Small Business Payment Solutions

In our new series, Small Business Huddle, the Sphere team shares insights and tips that help small to medium sized businesses stay ahead of the game.

 

In times like these, small businesses must quickly and efficiently adapt the ways they sell their goods and servicesIn a broad effort to protect the public, we have seen so many industries affected by government, city and other civic agencies restrictions due to the COVID-19. Here are ways small businesses can adapt and accept payments electronically using the Sphere solutions you have available today when cash isn’t an optionThese include 

  • Virtual Terminal – secure, web-based application that lets you enter in credit card and ACH details manually. 
  • Hostepayment pages – through a simple integration, this solution directs a customer to a secure payments page to enter their credit card information, which is securely hosted within a Sphere environment. The credit card information never touches your systems. 
  • Mobile payment acceptance – these solutions let you take payments via your mobile phone. 

Anytime, anywhere, Sphere provides secure and compliant payment acceptance.  

Many organizations and businesses are already adjusting to these major and sudden shifts in consumer behavior. Here are some great examples: 

  • Restaurants: From Dining Rooms to Delivery and Curbside Pick-up 

Restaurants are having to mobilize their businesses quickly, closing dining rooms and pivoting to delivery and curb side pickup options.  Today’s smart terminals offer many features and operate on wireless networks. These terminals can help businesses become more mobile, for example Poynt 5, VitalSelect, and CardFlight.

  • Cashless Consumers: Mostly Cashless to Nearly Zero Cash 

It’s no secret that cash has historically carried an elevated level of germs and with the world on high alert, consumers have turned to avoiding cash more than ever in favor of electronic, credit card payment methods. Through Sphere Merchant Services, businesses can implement contactless options via terminals that accept Apple Pay, Google Pay, and NFC capabilities In addition, Sphere’s Virtual Terminal and gateway solutions enable businesses to accept card not present payments over the phone. 

  • Charity Events and Church Services: Collection Plates to Donate Now Buttons 

Church services and charitable events across the US have largely been suspended in favor of social distancing. While religious organizations have mostly pivoted to online gatherings, they may struggle to collect donations from a congregation that is used to passing around a collection plate in person.  

Through a web-based gateway, churches and other charitable organizations can begin to collect donations online while donor events are largely suspended for the time being.  

Sphere’s partner, Qgiv, offers easy to set up and use online donation and fundraising solutions. 

  • Small Businesses: Store Fronts to Websites and Virtual Services 

All non-essential businesses have been closing their doors to in-person foot traffic. Small businesses without a web presence will need to adopt online or mobile payment channels quickly. We are seeing a trend in offering services performed traditionally in-person shift to online technologies. For example, tutoring sessions, yoga classes and music lessons can be offered virtually. In these examples, the provider needs a payment method that can work in this new environment where there is not a card present.  

This environment is requiring business to adapt quickly and our team wants to help you pursue business continuity no matter the circumstance. We are offering complementary consultations on all payment solutions. Call today. US Merchants 855.426.6842, Option 2; Canadian Merchants 855.330.7057, Option 2

The Nilson Report, a leading publication covering payment systems worldwide, recently published an article on Sphere’s integration with VisitPay.

Click to read the full article.

Below is an excerpt.

Text to Pay in Healthcare

In 2000, the out-of-pocket expense for medical services received by workers with employer-provided health insurance ranged from 2.5% to 5% of the yearly total. In 2020, individuals with employer-provided or private insurance will be responsible for 20% to 35% of the cost of the healthcare they receive. For providers of healthcare, particularly hospitals connected to physician groups and a full range of related service providers, this means that 20% to 35% of their total revenue must be collected directly from the consumer.

Managing payments for large integrated healthcare providers is the business of VisitPay, formed 10 years ago by former Capital One credit card executives. Its software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based VisitPay platform is provided on a white-label basis at the website of the healthcare provider. It combines charges from hospitals and physician groups to present a single invoice to the patient, minus any payments covered by insurance companies.

Chief Product Officer & Co-Founder of  VisitPay
This is a guest post from the team at VisitPay.

See how Sphere and VisitPay enable health systems to meet consumer expectations through Text to Pay. 

In this Q&A, Vincent Martino, Chief Product Officer & Co-Founder of  VisitPay, talks about the impact of the partnership on the patient financial experience.

Why is it important to offer financial support to patients via their mobile devices?

Vincent Martino: Offering mobile-enabled tools to manage and self-service healthcare billing obligations has become a baseline capability for any financial engagement strategy. Demand for a text to pay solution is clear through our continual extensive consumer research. In fact, about 50% of our VisitPay platform logins today are from a mobile device with some of our clients seeing that number approach 60%.

Many variables determine how patients manage bills and the best way to engage with these patients. Because patient preferences vary so broadly, health systems need to consistently provide patient-tailored and accurate financial information across multiple channels of communication. A one-size-fits-all billing strategy lacks the flexibility and personalization required to meet people where they are in their lives.

Now that many people – and not just younger generations – manage their lives through their mobile devices, more consumers expect to be able to manage their healthcare needs anywhere, anytime, and on their own terms. Most industries, including healthcare, are investing considerable resources to reach and engage with consumers through mobile devices.

Why is Sphere the right partner for VisitPay and how can this partnership benefit health systems and their patients?

