Category Archives: School Management Tips

What you need to know about EMV Chip Credit Cards

So what the heck is a chip card anyway? In short: it’s a new credit card standard set forth by Europay, MasterCard, and Visa (the initials of each = EMV).

Chip cards, with their embedded “chips,” were designed specifically to eliminate counterfeit credit cards in retail environments.

How do chip cards work?image

The way it works is that the chip on the card contains a microprocessor that can store information securely and perform cryptographic processing during a payment transaction.

Chip cards carry security credentials that are encoded by the card issuer at personalization. These credentials, or keys, are stored securely in the EMV card’s chip and are impervious to access by unauthorized parties.

In a nutshell, an EMV chip credit card makes it next to impossible for a criminal to make a “fake” of your credit card. Magnetic stripes are easy to fake; Embedded computer chips are hard – too costly and complicated for a criminal to replicate. This is important because… image

What does this really mean for my school?

In reality, it means very little. Most studios today that are accepting credit cards have next to a zero fraud rating.

Why is that? Can you imagine a parent trying to pay for several months of classes for their son or daughter with a fake credit card? It’s practically unheard of.

This means that you can rest assured that, even if you are not taking cards in a retail setting – face-to-face with a chip-ready terminal – using batch auto payment features in popular studio management software, like ClassJuggler, won’t increase your chance of fraud. image

Besides, unless you do a lot of retail sales, you likely don’t use a terminal so don’t need to worry about chip cards. However, if you are doing a large amount of retail sales, a chip terminal will reduce or eliminate any chance of fraud.

FAQ — Understanding how PCI compliance affects your business

Here are some common questions about PCI Compliance from business owners.

What is PCI Compliance?image

PCI compliance is short for PCI DSS or “Payment card industry data security standards.” PCI standards are a set of guidelines developed by the major players in the card industry to set forth best practices in security for merchants and their customers.

Does PCI compliance apply for my business?

The compliance affects any U.S. business or organization, of any size, that accepts credit or debit cards.

What do I have to do as a merchant to become PCI compliant?

Complete a once-a-year PCI self-assessment to identify and ensure your business is compliant – to identify and ensure that you are following all of the standards and guidelines set forth in the PCI DSS compliance rules.

What procedures and policies do I need to adopt to be considered PCI compliant?

PCI Compliance is mostly common sense business practices. For example:

  • Make sure your computers do not have viruses or malware on them that could capture cardholder information.
  • Ensure your software providers are PCI compliant (and, yes, ClassJuggler is).
  • Maintain an information security policy at your business.

How do I maintain an information security policy at my business?

For example:

  • If you capture cardholder information on paper, set a policy and practice that the paper is then immediately destroyed after use, or is stored under lock and key.
  • Assure you and your employees follow PCI policies when handling a customer’s card information to prevent that information from being compromised.
  • Better yet, implement a policy whereby the majority of payments are managed directly by the customers themselves to reduce the amount of interaction with their information by you or your employees.

What are the penalties for not being PCI compliant?

  • Possible increased transaction processing fees
  • Monthly non-compliance penalty fees levied by your merchant provider
  • Suspension or loss of your merchant account
  • Penalties of $5,000 – $500,000, depending on the severity of the breachwoman_at_home_cssc

As you can see, PCI compliance is very important, so make sure to maintain your compliance.

Does all this have you questioning whether or not offering credit cards are worth it? Check out this article that answers that very question: The Top 5 Benefits of Merchant Processing for Your Business.

Also, check out How to accept credit/debit cards in your business.

Save time with our mailing labels generator

Here’s yet another cool tool built into ClassJuggler – the mailing labels generator!

ClassJuggler automates formerly difficult labeling tasks by pulling data from customer and student records. Making mailing labels has never been this easy! Included features:

  • Select from more than 20 pre-defined Avery labels.
  • Customize font, font styles, sizes, and many other layout options.
  • Save settings for each label type for unlimited variations on regular mailings.
  • Filter mailing label generation by customer statuses and types, such as balance due status, enrolled classes, student categories, and more.
  • Generate return address labels for your business.

