How Can Your Business Benefit from Positive Pay?

Tanya Schamaun thinks Positive Pay* “is just smart business sense.” Tanya is the Accounting Director at Winona State University and, along with co-worker Julie Sammann, has been using Merchants Bank’s fraud detection service Positive Pay since May.

“Positive Pay protects Winona State University from fraud. We can detect problems with copied or altered checks quickly and easily,” said Tanya.

Here’s how Positive Pay works: Each day, Winona State provides Merchants with an electronic inventory of checks issued. When the checks presented on WSU accounts each day are processed, Positive Pay matches the account number, check number and dollar amount of each check presented for payment against a list of checks previously authorized and issued by Winona State. All three components of the check must match exactly. When a check is reviewed that isn’t a match in the file, it becomes an “exception item.” Tanya or Julie then has the chance to review the image and can instruct the bank to pay or return the check.

“The whole process is very user-friendly. It only takes a few minutes a day,” said Julie. “Even if you don’t have your own IT department to help you create an inventory of checks to upload to Merchants, you can enter a check manually in a minute or less.”

According to Tanya, “[Positive Pay] is simple to use, even for a small organization. The hardest part is remembering your password!”

To learn more about how Positive Pay can help your business, contact one of our Cash Management specialists today.

*Fees may apply

Why Every Business Should Offer Gift Cards

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For the past seven years, gift cards have been the number one most wanted holiday wish list item, according to the National Retail Foundation. The popularity of gift cards has steadily increased throughout the last several years and will culminate in an estimated $100 billion dollars loaded on to gift cards in 2014*.
 
Still not sure if gift cards are right for your business? Here are some incredible statistics:
  • 80.6% of U.S. consumer plan to buy gift cards this year*
  • 64% of consumers spend more than the value of their gift card*
  • 59% visited a store more frequently after receiving a gift card*
  • 41% of consumers visited a store they would not have otherwise gone to because they received a gift card*
Offering gift cards is not only what your customers want, but it’s easy with Merchants Bank! Through our partnership with Valutec, you may begin offering personalized gift cards at your business in as little as 10 days. Simply speak to our Credit Card department by calling (507) 457-1160 or (800)-944-6285 to get started.
 
*All statistics from firstdata.com.

Employers, if the answer is “Yes”

The high cost of insurance may be a challenge for many employers. But there may be an answer to these questions:HSAEN

  • Are you combating higher health insurance premiums? Yes
  • Are you considering or are you offering your employees a high deductible health plan (HDHP)? Yes
  • Are you looking for peace of mind about your health care expenses? Yes
  • Do you want it to be as easy as possible? Yes

Then, you’ll want a Health Savings Account (HSA) from Merchants Bank.

The Winona Area Public Schools (WAPS) is one business that is offering HSAs, and the results have been good, according to Jolie Severson, Payroll and Benefits Administrator at WAPS. More than 411 of the more than 600 employees at WAPS have HSA accounts.

“I would rate our experience as 10 out of 10,” Severson said. “The staff at Merchants is helpful with setting up our employees’ accounts online, allowing personal funds to be directly deposited. All questions and special circumstances are answered with efficiency and satisfaction.”

Severson said there are a number of other benefits for employees.

“It’s not a use it or lose it account, so all the funds in the account stays with the employee for years to come. There are employees who are building up this account for retirement with tax-free dollars,” Severson said. “Employees have become better health care consumers as they manage their medical needs.”

Plus, the account is portable if the employee were to leave and can be transferred to a spouse upon death.

If you want to learn more, talk with your insurance agent and then talk to us at Merchants Bank. We’d be happy to come on-site to help educate your employees.

Small Business Administration

SBARefreshENA Business Banker from Merchants Bank will provide specialized support for your specific business financing request. Our numerous business loan program options are designed to meet the specific needs of your business, from a business line of credit to fleet financing.

We are a SBA Preferred Lender, which means we can help qualified applicants right when they need us. We’ll listen and help you with the business loan you need. It’s that simple. Contact a Business Banker today to schedule a free, no obligation review of your business. Work with someone who cares about your business as much as you do. At Merchants Bank, we care about you and what’s right for your business. Loans are subject to credit approval.