Martino: We view Sphere as a market leader in payments technology, security and compliance. We’ve been working with Sphere for over six years to process payments securely on behalf of our health system clients. Together, we have launched a mobile payments solution called Text to Pay, which allows health systems to securely accept patient payments through text messages while integrating seamlessly with existing EMR platforms, like Epic. This solution gives patients an additional, convenient way to pay their healthcare bills.

What kind of health system can VisitPay and Sphere best serve?

Martino: Both VisitPay and Sphere are adept at serving large, multi-facility health systems. At VisitPay, we serve some of the largest health systems in the nation including Intermountain Healthcare, Texas Health Resources, Henry Ford, and Inova. These healthcare organizations typically already have a patient payment approach in place and are looking to open up new channels to collect payment easily and in a way that’s convenient for the patient. Another important aspect for our clients is that our platform is tightly integrated into their existing EMR providing ease for staff and a unified experience for patients.

How does it work and what are the key capabilities of Text to Pay?

Martino: The patient begins by opting into Text to Pay and storing a secure payment method. VisitPay monitors all billing activity and sends an automated notification via SMS when there is a new balance to pay. The system provides a great deal of flexibility in that patients can actually pay one or more balances at a time. For example, they can pay full or partial balances, create payments over time and set a payment threshold.

The system also has intelligence built in and uses automated text bot responses based on what the patient is trying to do. This gives the patient on-demand information should questions emerge while making payments. These text bots also share important information that a patient might require during the process, reducing the need to contact the health system call center.

All messaging to the patient, as well as text frequency, is customizable by the health system and configurable by the user.

How does Text to Pay help health system operations?

Martino: When patients are given self service tools, inbound calls to the health system drop significantly. Calls to make payments over the phone  become  less frequent, and fewer questions arise about how much patients owe since patient’s have insight and clarity around their bills.

An additional way Text to Pay supports health system operations is by having all payments automatically post back to the core billing system. This alleviates any need for manual intervention typically required for payment posting by revenue cycle staff. We also have created advanced proprietary logic to ensure no credit balances are created like many manual and automated payment methods do today.

What are the financial benefits for the health system offering Text to Pay? 

Martino: One of the biggest advantages of Text to Pay for a health system is getting paid faster. Text to Pay is based on automated alerts to patients, who naturally pay faster because notifications come directly to their phone, the device through which they manage their everyday lives. They schedule appointments, plan their social lives, order products and services, and manage their money through their phones. We know that patients are very responsive to texts and through the Text to Pay solution they will be alerted once their balance becomes known. With patients paying faster we anticipate days AR to go down.

How hard is it for a health system to implement Text to Pay?

Martino: We’ve designed this to be very easy to implement. It’s meant to be fully complementary to existing tools so it can be plugged into any existing payment portal, including MyChart. It doesn’t disturb or disrupt any payment solution already in place today. Additionally, deployments are easy. Some basic data is needed from the health system before automated notifications to patients can begin, and in turn we send data back to the health system for posting and reconciliation purposes . This can all be done in real time if the health system has those capabilities.

How can Text to Pay positively affect the patient’s financial experience?

Martino: There are patients who want a fast, flexible experience and are comfortable paying from their phones.  Text to Pay meets these patients where they are and in how they want to pay. We know that when patients are given options on how to pay, net promoter scores increase which in turn generates loyalty between patient and health system.

How does Text to Pay fit into and complement the broader VisitPay solution?

Martino: Text to Pay is one component of a much larger patient financial experience platform that incorporates machine learning, advanced analytics and the ability to capture data across ambulatory and acute-care billing systems. Through all our products, health systems can surface granular insights into patient preferences and expectations. This gives them the ability to present the right offer at the right time to each unique patient, while adhering to the health system’s policies. This ultimately drives higher patient satisfaction along with higher payments.

See Text to Pay in Action

To learn more about Text to Pay, click here to set up some time with a Solutions Consultant. If you are going to be at HIMSS, stop by booth #2488 to see it in action.

 

Solution enables health systems to meet consumer expectations for mobile payments while complementing EMR functionality.

Nashville, TN, February 27, 2020Sphere, Powered By TrustCommerce, a leading provider of end-to-end integrated payments and security software, today announced a new collaboration with VisitPay, the leader in patient financial engagement. Together, they have launched a mobile payments solution called Text to Pay, which offers healthcare providers the ability to securely offer and accept patient payments through text messages. This innovative solution complements existing payment channels already in place to give patients an additional, convenient way to pay their healthcare bills.

Offering mobile-enabled tools for patients to manage and self-service their medical expenses is essential for healthcare providers. With the rise of high-deductible health plans and co-pays, patients today are responsible for a greater percentage of their healthcare bills. Further, consumers’ perceptions of their healthcare experience are heavily influenced by the level of transparency and convenience provided by the billing experience. People manage their lives through their mobile devices and healthcare is no different. Consumers expect to manage their healthcare needs anywhere, anytime.

Consumers are already demonstrating their preference for mobile channels. Up to 60 percent of VisitPay platform logins are now made through a mobile device, and rapid adoption of this new Text to Pay solution is expected. “Our patients are looking for mobile payment solutions,” commented Mike Weed, senior vice president of financial operations at INTEGRIS Health. “It is important that healthcare financial leaders meet consumer expectations for a contemporary financial experience.”

