Business & Investment

Here’s what to look out for to avoid credit card fraud or charge-backs

There are plenty of stories around about small businesses getting scammed in some way or another on credit card purchases, but you protect yourself, James Brown, vice-president of merchant relationship management for MasterCard Canada, says.

“Whenever we do training sessions, what really piques merchants’ interest is fraud and charge-backs.”

The following are some simple steps, Brown suggests you can follow to avoid fraudulent transactions:

If in doubt, get authorization. “Chip and pin has helped, but not everyone uses it. You can always reach out to the acquirer if you think there may be a risk of fraud,” Brown said.

Watch for suspicious behaviour patterns.

If someone is making a large purchase that they want to take home, even if delivery is free, that could point to something unusual. Watch out for people ordering an excessive number of gift cards, as that can point to potential fraud.

Be vigilant with online purchases. A regular online customer ordering something outside of their normal behaviour should raise a red flag.

Honour your commitments. Make sure deliveries arrive on the date promised and are tracked and signed for. “There are always people who will say it wasn’t honoured and will request a charge-back,” Brown said.

Be careful with large orders from new customers that are shipped out of the country. This is especially a signal if the person or business is operating in Canada.

“Some of these may be legitimate transactions. But the general rule is to protect yourself if you don’t think a transaction feels right,” Brown said.

Exporting seems to make retailers more optimistic and profitable: Survey

The most optimistic small to mid-sized businesses, or SMBs, are the ones that export, a new SMB Optimism survey by MARU/Vision Critical Research and Consulting for eBay Canada found.

On optimism, Canadian retail SMBs scored an average of 74 out of 100 on the index overall — but that broke down to 79 points for businesses that export and 72 for those that do not.

Furthermore, exporting companies reported an average of nearly 60 per cent more in sales than those who don’t. They are also more likely than non-exporters to believe there are new market opportunities for them (70 per cent vs. 36 per cent); and that technologies and innovations will positively impact their business (56 per cent vs. 41 per cent).

“Given the relatively small size of the Canadian market, it stands to reason that business optimism in our country would be linked to exporting,” said Andrea Stairs, managing director, eBay Canada in a statement. “A critical success factor to scaling a Canadian business is the ability to tap into international demand. E-commerce has helped democratize international trade, and global online marketplaces such as eBay are enabling SMBs to reach buyers beyond their borders and fulfill their potential.”

Why tech companies are doing a better job at finding and retaining talent

We’re hearing a lot these days about skills shortages, but Soley Soucie, director for Eastern Canada for Hays, said companies that have a leg up on everyone else are the ones that pay attention to corporate culture.

Tech companies excel in that regard. The 300-plus tech startup companies in the Ottawa region know exactly what employees want and how to keep them for the most part, Soucie said. “In the past nine months, I’ve noticed engagement going up at these companies. People can’t be attracted away from them.”

Soucie noted that tech companies are doing a far better job than more traditional industries competing for skilled talent. “It’s interesting to see different industries with skills shortages, but tech companies are simply more creative in their approach, from compensation to the day-to-day working environments,” she said.

But that doesn’t mean others can’t follow their lead. While businesses may not have the resources to invest in on-site gyms, games rooms or cafés, there are things employers can do to build a winning culture for their employees, she said.

Fluid work hours “Employees definitely like flexible start and stop times.”

Dress codes “Casual dress is a massive selling feature,” she said. “People like to be able to come however they please and be comfortable at work.”

Encouraging social activities Companies should plan a number activities to help employees engage in the culture, from weekly scrum meetings and celebrations, to charitable events and outings.

Succession planning This is a huge opportunity companies often miss, Soucie said. “By that I don’t mean at the executive level. You need to map out and share with employees the roles that will need to be filled, the skills required, and the path they can take to get there. Employees want to know they can progress in their careers. If you don’t spell it out, they may not be aware of potential opportunities.”

Ability to work remotely “Ask yourself do they have to be in the office all the time. People like having the option and the fact that employers have trust in them.”

The best part is, these don’t cost a lot and can go a long way in helping small businesses attract talent, Soucie said.

“This is all low hanging fruit. We see a lot of clients look at big things like salaries and company shares — those all cost money. Besides, there’s always someone who can offer higher pay. But if you’re missing something as basic as social activities you may lose out. Don’t get too focused on things you can’t control and focus on what you can.”

First published at http://business.financialpost.com/entrepreneur/small-business-digest/heres-what-to-look-out-for-to-avoid-credit-card-fraud-or-charge-backs

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