Welcoming New Team Members to the Big Sky Commerce Team

We were thrilled to expand the Big Sky Commerce team in 2021 with the addition of Tim Sweeney and Jordan Nelson. Between Tim’s expertise in the industry and Jordan’s fresh outlook on business and marketing, they’ve already become incredible assets to our clients and staff members.

Tim is our newest Account Executive, and he began working at Big Sky Commerce in May 2021. He worked for the largest merchant processing company in the world for over 16 years prior to joining our team, and now he appreciates our family-owned and community-driven mission more than ever. Tim moved to Missoula in 1978 to complete his college education and immediately found himself at home—when he’s not at work you can often find him golfing, recreating outside or cheering on the Griz.

Jordan began working as our Marketing Intern in September 2021. She grew up in Bigfork and came to Missoula to attend the University of Montana, where she fell in love with the unbeatable access to outdoor recreation. After studying marketing and business in school, she felt like Big Sky Commerce was a great place to start gaining experience. Like Tim (and the rest of our team), Jordan loves the community-oriented outlook at Big Sky Commerce.

It’s been great having Tim and Jordan join us this past year, and we can’t wait to see what else they bring to the team in 2022.

Client Spotlight: Pink Grizzly

The Big Sky Commerce team is excited to be serving yet another Missoula business: Pink Grizzly. You may know this small business as your go-to for Christmas trees and wreaths in the winter, plant starts in the spring, landscaping necessities in the summer, or all the above and more. Pink Grizzly is a year-round greenhouse and beloved Missoula business that’s been serving our community since 1987. The owner, Shane Clouse, runs the business with the help of his family, who made Missoula home in the 1950s.

Pink Grizzly was originally working with a big out-of-state processor that couldn’t offer local representation and hands-on customer support, so they decided to switch things up. We took them on as a client in Spring 2021 and were thrilled to lower their fee structure and streamline their payment processing right away.

For Shane, working with a local company has made all the difference. He explained, “Big Sky Commerce provides us with very competitive processing rates and, more importantly, provides our business with immediate, family-style services when we need help. Their representatives give you attentive services you can’t find through a call center!”

We look forward to working with Pink Grizzly for years to come, and we encourage everyone to swing by this holiday season and pick out the perfect Christmas tree and wreath for their home! You might just catch one of our team members there doing the same thing.   

Helping to Keep Reserve St. Clean with the Big Sky Commerce Team

Everyone on the Big Sky Commerce team is grateful to live and work in a place like Missoula, and that’s why we make time to give back. After raising their two children and starting a business in Missoula, owners Kevin and Carolyn feel especially passionate about keeping their community happy and healthy for generations to come.

One way our team decided to give back is by “adopting” and maintaining the N. Reserve portion of US Hwy 93 in Missoula. Big Sky Commerce adopted this section back in 2019, and we’ve been organizing trash cleanups and caring for the landscape ever since. We love this ongoing project because it’s not just big box stores on N. Reserve—teachers, medical personnel, small businesses, young families, and retirees live and work along this stretch.  

You can spot folks from our team cleaning up the highway 2-4 times a year, and we hope our efforts inspire other businesses and organizations in Missoula to give back in their own way as well.

Client Spotlight: Gull Ski and Snowboard

We love working with our local clients, getting to know their business or organization, and watching as they grow and evolve with Missoula. Today, we’re especially excited to recognize a longtime client and quintessential Missoula business: Gull Ski and Snowboard.

We started working with Gull Ski and Snowboard back in 2008. They needed a way to accept electronic payments and manage gift cards, and we got them set up with a POS system that met their needs. Fast forward 13 years, and we’re still happy to be working with this amazing Missoula business and supporting them in any way we can.

This year we’re celebrating Gull Ski and Snowboard’s 70th anniversary AND the well-earned retirement of former owner Bob Anderson. Longtime employee Nichole McKittrick and her husband have taken over the business, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to work with them.

As we get closer to ski and snowboard season, we encourage everyone to check out Gull Ski and Snowboard for the best gear and expert advice. Their staff is passionate about winter recreation and ready to help skiers and snowboarders of all levels get ready for the season.

Cheers to 70 years and a great ski season!

Determining The Best Merchant Service Provider For Your Business: Do Your Research And Ask Around

Merchants are being bombarded almost daily by phone calls and emails from payment processors trying to win their business. Processors may offer rates that seem lower than what you are currently paying. Be sure to read the fine print before changing processors. We have had merchants leave us for “the better deal” only to return once they found out that the deal was not quite as good as they expected. Before changing processors, do your homework. Read their online industry reviews. See what others are saying about them. Make sure they intend to support your business needs throughout the contract period.