To meet this demand, Text to Pay combines Sphere’s leading secure payments platform with VisitPay’s patient-centric expertise in a first of a kind solution to enable health systems to take payments over SMS without exposing any sensitive card or patient information, and utilizing a card token already collected from the patient. Without needing to download another app, consumers can pay single visits or multiple visits at a time, using credit, debit, or ACH. Payments are posted automatically to the corresponding visit in the billing system, ensuring convenience and efficiency for the provider revenue cycle team.

“Through our partnership with Sphere we can help health systems offer convenient and secure payment channels to their patients,” said Kent Ivanoff, chief executive officer of VisitPay. “Mobile access to the VisitPay platform already exceeds traditional desktop usage in some regions of the US. Text to Pay is an important solution for health systems looking to meet consumers where they are, without disrupting the core EMR environment.”

“As the payments ecosystem continues to expand and extend to new frontiers, security has to be first and foremost,” said Anthony Lucatuorto, chief revenue officer of Sphere. “We have deep experience working within EHRs like Epic and are excited to offer this complementary solution that will help our clients by integrating with their existing platform in a secure and compliant way.”

Sphere and VisitPay serve many of the most recognized large, integrated health systems composed of acute facilities, ambulatory service, and every physician specialty. VisitPay’s clients represent a total of $60 billion in annual net patient revenue.

Visit booth #2488 to see the Text to Pay demo during HIMSS Global Health Conference & Exhibition, March 9-13, 2020 in Orlando.

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About Sphere
Sphere, powered by TrustCommerce, is a software and financial technology company providing integrated solutions that reduce friction and facilitate better and more secure commercial interactions with customers in specialized verticals markets, primarily healthcare, non-profit, transportation and education. Sphere’s integrated payments technology and security software enable its clients to process payments in a way that is highly secure and compliant, integrated with their core business software, omnichannel, and processor-neutral. Sphere’s partner-centric focused payments solutions serve small, midsize and enterprise level businesses and software companies in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn. For news and thought leadership, visit the Sphere Blog.
About VisitPay
Founded in 2010, VisitPay is the leader in patient financial engagement. The company’s cloud-based platform is used by the nation’s largest and most innovative health systems to deliver transparency, choice and control to patients managing healthcare payments and transactions. Through VisitPay, patients can access a comprehensive accounting of their financial obligations, as well as critical health plan and healthcare information, via a health system-branded portal. VisitPay’s proprietary analytics tailor consistent and fully compliant financing options that meet the unique needs of patients and their families, creating a simplified billing experience that drives both higher payment rates and improved patient satisfaction scores. VisitPay’s investors include Norwest Venture Partners, Flare Capital Partners and Ascension Ventures. For more information about VisitPay, visit www.visitpay.com. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn. Visit our Company Blog to access case studies, thought leadership and news.

This is a guest post from our non-profit partner Qgiv

Hospitals and other healthcare organizations work day and night to ensure they offer the best service and medical experience for everyone involved. Because health organizations are often busy with a never-ending flow of patients and high-intensity tasks, they often don’t have time to really think about their own needs.

That is why healthcare fundraising is crucial for health organizations. Running a medical-based organization takes an incredible amount of resources. You need a great fundraising program in order to support your foundation’s philanthropic goals, serving your community and staff.  

Sphere is proud to partner with Qgiv and is working toward making fundraising accessible and meaningful for health organizations. With Qgiv’s comprehensive fundraising platform, healthcare fundraisers can oversee the entire donation process, engage with past patients and active supporters, and boost their overall fundraising revenue.

Ensure your health organization has all the resources it needs! Here are some ways you can use Qgiv to supplement your healthcare team’s fundraising efforts; you can:

  • Securely process online donations.
  • Engage donors with peer-to-peer fundraising.
  • Invite top supporters to a hospital fundraising gala.
  • Motivate giving with text fundraising.
  • Easily oversee capital campaigns.

Read on to learn about how you can take advantage of Qgiv’s software and increase fundraising for your health organization. Let’s get started!

Securely process online donations.

These days, offering online donations is more of a necessity than a nice bonus. According to PewResearch, 90% of Americans are active Internet users—your potential donors are active on the Internet! Additionally, the last thing on your patrons’ minds is making a stop at the donation office to drop off a check while they’re in your hospital. An online donation might be the only way they’d make a gift.

With fundraising software like Qgiv, processing online donations and gifts have never been easier. You can customize the online donation form to a specific campaign and even brand it to your health organization with your unique colors and your logo.

With these other features, your online donation form will encourage donors to complete that donation:

  • Easy-to-use form builder. You don’t have to be a coder to create the perfect donation form for your healthcare organization. The form builder makes it easy to customize your donation form so you always get critical donor information without wasting your donor’s time with unnecessary fields.
  • Recurring gift options. Donors often want to thank your health organization in a generous way, but can’t afford to do so all at once. Include a recurring gifts option so donors can space out their contributions in a way that’s convenient for them. Recurring donations have the added benefit of providing is consistent, predictable support for your health organization.
  • Suggested giving amounts. This is a great way to inspire your donors to give a little more than they might have originally. Sometimes, a potential donor won’t know exactly how much to donate, get overwhelmed trying to make a choice, and end up closing the window without making a gift. Offer a few suggested giving amounts with associated impact statements to help them decide how much to give and show them what their money can achieve.
  • GiftAssist. When someone makes an online donation, the nonprofit has to pay a processing fee. With Qgiv’s GiftAssist, donors can choose to offset that fee by adding a couple of dollars to their gift. This is a popular option! Right now, around 55% of donors make this additional gift if their favorite nonprofit gives them the opportunity.
  • Secure payment processing. You can use Qgiv and Sphere payment solutions together for safe, secure payments. Qgiv was the first online fundraising software to become Level 1 PCI Compliant, so you know your donors’ financial information is in safe hands.  Qgiv’s top-notch security is reinforced by their streamlined forms that can be branded to match your individual nonprofit.

