Shift4 Sponsors the Valley Striders

Shift4 employee Chris Mech came to us with an interesting proposal. He asked if we’d be interested in sponsoring the Valley Striders, a running club he belongs to, on a 200-mile, two-day Ragnar relay.

Shift4.com's Brand-New Look

We’re excited to announce (although most of you have probably already noticed) that Shift4.com has a brand-new look and feel.

MasterCard's Terminal ID Requirement

MasterCard has issued a mandate, effective April 19, 2013, requiring merchants to provide a unique terminal ID with every transaction. Ostensibly, this requirement is to help MasterCard more quickly track down fraudulent activity by determining the specific point of sale where the fraud occurred.

Four Billion Strong – and Growing!

Pardon the obvious borrowing of FLINTSTONES™ vitamins’ catchphrase in our title, but we felt it fit the exciting news we have to share with you. As we built the token counter for our newly redesigned Web site, we realized something pretty cool. Somewhere back in early September, while we were hard at work on the new site, Shift4 surpassed the four billion token mark.

Web Site Redesign: What do I Need to Know?


As we reviewed the Web site during our redesign, we were careful to ensure that all our products were in line with our current branding efforts. That means a few technologies have been renamed to better reflect what they do, and to keep with the Shift4 feel. We have listed these updates below for your convenience.

Web Site Redesign: What's New?

Well, pretty much everything on the site is new. The text, the graphics, the layout… but here is a list of features on our new site that didn’t exist on the previous site:

The Men and Women Behind Shift4 Support

Every day, representatives from Shift4’s Customer Service staff handle requests for assistance from our customers. As those of you who have dealt with them know, they handle these requests with expertise and professionalism. More than 85 percent of the calls are resolved on the first contact, which is a testament to their training and understanding of DOLLARS ON THE NET®. But where do these professionals turn when they need a little help?

The Peril of Bank-Owned Gateways

Most of us are familiar with the expression, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” For those who aren’t, it basically means don’t do anything that might hurt those that you rely on. The same meaning applies every time we say something along the lines of, “well, they sign the paychecks, so we’ve got to keep them happy.”

'Tis the Season for Gift Cards

What do you buy the person who has everything, or the teenager whose Christmas list is so foreign to you it might as well be written in hieroglyphics? Gift cards. We all know this little secret for easy holiday shopping and, as consumers, many of us take advantage of it. So why have so many merchants not yet implemented a gift card solution into their businesses?

Executive Insight: Take Advantage of Fraud Sentry!

The most effective security system in the world can’t protect you if you don’t turn it on. That’s the first thought that struck me after I heard a report of one of our merchant customers falling victim to “trusted-employee” fraud last month.

Executive Insight: Election 2012

The following letter was distributed by Shift4 Founders Dave and Kathy Oder to all members of the Shift4 staff. We are posting it here as an encouragement for all of our partners, merchant customers, and friends in the United States to exercise their right to vote in the pivotal upcoming election.

Congratulations to Ryan Moore, Winner of the 2012 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

Ryan Moore with the JT Shriners Open tournament trophy Shift4 staff were on hand Sunday to watch PGA TOUR professional Ryan Moore (whom we have sponsored for a little over a year) win his second PGA tournament with a fantastic performance at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

Kicking Putt and Taking Names

We’re tickled pink (or purple, rather) about our sponsored golfers, Ryan Moore and Scott Piercy, qualifying for the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Course in Atlanta. These two dynamos performed wonderfully, beating out prominent golfers like Ernie Els, Web Simpson, Jim Furyk, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, and Zack Johnson to earn their spots.

Account Setup — What's Involved

There is a reason why we take such pains to ensure a proper setup of our solution: an improper setup costs you, the merchant, money. Things like not having accurate information from your merchant services provider (MSP) and processor can cause delays to occur with your batches. In severe cases, delays can turn into an inability to get an authorization from the processor.

Want to Vote Out Your Bank?

