anything more, they don’t have to do anything more, everyone feels good about their decisions. Imagine the customer telling their friends about you, “Not only do they offer this great service, they donate to charity automatically.” Likes associate with likes. People want to be a part of that team.

Let them be a part of something greater. They are a part of the flow from merchant, to buyer, to GIVIA, to the people receiving the help. You wouldn’t have a fee to donate if they had not bought your product or service.

You’re helping yourself find your tribe, people with similar values and together you can lift each other up. By being true to yourself, doing what you know is right, you are attracting the best people to you.


Make a Difference without Thinking About It

You started your business to make a difference in the world. You saw a niche that needed to be filled or knew a way to improve upon something that already existed. You’re an entrepreneur and think outside the box to make dreams a reality.

You’re also discovering there’s truth to the adage, “An entrepreneur is someone who stops working 40 hours for someone else in order to work 80 hours for himself.” Donating to your favorite charities is on your To Do list, but at the end of the day you say you’ll do it tomorrow (or you just plain forgot about it).

When you’re constantly thinking about where the money is coming from, you may feel you’re not able to donate at this time, even though you know for the cost of your morning coffee you can improve someone’s life. You know every bit counts and adds up. You also know you need to pay your Virtual Assistant to create your landing page, to buy advertising to get in front of your target audience, and for any incidentals or materials that go into making your special product that make people’s lives better.

That’s where GIVIA comes in. If you accept credit cards as a form of payment, you can help the charities near and dear to your heart without even thinking about it and without spending your money.

Use GIVIA as your credit card processor and GIVIA will donate to a charity of your choice.
When you work with GIVIA, together we are making the world a better place, one swipe at a time.

By doing business, you are making a difference.

Can Business and Wellness Work Together?

Old-school thinking places business and wellness at opposite ends of the life spectrum.  You spent your day at your job and your night attending to your personal wellbeing.  Work/life balance was talked about as if work and life were two different things.

We wrote earlier about the Triple Bottom Line, looking at businesses through the lens of people, planet, and profit.  Using this framework, work and life are intricately intertwined and wellness applies to businesses as well as to the people who work there and who populate the communities in which they operate.

The Triple Bottom Line philosophy suggests that business and wellness are in fact two sides to the same coin and just as we could not talk about a person without considering her or his health, we can’t talk about a business without considering its wellness.  And how may a business attend to its own wellness?

People Wellness:

Ensuring the wellness of the people impacted by a business extends to paying a living wage and supporting a healthy and safe environment for its workers.  This means allocating space and resources to onsite health and wellness programs such as gyms and clinics, and supporting families through programs such as flextime and on-site childcare.  But people wellness goes further.  Businesses should attend to the towns and cities in which they operate, being good neighbors actively engaged in creating and supporting strong communities.  More broadly (and more challengingly), businesses strive to build a supply chain that similarly exhibits attention to the wellbeing of the workers and communities in which each link operates.

Planet Wellness:

Businesses should strive for a positive environmental impact through such actions as attention to reducing the use of limited natural resources, building in harmony with the land, and recycling waste.  They should espouse a corporate culture that supports attention to environmental impact as a key factor in decision-making at all levels, and plan for the responsible disposal or reuse of the products they create.

Profit Wellness:

Too often, discussions of the concept of wellness forget to include profit as an indicator of business wellness.  Yet businesses have an obligation to operate in ways that return a responsible profit in order to ensure the long-term viability of the enterprise.

Attending to people, planet, and profit commits businesses to wellness in a way that ensures sustainability
of not only the workforce and the planet, but also the business itself.

Business Wellness Is More Than a New Fitness Program

What is wellness? For an individual, it is being in a state of good mental and physical health. For a business, it is a bit more difficult to define. Often, when we speak about corporate wellness, the focus becomes the physical health of employees. A 2013 Forbes article covering “Five Reasons Corporate Wellness Is More Important Than Ever” focused exclusively on combating rising health care costs through improving physical fitness and addressing chronic disease prevention.

Yet a business’s wellbeing extends beyond the health of those working there. To be in good physical health, like a person, a business must take care of itself. It must treat its employees well and it must turn a profit so as to ensure its longevity. To be in good mental health, like a person, a business must act ethically, in ways that demonstrate a commitment to a set of values that both it, and the community in which it operates, consider right and good.

One way to think of business wellness is in terms of the Triple Bottom Line, a tripartite focus on people, planet, and profits. In this sense, corporate wellness means ensuring that its business practices attend to:

  • People: Fair labor practices and supporting the community
  • Planet: Sustainable environmental practices that limit environmental impact
  • Profit: Financially viable operations that ensure the long-term sustainability of the company

In this sense, programs aimed at business wellness would span the gamut from the more traditional corporate fitness programs, to philanthropy and volunteerism, to limiting energy consumption, to changing production to align with consumer demand.

How is wellness defined where you work?