How to Set Up Credit Card Processing for Your Business

Posted on the April 15th, 2013 under Business by

The key to a successful online business often lies in the trust that your customers have in that business. If you are selling products or services online, you have to ensure that your customers trust that you are providing secure transactions every time they order. You also need to ensure that you can accept credit cards. Most consumers today use credit cards when ordering online and there are different solutions that you should consider when setting up your online business for credit card processing.

You will need to first have a gateway account. There are many from which you can choose but it is essential that you look for PCI DSS compliance and SSL. Compliance will ensure that your gateway meets all of the requirements for credit card processing set forth by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. SSL or Secure Socket Layer is an extra level of protecting that ensures no personal information from your customers will be viewed by a third party.

Once you have the gateway account set up you will also need a merchant account. Many providers of gateway accounts also offer merchant services but you may want to look around and find a provider that offers the specific features that you want. When choosing merchant services, there are a few things to consider. You should check to see how long the setup will take and what you are going to be paying for this service each month. Different providers will offer different monthly rates and different transaction fees. Make sure that you pay attention to the overall cost, particularly if you are looking for the least expensive option.

In order for credit card processing to take place, payments need to be channeled through a gateway. This is simply a service that will verify the information that the customer has provided and authorize the payment to your merchant account. The customer will first pay for his or her purchases and then authorization will be done to ensure that the account information has been provided properly and that the payment will go through.

Once authorization has been provided, the transaction will need to be verified. The bank where the card is from will need to approve or decline the transaction. Once this is done the credit card processor will receive the information and then send that information back to the merchant as well as the customer. This entire process can take a few seconds to several minutes depending on a number of factors.

Because of the sensitivity of the information being provided, it is essential that you choose a trustworthy and reputable payment solution. You want to be completely certain that customers are safe when ordering from your site. Using a payment gateway that is not reputable could mean customers facing identity theft when ordering from your site. Selecting a well-reputed and trustworthy processor for your online business is critical to your overall success so doing a bit of research into your options is important before you make your choice.

Things to Ask Before You Hire a Wedding Caterer

Posted on the April 5th, 2013 under Hospitality by

One of the most important aspects of choosing a wedding caterer is knowing what questions to ask. While most brides and grooms will instantly cover things like cost and menu selections, these are not the only things that need to be considered when hiring a caterer. Your wedding is your special day and you should have the perfect reception. Part of the overall reception experience depends on finding the perfect caterer. Before you hire a catering service, think about the questions that you need to ask.

You should of course ensure that your caterer offers services in your area. If you are looking for catering Williamsburg VA for instance, then you have to ask if specific caterers offer services in your area. You may also want to find out if they include your wedding cake or if this is something that you will need to order from a bakery. Some caterers provide wedding cake and grooms cakes as part of the overall menu but there are some that do not. You should be certain to find out what dessert selections are offered with your overall menu and whether or not ordering a cake is something that you should do.

You also need to ensure that the catering company you select has room for your wedding. Ask if your specific date is open. If you are set on a certain catering company then you may need to change your wedding date if that one is not available. Many people book their weddings and other major events with caterers many months in advance so the sooner you hire a catering service the better chance that you will be able to stick with your original wedding date.

Find out what specific menu options are available and whether or not the service offers special menu selections for special needs. If one or more of your guests are allergic to shellfish for instance then you certainly do not want shrimp or lobster to be the only entrees offered. You will also need to inquire about alcohol if you are planning to have a bar at your reception and find out if the bartender comes with the catering service or if you need to hire one on your own.

Many catering companies offer themes for certain events. Find out if the catering service also provides décor or if you will need to do the decorations yourself. You will want to know what all of this is going to cost so be sure that you go over the cost options available as well. You may find that it is a bit less expensive to decorate the reception hall yourself and then simply allow the catering service to prepare and serve the food.

There are many things to consider when you are planning a wedding. Choosing a caterer is one of the most important as far as your reception is concerned and hiring the right service can mean the difference between a wonderful day to remember and a nightmare. Make sure that you take your time and ask appropriate questions before you choose a catering service for your special day.

What Is an vaping Tank and How Does it Work?

Posted on the March 13th, 2013 under Tobacco by

Many eCigarette users have had difficulty in finding the right vaping experience. Some feel that the atomizer offers the best level of vapor while others are firm believers in the cartomizer. The cartomizer offers a more mild approach to the vaping experience. Those using it claim that they get less of a throat hit than what the experience with the atomizer. Cartomizers are not made for long term use which leaves the issue of having to constantly replace them. Atomizers offer a better throat hit and better vapor production in most cases but they can be a bit inconvenient because you have to constantly refill them after just a few puffs. They are also a bit more expensive.

eCigarette users can always opt for a cartomizer tank. The tank is a dripping product that features an atomizer that has been threaded into the connector which lies inside a tank. The tank allows you to open up the space found between the base and atomizer connectors so you can control the amount of liquid that comes into the atomizer while you are vaping. A small hole located on the outside of the valve bushing allows the bottom cap and the bushing to independently rotate so the tank section can be twisted counter clockwise while the bushing exposes more holes in the atomizer to allow for an increase in the flow of liquid. This can give users a much stronger throat hit and better vapor, which is what many electronic cigarette users have been waiting for.

The tank is a bit more expensive than atomizers and cartomizers. In fact, you can expect to pay upwards of about $100 for certain models but this covers the costs of the tank as well as the bridgeless atomizer which is needed to use the tank. If you are looking to get a better vaping experience in general and more control over the amount of liquid you use, this may be a good idea, provided money is no option. It is quite a bit more expensive than any starter kits on the market, particularly considering you will need to also purchase the e-liquid that goes with it. For those who are serious about their vaping experience however, a tank may be a good option.

Some eCigarette users simply prefer to make their own tanks which can be done relatively easily. You will need to find the right products to use to make the tank and ensure that it functions properly. Most users who are making their own tanks use syringes and other products that are relatively inexpensive. You can make a tank for about half the cost of buying one but if you are completely unsure of what you are doing or if you simply want to know that the product is going to work, you may simply be better off finding an expensive model on the market. You can always go back to your traditional cartomizer or atomizer setup if you find that you do not enjoy the tank like you thought you would.

How to Manage Google Algorithm Updates

Posted on the February 2nd, 2013 under Internet by

If you are feeling a bit threatened by the Google Penguin update, you are certainly not alone. Google has made quite a few changes to how it penalizes websites and many are thinking that their days of high page ranking are over. This is not entirely true. You can effectively manage these updates if you know what the updates entail and what is expected of you as per Google requirements.

The Panda update was designed to ensure that all websites provide quality. Quality should be evident in your articles, blog posts, backlinks and everything else that you expect search engines to look at when ranking your site. Now, if you are not an expert SEO blogger there is still hope for getting your site to the top of the search engine results pages. You simply have to ensure that your content, and this includes all content, provides high quality.

This is not as difficult as you may think. Google wants to do away with spammy content and articles that are stuffed with keywords. If you are using relevant keywords in your posts then you are on the right track. You just have to make sure that your articles are not overly filled with those keywords. Using the same keyword or key phrase multiple times in one article is going to get you pinged by Google. You have to read through your content carefully and ensure that it makes sense and adds something of value to your site.

In short, you are now required to write for human readers. Everything that you post has to be written in an interesting and engaging way while still containing the keywords that you need. If you are unsure of how to write, consider hiring a professional writer or an SEO firm that can do the job for you.

How to Buy a Wig

Posted on the November 5th, 2012 under Health by

Whether you are losing your hair due to genetics, have had chemotherapy or you simply want a different look, buying a wig can help you to change your appearance subtly or drastically. It is important that you know how to purchase a wig and what to look for to ensure that you are getting a quality product.

If you want the wig to look natural, shop before you lose a lot of your hair. This enables you to match the wig to the color and texture of your natural hair. If you are not completely comfortable shopping in a department store, you can shop for your wig online. There are a number of stores online that provide discount wigs which can help you to save on your purchase and still get a quality hairpiece. You can also look for specialty shops that deal with cancer patients and many offer home visits for those who are not comfortable shopping in a retail store.

Once you have purchased your wig you can contact your hairstylist and schedule an appointment to have the wig styled to your liking. Most hairstylists have experience in trimming and styling wigs so you can get the specific look that you want. Keep in mind that it may take a while to get used to wearing the wig and you can find many accessories to go along with it. A wig is not going to look any different from your natural hair and can be styled in many different ways using ponytail holders and barrettes as well as other hairpieces. Take your time when choosing to ensure that you get the specific look that you want. buying a wig is not difficult but it does take a bit of consideration if you want to get a natural looking hairpiece that resembles your original hair.

Half of All American Consumers begin Christmas Shopping before Halloween

Posted on the November 4th, 2012 under Consumer News by

The Christmas shopping season is nearly here and with it come reports that most consumers begin their shopping as early as the week of Halloween. It is not at all surprising that many shoppers are looking for ways to save money and many want to beat the holiday rush, hoping for a good sale that will help them to meet their budgeting needs.

In a study done by the National Retail Federation, reports show that nearly half of all consumers begin their shopping before Halloween. More than ten percent begin before the first week of September and another 20 percent start before the end of October. Many stores opening up their layaways again has helped to prompt this early shopping.

Some consumers actually have gifts purchased and wrapped while others are beginning to decide what it is that they need to buy. With retail giant Wal-Mart as well as Kmart and other department stores providing layaway plans, many consumers may grow accustomed to starting their shopping earlier and earlier every year. Saving money seems to be on the minds of most consumers this holiday season with many of them looking for the best sales and even visiting flea markets and discount shops to fill their gift lists.

The online retail industry is certainly not hurting for business. With many sites offering free shipping on orders of specific amounts and many online discounts, consumers will be able to save considerably when they shop online. Nearly 40 percent of those who begin their shopping early do so at sites like Amazon, eBay and other online retailers. Many feel that this early shopping simply kills the spirit of the holidays and only adds to the commercialism of Christmas while others simply want to satisfy those on their gift list and save money at the same time.

Experts Issue Warnings about Debt Settlement Plans

Posted on the November 2nd, 2012 under Consumer News by

Studies have shown that only about one in every ten consumers who enter a debt settlement plan actually eliminate their debt as quickly as the plan promises. Financial experts agree that debt settlement companies often take advantage of consumers who feel that they have no other way out of their piling debt. Debt settlement has the potential of delivering another harmful blow to the economy, if enough consumers are taken advantage of. The fact that there are many companies advertising on television and radio and promising consumers that they can get out of debt quickly leads some consumers, even those who are not yet behind on their debts, to believe that they can get out of their debt responsibilities easily.

Studies have shown that only one out of every ten consumers who attempt to get out of debt in the way that companies promise are successful. Most others are sent into even more debt, leaving them to struggle even harder to keep their heads above water. More than 500,000 consumers today are enrolled in various debt settlement programs to a whopping $15 billion in debt. Most of this debt is credit card debt and only a small portion of that debt is actually settled by a debt settlement company.

These companies often convince consumers that it is acceptable to default on debts because creditors will not negotiate to lower a balance for a consumer who is not yet behind. The companies then encourage the consumer to stop making payments on those debts altogether and promise to negotiate a settlement that is far less than the original debt amount. Once a consumer defaults, they are met with late fees, higher interest rates and other penalties and with lower credit scores while the debt settlement companies are keeping funds paid to them to negotiate these debts.

New Worries Over E.Coli Breakout

Posted on the October 31st, 2012 under Consumer News by

E.Coli is a disease that occurs in the intestinal tracts of humans as well as cows. Although this illness is typically not harmful to livestock, a specific strain can be very toxic to humans. If E.Coli is ingested, it can cause symptoms like diarrhea, cramping and in severe cases, kidney failure. Some cases have been known to be fatal. Recent E.Coli outbreaks have some countries worried. Ireland, Canada and the United States have all been affected by this disease in just the past few months and many consumers are beginning to really become concerned about their food sources.

If refrigeration systems in meat facilities are not properly cleaned, thermometers are not working properly, employees are touching meat without properly washing their hands or chemicals drip onto meat, E.Coli will not be far behind. Many facilities have been closed in the past because they were not properly following regulations for handling meat and that meat was being contaminated. Some consumers are choosing to go completely organic although this alone will not eliminate the risk of contracting this sickness.

Experts recommend checking meat that you purchase in a grocery store to ensure that it is well within its use by date. You should also thoroughly rinse meats prior to use and never thaw frozen meats on the counter or in the sink. Meat has to be kept at a consistent temperature prior to cooking. You should also ensure that you cook meat thoroughly before eating it and put away leftovers promptly.

Many consumers have chosen to purchase their meats directly from farmers or butcher shops to avoid contamination. Food contaminants will always be of concern to consumers simply because they occur in nature and cannot be completely eliminated. Taking time to learn how to properly store and prepare foods however is a good way to avoid being affected.

Consumers May Find it Easier to Qualify for Mortgages in the Future

Posted on the October 31st, 2012 under Consumer News by

A recent report by CEB TowerGroup shows that mortgage lending could potentially be on the uprise in the near future. The report using data besides credit scores could help consumers to better qualify for a new mortgage. Alternative data like payday lending, unsecured credit and property histories can help to change how the mortgage industry processes applications. The new data is considered to be very relevant because it shows that consumers have significantly changed how they pay their debts. Lenders can use this information to provide a clearer view of a potential applicant’s credit worthiness and offer a better assessment for each consumer.

Historically, consumers would pay their mortgages first but due to the recent financial crisis, many consumers now pay other debts like car payments or credit card bills before their mortgages so that they can better maintain financial liquidity. Due to the changes that have been made in consumer debt behavior, experts agree that mortgage lenders have to evolve along with consumers. Reverting back to traditional underwriting policies is simply not feasible any longer.

Using new or alternative data would allow mortgage lenders to approve many loan applications that would otherwise be denied or even deny a loan that would traditionally be approved but may pose a problem for the consumer. Either of these outcomes could significantly help consumers and help the housing market to increase once again. If this alternative data is considered, there are many consumers who may have been late on mortgage payments in the past or even those who have faced foreclosure who could possibly be approved for a new mortgage loan. The changes would not help those who cannot afford a mortgage to obtain one but would substantially increase the possibility for consumers whose credit scores were affected by the economy to get a mortgage if they can meet other credit criteria.

What You Should Keep in Mind when Buying Electronics

Posted on the October 27th, 2012 under Electronics by

Whether you are buying a cell phone, laptop, television or any other device, buying electronics can often be confusing. There are so many models and brands available today that it may seem completely impossible to choose the best one for your specific needs. When purchasing any electronics it is essential that you first determine just what your needs are. Knowing exactly what you require with regards to function and capabilities will ensure that you choose the right model.

You also need to know how much you can easily afford to spend. That gorgeous 72 inch plasma screen HDTV with 3D capabilities may seem like what you want but if you cannot afford it then it is best to choose another model. There is certainly nothing wrong with favoring certain manufacturers. When it comes to electronics, Dell, Kindle, Apple, Panasonic and other brands are often favored because they have a reputation for providing nothing but quality products. You can also however, check out less known brands. These other brands may not be as popular as leading manufacturers but many of them offer quality products that you can get for a much lower cost. This means that you could upgrade your purchase and still have the quality and function that you want from your device.

Research is essential when purchasing electronics. Take some time to read through reviews from others who have used certain models. Whether you are buying a television, GPS system, DVD player or any other device, it is essential that you do your research and find the best quality. You can also research the best prices to ensure that your purchase fits nicely into your budget. Buying new electronics does not have to be difficult. If you know what you need and what you can afford, you should be able to make your purchase and ensure that you receive the function and quality that you want.