Well, it’s October and election time here in the United States. Next month we will have the opportunity to vote. We may choose to endure more of the same or we may opt to replace an administration that we don’t feel has our best interests at heart with one that promises something new and (potentially) better.

The Buzz About Mobile

It seems everywhere you go these days there is buzz about mobile: mobile messaging, mobile commerce, mobile banking, mobile payments – heck, some people still even use mobile phones to make calls.

Who's Your Hero? Winners' Stories


Shift4 makes it a point to honor local public safety heroes each year at our Public Safety Appreciation Station (PSAS). This year we’re going a little further, calling out five local heroes who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to save lives and to change lives. Here are their inspiring stories.

Now is the Time for UTG® Updates

The need to keep Shift4’s Universal Transaction Gateway® (UTG®) updated is a frequent subject in the pages of 4Sight. It seems we’ve mentioned it every few months for as long as we’ve been publishing this newsletter. So, we may be preaching to the choir a little bit here when we tell you, our faithful readers, that we have recently begun an outbound calling campaign to encourage merchants to update their UTG version.

Exceeding Expectations: Townsend Building Supply

Many customer success stories follow the pattern of “problem, solution.” If this was one of those testimonials, we could wrap it up in two sentences: Townsend Building Supply needed a payment gateway solution that interfaced with bisTrack, their industry-specific POS solution. Shift4’s SaaS-based DOLLARS ON THE NET® gateway has that integration and our pricing met Townsend’s budget, so they inked a deal.

EMV is Coming – Don't Panic!

Back in January, Shift4 CEO Dave Oder wrote an Executive Insight article about EMV (Chip and PIN) payments coming to the U.S. At that time, the details were a bit hazy and all we knew for certain was that by 2015, U.S. merchants were supposed to have EMV in place. Dave’s outlook on the situation was grim: “It’s going to be a mess.”

Be Sure to Keep Shift4's UTG Updated

Shift4’s Universal Transaction Gateway® (UTG®) makes possible much of what we do at Shift4. The UTG is a major factor in DOLLARS ON THE NET's speed, security, reliability, simplicity, and Shift4’s ability to take your POS/PMS out of PCI scope. Needless to say, it is a vital component and a piece of technology that we are quite proud of.

What the Intercharge Fee Settlement Means for Merchants

Many of you may be familiar with the Visa/MasterCard class-action case that just wrapped up in New York. For those who aren’t, here’s what happened: Visa and MasterCard were sued by several retailers and industry players in regard to interchange fees and discount rates. Merchants claimed the card brands were violating anti-trust laws and cooperating to rip off merchants.

Sound Off and Win a Trip to Vegas

Do you have a merchant bank horror story? Were you quoted an amazing rate on payment processing but ended up paying much more? Have you paid the price for their deception? Share your story at www.shift4.com/TiedDown for a chance to win an expense-paid trip for two to Las Vegas (including flights, hotel, entertainment, and even a tour of Shift4 HQ, if you’d like to stop by).

Reno-Tahoe Open Recap

Shift4 Sponsors Reno-Tahoe Open Driving Range

You have probably noticed Shift4’s passion for golf and charity. We often share with you stories from our more notable charitable activities as well as our sponsorship of PGA TOUR players Ryan Moore and Scott Piercy, and the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Well, this year, we’ve added another golf event sponsorship to our schedule.

Security is Customer Service

Back in February, we published an article called Tough Love - Why Shift4 Standards Are So High. It explained the security reasons behind some of Shift4’s policies and how they benefit and protect our merchant customers – even though they are seen by some as an inconvenience.

Shift4 Sponsors PGA TOUR Pro Scott Piercy

We’re excited to share with you our recent sponsorship of PGA TOUR professional Scott Piercy. If you’re familiar with Shift4’s founders, this announcement probably doesn’t surprise you too much. Our CEO Dave Oder nicely sums up our choice to sponsor Scott: “There are a few key things we love: family, charity, and golf. Scott combines all three; he’s a committed father, an active supporter of several worthy charity organizations, and a world-class golfer.”