Already a ClassJuggler customer? Here’s the step-by-step instructions to do mailing labels:

Not yet using ClassJuggler’s school or studio business management software for your business? Learn more:

Merchant Processing 101

Understanding how to accept credit/debit cards in your business

Merchant processing and the software and network providers that make it all work is a complicated topic. As a school/studio owner, you simply don’t need to know all the mumbo-jumbo mechanics of merchant processing.

You are busy enough teaching classes and running your business! So we simplify the basics right here, outlining the steps you’ll take to process a credit card payment from a customer. And if you want to simplify getting set up with merchant processing even more, contact us – we can help!

The basics

Generally, people say “merchant account” when they are talking about credit card processing. But normally, there are 3 pieces involved in merchant processing that give you the ability to take a payment from your customers:

  • The Front End – The person making the payment
  • The Middle – The gateway that is authorizing and verifying the payment
  • The Back End – Your merchant bank who moves the money into your account

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These three pieces are not necessarily things you have to purchase or manage individually. Think of them as one virtual process that is mostly invisible to you. But let’s look at each.

The Front End

At the front of every transaction you or the customer directly begin the transaction when processing a payment. The job of the front-end is to capture all of the important information about a transaction so it can be sent electronically for processing.

The front-end can be any of the following:

A physical retail card terminal – where you swipe or insert a chip card for payment. Just like the ones you see at the grocer or a card reader at a gas pump. These are not common for dance studios unless the studio is doing a lot of retail sales.

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A virtual terminal – This is simple software, usually found aqs a form on a Web site, that you fill out with all of the details of a payment for a customer to process a single payment. These, too, are rarely used by a studio/school.

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A fully integrated software frontend like ClassJuggler, which allows for additional features such as customer account history, secure card storage, recurring batch payment processing, emailed receipts, and more. This method provides the most value, time savings, and features.

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The Middle

Sitting in the middle of all transactions is the gateway. An example of a gateway company is Visa’s Authorize.Net. The gateway’s job is to validate every transaction you or your customers process.

The gateway takes the information from the frontend and then contacts the issuing bank of the customer’s credit or debit card and validates a number of important things:

  1. · Address verification
  2. · Checking to see if the card is still active and valid
  3. · Checking expiration date
  4. · Making sure the cardholder has sufficient funds to cover the payment.

The gateway then tells the front-end whether or not the transaction succeeded or failed.

All successful transactions are then held as “pending” by the gateway until the end of the day when all the transactions are “captured” and then batched together and sent to the back-end processor for funding.

The backend

The backend merchant bank or processor is a three-fold job:

  1. The backend bank/processor takes the batch file from the gateway and deposits the funds you have collected each day into your bank account.
  2. The backend processor calculates all of the fees associated with each transaction, and then typically deducts those fees daily, or at the end of each month, for the entire month’s processing.
  3. Finally, the merchant bank provides you with either a printed or online statement showing all activity and fees from your account each month.

If you’re a ClassJuggler customer, you can bring your own merchant processor or use our merchant processing service. Going through us will greatly streamline the process, at a well-negotiated processing service rate, and syncs up with your client data within ClassJuggler.  Find out more about our merchant processing tools here.

The Top 5 Benefits of Merchant Processing for Your Business

processingDebating whether or not it’s worth your time, expense, or effort to offer credit and debit card payments at your school by setting up a merchant account?

Most who do so find it’s more than worth it! Here are the top five reasons why.

1. Finally begin accepting credit cards and debit cards

While this may seem obvious, the greatest benefit a merchant account delivers is the ability to accept credit cards and debit cards instead of just cash or checks.

Today, it’s pretty much the “norm” that your customers expect to use the plastic in their card_terminalwallets (, rather than cash or check) for all kinds of transactions. Therefore, to remain competitive as a business, it’s important to provide that payment option to them.

2. Increase enrollment and sales

There was a study performed by The Sloan School of Management at MIT which revealed that customers spend more when given the option to use credit cards over cash. In fact, their research shows that customers can spend up to 100% more!

Think about the impact of this at your school. Such an increase in financial transactions would directly impact sales and overall growth of your business.

