Andy Frankel Joins Leadership Team

First American is proud to announce the acquisition of Apex Merchant Group, a First American ISO since 2008. Apex has had much success over the last 7 years, and we look forward to working with Apex to build on that success and enhance the overall growth of First American.

With the acquisition, we are also happy to announce the addition of Andy Frankel to the leadership team. Andy, the founder and CEO of Apex Merchant Group, will now lead both Apex and Certified Payment Processing (“CPP”) on a go-forward basis and will report directly to Neil Randel.

Andy comes with many years of experience in the payments industry, including a long history with First American.  Andy became part of the First American family when First American acquired Certified Merchant Services (“CMS”) in 2003.  Andy continued to run CPP (the successor to CMS) until he founded Apex in 2008, and he has been a valued ISO partner with us for the last 7 years.

Today is an exciting day, and we welcome Apex to its new home within the First American family.

Verizon Giving Customers Free Data To Try Android Pay

by Intrepid Payment Processing


Verizon upped the ante in its’ bid to compete in the mobile wallet space by announcing that it’s giving away 2 GB of free data just for trying Android Pay.


Digital Trends reports,

“Between now and the middle of June, try out Android Pay for the first time and you’ll get 1GB of extra data. After the third time, you’ll get the other 1GB. You’ll get that 2GB for the next two billing cycles, so technically you’ll be getting an extra 4GB, just not all at once.”

Coming Soon: Cardless ATMs

by Intrepid Payment Processing

And so it begins.

Bank of America announced on Wednesday that it will begin beta testing cardless ATM transactions later this year. This is a substantial industry development because it will allow users to conduct ATM transactions without the need for swiping a card at the machine.

While NFC technology has been gaining traction rapidly at the point-of-sale, thanks to mobile payment vehicles like Apple Pay and Android Pay, this marks the first time that the technology enters the ATM category.

BOA’s announcement comes on the heels of JPMorgan Chase’s announcement the day before, with the New York-based bank saying it will introduce such ATMs this year. Both of these follow San Franciso-based Wells Fargo’s announcement last month that it will offer “virtual card” services at its’ ATMs later this year, as well.

Those in the payments industry have been watching these developments closely. It’s still unclear how the public will respond to these ground-breaking new services with users still seemingly wary of cyber-security issues, but it will be interesting to watch, nonetheless.

Copyright 2016 Intrepid Payment Processing

More Chips, More Security: The Impact of EMV and NFC on the Credit Card Processing Industry

by Intrepid Payment Processing

The credit card processing industry is currently in a state of flux. Every year, payment technologies are expanding at dizzying rates and both consumers and merchants are being confronted with arrays of card options, payment methods and security protocols that they have never seen before. EMV, or embedded chip cards, and NFC, the near-field communication technology that enables mobile phone-based payment systems, are available to more customers in 2016 than ever before and businesses are feeling the pressure to adapt. In order to pursue modern customers in an ever-changing marketplace, small and large merchants alike are being forced to reassess their credit card processing systems and their very relationship with non-cash transactions.

EMV embedded chip cards are gaining popularity for many reasons, but many in the credit card industry recognize that their rise is largely due to the average consumer’s commitment to credit card information security and the clear advantages EMV holds in this department. The advanced encryption in these chips is engineered specifically to prevent massive data breaches and to hide personal information from would-be hackers.

Another nascent technology is the field of near-field communication, the advent of which has made Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay all possible. Although a recent survey by Accenture showed that only about 18% of surveyed North Americans are currently using any of these products, the industry is on the rise for the simple reason that people are relying on their mobile devices to accomplish more every year. It is inevitable that mobile pay applications are the way of the future, especially when one considers that 23% of current users are Millennials.

The rise of these new technologies will have a major impact on the credit card processing industry, if only because they are so closely related. The chip technology in EMV cards is very similar to the technology in an iPhone 6 or Apple Watch that allows users to pay for items with mobile transfers. As chip technology advances, both EMV and mobile pay devices will advance at an equal rate.

Additionally, most credit card processing services that are equipped to handle EMV cards are also able to support mobile payments. As more retailers take the plunge and enable chip card payments, the mobile payments industry will get a boost without even having to do anything. Retailers, wary of recent changes in liability legislature that pin blame for data breaches on merchants rather than on banks, are taking to the new technology in droves. Any change in the credit card processing industry will hinge on whether consumers follow.