Payments Industry Players

Recently, we saw a payments industry Web site with a glossary more than 19 pages long. When it takes 19 pages just to explain the words you need to know before you can begin to figure out how the industry works, you know that payment processing has developed a language all its own. Today, we want to break down some of the complexity and help you figure out who the major players in payment processing are and what they do for merchants.

Debit (and "Open-to-Buy" Holds) in Hospitality

We recently attended the Choice Hotels International Convention, at the invitation of one of our largest Hospitality clients. Several members of Shift4’s staff were in attendance and we had a wonderful time. One of the most frequently asked questions we heard at this conference was, “What can you do about the annoying holds that are placed on my customers’ cards when they pay with debit?”

WTF? (What’s That Fee?)

Do you have your most recent merchant statement handy? You might want to pull it out and give it a good review because we’ve heard from several of our merchant customers recently that they are being charged new fees for services they have never heard of. We worked with some of our contacts in the industry to figure out just what these fees are and what the reasoning behind them is.

Defense in Depth

Back in March we published an article called Quick and Dirty IT Security, in which we introduced you to four easy steps you can take to drastically reduce your chances of being breached. As that has been one of our most-read articles to date, we’ve decided to follow it up today with a few more things you should know about securing your systems.

Fraud Alerts vs Breach Alerts

Do you know the difference between fraud alerts and breach alerts? You should – and you should make sure your staff does, too. These alerts are two very different things and require completely different responses. Mixing the two up can lead to a world of problems.

Feeling Tied Down by Your Merchant Bank?

Shift4, the world’s largest independent payment gateway and maybe the last true merchant advocate, launched a new advertising campaign that brings to light some of the underhanded methods used by merchant banks to increase their profits.

PCI Provides No Benefit to Merchants

This post was written by Steve Sommers, Shift4's SVP of Applications Development. His insights and expertise are shared regularly on his personal blog, http://paymenttidbits.blogspot.com.

Issuing Credits? Be Extra Careful

No one wants to make a mistake, but we also recognize that humans are, well, human (and machines are likewise imperfect) so sometimes it happens. Today, we want to point out a small mistake merchants make that can have disproportionately large consequences at batch settlement: mistyped card numbers.

Executive Insight: Birdies4Shriners

If you’ve been on www.shift4.com recently or seen any of our press releases or social media sites, you are probably aware of our Birdies4Shriners campaign. It’s a fundraiser we have put together to support our friends at Shriners Hospitals for Children. We are likely all familiar with this organization and the wonderful work they do for children. Many of us personally know someone who has benefitted from their generosity and expertise.

Global Effects of the Global Breach

Over the past few weeks, the payment industry Web space has been filled with articles spawned by the reported breach of Global Payments. These posts range from intelligent hypotheses based on significant industry experience to wild speculation from scheming salesmen looking to make a quick sale by inspiring fear, uncertainty, and doubt in their potential clients.

Global Ramifications

The Internet is abuzz with speculation on the source and scope of the Global Payments breach. In the past few days, reports on the number of affected cards have ranged from as many as 10 million to a little more than 50,000 with Global setting the “official” number at 1.5 million. Likewise, the source of the breach has been widely disputed. Several industry pundits claimed the transactions came from a single industry (parking garages or taxi companies, depending on who you believe – or, in the most recent iteration, a taxi company that runs parking garages – all based in New York City).

DOLLARS ON THE NET Advanced Search

We all know that the dryer steals socks and the couch occasionally likes to swallow the remote control, but have you ever had your POS or PMS eat a transaction? You know, the kind of transaction that doesn't process quite right and then vanishes and leaves you scratching your head, wondering where on earth it ended up.

VISA CISP: If Compromised

We've noticed over the past few months that our security articles are some of our most popular posts. Consider this post a follow up to last month's Quick and Dirty IT Security and November's What to do if You Think You May Have Been Breached. This is a quick list of action items for organizations that have been compromised.

