How to Protect Your Business from Credit Card Fraud

If you have a business that accepts payments via credit cards then you’re probably familiar with the term “chargeback”.  Although a chargeback doesn’t happen very often, they can be devastating based on timing as well as the amount taken from your checking account.  Recently, we had two customers call us within a week’s time stating that they had been dealing with some sizable chargebacks for work that had already been completed.  They both were inquiring how they could win their case and then how could they protect themselves from this happening again in the future.

Doing business on the web.
Ecommerce rules the day!

In-Person Credit Cards

If you’re business operates in a retail environment where you swipe the card and obtain a signature then you are already increasing you’re odds of winning a chargeback scenario.  If this is the case, the only other thing you need to do to help yourself is to keep your signed receipts for at least 7 months.  Consumers have up to 6 months to file a chargeback on their card!! If you keep a rolling 7 months file of your charges you will have proof of their purchase.

Online or Not-Present Credit Cards

If your business operates online or in an environment where you don’t see your customers face to face, then winning a chargeback is more difficult.  First and most importantly, you must understand and remember that the rules and regulations that are in place lean towards the cardholder.  If you understand this then you will be more stringent and set up your own guidelines for accepting payments.  Not every business is the same so it’s hard for us to provide you with clear cut ways of helping you protect yourself, but there are some steps that you can take.  One step a business can take is to make sure that there is verbiage in your agreement that clearly states their termination policy, refund policy, and payment acceptance policy.  Being able to obtain a signatures is ALWAYS best!  If you can send your customer’s agreements that they can sign, with the amounts and any payment installments, and return it back to you then obviously your helping your cause.  If obtaining a signature is difficult then please realize that you are putting yourself at risk.  Every business model is different so my advice would be to get on the phone with your provider to initiate a conversation about protecting yourself.  If you don’t feel as though you are getting the answers you need you are always welcome to call us even if you are just looking for some advice.

If you are a company that has small tickets items, you may not be as concerned about receiving a signature.  However, if you are a company that does large ticket items a chargeback can be devastating.  A chargeback can happen on small ticket items too but for people committing fraud they will usually go for the large ticket items.  For large ticket items, that you take a credit card over the phone or online, my suggestion would be to fax an invoice or contract to them for signature and return, along with a copy of their driver’s license.  Most people that are legit will have no problem in doing this once they understand your policies for accepting credit card payments by phone or online.  If they have a problem with it then you should question their motives for doing business with you and do you really want to take that chance with a high ticket item?

Out of State Transactions

Do you ship out of state or out of the country?  The same suggestions apply to you as mentioned above for the large ticket items.  However, you need to take it a step farther.  Only ship to locations where the shipping and billing address are the same.  If not, personally I would not ship the item, but that is your call.  To help cover yourself from a chargeback, when shipping, always obtain an authorized signature FROM THE PERSON the item is being shipped to.  If you cannot obtain this signature, then tell the shipping company NOT to leave the package until the authorized person is there to sign for it.  Think about this for a second.  If you ship a package anywhere and someone signs for it, the person that purchased the item can say they never received it and do a chargeback.  The purchaser could lose the chargeback in the long run but chances are they won’t and you will be out of your money, your product and your time fighting the chargeback. 

Every day we are moving to a cashless society and have the ability to accept payments electronically without the consumer being present with their card is becoming the norm.  Unfortunately, the rules and regulations for credit card processing were established back when the only way to accept a payments using a credit card was by swiping the card.  So, when it comes to accepting payments, business owners must keep this in mind and setup their business accordingly. They must protect themselves from that unfortunate day when you get notified of a chargeback.

For questions or more information on this topic, feel free to call Chris at 602-635-6494 or visit us at

Printed with permission from Chris Damron.

Image by Mediamodifier from Pixabay

There is a fine line between SOP & squelching innovation . . .

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are the skeleton of an organization’s order. They are the processes by which the company is run—basically how we do business. They are a track to run on. They provide a company map or blueprint—for how machinery works, how shipping is done, how we hire people, define our marketing tactics, and how we adhere to our mission, vision, and values.
The success test is how well your SOPs align with your mission, vision, and values. Then, allow room for innovation and not being stuck in old rhythms. Encourage new ideas and reward solutions especially from new associates.

Try to run a business without clearly defined rules and regulation is dangerous, especially in a sector highly regulated, like finance.

My desire here is to raise awareness and prevent leaders from the trap of robotic response and behavior. How many times have you been on the receiving end of this statement—”Our policy is and I don’t have the authority to change it.” Painful words and demeaning at best.

Consider an annual review of your business plan and SOPs. What changes may cause you to adjust your plan? The pandemic is a useful model. For example, in order to create revenue, dine-in restaurants had to quickly convert their meal prep into take-out and delivery orders. Not so simple even on the surface.

Creativity in packaging the food is important.—(All of us know how well french fries travel when not eaten on the spot!)
Food consistency with sauces, for example, had to be separated in different containers. (The Food Network did a superb show showing how top chefs adapted to the new conditions.)
Will the company use a delivery service or hire someone to do that for your shop only?

New SOPs need to be created

You get the drift. So, now what? Create new SOPs to keep on track with the new processes. They are always a place to which you can return. Apply these new ideas to train existing and new associates.

Pricing is an issue to cover new packaging, personnel, and different expenses. Companies learned to survive with creativity like adaptability. Carry these ideas forward when circumstances return to “normal.”

