I was speaking to a small business owner last week and they told me that they don’t like it when people come in with a Prepaid Card.
I asked him why? He said, “because sometimes the cards get declined because the bill is more than the amount left on the prepaid card. And that causes customer service issues.”
I was taken aback. My first thought was, are you really bothered when someone walks in your business? When I owned my own business I knew that every single customer was important, not only in what they provided in terms of revenue but also in terms of referrals, reviews and word of mouth. I would think that merchants would want customers who pay with credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards, checks, cash…and soon with their mobile devices.
But my second thought was, do you not know that your payment system, the system you use to take card payments have been programmed to deal with Prepaid Cards?
Merchants who have updated their systems to current standards don’t have any issues with Prepaid Cards. When they swipe the card, the card is recognized as a Prepaid Card, the balance on the card is identified, that amount is applied to the total amount owed and then a new “revised” bill is presented to the customer asking for a second form of payment, typically a credit card or cash.
It is vital that Small Business owners ask their Merchant Processors and providers of their card payment systems to update their equipment or software. In fact, both MasterCard and Discover have mandated that the merchant processors ensure their systems implement these rules to make accepting a Prepaid Card for partial payment. Below are two websites that reference the details:
Prepaid Cards will be around for a very long time. So it comes down to this. Would you rather have an upset customer and thus upset employees OR would you rather call your Merchant Processor and ask them to update your card payment system to correctly handle partial payment.
Businesses want customers. Prepaid Cards bring customers into a business. Don’t fight it, embrace it. Update your systems and everyone wins!