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Retail Link – December 2015

Millions returned to Retail Council members

37th consecutive dividend for Workers’ Compensation Safety Group 493 declared

The Retail Council in November distributed more than $3 million in dividend checks to members in the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Safety Group 493. The money represents 25 percent of the insurance premium paid in 2014 by the more than 900 members in the program.

Dividend checks were mailed by the New York State Insurance Fund directly to participants. The Council has averaged a workers’ comp dividend of 37 percent to participating members for the past 37 years returning more than $100 million since 1978. The steady dividend history makes the Retail Council’s Safety Group, one of the oldest in New York state, also one of the most successful and secure.

In addition to the dividend, the Council’s Safety Group offers an up-front policy discount for eligible members of 20 percent. Members of the Retail Council’s Safety Group 493 also pay a lower New York state assessment than do customers of all other private insurance carriers.

Contact Virginia to get more information about the Council’s Safety Group, or for your no-obligation quote at (800) 442-3589 or

What is “pending”? Check your receipts for partial authorizations

Recently, several of our credit card processing participants have noticed pending charges on some of their credit card sales receipts. Unfortunately, they noticed it too late, after the customer had signed and left their business, costing them money.

The updated terminals, such as the VeriFone Vx520, include by default a “partial authorization” feature that allows the merchant to accept a partial payment from a card that would have been declined. Visa and MasterCard made this change to allow cardholders using debit, gift and prepaid cards to use another form of payment, rather than being declined if there isn’t enough of a balance on their card.

Some terminals are not prompting on the screen, so the cashier must pay attention to every processing sales receipt that is printed out to make sure the full charge was paid. If this is the case, you should contact your processor for a new terminal download. If you process through the Council, contact Michele or Nicholl at (800) 442-3589 to get information about the download you need.

Hypercom/Optimum terminal not working?

Hypercom/Optimum terminalPlease note: If you have a Hypercom/Optimum M4100, M4230, M4240, T4205, T4210, T4220, T4230, or T4260 - A software certificate contained in many of these terminals expired on October 19, 2015. DO NOT REBOOT or POWER DOWN your device. If you receive an error message, you will most likely need to replace your terminal. Contact Carly at (800) 442-3589 for more information.

Your terminal has a slot, but that doesn’t mean you can accept chip cards

Members have already reported chargebacks since the October 1, 2015 EMV liability shift. Many merchants mistakenly believe since there is a chip card slot on their terminal, that they are all set to accept chip cards and avoid liability for fraudulent cards. This is not the case. Your processor must set up your terminal with the appropriate software download, or you may need a new terminal altogether.

One Retail Council member recently had a chargeback for $182.50 after a customer disputed the charge. That member is liable for the $182.50 because he accepted a chip credit card as payment, but his terminal was not EMV (chip card)-enabled.

If you do not have the correct software on your terminal and you swipe a chip card, the terminal will not prompt you to insert the card. It will process the card just like any other mag stripe card, but you will be liable for any fraudulent charges.

Contact Michele or Nicholl with your questions about EMV terminals at (800) 442-3589.

Understanding UPS, FedEx small package rate increases

Every year small package carriers FedEx and UPS evaluate their shipping rates and make adjustments that can have a substantial effect on you and your business. The UPS rate increases will be effective December 28, 2015, while the new FedEx rates take effect on January 4, 2016. As always, how much more expensive your particular small package shipments will be in the new year largely depends on many factors, including shipment volumes, sizes, weights, and modes.

Here are some quick facts:

• FedEx Express package rates are increasing an average of 4.9% for U.S., U.S export, and U.S. import services.

• UPS Air and International package rates are increasing an average of 5.2%.

• FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery rates are increasing an average of 4.9%.

• UPS Ground rates are increasing an average of 4.9%.

The important takeaway when thinking about your shipping expenses in 2016 is that the announced average increases paint an inaccurate picture of the true impact these new rates could have on your business. The small package shipping experts at PartnerShip® have dug into the details and analyzed the new rate tables to assess the true impact to shippers and help you make sense of these changes. Learn more about how the 2016 rate increases will affect your shipping costs by downloading the free white paper at

This tip is brought to you by PartnerShip, the company that manages the Retail Council Shipping Program. For more information or to enroll, visit, email, or call 800-599-2902.