Thought Leadership

Integrated Credit And Debit: Why Merchants Should Insist On It

Integrated Credit and Debit Prevents Theft

One Feature Can Streamline The POS, Reduce Shrinkage and Theft, and Improve Manageability With Minimal Effort

Have you noticed as you shop that nearly every multi-unit retail store operator or restaurant chain has integrated credit and debit? Ever wonder why? It’s because they’ve already done the math. They know that integrated credit and debit processing improves the transaction experience for both the customer and cashier, and reduces cost at the front end. In an era where everyone in business is talking about artificial intelligence and automation, integrated credit and debit is an automation tool for your store that requires zero effort and pays for itself on every single transaction. Here are the reasons why you should integrate credit and debit technology with your POS system.

Streamline The POS Transaction

Streamline The POS With Integrated PaymentsTake a good look at your point of purchase. If it looks like a yard sale and or the transactions are clunky and slow, the bad news is, that’s how it looks to your consumers as well. In the retail and restaurant trade, image and wait times are important, and the cash register checkout is usually the first and last thing they either “endure” or “enjoy” when they enter your store. This impacts the trust that your customer has with your retail store or restaurant.

One of the fastest and easiest ways to make your front-end POS experience more professional is to automate the credit and debit transactions with the POS. Integrated transactions speed up and make the payment process uniformly the same each and every time, no matter how experienced the cashier is. Because the transactions are faster and easier, it’s not only easier to train customers to pay, it’s easier to train cashiers to efficiently cash-out your customers!

Control Human Error

Retail Payments PinpadThe opposite of integrated credit and debit is separate credit and debit, right? That means after your cashier rings everything up in the cash register, they must then also enter the transaction total after tax manually into the payment device. To err is human, and that portion of human entry is prone to mistakes, especially during the attention “trough” of 2 o’clock to 4 o’clock in the afternoon. These are called, “Transposition Errors”. The act of copying the total from the cash register to the credit and debit machine is where the loss of revenue and customer trust happens regularly.

These are honest mistakes to be sure, but that’s irrelevant to your profitability. The credit and debit machine has a fixed decimal entry system, so if you miss one digit, you miss either a tens or a hundreds column, and those mistakes can accumulate and cost your business thousands of dollars a year.

Under-keying just one digit could incorrectly result in $ 45.16 doing a transaction on someone’s credit card for $ 4.51 for example. That’s a loss of $40.65 on a single customer, plus the product that they walked out the door with for four bucks! The total loss in this example is now $60-80 bucks!

On the flipside, if they over-key the transaction (in other words they accidentally enter too many digits) the fixed decimal system takes too much money from your client. For example, that same $ 45.16 transaction when manually keyed into a credit and debit machine could end up costing your customer $ 451.60! How much trust do you think you’ll gain with your customer when your staff over charge them at the point of sale?

Improve Reporting and Accountability

Integrated Credit and Debit Reduces LabourIntegrated credit and debit transactions are automatically connected to receipt numbers, and receipt numbers are connected to credit card authorization numbers. All of them are tied to times and dates, cashier names, cash register numbers, customer loyalty information, payment type, and even the products on the receipt. All of which can be cross referenced in the reporting system in the point of sale. All of which is possible in a PCI compliant way, without sacrificing card data security, because when done right, no payment card data (the data required to complete a transaction) is present in the point of sale. Just the circumstantial evidence required to prove the transaction information and provide proper customer service.

When a transaction error happens how easy is it to track down what happened and who did it? If it involves a ladder to get at cardboard boxes, files, and a couple employees sifting through small pieces of paper for a couple of hours, you have already failed. Integrating credit and debit into the point of sale system eliminate this circus and makes things much easier to track down when necessary.

Reduce Labour Cost

Let’s face it, your lifestyle matters. You have a family and you have a life of your own. Spending hours on end in the store either at the crack of dawn or in the middle of the night trying to make heads or tails of mismatched transactions doing employee cash-outs or reconciliations is not a path to a better standard of living, nor will it do much for your sanity.

With improved reporting and accountability, managers and cashiers benefit enormously from improved management capability. When credit and debit (and even gift card) is integrated, Visa, Mastercard and Debit transactions are penny accurate. Once you understand this, you realize that you’re not having to micromanage the cash-out process or add up every slip when doing reconciliation. Instead, it’s more of a review process, and you’re looking for process discrepancies rather than trying to hunt around for your money.

Once you understand how it works, you’re paying more attention to the thing that matters – cash. Cash is a negotiable tender, which means it’s often miscounted, counterfeited, lost, stolen, it’s dirty, and must be deposited. Once you understand the control and management ease of electronic tenders, you realize that today, Cash is no longer King.

Prevent Fraud & Theft

Retail TheftSeparate credit and debit terminals allow your staff to accept electronic payments, sure, and they’ll even give you a report. They do NOT however, require them to ring ANYTHING into the POS. The problem with this is that all retail and restaurant managers use the POS system to provide them with an End of Day financial report (EOD) that they use to determine the totality of their sales at the end of each day. See the disconnect? The control system – the EOD – doesn’t actually have the capability to control their behavior. When you have separated systems like this, not only can honest mistakes occur as illustrated above, but your staff can take advantage of these disconnects to play hanky-panky in the till.

Preventing front line staff from doing any credit and debit transactions without ringing in the products and services first can significantly reduce if not eliminate trading non-cash tenders for cash schemes. Many systems can force refunds back on to the original cards that were used to make the original purchase, and this can both eliminate refund fraud and refund theft. The former committed by customers; the latter committed by staff.

Zero Effort Control

There aren’t very many control systems that are set-it-and-forget it like integrated payments with your POS. Are there costs involved for credit and debit integration with your point of sale system? Sure, but comparatively speaking they are minor, and the benefits for most retail and restaurant owners far outweigh them. Clearly the big chain operators have already figured this out, and you should consider it seriously for your cash register system.

About Armagh POS Solutions

Armagh has been serving the retail, restaurant and grocery industries in Canada since 1979, delivering solutions for a range of operators from single-unit small businesses to multi-unit national chains.

We are specialists in touch screen and scanning point of sale (POS) systems for both restaurants and retail stores, cash registers, scales, liquor inventory control systems, and grocery label and wrapping equipment.

With 40+ years POS industry experienced the sales staff at Armagh provides experienced consultants in point-of-purchase management, customer service efficiency, process automation, and restaurant order management.

Armagh’s award-winning Catapult Retail POS Software and Digital Dining POS Restaurant Software are best-in-class, and Armagh is a QIR and Diamond Toshiba Alliance Partner.