Here’s the point: Don’t hide behind SOPs. Let them propel your business forward to run smoothly. Craft them for flexibility and exceptions when the unexpected happens, and you will always be prepared for the next shift!

Printed with permission by Michelle Cubas, CPCC, Credentialed Coach and Business Analyst, Positive Potentials LLC, (480) 510-7166.

Now is the Time to Shift Your Company Culture!

All bets are off from what used to be. The hardest step to take in such shaky times is the first one–we’re not sure where to put our feet!

That step is so much easier when you can draw upon someone else’s experience. That’s how IPE comes to support you.

Consider the following areas to shift:

• Customer care
• Employee attention
• Store layout
• Website arrangement

Drawing on another’s experience is not copying, because you will add your own spin to it. “No one does what you do the way you do it!™” M. Cubas

-Forget about the competition.
-Run with yourself.
-Consider how you used to do things.
-Assess the outcomes.
-Identify where you want to adjust focus, and DO IT!

This is a terrific place to begin anew. Refresh your phone greeting. Reward your associates and enjoy what you are meant to do.

Printed by permission by Michelle Cubas, CPCC, Credentialed Business Coach and Analyst, (480) 510-7166.

Mission to Serve-The Ripple Effect

Each year, more than 150,000 people voluntarily enlist in the U.S. military. These enlisted members come from all fifty states of our country. They are a diverse group of people with differing backgrounds, experiences, and cultures. The main factor that connects them to one another is their desire to serve their country, to fight for the freedom that all United States citizens enjoy.

Joel Alan McNeil was excited about his choice to serve in the United States Army and he signed up for six years. While in basic training, his dad died. Despite having to grieve this significant loss in a time of intense training, Joel made a concerted effort to finish strong and he graduated basic training with high honors. His success continued as he progressed in rank quickly.

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Reprinted with Susan Wofford’s| permission.

Written Power

The Ol’ Bard, Will Shakespeare once said, “The pen is mightier than the sword!”

Although we are in the digital age, people still read albeit on a cursory level. They notice misspellings and poor usage even if it isn’t on a conscious level. That is where good ideas go to die when they are lost in bloated language and hyperbole.

When you want to emphasize a point, avoid the use of -ing. It dilutes the verb and weakens the point. Use the infinitive (to + verb) or the verb itself—Park instead of parking the car. Of course there are times it is fine but not when you want to drive home an important idea.

Another idea is to compensate for short attention spans. I call it looping. Make an example for yourself to embed the thought. Here’s an example:

Sandy works from home. She has to adapt her attention to the many distractions in her new work space. The distractions include family interruptions, multiple expectations like being a teacher and cleaning around her.

Now, find and circle the subject: Sandy

Point: Works from home.

Detail of the point: distractions

Why is this important?

It is important to have clarity in your writing. You know what the antecedent is. Consider this exercise when you compose your ads or articles for maximum impact.

For more fun facts and information, reach Michelle at coachcubasIPE@ipeaz.

Employee Engagement—It’s More Than A Buzz Word

Employee engagement is necessary for the success of any organization. Challenges and solutions vary among businesses because no two organizations are the same. Due to the impact of Covid-19, one thing that all organizations have found to be necessary in the engagement of their employees is the need to level up their communication.

Communication is critical and when done correctly, consistently, and often, it has the ability to enhance employee engagement. It provides opportunity to know and understand your employees better – their strengths, individual motivators, communication styles, etc. Leaders and managers can then build from that knowledge to accomplish the mission and goals of the organization more effectively and efficiently.

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Reprinted with permission from Susan Swafford| Core Advantage 505.400.4141 | |

Veteran Susan Wofford

4 Key Elements to Hire Right

Are you interested in increasing your hiring success? Would you like to decrease turnover? Matching the right person to the position is the solution to both these desires.

Often, managers focus on the skills needed for the position they are hiring for. They make a complete list, create an ad, and interview more people than they desire. Kimberly, a manager for a call center, said she interviews, on the average, 36 people for a customer service representative position. When asked to comment on the life-cycle of an employee in this company, she shared that “some make it through the training process and work on the phones for a year or two. Several don’t stay long enough to get a return on the time and training we invested in them.” She elaborated on a recent situation where she interviewed an individual and was very confident that this individual’s skills would be a great asset to the team. She sent him off to the next interviewer and again, the potential candidate passed the second stage of the interview process. Both interviewers were very satisfied with the discussion and resume of this candidate. James was a sure fit for the position, or so Kimberly thought.

Veteran Susan Wofford

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Reprinted with permission from Susan Swafford, 505.400.4141 | |

Creating Fully-engaged Teams for your Organization| Building Stronger, More Connected Teams

Writing Tip from Coach Cubas

Language has power. When you can maximize the impact of your words, people will listen and read more. You will develop credibility.

Unfortunately, social media and the American inclination to abbreviate words can be an impedance to effective communication.

Here is a short remedy to power up your words—minimize the use of -ing words. They dilute your meaning. For example, go to the full verb for strength like “teach” v. “teaching.” Make a list of the words you used recently in a letter or article. See if you can improve on the work.

Be careful with words like “use” and “using”. People inflate the word and use utilize instead. I call such use as bloated language. People think it makes them sound smarter using “big words!”

Reprinted with permission by Michelle Cubas, CPCC, ACC, Positive Potentials LLC