Qgiv not only gives you the tools to create the online donation form that suits your efforts best, it also empowers your donors with multiple fundraising options and facilitates them in a safe and secure way.

Engage donors with peer-to-peer fundraising.

A great way for hospitals and other healthcare organizations to raise support is to run a peer-to-peer fundraising (P2P) campaign. A P2P campaign is especially great for healthcare organizations that engage volunteers; each volunteer likely has their own personal story about how they’re connected to your institution. Let your supporters express this to their own network of friends and family and fundraise on your health organization’s behalf!

Though you can technically conduct P2P campaigns without any outside tools, most nonprofit organizations will invest in a platform specifically for these efforts. With a fundraising solution like Qgiv, you also have access to their top peer-to-peer features. When you use their peer-to-peer platform, you can:

  • Give each P2P volunteer their own branded online donation page. Customize these pages to fit your overall campaign, then let each volunteer add their own photos, testimonials, and stories about why your health organization and fundraiser is important to them. This way, their own friends and family instantly feel more connected to your cause because they share a personal link to your work.
  • Encourage more fundraising with gamification elements. Qgiv gives you the tools to motivate your volunteer fundraisers, including a leaderboard showing top fundraisers, fundraising thermometers, fundraising badges, and more. When P2P volunteers see how close they are to being first in the leaderboard or see how much money is left until your end goal, they’re encouraged to stay active in the fundraising process.
  • Each P2P volunteer can easily share their individual fundraising page on social media and can even schedule posts in advance. You can make sharing on social media even easier for your participants; Qgiv provides the option to built pre-written social post templates that can be tweaked and published by individual users.
  • Monitor all fundraising activities from one central platform. Qgiv’s control panel allows you to oversee your fundraising participants, their teams, and your progress in real-time.

Empower your supporters by letting them fundraise for you. Just ask VISTE! VISTE, Volunteers in Service to the Elderly, is an organization that helps the elderly travel to doctor appointments, provides in-home meals and food, and more. With Qgiv’s tools, they were able to raise around $30,000 during their last peer-to-peer campaign.

Invite top supporters to a hospital fundraising gala.

Hospitals and other health organizations often host live fundraising galas in order to raise awareness for a cause, collect money for a project, announce an exciting change, or recognize their top donors.

But managing registration, planning the gala festivities, and ensuring each guest is properly engaged, can make event preparation a long and difficult process.

Take the stress out of planning and managing your hospital fundraising gala with Qgiv’s event management software. Consider how these top features can elevate your fundraising gala:

  • A variety of registration options to meet the needs of all your supporters. Let people register in groups (like for a family) or as individuals! You can also create certain packages for guests registering as a table and even offer discounts and promo codes to top supporters.
  • Social sharing options on your event form. Make it easy for potential guests to share your event with their friends and family.
  • Easily-incorporated auction features with Qgiv’s auction tool. By including a silent auction element in your gala, you can auction off interesting items and let your guests bid in real-time (from their phones). Qgiv’s mobile app makes it easy to streamline the registration, check-in, and post-auction checkout process.

A live fundraising event is a great way to bring together your supporters and donors and remind them of the good your healthcare organization has accomplished! Make sure you have all the necessary tools to plan this quickly and efficiently.

Motivate giving with text fundraising.

One of the best ways to increase fundraising for any nonprofit organization is to provide multiple giving channels for different groups of donors. A popular channel includes mobile solutions for giving. Another PewResearch study found that 96% of Americans own mobile phones. A vast majority of people have near-constant access to mobile phones and are highly likely to use a tool like mobile giving.

Qgiv has dedicated software to make text fundraising and mobile giving as easy as possible for nonprofit fundraisers and donors alike. Your healthcare organization can take advantage of different types of text fundraising that Qgiv supports:

  1. Text-to-Donate: This simple donation method involves donors initiating a gift via texting a campaign keyword to a designated shortcode. Donors enter the amount they want to give and are presented with a link to a mobile form to officially complete the gift.
  2. Outbound Text Messages: Outbound text messaging is a powerful way to make urgent requests, share information about upcoming events, remind donors to finish their mobile gift, or provide updates on a fundraising campaign. Qgiv’s outbound text messaging tool makes it easy to build and manage lists so you can reach the right donors at the right time.
  3. Bill-to-Carrier Text Donations. This traditional text giving style involves a donor sending a keyword to a text shortcode. Instead of finishing their transaction on a mobile donation form, the predetermined donation amount is billed to the donor’s cell phone bill. Later, their carrier transfers the donation to the charitable organization.

Text-based mobile fundraising is not only simple to set up but also gives your donors a chance to give wherever and whenever they want to.

Easily facilitate capital campaigns.