3. Enjoy the benefits of better Money management

Accepting credit cards and enabling customers to make online payments for classes significantly streamlines the way your business handles transactions. Instead of counting cash, chasing late payments, and dealing with deposits, electronic payments keep you better organized and allow for better cash flow management and budget forecasting.

Credit card transactions also help prevent customers from building large balances due to your school because of their personal fluctuating income. Instead of you carrying these due balances on their behalf, such parents can now pay their full balance to you and go into a payment program with their credit card company. After all, it’s not your business to act as their personal bank.

4. Avoid bad checks

By using merchant account services and accepting electronic payments, your business completely avoids the hassle and costs associated with bounced checks.

5. Please your customers with the added convenience

A merchant account generates happy (and family_at_computerreturning) customers simply because it gives them the flexibility to make purchases in different ways. Whether it’s with credit or debit cards, online payments or recurring billing, your customer can be at ease knowing the payment process is fast and easy!

Texting for Businesses

If you are a business, it’s important to be able to get messages quickly to your customers. For example:

  • When weather forces a class cancellation
  • To send a reminder for performers regarding which costume they need for today’s appointment
  • To make a last-minute schedule change
    Texting can be an ideal way to do this. It’s something that many business text-hand - LOWsoftware services, such as ClassJuggler, enable business owners or managers to do.

But doing it right –  using smart business  practices  for texting –  can be extremely important to make sure that the recipient  doesn’t tag your text messages as spam, which may result in the recipient or the recipient’s mobile carrier blocking all future messages you send that person. To prevent getting tagged by a customer or mobile carrier as spam, follow these…

Business Texting Best Practices

  1. Don’t include a dollar sign ($49) or percentage sign (15% off) or other finance related marketing language, such as, “Purchase today!” Doing so can get your text message blocked by the mobile carrier as marketing spam mail. Avoid using the phrase free, sale, or buy.
  2. Generally avoid using the text messaging service for marketing purposes at all. Certain government organizations have laws against using text messaging for marketing in order to protect consumers.
  3. Instead, consider texting customers as a great way to send important and timely messages to an individual or group of individuals To help with this, ClassJuggler’s texting feature allows you to filter your recipient list by class, parents versus students, date of class, and many other factors, so you can limit text messages to just those who really need to receive it.
  4. Go easy on the frequency of messages you send out. In today’s busy world, you can quickly annoy your customers by bombarding their phone with messages, which could motivate them to block your messages altogether.
  5. Also to avoid annoying customers, who may be in the middle of other important business, make sure the content of what you’re sending is actually relevant and timely to them. If it isn’t both timely and relevant, it’s better to send messages by email.
  6. Don’t use the phrase “reply STOP”
  7. Make sure to get permission from your customer to send the messages this way. An easy way to do this in ClassJuggler is to include information about your intention to do so when parents are signing up in the Parent Portal to request classes or make payments online. They will pass through screens that require the parent to click a checkmark box indicating their agreement with whatever you have written.

Following these good business practices for SMS/texting will help ensure that your phone number is not blocked by an individual recipient or by the recipient’s mobile carrier.

Learn more about the SMS text messaging in ClassJuggler’s Help. The SMS text messaging features are available in the following ClassJuggler products:

Improvements in Tuition Charge Descriptions

As part of our recent automatic (and no-charge) ClassJuggler upgrade, which included a whopping 60 updates/improvements, the Class Enrollment feature got an upgrade.

What’s new for ClassJuggler’s class enrollment tool

On student or class screens, class enrollment now gives you bonus descriptive information when you hover with your computer cursor over the description of these charges on the Customer Transaction screen. Now, an additional description appears when “mousing over” the charge description for prorated or modified class tuition at the time of enrollment.

This new description works much like the Post Tuition descriptions, but also factors in:

  • The initial posted amount
  • How the amount may or may not differ from the selected rate, calculated rate, or the first month posted fee

This feature will help you identify override amounts entered by administrators compared to the original amount that was selected and/or calculated by prorating.

You’ll find that this feature also helps you in calculating actual days a class is held for monthly and per class fee classes when looking at payroll needs for instructors.

You’ll find these improvements for all our products, including: