Five Ways to Make Payments for Your Business Easy with Tools for Disbursement

SmallBusinessOwnerOpenSignWould you like to better manage your businesses money and make it work harder. With three areas of focus – Tools for Collection, Tools for Disbursement and Tools for Management – Merchants Bank’s Cash Management area – what some banks call Treasury Management – is worth exploring.

Learn more about Tools for Disbursement:

Direct Deposit – Save time and add convenience by electronically depositing employees’ net payroll into their bank account. Subject to credit approval.

Bill Payment – Using Merchants Online Banking, pay vendors without having to write checks, saving time, postage and resources.

Sweep Accounts – Conveniently do the cash management that you want to do without having to manually request transfers between accounts. Sweeps can also be used to transfer money to or from a Line of Credit to reduce interest expense.

Target Balance Accounts – Better control your cash flow and service charge expense by designating a balance at which you would like a specific account balance to be maintained.

Wire Transfers– Wire transfers allow you to send or receive money from almost anywhere in the world. Funds are collected and available immediately upon receipt.

For more information on Cash Management services, visit our website.

Watch Out for These Red Flags to Stay Safe While Shopping Online

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It is hard to overstate the popularity of online shopping. There is almost no category of product that can’t be purchased online. From wedding dresses, to pets and potato chips, consumers are heading online to purchase things that only a few years ago would have been considered strange to buy online. With so many online stores to choose from, it can be hard to tell which are legitimate and which could leave you vulnerable to scam or identity theft.

One of the easiest ways to tell if a website is secure is by looking for a Trust Seal.

“Typically, these seals are associated with secure sockets layer, or SSL for short,” states John Rampton, a Forbes contributor. “This simply means that your site has been verified and that there is a secure transmission for customers to safely enter their credit card information.”

When you are shopping online, you may have run into one of the seals and not even realized it. If you searched for a store through Google, for example, you probably have seen the small logo with a checkmark that states “Google Trusted Stores,” which is the search engine’s own Trust Seal. There are also several other companies that examine stores and give out trust seals.

“While trust seals are an important feature for [an] e-commerce website, which seals are the most reliable?” asks Rampton.  “In a survey conducted by the research group the Baymard Institute, the most trusted badge was Norton, with 36 percent of the votes. This was followed by McAfee (23 percent), TRUSTe (13.2 percent) and BBB Accredited (13.2 percent).”

The other ways that you can determine an online store’s trustworthiness are much less clear-cut than Trust Seals. Online reviews, for example, are one of the most important ways that consumers make decisions about a business’s reputation. If an online store has many positive reviews, you will likely feel safer giving it your credit card information. It is entirely possible for a good online store to not have many reviews, however, and positive reviews can be faked, so it is not a foolproof method.

It is also important to not ignore your gut feeling when shopping online. If you find a product for significantly less than every other store selling it, then that is a definite red flag. Another tactic to keep an eye out for is if a store claims to have the product you are looking for during an initial search, but then tries to redirect you to other similar products because they do not actually have what you need.

Furthermore, if a website doesn’t seem professionally designed, is extremely outdated, or very difficult to navigate, you may want to find another.

“Would you seriously give your credit card information to [a] website that looks like it belongs in 1995?” asks Rampton. “Common sense would say absolutely not.”

You should also look for contact information that would allow you to speak with an employee if you have questions or problems with your order. If there is no way to contact customer service, that is a big red flag.

Once you decide to make a purchase, there are further things to keep in mind.

“Don’t send your credit card details via email, post them on social media (even in a private message), or enter them on an unsecured website,” states Lexy Savvides from Cnet.com. “Don’t give away more information than you need. Retailers generally don’t need to know details like your date of birth or social security number, so why disclose it if you don’t have to?”

If you keep this information in mind and always choose the path of caution, you should be able to shop online without incident.

Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.

Merchants Bank’s 2014 Routing Number Change Could Affect You in 2015

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In 2014, some of the routing numbers at Merchants Bank changed to ensure consistency between branches in case you use more than one location. You may need to take action to ensure that the correct routing number (also known as an ABA number) will be used for any annual online transactions associated with your bank account.If you use your bank account for any of the following online, please update the routing number for Merchants Bank to 091900193:
  • Filing or paying tax returns
  • Requesting tax refunds
  • Annual subscriptions or memberships

If you have questions regarding the routing number change, please contact a Customer Service Representative at your local Merchants Bank.

 

Collect Payments for Your Business with our Tools for Collection

Digital Image by Sean Locke Digital Planet Design www.digitalplanetdesign.comWould you like to better manage your businesses money and make it work harder. With three areas of focus – Tools for Collection, Tools for Disbursement and Tools for Management – Merchants Bank’s Cash Management area – what some banks call Treasury Management – is worth exploring.

Learn more about Tools for Collection:

Credit Card Processing – Make it easier for your customers to shop with more payment options when you accept Visa, MasterCard or Discover debit, credit and gift cards in person, through your website or via mobile. Subject to credit approval.

Direct Debit – Use Direct Debit to collect funds from your customers. A customer payments is automatically withdrawn from the customer account at the beginning of the bank business on the day authorized and then deposited into your account. Subject to credit approval.