Hospitals and other health organizations often need to raise money for larger projects like building renovations or new medical tech. Those large campaigns usually require large-scale fundraising efforts that involve more than just a simple online donation page. This is where capital campaigns come in.

A capital campaign is a focused effort to raise a sizable amount of money within a certain timeframe. This type of campaign usually funds high-cost changes that will help your organization run more efficiently and continue to offer the highest quality services. It often takes years to reach a capital campaign’s fundraising goal.

Capital campaigns typically include multiple fundraising efforts, including events, online and offline fundraising, and text-fundraising channels. That is why a comprehensive solution like Qgiv might be the best choice for this kind of large-scale campaign. Your healthcare organization can integrate the software with your CRM and:

  • Capture the necessary donor information. Using your online donation forms, event registration pages, and other giving methods, you can accurately record each donation with the appropriate details alongside it. You’ll gradually build a list of people who supported this capital campaign, which will leave you plenty of opportunities for future engagement. For instance, prioritize engagements with those who gave substantial gifts to see if they could be cultivated into becoming major gifts donors.
  • Keep up communication with donors. As the campaign progresses, use the donor data in your CRM to continue donor engagements, including thank-you messaging, progress updates, and more. You can even send them matching gift information if you think their gift can be doubled by their employer.
  • Vary your fundraising efforts. Get creative with your capital campaign! You can conduct peer-to-peer campaigns, start a mobile fundraiser, and even host an auction! No matter what you choose to do, all that data will be safely centralized in your CRM to review it whenever you want.
  • Review campaign progress in real-time. Use Qgiv to create custom reports and track specific statistics so you can see how you’re doing as the campaign progresses. You can also use Qgiv’s FundHub tool to aggregate data from individual campaign events, donation forms, text keywords, and more. Getting a birds-eye view of all your fundraising activity will help you identify areas to improve and track which methods are performing best.

With Qgiv on your side, you’ll be able to successfully manage your entire capital campaign from one place and easily pinpoint areas for improvement or of success. Reach your fundraising goal and help your capital campaign objective come to fruition with this comprehensive solution.

Sphere is pleased to announce that Dr. Heather Mark, Director of Compliance and Security at Sphere will present an informative webinar on data privacy for Qgiv, leading provider of fundraising technology.

In this webinar, Dr. Mark will share practical strategies to help non-profit organizations keep donor data safe. You will learn:

  • The ins and outs of current data privacy laws, such as GDPR and CPPA, and what they mean for nonprofits
  • How to protect your organization’s reputation with proactive privacy policies
  • Tips for ensuring everyone—including volunteers—is up to speed on data protection

Join this webinar to learn how to keep your organization (and your donors!) safe.

The webinar takes place February 4, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. EST. Register today!

The Sphere teams will be out and about at a variety of payments and industry events. Stop by and see us! Learn more about our end-to-end integrated payment solutions, security software, payments gateway and merchant acquiring products and services.

HFMA Symposium Region 10

January 12-15, 2020 | Las Vegas

 

WRUG Winter Conference

February 20-21, 2020 | San Diego

HIMSS20

March 9-13, 2020 | Orlando

Visit us at Booth #2488

Parking Industry Exhibition

March 22-25, 2020 | San Diego

OCHIN Learning Forum

April 27-29, 2020 | Portland

As Council’s Newest Participating Organization Sphere to Contribute to The Development of PCI Security Standards 

Nashville, TN, November 25, 2019 — Sphere, the leading provider of end-to-end integrated payments and security software, announced today that it has joined the PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) as a new Participating Organization. Sphere will work with the PCI SSC to help secure payment data worldwide through the ongoing development and adoption of the PCI Security Standards.

The PCI SSC leads a global, cross-industry effort to increase payment security by providing flexible, industry-driven and effective data security standards and programs. The keystone is the PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which provides an actionable framework for developing a robust payment card data security process and preventing, detecting and mitigating criminal attacks and breaches.

“We have tremendous respect for the work of the PCI SSC, and for the organizations that have worked to continuously evolve the PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) to meet the changing threat landscape encountered within the payments system,” said Dr. Heather Mark, Ph.D., Director of Compliance and Security at Sphere.  “I’m excited that Sphere is joining their effort to further the protection of payment account data.”

As a Participating Organization, Sphere adds its voice to the standards development process and will collaborate with a growing community of more than 800 Participating Organizations to improve payment security worldwide. Sphere will also have the opportunity to recommend new initiatives for consideration to the PCI Security Standards Council and share cross-sector experiences and best practices at the annual PCI Community Meetings.

“In an era of increasingly sophisticated attacks on systems, PCI Security Standards and resources help organizations secure payment data and prevent, detect and mitigate attacks that can lead to costly data breaches,” said Mauro Lance, Chief Operating Officer of the PCI Security Standards Council. “By joining as a Participating Organization, Sphere demonstrates they are playing an active part in improving payment security globally by helping drive awareness and adoption of PCI Security Standards.”

“We are excited to demonstrate Sphere’s commitment to security and compliance through our participation in the PCI SSC.  Through our participation, we hope to be able to work towards a safer, more secure payments ecosystem, which serves to benefit us all,” said Steve Rizzuto, Chief Executive Officer of Sphere.