Copyright 2016 Intrepid Payment Processing

Cyber Monday: Here’s The Deal With Those Deals


by Intrepid Payment Processing

Like Black Friday, Cyber Monday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. The best part about Cyber Monday is that there is no need to leave home. We can shop from the comfort of our own homes and still receive huge discounts from online retailers.Retailers will still make huge profits despite the low prices. A retailer buys a product straight from the manufacturer for a set price. For example, Store X buys 100 computers from a manufacturer for $500 each. The retailer will then mark the item up to make a profit. In this case, Store X decides to mark the computer for sale for $1000. If on an average day, Store X sells 2 of the computers they have made a profit of $1000. However, on Cyber Monday they advertise that they will discount the computer $250 and sell it for $750. Consumers see this huge discount and take full advantage of it. Store X sells 50 computers earning them a profit of $12,500. In addition, they have brought the consumer to their website and they may browse and buy additional items.

When shopping online, we have to make sure that we are getting the best value for our money. We must take things like shipping into account. If two websites are offering the same item, we must look at not only the discounted price, but how much it is going to cost to ship the item to us. Some websites offer free shipping on all orders. Others will offer a flat shipping fee. Be careful and watch for conditions that are set. Some websites set amounts that must be met before purchases qualify for free shipping. For example, a site may require that purchases total at least $50 before free shipping applies. Other sites may have free shipping codes.

There are many websites that will put all of the sale ads in one place. This will make it easier to compare and contrast sale ads. Or going to the company’s website will usually yield their sale ads.

Finally, before completing a purchase, it is necessary that we ensure that the site is secure and trusted. Different web browsers indicate secure websites in different ways. However, it is always indicated in the address bar of the browser and is usually indicated with a padlock. You can also check the web address itself. If the web address starts with “https,” this means that it has been through the validation process and received its SSL certificate. Look at the site and make sure that there is contact information and a return policy. These are other indicators that the website is legitimate.

Happy shopping!

Thanksgiving Day: To Close or Not To Close, That Is The Question

by Intrepid Payment Processing
Turkey Bird SignThe scenario reads as the follows: simply put, what are some of the issues of retailers who wish to either close or open on Thanksgiving Day? How do customers feel about this? Is there really a profit to be made by staying open, especially with Black Friday and a weekend following the day after?Our post below covers these above issues in an attempt to find out, “Is it really worth staying open on Thanksgiving Day?”
Stores That Close On Thanksgiving DayTraditionally speaking, Thanksgiving is one of the most awaited holidays celebrated in the United States. Other than for food-related items, not much gift buying is actually done on that day.

This is a day to gather with loved ones, eat fine meals and excitedly watch the fall football games. Watching the Thanksgiving Parades televised during the day are other time-honored traditions still kept by many segments of the population. In addition, people are still traveling en route to reach their cherished destination by dinner time.

Re-thinking retail marketing strategies include simply offering really low prices, great value, unique products, significant discounts and rebates and the convenience of shopping online from major outlets.

Recent statistics offer diverse facts.

  • 92.1 million customers shopped on Black Friday in 2013.
  • The average amount spent from Thanksgiving Day to the following Sunday is $407–down 4 percent from 2013.
  • Online buying on Thanksgiving Day was up by .05 percent or 248.7 million customers.
  • Shoppers that were physically in the stores by 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day were down by 4.9 percent.

Shoppers in certain geographical regions have different shopping preferences than other parts of the country. Further broken down by age groups, you have even greater revealing figures.

That said, millennials lead with 13 percent more purchases than adult shoppers on the Thanksgiving weekend–but not on Thanksgiving Day.

Stores That Remain Open On Thanksgiving Day

In recent years, some retail stores have inculcated the masses with a need to begin their Christmas holiday shopping not only on Black Friday, but on what some consider a sacred holiday to be enjoyed with our family and loved ones–Thanksgiving Day itself.

Hoping to take away some buying power from other closed retailers, those merchants who prefer to stay open on Thanksgiving Day find that total sales made on that day, as opposed to what it cost to stay open, simply was not worth it in some cases.

Knowing that many major stores open the very following day and that their laptop or digital device is only a credit card away from the eagerly awaited sales, takes away from the need of having to run out on one of the busiest days of the years to make lines and get crushed by other shoppers.

This past year, Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday saw record-breaking online retail sales generated by a growth in mobile sales. That said, Black Friday online sales were 63.5 percent higher than those that took place on Thanksgiving Day. Who really wants to go to the stores, and fight it out with others? We don’t, and we doubt that you do either.

Copyright 2015 Intrepid Payment Processing