Don't Forgo the Benefits of 4Go®

Among the many technological marvels that Shift4 has created to help merchants, 4Go® is one of the biggest. If you don't know much about 4Go (and its security-increasing, PCI-headache-reducing goodness), it's high time the two of you were acquainted.

Shift4 is Hiring!

Shift4 is growing and preparing for some exciting expansions into new technologies and new markets. With this expansion, we are looking to add key talent to our team, and are reaching out to our friends, partners, and merchants to help get the word out.

How to Make Processor Changes Easier

One of the most common change requests we get in the Account Maintenance department here at Shift4 is for processor changes. It is really a pretty easy and straightforward process, but one that seems to have more than its share of issues to get completed. The following are some basic questions and pointers to help you get your processor changed quickly, easily, and painlessly.

Quick and Dirty IT Security

For those of you who don’t have the luxury of a dedicated IT-security team, here’s a quick tip from our IT staff: don’t be intimidated into inactivity.

Executive Insight: All or Nothing Tokenization

Are you the all-or-nothing type? Are you the type that can’t even get started if you know going in that 100% success is an impossibility? Many people take this view with tokenization, but let me tell you why that’s a dangerous position to support.

How Shift4 Goes Beyond Compliance

Saying that PCI compliance can be a challenge is kind of like saying climbing Mt. Everest is slightly difficult. With the confusing state of Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) today, merchants using legacy systems may understandably look at climbing Everest as a cake walk in comparison to maintaining compliance.

Is Shift4 on Your Safe Senders List?

We may be preaching to the choir here, as many of you are reading this in your e-mail inbox. But, for those who view this on the blog or in printed copy (or for your co-workers who may be missing out on all these messages), please take a moment to add updates@secure.shift4.com to your safe senders list.

Tough Love - Why Shift4 Standards Are So High

Shift4’s extensive security measures might seem excessive to MSPs and merchants. They may think that the added layers of security get in the way of normal business. Just like a proper Englishman who constantly carries an umbrella even though the sun is bright and shining, our protocols can seem superfluous when no threat is present. But, those layers of security are there for a reason: the law requires them and we insist on them.

Retail Requires Speedy Settlement

Retailers, if you’re not settling your batches every night, you’re probably losing money.
Each category/type of merchant account has its own quirks and requirements. Retail merchant accounts, for example, require that all transactions be settled within 24 hours. This can be difficult – but pays off almost immediately.

Executive Insight: Who is PCI Really Protecting?

By now, most in our industry have heard of the restaurateurs in Park City, Utah who are suing their merchant bank and, consequently, might end up taking on the whole PCI. For those unfamiliar with the story, Wired has a good article, which you can find here.

Be Sure You're Using Shift4-Certified Solutions

Recently we’ve received a number of calls from merchants experiencing issues with swipe devices and/or POS/PMS terminals that are not included in our list of certified devices. With that in mind, here’s a friendly reminder: Just because a device appears to function properly when you plug it in, does not mean the device is supported by Shift4.

Executive Insight: US EMV - A Necessary Evil?

A New Payment Process
Those who have traveled to Europe in the past few years or to Canada within the last year or so, know there is a new payment process that uses a microchip on the card to communicate the payment capabilities of the card to the point of sale, and then uses a PIN (personal identification number) to authenticate the cardholder as the owner of the card.

Helpful Hints for Working with Shift4 Customer Support

While it’s true that Shift4’s Customer Support staff strive for one-call resolution (and achieve it more than 75% of the time), many of you know that some issues require more than one call – and more than one person – to remedy.

Who is Shift4?

Shift4 Stands Alone Atop the Payment Gateway Space
Shift4, the first card-present payment gateway and the largest independent payment gateway in North America, is a privately held, self-funded company that does not answer to, does not profit from, and is not owned by, any card brand, issuing bank, merchant bank, payment processor, independent sales organization (ISO), or Merchant Services Provider (MSP).

2011: A Year in Review

Happy New Year and best wishes to all of our clients! We hope that you were able to enjoy the holidays with those most near and dear to you. We celebrated Christmas in Florida this year with our children and grandchildren, and had a wonderful time.