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About the PCI Security Standards Council
The PCI Security Standards Council is a global forum that is responsible for the development, management, education, and awareness of the PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and other standards that increase payment data security. Connect with the PCI Council on LinkedIn. Join the conversation on Twitter @PCISSC. Subscribe to the PCI Perspectives Blog.
About Sphere
Sphere, powered by TrustCommerce, is a software and financial technology company providing integrated solutions that reduce friction and facilitate better and more secure commercial interactions with customers in specialized verticals markets, primarily healthcare, non-profit, transportation and education. Sphere’s integrated payments technology and security software enable its clients to process payments in a way that is: highly secure and compliant, integrated with their core business software, omnichannel, and processor-neutral. Sphere’s partner-centric focused payments solutions serve small, midsize and enterprise level businesses and software companies in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Connect with us on Twitter, and LinkedIn.

 

Media contacts

Sphere                                                                      PCI Security Standards Council
Melody Hendricks                                                       Lindsay Goodspeed
949.387.3747                                                                781-258-5843
Melody.hendricks@spherecommerce.com            press@pcisecuritystandards.org

This is a guest post from our partner Qgiv.

As a nonprofit, much of your focus falls on fundraising and securing what you need to further your mission. But sometimes you’ll run into challenges like issues with payment processing or limited fundraising resources.

As proud partners, Sphere and Qgiv are working to change that. With Qgiv’s fundraising software, you can streamline each and every aspect of your fundraising process and boost your donation revenue. From there, you’ll be on your way to achieving your nonprofit’s goals!

There are many ways nonprofits can use Qgiv. From events to online campaigns, here are the top ways you can benefit:

  1. Online Donations
  2. Event Registrations
  3. Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
  4. Mobile Donations
  5. Silent Auctions

Leveraging a robust fundraising platform is the key to raising more. Let’s take a closer look!

  1. Online Donations

Many nonprofits are moving to online donation forms, but the ways in which they create their forms will vary. Some are turning to third-party payment processors, though there are other solutions that may be more appropriate and built with nonprofits’ specific needs in mind.

Fundraising software like Qgiv that allows you to create and customize an online donation form can drive more donations by encouraging completion. This is because you can:

  • Brand the page to match the rest of your website. Maintaining consistent branding between site pages instills a level of trust with your donors. This will reassure donors that their gift is going directly to you and that their information is safe.
  • Set up recurring donations. Recurring donations give your supporters the opportunity to give on a regular basis (monthly, annually, etc.) so they can continuously support your organization without much effort on their end.
  • Suggest giving amounts. Suggested giving amounts help guide your donors who are unsure of how much they want to give. Having a point of reference is helpful and can often encourage donors to give larger gifts.
  • Offset processing fees. Donors that use GiftAssist through Qgiv can offset the processing costs associated with their donation, which means you get to keep more of the donor’s gift.

Qgiv offers each of these elements while remaining PCI-compliant, which means your donors’ payment information and other personal data will always be safe and secure. Leverage online donation forms that can be customized to your organization (and offer security!) and you’ll be on your way to bringing in more donation revenue.

  1. Event Registration

When attendees register for your event, that’s your nonprofit’s first chance to make a great impression. Registering for events should be easy and efficient for supporters, and with the right platform, your nonprofit can make sure that signing up is a breeze.

With Qgiv’s registration software, you can create a smooth user experience when supporters come to register for your events. For example, you’ll be able to:

  • Provide a variety of registration options, such as packages for groups, discounts, and private VIP packages.
  • Boost event attendance by enabling social sharing options so guests can invite their friends.
  • Automate your process by cloning annual events and accessing real-time registration data so you can focus more on planning an amazing event.
  • Easily reach out to your attendees to remind them about your event.

By incorporating event registration software into your strategy, you’ll be able to boost event attendance, accommodate different registration needs, and ensure your focus remains on running the best event possible.

  1. Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a powerful, socially driven fundraising method that can help you tap into new donor networks that you wouldn’t have otherwise reached. During a peer-to-peer campaign, nonprofits recruit their supporters to fundraise on their behalf.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Your nonprofit sets a campaign goal and posts its main campaign page.
  2. After some coaching and training, your peer-to-peer participants set up their own individual campaign pages.
  3. Your participants share their campaign pages with their greater networks.
  4. People in those networks are encouraged to donate to participants or create their own fundraising page.

But just running this type of campaign isn’t enough. It’s important to leverage a peer-to-peer fundraising platform that handles multiple participant campaign pages and allows you to track the progress.

According to Qgiv’s guide on peer-to-peer fundraising, you can increase your fundraising results using software elements like gamification. Gamification incorporates “game-like” elements to spark friendly competition and further motivate your supporters. These include:

  • Leaderboards, which display the participants who raise the most funds.
  • Fundraising thermometers, which show your progress towards your goal.
  • Badges, which reward participants once they’ve reached a certain milestone or achievement.

Using the right peer-to-peer fundraising platform can maximize your results and keep you on track to reach your ultimate goal. When you leverage software that offers gamification elements, provides robust reporting, and collects donations through personalized campaign pages, you’ll be on your way to hosting a successful fundraiser.

  1. Mobile Donations

As most of us are constantly on our smartphones these days, nonprofits can and should offer convenient ways to give straight from a phone. With Qgiv’s text fundraising features, you can offer an easy, straightforward giving channel to your donors.