Cash Concentration – Using Merchants Bank Online Banking, you can bring cash from multiple accounts and other banks together into a central account so you can better manage it and put it to work for you. Subject to credit approval.

Deposit-On-Demand – Reduce your time running to the bank by converting paper checks into an image and transmitting the images to the Bank for deposit from the comfort of your office.

For more information on Cash Management services, visit our website.

Vehicles That Help Hold Their Value

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If you’re like most people, buying a new vehicle is among the biggest purchases you’ll ever make. But unlike a house or other investments, your vehicle almost immediately depreciates.

Last year, the average new car was predicted to retain about 38.2 percent of its original value after five years, meaning that a $50,000 model will only be worth nearly $19,100 at trade-in time. Pick a comparable model that’s estimated to hold five percent more of its value than average and you’ll realize an extra $2,650.

Hyundai Accent

Forbes reported that the valuation experts at ALG ranked the Accent as the subcompact with the highest residual value. Already ranked by US News ahead of competition including the Dodge Dart, Volkswagen Jetta, MINI Cooper, Toyota Corolla, MAZDA2, Nissan Sentra and Mitsubishi Mirage, the Accent feels like a car far bigger than its dimensions suggest. In fact, the EPA classified it as a compact as opposed to subcompact thanks to its abundance of interior volume.

Starting at an MSRP of $14,745, the Accent is available in both four- and five-door body styles and fuel estimates rated up to 38 mpg highway.

“There are plenty of capable small cars vying for your monthly payment, so we recommend test-driving the competition before deciding. But if you’re looking for a subcompact that acts like something more, make sure the 2014 Hyundai Accent is on your radar,” according to AutoTrader.

 Toyota Tundra

Although sales of the Tundra tend to come up short from the competition, including the run of the mill models from Ford, Ram and Chevrolet, the Tundra actually bests them when it comes to resale value. A 63.7 percent residual value at 36 months and 52.3 percent at 60 months is best in the segment.

With a standard V8 engine, the Tundra starts at an MSRP of $29,020, and offers a model for nearly every buyer, from the off-road enthusiast who would benefit most from the Tundra TRD Pro with Bilstein shock absorbers, tow hooks and TRD graphics, to the super luxurious 1794 Edition with perforated leather seating and ventilated front seats. The Tundra proves that sometimes the road less traveled is the smartest road to take. For those looking for a smaller pickup, the Toyota Tacoma won in its segments, too.

 Acura RDX

For those who want a more luxurious ride, but don’t want to throw away their money in the process, would find it beneficial to check out the RDX crossover that won best Premium Compact Utility vehicle from ALG. Its $35,095 asking price provides plenty of value with standard leather seating surfaces, 10-way power driver’s seat, a 273-hp 3.5-liter V6 that still gets up to 28 mpg highway, and a driving experience that’s more commonly associated with a sedan. All-wheel drive is also available to maximize performance in all driving conditions and an available Technology Package further adds the Acura Navigation System, Acura/ALS surround sound system, GPS linked climate control and High-Intensity Discharge headlights.

“The 2015 Acura RDX is a rare example of a smaller SUV that does almost everything right,” according to Kelley Blue Book. “It adeptly plays in the premium segment, yet boasts a modest character, a strong-yet-efficient V6, and a long list of standard equipment.”

There are plenty of other great models out there so do your research, and whatever you decide on, stop by today to see the best type of financing we can help provide.

Please note, subject to credit approval. Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.

Commercial, Ag and SBA Lending Trends

The economy continues to improve. One indicator we look at in banking is the increase in our lending portfolio.

GraphOur lending portfolio continues to grow at Merchants Bank.

  • Overall our lending portfolio has increased 15.7% through the first three quarter of 2014 compared to the first three quarters of 2013, where we had a very strong year compared to many other financial institutions.
  • Commercial lending increased 16.3% across all of our locations.
  • Ag lending has increased 12.9% and SBA lending has increased 16.3%.

The increase shows our expertise in and commitment to growing these important segments to help make the places we live better.

Contact a Business Banker today to learn more about business financing and leasing options at Merchants Bank. Subject to credit approval.

How Can Your Business Prevent Credit Card Fraud?

ManWithCreditCardStaggering, sobering, scary. Those are just a few of the words that come to mind when you think about credit card fraud. Think of this, 97 percent of all companies suffer a data breach, according to a story CBS News’ “60 minutes” aired on November 30, 2014. So what can a company do? Most companies are doing all that they can. Still, it takes an average of 229 days from the time of the breach before it is discovered, according to the “60 Minutes” story. When a breach happens, a company tries to detect the breach as soon as it can and stop the bleeding as quickly as possible.

How can your company be protected? It really comes down to the company’s customers. There are a lot of tips that can be used. Here are just a few:

  • Keep information private and avoid sharing your information with other individuals.
  • Continually monitor accounts, including credit card and account statements.
  • Be skeptical. Question if things are what they seem. Hover over links to see where they lead. Verify email requests from companies.
  • Create strong passwords that are hard for others to detect and decipher and use passwords to protect your devices. (More information here on making a strong password.)
  • Ignore emails from senders you don’t know.