Thursday, November 8, 2018

New NetVu Partnership Logo

NetVu Silver Partnership

I love the new NetVu Logo...

We are exceeding proud to be a NetVu Silver Partner!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Insurance Premiums, Credit Card Payments and Refunds

How to Refund a Card Payment

Insurance always has to be different. If you are in the business, you know what I mean.

How do you handle a premium refund if the premium was paid to your agency with a credit card?

What the Card Rules Say

Under the Rules, any payment accepted as a card payment must be refunded through a credit to the cardholders credit card account.


To protect you from refunding the money twice!

How Does A Double Refund Happen

Since the cardholder can always dispute and reverse the card payment they made to pay the premium originally, the cardholder can, in effect, get a refund without ever asking you about a refund.

The cardholder disputes the charges and the card company automatically credits the amount of the payment back to the cardholder and takes the payment amount out of your bank account. (Yes, you agreed to this when you signed your Merchant Agreement.)

NOTE:Disputes are rare for insurance premium payments.

If you make a refund that is not through a credit back to the cardholders card account, the credit card company has no record of any of this refund. Since they do not know you have done this, their software will allow your customer to dispute the charge and automatically provide a refund credit.

How Can You Prevent This

 If you have refunded this payment through the card network, the card company will see that reversal and will not allow a dispute of the charge since the cardholder has clearly already received a refund.

Simply Easier Payment's Refund Feature

Your Simply Easier Payments account lets you void a full payment or do a partial refund.

Your do this from the Report function. Check out our help section or call and ask us how if you need help in learning how.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

AppliedNet and NetVu

Sliver Partners

I am extremely pleased to announce Simply Easier Payments is now a Silver Partner fro both NetVu and AppliedNet.

We are committed to the ongoing success of the independent agency channel.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Signed Forms and Payments

Requiring a Signed Form With a Payment

There are times as an insurance agent when you need your customer to sign a form in addition to making a payment.

The ACORD 37 Statement of No Losses comes to mind immediately.

Exclusive Feature

We have just added a feature to our invoicing system that allows you to add a form with a certified electronic signature on the form to your invoice.

When your customer clicks the link for the invoice the required, pre-filled form opens with the e-signature field prominently displayed telling your customer they need to sign the document before they can make the payment.

If they do not sign the document the payment screen is not accessible.

Once they do sign the document, the payment screen automatically appears.

Two Tasks with One Invoice

This new feature saves you time because you only need to send one email.

It saves your insured time because they only need to respond to one email.

It saves you both the issue of only getting one or the other task done.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Convenience Fees and Surcharges

How do Surcharge Rules Differ from Convenience Fees

Visa allows most Merchants two ways to add charges to Visa card payment transactions to let the Merchant pass the cost of the card transaction on to the person making the payment.
  1. Convenience Fees
  2. Surcharges

I wrote about "convenience fees" in my last post...

Rules for Surcharges

Surcharges differ from convenience fees on several major points.

  • Only applied to credit card payments
  • Cannot be applied to debit card payments
  • Can be a flat fee or percentage
  • Cannot be an additional revenue generator for the merchant
  • Merchant must register with Visa stating they are charging surcharge in advance

Limits on Surcharge Amount

The amount of the surcharge is limited by the actual cost of the transaction...

"the US Credit Card Surcharge amount is not greater than the applicable Merchant Discount Rate for Visa Credit Card Transactions at the Merchant"

The surcharge can cannot be charged on any debit card transactions...

"surcharges are not permitted on debit Transactions regardless whether a Cardholder selects the "credit" or "debit" button"

It is up to the merchant to determine if the actual card being used is a debit or credit card. This is typically done by referencing BIN tables with the processing software.

The Visa Rules on surcharging can be found beginning on page 378, Rule 5.6. at this link...

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Visa Rules on Convenience Fees

Can An Insurance Agency Charge a % Fee

In a seven or eight states there are no insurance specific laws or general business laws which prohibit an insurance agency from charging a convenience fee to their customers who pay by credit card or debit card.

In these states, insurance agents, like any other business, can charge convenience fees or surcharges. These two things - "convenience fees" and "surcharges" - are defined as different things by Visa. Today I will cover convenience fees. In my next post I will cover surcharges.

What an Agency Was Doing

Recently an agent mentioned they were charging a 3% convenience fee on card payments. They were not charging the fee on all lines of business.

2 Violations of Visa Rules

This situation creates the following violations of Visa Rules:

1 - Visa requires a flat dollar fee to be charged for all convenience fees regardless of the payment size

2 - Visa requires that all card payments be charged a fee or that no card payments be charged a fee.

Here are the Rules:

Page 385 of the above document, rule

Refer to Table 5-7.

Visa prohibits percentage. Only flat dollar amount can be charged and that amount has to be the same for all payments - Whether a $10 premium payment or a $10,000 premium payment.

"A flat or fixed amount, regardless of the value of the payment due In the AP Region, an ad valorem amount is allowed as required by applicable laws or regulations."

Visa requires all payments made through the payment channel - electronic payments in this instance - be charged the same fee.

"Applicable to all forms of payment accepted in the payment channel"

I hope this is helpful in your understanding of the way you can charge fees in compliance with your Merchant contract.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Local Gas Stations and Electric Cars

Local Electric Charging Stations

My wife and I recently bought a Chevrolet Bolt. Our first electric car.

We bought the Bolt because it has great range - 250 miles on a full charge - and because it is priced in the range of most cars. After the Federal tax credit it cost us less than $30,000.

Before owning this car I was of a mind that local charging stations would start popping up the way local gas stations have. After all I see them in all the public parking decks in town. I was told by the car salesman that the Sheets gas stations are all putting in charging stations.

I even downloaded the ChargePoint and EVGo apps to be able to find charging stations.

After owning the car for a month I have radically changed my thinking.

Local EV Charging Stations Will Never be Like Gas Stations

We drive the Bolt 25 to 75 miles a day. We plug it in at home and get a full charge each night.

We will never have a need for a local charging station the way we do for a local gas station.

With our old timey internal combustion engine cars we buy gas only from gas stations. We do not have the option of filling up at home. I know farmers and a few others have their own gas pumps, but most people do not.

Everyone can "fill up" their electric vehicle at home because everyone has electricity at home.

Change Happens Over Time, But It Still Happens

I know I am an early adopter. I know the move away from most cars being gas powered cars is a decade or more away. But that change is coming.

The future is always farther than the past. However, the future is where we are going.

What will be the downstream effects of people not needing to go to the local gas station to buy gas?

What do you think?