Big Sky Commerce is proud of its current merchant and online reviews. We have an A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau as well as several others across the internet, including Merchant Maverick and Free Merchant Account.

Recently, Big Sky Commerce received an A rating from Card Payment Options. All reviews for Big Sky Commerce talk specifically about our great rates and excellent customer service. Don’t be swayed by processors who get you hooked and move on. Be a savvy business person. Do your research. You’ll be glad you did!

Changes in Farm Bill Affect Retailers Processing EBT Cards

In April of this year, all retail merchants who traditionally accepted Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) transactions from customers through the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) were advised that, as a result of the 2014 Farm Bill, FNS will no longer underwrite their processing costs or provide EBT credit card terminals. Starting September 21st of this year, merchants accepting EBT cards may need to purchase a new credit card terminal and/or find a new merchant service provider to process their EBT transactions.

Big Sky Commerce has worked with EBT Merchants for many years and has become a resource for transitioning EBT merchants. This is a crucial and stressful time for merchants who are busy growing their businesses to have to deal with upgrading their credit card terminal and change processors. Big Sky Commerce is here to assist merchants through this process by making their transition as seamless as possible.

If you know a merchant who needs help securing merchant services or EBT processing equipment, please refer them to Big Sky Commerce at 406-327-0611. We can help get their questions answered and advise them on the correct equipment to continue processing EBT transactions.

Montana Hospital Association selects Big Sky Commerce as Preferred Merchant Service Provider

Missoula, MT — The Montana Hospital Association (MHA) based in Helena, Montana has selected Big Sky Commerce as the preferred Merchant Service Provider for its members. MHA member hospitals and clinics in Montana will be able to enjoy significant savings in payment processing services with Big Sky Commerce. “Recommending a local solution for merchant services for our members only makes sense,” states Mike Roberts, Director of Business Development for MHA Ventures. “Big Sky Commerce offers us that solution while focusing on quality customer care and a very competitive rate structure for all aspects of payment processing. They are knowledgeable in the industry representing all major credit card brands and we really appreciate the opportunity to work with a Montana business.” Members of Montana Hospital Association now have access to streamlined methods of accepting all forms of electronic payments, whether it be in the office, through a secure website, or in a mobile environment. Kevin Davis, President of Big Sky Commerce, notes that “to be designated the preferred Merchant Service provider for MHA is an incredible honor. We look forward to working closely with their membership to provide the best possible options for payment processing. Electronic payment processing, along with better efficiencies in accounts receivable, have become more prevalent in the healthcare industry. Big Sky Commerce is excited to offer competitive pricing bundles, exceptional local service, and secure payment processing solutions to members of MHA.” Members of MHA may contact Big Sky Commerce directly to obtain preferred pricing on merchant accounts and payment processing solutions.

COURT CAPS CREDIT CARD SWIPE FEES

COURT CAPS CREDIT CARD SWIPE FEES

NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION DISAPPOINTED

 

A federal appeals court has agreed with a Federal Reserve rule that placed a 21-cent cap on swipe fees that banks charge retail stores for each debit card transaction.  After initially proposing to limit fees to 12 cents, the central bank issued a final rule in 2011 that capped fees at 21 cents. Soon after, the National Retail Federation along with other retail groups, filed a lawsuit against the Federal Reserve, saying that the fees should be lower. In 2013, Judge Richard Leon ruled in NRF’s favor and ordered the Fed to recalculate the cap at a lower level, but the Fed appealed. The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington overturned Leon’s ruling. Although the ruling is a win for the Federal Reserve and the banks, nothing is expected to change for consumers.

Retailers are disappointed in Swipe Fee Ruling.  The National Retail Federation expressed disappointment in the court’s decision to keep the Federal Reserve’s cap on debit card swipe fees at 21 cents rather than reducing it to a lower level. The NRF believes the current cap is far higher than intended by Congress.

Under the Durbin Amendment provisions of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Consumer Protection and Wall Street Reform Act, the Federal Reserve was required to adopt regulations that would result in debit card swipe fees that were “reasonable” and “proportional” to the actual cost of processing a transaction. The Fed calculated the actual average cost at 4 cents per transaction and initially proposed a cap no higher than 12 cents, but eventually settled on 21 cents after heavy lobbying from the financial services industry.  NRF claims the cap cutting swipe fees in half has saved many retailers and consumers billions of dollars but the fees, especially for small ticket transactions, are still far too high. They are reviewing the decision and will determine whether to appeal.  Prior to the financial crises in the U.S. the average fee per transaction averaged about 45 cents.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down a lower court ruling that sided with retailers saying the Federal Reserve should lower fees even more.