There are two types of solutions you can take advantage of:

  • Text-to-donate. This is a mobile fundraising method wherein donors initiate a gift via text before visiting a mobile form to complete their donation.
  • Text-to-give. This is a mobile fundraising method wherein donors are billed the donation amount on their phone bill.

Both of these solutions make it easy to give on the go and can significantly widen your donor network, as more and more donors prefer to give on their phones. Find more donors by implementing this type of software into your fundraising strategy and provide a positive user experience as individuals give.

  1. Silent Auctions

When it comes to hosting large events, using a software solution that can streamline each aspect of your planning process is essential. We’ve already discussed event registration software, but what about creating donation opportunities at the event itself?

If you’re planning to host a large event that includes a silent auction, you can use Qgiv’s silent auction software to streamline the bidding process, payments, and more. Once you learn how to run a silent auction, you can raise a lot with the right tools.

These include:

  • Real-time bidding. Rather than using web-based forms or paper auction sheets, use a silent auction software app that allows bidders to build a watch list and set maximum bids, and streamlines the overall bidding process.
  • Registration and check in. Make it easy for supporters to register for your event and check in upon arrival.
  • Event purchases. Let guests purchase raffle tickets or merchandise via the silent auction app and add them to a running tab.
  • Checkout. Streamline the checkout process by allowing guests to pay for auction items they won, as well as other purchases and donations, through the app.
  • Reporting. Robust reporting features let you view event registration, bids, and other transactions. You can then export all of this data to your integrated CRM.

Simplify every aspect of your silent auction using Qgiv’s auction software. When your guests have a good experience at your event, they’re more likely to give again and take part in future events. When there’s less frustration surrounding the planning and execution process of your auction, this will benefit everyone involved.

Part of planning a successful auction also means procuring the right items. Check out a list of great auction item ideas here.

Your payment processing shouldn’t cause a headache. With solutions brought to you through Sphere and Qgiv’s partnership, you can raise a lot more through additional channels you might not have otherwise been able to access.

Keep your donations and payments organized and your campaigns running smoothly with easy-to-use software features that will keep your donors coming back. After all, they make up the foundation of your nonprofit. Reach new heights with the right solution for you!

Together, Sphere and RMS will allow for a more complete view of the revenue cycle, including health plan and patient-level payment data.

Nashville, TN, November 7, 2019Sphere, the leading provider of end-to-end integrated payments and security software, has partnered with Revenue Management Solutions (RMS), the leading technology-based healthcare remittance automation platform, allowing RMS to provide a comprehensive payment platform spanning across payer and patient payments.

RMS simplifies the complete revenue cycle by automating remittance management and eliminating manual processes. This solution scales to fit the unique needs of any healthcare provider from a single-doctor practice to a multi-facility hospital system. Trusted by more than 40 commercial banking partners and 1,000 providers, RMS solutions save time, reduce costs and improve efficiency.

The combination of the Sphere payment platform and RMS will greatly enhance remittance processing by allowing for a more complete view of patient revenue that includes both health plan and patient-level transaction data. Through dashboard and reporting tools, users will benefit from a clearer picture of health plan, patient payments, the payments breakdown, and other valuable insights.

With deep integrations into popular Electronic Health Record (EHR) software, the Sphere payment platform delivers broad payment acceptance functionality that is highly secure, compliant, and scalable.

“RMS has a long established track record in solving the complex challenges of healthcare remittance processing,” said Steve Rizzuto, Chief Executive Officer of Sphere.  “With relationships with top financial institutions and other large health systems, we are pleased to partner with RMS.”

“At high velocity, Sphere is expanding our strategic partnerships to include more of the healthcare revenue cycle,” said Andrew Rueff, Executive Chairman of Sphere. “As patient out of pocket expenses increase and become a greater part of healthcare providers’ revenue, solutions that provide consolidated financial information are critical. Our combined solution with RMS achieves this goal and much more.”

“Sphere’s commitment to providing secure, integrated payment processes allows us to expand our offerings to our healthcare and financial customers alike while maintaining the sacred trust we have earned,” said Scott Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of RMS.  “We are very excited to partner with Sphere to help shape the new payment experience from that of a patient to a customer in the healthcare market.”

For more information on Sphere, please visit http://www.spherecommerce.com.

 

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About Sphere
Sphere, powered by TrustCommerce, is a software and financial technology company providing integrated solutions that reduce friction and facilitate better and more secure commercial interactions with customers in specialized verticals markets, primarily healthcare, non-profit, transportation and education. Sphere’s integrated payments technology and security software enable its clients to process payments in a way that is: highly secure and compliant, integrated with their core business software, omnichannel, and processor-neutral. Sphere’s partner-centric focused payments solutions serve small, midsize and enterprise level businesses and software companies in the U.S., Canada, and Australia.
About RMS
Founded in 2006, and based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, RMS is the leading technology-based healthcare remittance automation platform tool available in the market. Currently used by more than 1,000 acute care, revenue cycle management, dental and pharmacy clients, RMS allows healthcare providers, outsourcers and facilities to optimize the remittance matching, reconciliation, and management processes. The Company, which processes nearly 14 million transactions each month, offers its technology-driven solutions both directly to customers and through established channel relationships with leading financial institutions throughout the United States.
For more information, please visit https://www.rmsweb.com/.

Ever wonder who’s after your data? What about what they’ll do if they get it? The danger isn’t always obvious, so what do we need to look out for?

