Smartphone credit card payments
Online Apprenticeship Guide
Made in the South West Awards
Exemption from Council Inspections
National Insurance Allowance
Businesses which don't accept card payments are losing out on 120 million transactions a year.
According to new research from payment service Judo, one in five potential customers has failed to make a purchase in the last six months because the shop they were in did not take cards.
70 per cent of consumers now prefer to pay with cards, and six in ten say that they would spend more with a business that takes cards than with one that doesn't.
Small business owners often believe that card transactions are too expensive to process. Some businesses have also reported being refused merchant status, for example because of a poor credit history.
Cheap ways to accept card payments
It is now possible to accept card payments using a smartphone and portable card reader - great news for mobile businesses, sole traders and individuals who want to accept card payments.
The card reader connects to the smartphone through the headphone socket or by Bluetooth and payments are processed using an 'app' which is downloaded onto the phone before you start accepting payments. Card details are encrypted for safety and are not stored on the phone at any time.
Sumup offer a ‘chip and sign’ device. The card reader connects to the phone via the 3.5mm headphone socket and a clip. To make a payment the total and description are displayed on screen then the customer makes a payment using the card reader. Verification is made by the customer signing on the phone’s screen with their finger. For Visa cards additional verification needs to be done on the customer’s own smartphone. Once the payment is processed an electronic receipt is sent via text message or email. The merchant receives the funds into their bank account 7-10 days later.
Sumup card readers are currently available free with a flat charge of 2.75% on transactions. To order one visit the website, provide your details, confirm your ID by post and a device will be sent to you so you can start accepting card payments.
iZettle provide chip and PIN and ‘swipe and sign’ card readers for Android phones only. The swipe and sign reader connects to the phone’s audio socket while the chip and PIN device connects via Bluetooth.
Swipe and Sign: To make payment the total and description is displayed on the app, the customer then swipes their card in the card reader and signs on the screen using their finger. Additional verification is needed for Visa. Once payment is approved a receipt is sent to the customer’s email address.
Chip and PIN: To make payment the total and description is displayed on the app, the customer then inserts their card in the chip and PIN reader and inputs their PIN. Once payment is approved a receipt is sent to the customer’s email address.
iZettle ‘swipe and sign’ card readers currently cost £20 and customers get £20 credit. The chip and PIN readers cost £99. The fee on all transactions is 2.75%. More information and ordering options at iZettle.
Payleven offer a chip and PIN reader. The card reader connects to a smartphone by Bluetooth and is not physically connected. To process a payment the total and description is displayed on the phone, then the customer uses the chip and PIN reader. Once payment is approved a receipt is sent to the customer’s email address. Funds are deposited in the merchant’s bank account a few days later.
The Payleven chip and PIN reader is available in the UK and costs £89. There is a flat transaction fee of 2.75%. Visit Payleven to place your order >> Payleven
Pre-registration is currently available for mPowa chip and PIN readers. The card reader will be available in the UK priced at £49.99 and will be compatible with Android smartphones.
Online apprenticeship guide launched for small firms
The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) has released an online guide about apprenticeships for small and medium-sized firms. The guide provides advice on hiring apprentices for the first time and firms wanting to build on an existing apprenticeship scheme. The guide was published alongside NAS data, which revealed that there were a record 370,000 apprenticeship applications submitted between February and April this year, a 32% rise on the same period last year. Apprenticeship vacancies have also increased, with more than 32,600 vacancies advertised online in the same three-month period, an increase of 15% on the same period last year.
Read more about the apprenticeship guide at:
2013 Made in the South West Awards Open to Application
The Made in the South West Awards aim to recognise and celebrate the achievements of designers, innovators, technology developers and manufacturers in the South West of England.
Aimed at showcasing the best South West products, services, inventions and management, the awards recognise those companies driving innovation for their customers, stakeholders and the wider economy across the region.
Eight award categories make up the 2013 programme:
Manufacturing Innovation - for the company that has generated a substantial commercial benefit from an innovative product or process designed and manufactured in the South West.
Apprenticeship & Training Award - for the best apprenticeship or other training scheme in the South West. The category is open to all those businesses, colleges or other institutions in the region that have devised or are running an apprenticeship scheme.
Aerospace/Defence - for the South West aerospace/defence company that the judges deem has had the biggest impact in the South West region.
Exporter of the Year - for the company deemed by the judges to be the most innovative and impressive exporter, in terms of both international presence and percentage of total sales, of products made in the South West.
Sustainable Manufacturer - for the company that has demonstrated the greatest commitment, through its products and processes, to forging a low carbon manufacturing future for the South West.
Food and Drink - for the South West food and drink company the judges believe has had the biggest impact in the region.
Advanced Manufacturer - for the South West company deemed by the judges to be the most forward-looking, investing in advanced manufacturing processes, techniques and equipment, solving problems and proving added value to customers.
Manufacturer of the Year - for the company that has contributed most to maintaining the national and international renown of the Made in the South West brand.
Nominated companies will be put before a judging panel and the shortlisted organisations determined. The winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Marriott Hotel (City Centre) in Bristol on 14 November 2013.
The closing date for nominations is 5 September 2013.
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Source: insidermedia.com, 07/06/2012
Shops and offices exempt from council inspections
Local authorities have been banned from imposing unnecessary health and safety inspections under the Health and Safety Executive's (HSE's) new National Enforcement Code. The Code will instead focus on local authority inspections in specific sectors where high-risk activities take place or where there is intelligence of a firm placing employees or the public at risk. Thousands of businesses in low-risk sectors will no longer be subject to local authority health and safety inspections, including most shops and offices.
Read more about the new Code at:
National Insurance Allowance
One in five small businesses is feeling optimistic about growth and expansion following the Government's announcement to introduce a £2,000 allowance towards employer National Insurance contributions (NICs).
The research from Direct Line for Businesses found that a third of businesses also plan to recruit additional staff to take advantage of the reduced cost of employment via the Employment Allowance scheme.
The new allowance will come into effect from April 2014 and is estimated to take 450,000 of the UK's smallest businesses out of paying employer NICs.
Jazz Gakhal, head of Direct Line for Business said it was encouraging to see so many businesses keen to expand: "The Government's decision to reduce the financial burden for small companies is a welcome boost for owners and managers across the country. Given SMEs account for over 99 per cent of all private sector businesses in the UK, the health of this sector is vitally important."
Announcement the Employment Allowance in Budget 2013, Chancellor George Osborne said: "For the person who's set up their own business, and is thinking about taking on their first employee, a huge barrier will be removed. They can hire someone on £22,000, or four people on the minimum wage, and pay no jobs tax."
Helen Dickinson, director general of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), welcomed the change, saying: "We called for a time-limited national insurance holiday, as an easy way to encourage businesses to take on young unemployed people. Existing incentives are cumbersome and not being taken up."