Although it was not clear that consumers got any of the savings, one industry-sponsored survey found that 67% of retailers kept prices the same or raised them instead of passing on savings to customers.  A 2013 report by the Merchants Payments Coalition showed that swipe fee caps saved consumers $5.8 billion in 2012 through lower costs for goods and services.

Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo banks took big hits to revenue after trying to charge new debit card fees, but public outrage caused them to reverse course.  The ruling also impacts Visa and Mastercard, which collect swipe fees for the banks and keep a portion for the use of their payment networks. Following the announcement of the Court’s decision shares of Visa rose 4% in trading but MasterCard was down 9%.

Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.5 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.  NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries.

Sources: National Retail Federation; CNN Money

 

 

Big Sky Commerce Sponsors Made In Montana Tradeshow For 9th Year In A Row

made_in_montana small

Big Sky Commerce is a local Montana business.  We believe in and support Montana’s entrepreneurial spirit. BSC is proud to have sponsored the annual Made In Montana Tradeshow since 2005.   The two-day trade show connects wholesale store buyers from across the region with over 100 members of the Made in Montana program.

Montana artists, designers, and manufacturers bring to the show their work and products whether visual art, fine crafts, gourmet foods and beverages, or unique apparel, accessories, or home decor.  The show will be held in Helena, MT March 21-22, 2014. During the Product Showcase day on Saturday, March 22nd, the public is invited to experience Made in Montana products that will soon find their way into stores statewide.

Since 2003, Big Sky Commerce has operated nationwide as an Independent Sales Organization representing the world’s largest and most secure payment processing networks.

If you attend the 2014 Made In Montana Tradeshow, please be sure to stop by the Big Sky Commerce Booth #701!

Montana Medical Association Press Release

Montana Medical Association selects Big Sky Commerce as its preferred Merchant Service Provider

Missoula, MT — The Montana Medical Association (MMA) based in Helena, Montana has selected Big Sky Commerce as the preferred Merchant Service Provider for its members. MMA members will be able to enjoy significant savings in payment processing services with Big Sky Commerce.

“Because our association is focused on quality patient care for Montanans, it was an easy choice,” states Jean Branscom, Executive Vice President of Montana Medical Association. “Big Sky Commerce maintains a similar focus on quality customer care, while offering a very competitive rate structure for all aspects of payment processing. They are knowledgeable in the industry representing all major credit card brands and we really like the thought of working with a Montana business.”

Members of Montana Medical Association now have access to streamlined methods of accepting all forms of electronic payments, whether it be in the office, through a secure website, or in a mobile environment.

Kevin Davis, President of Big Sky Commerce, notes that “it is an incredible honor to be chosen as the preferred Merchant Service Provider for MMA. Electronic payment processing, along with better efficiencies in accounts receivable, are becoming more prevalent in the healthcare industry. Big Sky Commerce is excited to offer competitive pricing bundles, exceptional local service, and secure payment processing solutions to members of MMA. We look forward to serving MMA members in a long-term capacity.”

Members of MMA may contact Big Sky Commerce directly to obtain preferred pricing on merchant accounts and payment processing solutions.

About Big Sky Commerce

Started in 2003, Big Sky Commerce is headquartered in Missoula, Montana and serves as a registered Independent Sales Organization for Visa, MasterCard, and other major card brands. Representing the world’s largest and most secure payment processing networks, Big Sky Commerce offers credit and debit card processing, merchant accounts, ACH and eCheck processing, payment gateways, and point-of-sale payment hardware and applications. Big Sky Commerce works with most industry types and is committed to providing excellent customer service, competitive fees, and PCI-compliant payment processing solutions. Big Sky Commerce serves as a business resource for all aspects of electronic payments.  For more information, please visit www.bigskycommerce.com or call 406.327.0611.

About Montana Medical Association

The Montana Medical Association was established in 1879, and was instrumental in establishing hospitals, educational and research advancements and in implementing the advantages derived from shared knowledge of their physician members. Today’s mission of the Montana Medical Association is to serve its members as an advocate for the medical profession, quality patient care, and the health of all Montana citizens. For more information, please visit www.mmaoffice.org or call 406-443-4000.

-End-