Software Developer Leverages PCI Compliance For Mobile Payment Project
By Cindy Dubin, Business Solutions magazine.
An initial service management solution leads to additional revenue three months later.
As companies look to streamline payment processes for field workers, the benefits of mobile payments are far outweighing solution investments. dESCO, LLC, a service management software developer, found that as the technology of smartphones has become more accepted, selling mobile applications has become easier, particularly when the client is migrating from a disconnected process. dESCO developed the Electronic Service Control (ESC) mobile application in 2000 to give field technicians the ability to process payments, access customer information, and modify dispatches. Through a partnership with Merchant Warehouse in 2010, ESC became PCI (Payment Card Industry)-compliant for handling credit card account information. Those many years of experience with credit card processing came in handy when landing a recent account for dESCO.
The client was 4 Seasons Heating & Air, an HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) installation, repair, and maintenance company. The client was in need of a complete service management solution, but the owner, who had just bought the company, was new to the HVAC industry and was in the process of researching software companies. The client was processing credit cards in the field with rented card readers, but the process was not directly linked to office management or accounting software.
dESCO and an industry consultant partnered to host a live broadcast showcasing a demo of the ESC product, including ESC Mobile. 4 Seasons was invited by the consultant to attend the broadcast. After the program, 4 Seasons contacted dESCO for a personal product demo and later chose the ESC solution, says Dean Schreiner, president of dESCO.
4 Seasons initially installed the ESC core solution and within three months added ESC Mobile, which added the ability to track and modify jobs and provide realtime updates to office personnel. 4 Seasons upgraded to ESC version 12 and added a Merchant Warehouse account in August 2011 to gain additional credit card processing features such as mobile card swipe, recurring billing for service agreements, and full PCI compliance for handling credit card numbers. Another local VAR was considered for the project, but Hillard Kitchens, the owner of 4 Seasons, says its mobile application was dated and had fewer installs.
Understand The Value Of PCI Compliance
Installing the ESC Mobile/Merchant Warehouse solution requires downloading a mobile app from the Android Marketplace or iTunes, establishing an account with Merchant Warehouse, and inputting new Merchant Warehouse account details into the ESC system. Then, payment processing can begin.
Processing credit card payments in the field using ESC mobile can be done via the encrypted MagTek card reader, which Merchant Warehouse provides directly to the client or through a manual process payment option whereby credit card information can be keyed into the system. PCI compliance is incredibly important when performing mobile payment transactions as PCI involves the security and liability of handling customers’ credit card information.
Schreiner explains that several companies were evaluated that could provide PCI compliance for clients. “We ultimately felt Merchant Warehouse provided strong encryption technology to ensure the safe handling of cardholder information, which reduces our client’s liability and risk, and keeps them PCI-compliant.” When tendering a credit card payment in ESC, a screen will appear to tell the user to swipe a card. Once swiped, authorization is approved or denied.
Rental Savings Means More Cash For Add-Ons
Since implementing Merchant Warehouse with ESC version 12, 4 Seasons has eliminated close to $300 per month in mobile credit card processing equipment rental fees. And, Kitchens says his field team has gained the ability to capture card information with immediate approval authorization or decline notifications.
4 Seasons is currently testing ESC’s caller ID feature, which displays customer information and records when someone calls, which saves database searching time and initiates faster dispatching. Kitchens says the company is also considering additional add-ons, such as ESC accounting, a fully integrated and scalable accounting module, and ESC vehicle GPS tracking to better manage his fleet, save on fuel costs, and monitor technician productivity.