Tuesday, December 31, 2013

6 Tips For Safeguarding Your Personal & Financial Information

6 Tips For Safeguarding Your Personal & Financial Information

In today’s world of technology, having two or three or even five different passwords is not uncommon for accessing the many accounts you have on-line. Therefore, you should reduce your risk by being smart and taking a little extra time when setting up your on-line accounts.

Yes, you have legal rights if your information is stolen, but why would you want to go through all the hassle after the fact? Help yourself by preventing the need to jump through hoops to correct stolen information.

Here are 6 tips you should use to protect your personal information.

1.  Create unique passwords with a combination of letters, upper & lower case and numbers and special symbols if allowed.
a.      The highest level of password security is a combination of upper & lower case letters with numbers and special characters like (!@#$%^&*).
b.     You should change your passwords at least every 6 months, recommended is every 3 months. I know, it is a pain but well worth it.
c.      Never store your passwords on paper or in a computer. If you must store the passwords to remember (and only if it is absolutely necessary), use this little trick to help you remember. If your password is “Horse*91234” write (---H - - - -- - - star - - -   - - - - - -4) as a reminder or use any variation to which only you would know the answer. Using phrases or words as reminders is not always effective because we tend to give too much information in the phrase that someone may be able to figure-out.
d.     Another solution is to install a dedicated password memorization program like Roboform, KeePass, LastPass, 1Password, and Dashlane.

2.   Regularly check on your accounts online. Take 10 minutes per week to check your accounts to verify all account activity is legitimate and accurate. Spend 10 minutes now, or hours and hours later trying to correct problems. Do not wait for your month end statement to review your accounts.

3.    Set up account alerts for all your credit card and bank accounts. This is a very valuable tool that most banks and credit card companies have available to their customers today. For your bank accounts you can be notified via email, text or phone call for the following:
a.      Minimum balance reached.
b.     Withdrawals made on the account over a certain dollar amount. This can be a very useful tool but also frustrating if you use your credit cards often. However, thieves are getting smarter and they realize that charges under $50.00 are covered by the issuing bank and may not be detected by you until it is too late. Click here to see what your liability will be if your information is lost or stolen.
c.      Deposits made to the account.
d.     Available balance notification.

4.     Reconcile your accounts monthly
a.      People who don’t reconcile their accounts on a monthly basis are asking for trouble. It is not the responsibility of the financial institution to monitor your account. Many do offer some type of monitoring as an added service but it is your responsibility to know what is correct and what is not.
b.     Reconciling your account on monthly basis also helps you understand where you are spending your money which in turn will help you better budget and understand your spending habits. It will also save you some money. Do you realize how much you spend on fast food, for example?

5.     Never give out your personal information in an email or an attachment to an email. No reputable company will ever ask for personal information through an email. Transmission through a secure email link is the only time you should consider sending sensitive information in an email. 

6.     Review your credit report on a regular basis. You are allowed one free credit report yearly -- take advantage of it!  If you take the above steps to secure your personal information you should not need to enroll in services that charge you a monthly fee to monitor your credit. You should already be aware of wrongful activity on your account if you follow the advice above and put it into action.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Go Paperless, Go Green! Switch to Electronic Billing

“How can the average US business save almost a tenth of a tree each year...? By switching to electronic billing!! Electronic billing, statements, and payments save the average business 6.6 pounds of paper, avoids producing 171 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, and saves .079 of a tree annually,” reports the Pay It Green Alliance.

The hurdles to e-billing are dropping away as more businesses and consumers switch over and are able to see the time-saving benefits involved. The environmental arguments for e-billing are simple: less paper waste and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
There is so much we can do to save energy and reduce waste and everyone in the workplace can get involved. Companies like EBCS can help by enabling businesses to reduce the amount of paper used in the financial process. Huge quantities of resources are consumed by businesses each day to create and deliver paper financial documents such as invoices. This can easily be eliminated by replacing a slow, inaccurate manual process with a faster, more efficient electronic service.
Online bill paying offers convenience and also saves on cost. “Electronic bill presentment and payment via the Internet is one of the fastest-growing areas in business,” says Nick Rini, a columnist for Telephony, a trade magazine for communications service providers. “With more than 63 billion checks written annually where 80 percent is some sort of bill payment--either business-to-business or consumer-to business--substantial cash-management benefits and customer-service opportunities exist for those who use interactive billing and payment.”
One advantage of paperless billing, says Rini, is that companies can get paid faster than when they must print, fold, stuff, meter, sort and mail paper bills. Rini estimates that, in the U.S. alone, companies could save $200 million collectively each day if they switched to paperless billing. “The obvious cost savings come from decreasing, and eventually eliminating, printing and mailing expenses,” says Rini, adding that companies usually pay between 75 cents and $2.00 for each document generated and mailed. Meanwhile, the same companies end up paying another $1.25 for each paper check payment they must process, which could almost all be eliminated through online bill payment.
Large companies like PG&E have reported that using electronic billing to process payments has had an enormously positive effect in terms of helping the environment. Last year, PG&E sent 20.5 million eBills to their customers, and reported on saving approximately 27.7 tons of paper, 540,000 gallons of water, 47,000 pounds of solid waste, and 138,000 pounds of greenhouse gases.
Forward-thinking companies are leading the way with electronic billing by cutting costs, saving time, and helping to save the environment.
If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of converting to automated electronic billing, click on our logo below to check out the News tab on our web site, and take a few minutes to read NACHA's White Paper, about why small businesses have been slow to adopt this more cost-effective platform for collecting revenue:  


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

'A Labour of Love, Not Money' and the Profitability of Boarding Barns

It's no secret that equine boarding operations often struggle with maintaining a high-level of profitability. With all the costs that go into the daily care and maintenance of the animals, being profitable can be a challenge.

One of the major issues owners deal with is the emotionally draining and difficult task of contending patiently and tactfully with borders’ concerns and complaints. This doesn't include the problem individuals and/or horses that arise. Boarding barn owners have to do this all while making sure that boarders pay their bills on time so they can pay their overhead and bills. This can be stressful and overwhelming, and although keeping overhead costs down should be a priority, it is commonly put on the back-burner so that the "personal needs" of boarders can be dealt with first.

The good news is, there are ways to help manage these problems and help alleviate some stress for boarding barn owners, and EBCS is one of them!

While still giving you full-access to the information, EBCS can manage your billing and follow-up on late payments, so you can focus your time on the other pressing matters of the facility. We can take away the emotional stress of having to track down clients and ask for money among other things. We offer multiple payment options, flexible drafting dates for ease of budgeting, auto-debit transactions for the clients'-ease, and much more!

Visit our website and contact us to find out more and see how we can help you:  https://www.ebcs-solutions.com/node/7981094


To view the article entitled, 'A Labour of Love, Not Money, Running a Boarding Barn,' to find out more about the difficulties boarding barns face, click HERE


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Reputation is Everything

Who ever heard of a third-party billing and collecting company with only one customer complaint in 26 years? Nobody, right? Well...wrong.  That only-one-complaint company is Maryland's own Electronic Billing & Customer Support.  Read on.

Billing Companies & Complaints: Two Peas in a Pod, Unfortunately
reputation is everythingThird-party billing companies don't always have the best reputation...and that's an understatement!  They're sometimes slapped with labels as negative as "shady" and even "sleazy," if you go by the reviews posted on consumer complaint web sites such as ripoffreport.com, mythreecents.com, and pissedconsumer.com, among others.  And if you check the Better Business Bureau web site for ratings on various billing companies, your eyes might pop out of your head!  You will see astronomical numbers of complaints filed in just the past three years alone.  In fact, most of the companies whose BBB profiles we checked had complaints numbering in the hundreds.  One large and well-known billing company accumulated over 750 complaints in the last few years.  Another third-party biller, Vantiv, made the news this past summer when it overcharged Gold's Gym members in California by thousands of dollars -- they forgot to enter a decimal point!  Oops.  (http://consumerist.com/2013/07/26/gym-payment-processor-forgets-decimal-point-terrifies-members/). 

The Exception: Our Reputation Means A Lot to Us!
And then there is EBCS.  That's us.  We've been in business since 1986, and we are the company with the freakiest stats of them all: one complaint in 26 years. And guess what?  Like Vantiv, we do payment processing for lots of fitness facilities with lots of members -- meaning lots of opportunities for errors and complaints...but we haven't had such problems.

Now, if you don't believe me, you can go look it up for yourself:  http://www.bbb.org/greater-maryland/business-reviews/billing-service/electronic-billing-and-customer-support-in-timonium-md-20000913.  Oh.  And you can also go ahead and try to find us on all those angry consumer sites listed above.   We won't be there.

Our Staff is Our Strength
Needless to say, we are pretty proud of that, especially given the nature of our business.  We process a high volume of payments every month, and we deal with customers all day long, working to straighten out issues with returns, declines, and late payments.  Sensitive stuff...and the kind of topic that isn't likely to win anyone lots of fans.  However, our clients and their customers love our staff for their courtesy and professionalism.  Our Client Services Manager, Janice - and our entire customer service team - really know how to provide lots of "TLC" to anyone and everyone who calls.  The walls of Janice's office, as a matter of fact, are decorated with photos and personal notes from her adoring fan club of EBCS clients...no kidding (photo of Janice's office to be posted soon!)

We Help A Wide Variety of Businesses -- We Can Help Yours, Too
EBCS can help you reduce costs, stabilize your revenue stream, improve cash flow, and enhance your efficiency, all with an eye to detail and accuracy that is unmatched in the payment processing industry.  Our clients come from a wide variety of businesses -- health and fitness facilities, martial arts and MMA schools, dance studios, accounting agencies, veterinary clinics, equine businesses, exterminators, landscapers, day care centers...heck, we do franchise billing and COBRA billing too!! Our clients enjoy the benefits of outsourcing their recurring billing and payment plan processing to a trusted service provider, without having to sacrifice the peace of mind that goes with knowing their transactions are always safe and secure.  You too, can adopt their motto: "Do your best and outsource the rest!"

So...if you are looking to outsource your recurring billing, payment plan processing, or database management tasks, be sure to consider Electronic Billing & Customer Support.  When it comes to handling your money and your customers, you deserve a company with a top-notch rating (A+ from the BBB.)  We consider ourselves an extension of your business, so we settle for nothing less than representing you with the utmost care and concern for your reputation.

Join Our Fan Club!
Visit our web site at www.ebcs-solutions.com, or give us a call at 410-252-9206 (locally in Maryland) or 1-800-766-1918.  We would love to create a custom billing solution for your business.  And of course,  Janice is waiting to welcome you into her fan club!


Monday, October 28, 2013

Article: 'Top Five Mistakes Boarding Stables Make'

Here at EBCS, we understand how difficult it can be to run a horse boarding facility, keep the horses healthy, the clients happy, and keep accurate track of the financials of the business. 
Today's article we would like to share talks about the top five mistakes boarding stables often make. One of these, which we see all too often, is letting late payments get out of control. With all the day-to-day tasks boarding facility managers are responsible for, sometimes keeping track of payments is the last thing on their minds.  

There is good news! Boarding facilities can stop making these mistakes and EBCS is part of the solution! We can help start a payment plan system to make it easy for clients to pay, collect on past due accounts and more! We do this to help our clients, all while they maintain total control of their payment plans. We are here to help ease the financial stress boarding facility managers may face! To find out more information, or to contact us, please visit:  https://www.ebcs-solutions.com/


Monday, October 14, 2013

Billing Solutions for the Equine Industry...Yes, they DO exist!

If you run a boarding stable, you know all too well how hard it can sometimes be to collect board payments on time.  And most boarders still pay by personal check.  Maybe you mail out invoices; maybe you just wait for your boarders to drop off a check when they come by to ride or tend to their horses.  And maybe you've been wishing for an easier way to deal with all of this.


Automate Boarding Payments Without All The Hassle

Well, now you have an easier way: EBCS can do it all for you! We can set your boarders up on automatic payments.  Since board payments are usually a recurring monthly charge, this is simple for us to do.  And we're sure your boarders will love the convenience and flexibility of being able to debit their checking or savings account, or bill directly to their credit card (and you don't have to worry about swiping credit cards at your barn, where equipment gets all dusty!)  You also won't have to go through the hassle of applying for a merchant account or jumping through all the data security hoops that credit card companies demand these days.  At EBCS, we've already got that covered!  You don't  have to do anything...except get paid on time, every time.

Professional, Courteous Follow-up on Failed Transactions

And in the event that a boarder's payment is returned or declined, you don't have to worry about chasing after the money.  For one thing, if you are busy taking care of a barn full of horses, or running a lesson program, you don't have time to do that.  Secondly, it can be kind of uncomfortable to have these kinds of awkward discussions with your boarders.  You can avoid all of this by letting our professional customer service reps handle these sticky situations.  They can expertly handle delicate financial situations, while you can relax and continue to enjoy a positive relationship with your boarders.

Customized Boarding Contracts

EBCS can even help you design boarding contracts that incorporate your boarders' banking or credit card
information, so you can set them up on automatic payments from the get-go.  If you already have a boarding contract that you're using, we can help you revise it.  And we can design easy enrollment forms to get your existing boarders on an automatic payment program.

Special Charges for Grooming, De-worming, Holding for Vet/Farrier Etc.

If you offer special services for your boarders for an extra fee, that's no problem.  We can handle that too, so if you need to add a charge for de-worming, grooming, or anything else, we can make that easy for you.

Your Boarders Will Love the Convenience and Flexibility

With 6 different debit dates to choose from, your boarders can select a date that works with their personal budget.  Or you can decide which debit dates you'd like to offer.  Either way, no one is forced into accepting a  billing date that doesn't work for them.

Worry About Your Horses and Boarders, Not About Getting Your Money

EBCS will handle your boarders accounts from top to bottom, and all you have to do is sit back and relax.  You will always have 24/7 access to all billing information through our Online Client Portal.  You have access to payment histories, delinquency reports, remittance reports, and individual boarder account information.  You can even create your own customized reports if you'd like. 

Online Portal For BoardersToo

The same feature is available to your boarders through our Online Customer Portal.  Boarders can view and print payment history, update their billing or personal information, or even make a payment on their account.  All without a single interruption to you during your busy day!

Call us today for more information.  At EBCS, we believe collecting your board should be as easy as riding a push-button horse! 1-800-766-1918, ext. 106.  Talk to Suzanne...she is our resident horse expert who can help you design the ideal billing solution for your barn.  She would love to hear all about your horses, too!


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

EBCS Offers Simple, Cost-Effective Payment Plan Solutions for Veterinarians

To Your Veterinary Clients

  • When clients are equipped with the ability to pay, pets receive improved care, veterinarians can offer high-quality medical care, and business profitability improves* 

  • Veterinary clients identified availability of payment options as a significant factor in determining their level of satisfaction*

  •  46% of dog owners & 44% of cat owners stated they would be more likely to take their pet to the vet more often “if I had a payment plan where I would be billed in equal monthly installments”* 
                                                                                                 *Source:  Bayer/Brakke Veterinary Care Usage Study, 2011

EBCS can assist your practice with these concerns.
We offer: 
  • Payment plan management for valued clients needing alternative payment options
  • Recurring payments via automatic debits to client's checking, savings or credit card
  • Instant credit & payment plan recommendations
  • Full customer service support, including follow-up on late or returned payments
  • Payment recovery attempts up to 120 days, at a fraction of collection agency fees
  • Simple, time-efficient forms for easy set-up of payment plans by front desk staff
  • Online portal for web access to client account information and reports
  • Automatic deposits into your practice bank account
  • No software to buy, integrate or learn...we do it all!   

All of these services at no cost to your practice.*
Can you afford not to call us? 

For more information, call us at 410-252-9206 or 800-766-1918
E-mail:  Suzanne Cannon, Equine & Veterinary Client Services

* For credit & payment plan recommendations there is a one-time set up fee & a nominal per-transaction charge for each credit inquiry


Since 1986