When was the last time you paid for something with cash? We live in a world where paying with plastic is considered the norm — whether you’re making a $5 or a $500 purchase — and it’s likely been awhile since some of us have even paid for a cup of coffee with dollar bills.
In this world dominated by plastic purchases and digital buying, banks and businesses have to work hard to differentiate their payment options from the rest. There’s an abundance of credit card types available these days — some supply monetary incentives for loyal users while others provide unparalleled convenience for the go-go-goers.
Whether you’re buying business equipment, office supplies or that all-important cup of coffee, it can be tricky to navigate the seemingly endless options. Take a page from our CoMo Credit Compendium and check out the four new types of credit cards available, what you can do with them, and where you can find them in town. Start swiping!
A co-branded credit card is exactly what it sounds like: a card co-sponsored by multiple entities. Most often, it’s sponsored by a credit card company (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, etc.), a bank and a retailer or merchant. The cards usually look pretty cool — expect a fun image or the retailer’s logo to be pictured on the actual card — and they also provide the cardholder with some type of discount or reward. An added bonus: Use of a co-branded card isn’t restricted to purchases made at the sponsoring retailer — you can use the card to make purchases from any merchant you choose.
Local options include:
Central Bank of Boone County. Open a Tiger Checking account at Central Bank of Boone County and you’ll be carrying the official debit card of Mizzou Athletics. The black or gold card can be used at businesses and ATMs worldwide, and will earn you 15 percent off at the Tiger Team Store. www.centralbankbc.net
- Commerce Bank. If you love all things environmentally friendly, check out Commerce Bank’s co-branded card with Sustain:Green. The card itself is biodegradable and, with each purchase you make, you’ll help provide funds to preserve and protect the rainforest. www.commercebank.com\
- Mizzou Alumni Association. Sign up for the MAA BankAmericard Cash Rewards credit card to earn 1 percent cash back on purchases, 2 percent cash back at grocery stores and 3 percent cash back on gas for the first $1,500 in combined grocery and gas purchases per quarter — all while showing your support for good ol’ M-I-Z. www.mizzou.com
Imagine being able to make a purchase by simply holding your credit card above or near a card reader. Sounds fancy, right? That’s how you pay with a contactless credit card. One way you can make a local contactless purchase is through Apple’s new credit service, Apple Pay. When you’re ready to make your purchase, simply hold your iPhone near the card reader with your finger on the Touch ID icon. And don’t worry — it’s completely secure. Your credit card numbers won’t be stored on your device or Apple’s servers.
Local options include:
- Central Bank of Boone County. Add your Central Bank credit card to the Passbook app on your iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus or Apple Watch to start using Apple Pay. Central Bank of Boone County was the first Columbia bank to provide Apple Pay services. www.centralbankbc.net
- Commerce Bank. Add your Commerce Bank credit card to the Passbook app on your iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus or Apple Watch to start using Apple Pay. www.commercebank.com
FLEXIBLE PAYMENT OPTIONS
What if you could customize your payment plan to fit your own, personal needs? Flexible payment options, like Commerce Bank’s toggle® feature, allow you to do just that. You decide when and how you’ll pay for what — and adjust your plan along the way to match your ever-changing needs.
Local options include:
- Commerce Bank. Use Commerce Bank’s toggle® feature to mark different purchases as Pay Now and Pay Later: Those you mark to be paid now will run like debit card purchases and funds will be removed from your account immediately, while those you mark to be paid later will run like regular credit card purchases to be paid when your bill arrives. www.commercebank.com
It seems like credit card reward programs are everywhere these days, offered by banks and businesses alike. The details depend on the business. Some banks offer discounted services or cash back; others offer more tangible incentives such as merchandise from your favorite stores or vacation packages. Businesses, on the other hand, almost always offer discounts on the products or services they provide. A caveat: Reward program cards often come with much higher interest rates.
Local options include:
- Break Time. Hook up your checking account to the Price Breaker Preferred Payment Card to save up to 5 cents on every gallon of gas you purchase at Break Time. Enrolling in this rewards program will not affect your credit history. www.mfaoil.com
- Landmark Bank. If you’ve celebrated your 50th birthday, you’re eligible for membership in the Landmark Club. As a member, you’ll have access to special service discounts, lectures and seminars, social get-togethers, and opportunities for local (and global!) group travel. www.landmarkbank.com
- The Callaway Bank. Earn points for opening a checking account, using online banking services, or referring a customer. Redeem your points on brand-new electronics, gift cards to local shops, or donations to your favorite charity. www.callawaybank.com
- Gerbes. Apply for a 1-2-3 Rewards® Visa® card to earn points for every $1 you spend at Gerbes, other Kroger-owned stores — and anywhere else! For every 1,000 points you earn on your card, you’ll receive a $5 rewards certificate. www.gerbes.com
SMART CHIP TECHNOLOGY 101
Say goodbye to magnetic strips — the new fraud-prevention technology is here, and it comes in the shape of a computer chip.
The technology — called EMV after its creators Europay, MasterCard and Visa — will ultimately become a standard for card payment. The small, square EMV chips are like mini-computers embedded in our credit cards, communicating with card readers to create a unique, hard-to-copy code for every transaction a consumer makes. The intended result is a decrease in U.S. credit card fraud. The transactions take place by dipping, rather than swiping, the cards and could take up to three times the amount of time it takes to complete a magnetic strip transaction, but the resulting financial safety should make the longer transaction time more than worth it.
So what does this mean for small-business owners? EMV cards can be run on magnetic strip terminals, but the unique transaction code will not be created and the chip will not be read. As Demetrios Marantis of mobile payment company Square explains, a legal shift in liability occurs this year on Oct. 1. On that date, businesses rather than banks become liable for a fraudulent transaction if it is processed on a terminal that does not read EMV cards. Transactions at automatic fuel dispensers are exempt from the move until 2017.
The change doesn’t mean your business will face legal action for not owning an EMV-reading terminal, and not all customers will have EMV cards right away. But it’s important to note the shift in liability, and to consider your options for upgrading to a new reader as soon as possible. Marantis advises merchants that there are multiple options are available to small-business owners — including an EMV reader produced by Square. Prices range from not-so-cheap to free.
The most important thing? Look out for your customers’ financial safety as the switch to EMV cards occurs. “As small-business owners, you need to be able to meet your customers where they are,” Marantis says. “That means you need to be able to accept payments in a way that’s most convenient, safe and secure for your customers.”
Find out more about EMV technology at the Smart Card Alliance website, www.emv-connection.com. Get the answers to frequently asked questions for merchants, issuers and consumers at www.gochipcard.com.