Join us Wednesday, December 4, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. PST to learn how to responsibly handle client data to reduce the impact of a possible security breach. Dr. Heather Mark, Director of Compliance and Security, will share tips on how to keep your data safe from potential security breaches, including:

  • What to do with data you don’t need
  • The importance of establishing information security policies and awareness
  • Selecting providers that are focused on protecting your data
  • And more!

Space is limited, so make sure you register while spots are available.

Register Today!

About the Speaker

Dr. Heather Mark, PhD, CCEP, Director of Compliance and Security, oversees compliance and security.  In this role, she’s responsible for promoting and ensuring that Sphere is in compliance with relevant law, regulation, and industry standards, and that its products promote and enable compliance for clients and partners. Previously, she served in various senior leadership roles, most recently at a wholly-owned subsidiary of a global payment processor, card issuer, and merchant acquirer.

If you’re thinking of adding payment functionality to your software solution, you’ll definitely want to get familiar with these six phrases. Why? Because with Sphere they could be a part of your daily payment experience.

Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) can embed Sphere credit card processing capabilities within their applications, allowing clients to take customer payments in one seamless process. If you’ve ever considered payments, you’ll quickly realize there’s a whole new language to learn and set of acronyms. To get the most out of your partner search, let’s take a look at these six phrases you’ll want to associate with your payment functionality.

Payment Gateway

Think of the payment gateway as a piece of a more complex and robust payment solution. A payment gateway doesn’t just let you accept electronic payment types such as credit cards, debit cards, and ACH/electronic check payments—it’s much more than that. Sphere’s payment gateway gives your company a compliant and brandable experience customized by you. They’re your customers after all, so they should experience your brand from beginning to end, not a cookie-cutter checkout experience.

Merchant Services

No matter the size of businesses you serve, chances are you’re still looking for the essentials: competitive rates on credit card processing, compatibility with a multitude of payment devices, and white glove, friendly service. That is automatic with Sphere. We aim to be a single source for all your current payment needs with room to grow in the future.

PCI Compliance

Security and trust are important aspects of a business relationship. That’s why Payment Card Industry Standard (PCI) compliance is essential, especially when data breaches are reaching the news on almost a daily basis. Know that your customer’s information is handled safely and securely with Sphere. Our solutions are PCI compliant (and then some) and help reduce your scope.

Validated Point to Point Encryption (VP2PE)

Remember the “and then some” we mentioned before? This is it. Sphere is the leading provider of secure electronic payment acceptance and risk management solutions which is why we offer validated point to point encryption (P2PE), Powered by TrustCommerce. That means your customer’s sensitive data stays safe, even in its encrypted state. With P2PE, your customer’s confidential information will be indecipherable to third parties.

EMV

Affectionately called “the card with the chip thingie” by customers, Europay, Mastercard and Visa (EMV) is the new standard for smart cards. EMV adds an extra layer of protection for customers and is quickly becoming the preferred method of payment for many, becoming synonymous with “fraud protection.”

Hosted Payment Page

Having a hosted payment page means that you don’t have to take on additional liability customer’s data passing through your systems. Sphere will do that for you, and with our security features and complete branding continuity, you can be assured that your customers are using a secure e-commerce payment capture solution. This simple, yet sophisticated solution allows for text-to-pay, email, within app and online payment acceptance.

Wrap Up

Does your current payment integration offer the same functionality as Sphere? If not, it might be time to upgrade to a company with a record for being secure, innovative and customizable. See these six phrases in action with Sphere.

When it comes to choosing an integrated payment partner for your solution, there’s a lot to consider: do you go with a familiar company? Or, a fresh option? Ideally, you want something that’s perfect for your business, but often solutions are either more than you need (at an exorbitant price), or not enough.

More often than not, money tends to drive these decisions. But there are other things you should ask yourself before picking the right payment processing engine for your solution. Perhaps the most important question should be:

“What can your payment processing partner do for you?”

Your business deserves more than “adequate” service, and that’s where we come in. With decades of experience advancing technology and putting clients first, Sphere is the natural choice for credit card processing. With Sphere, you instantly connect your customers with the most comprehensive, secure, end-to-end payment processing solutions. Let’s take a look at the top three benefits of integrating payments with Sphere.

  1. Sphere Helps Drive Your Business Revenue

Shouldn’t your payment processing partner do more than just meet your immediate needs? Sphere does. We help drive your business, providing you with more than just a point-of-sale system—in step with you as you grow.

Our products and services have all the payment features you need today and tomorrow, including:

  • Virtual Terminal
  • Transaction Security
  • Open API
  • Data Storage
  • E-Commerce Payment Pages
  • Reporting and Reconciliation
  • Mobile Payment App
  • Automated Recurring Billing Acceptance

Our applications support all major payment types including:

  • Credit Cards
  • Debit Cards
  • PIN-less Debit
  • ACH/Electronic Check Payments
  • Purchase Card (Level II and Level III) Processing
  • And More

Our systems integrate seamlessly with your current software requirements and adapt as you grow. The same thing doesn’t work for everyone; that’s why we offer custom options that work for you.

The right partner can make a world of difference. And in this competitive market, you should only trust the very best. We are an expert in our field, and we can help your business generate more revenue through technology and credit card processing.

  1. Strong Technology That Adapts

Technology is evolving quickly, and your payment processing system needs to be ready to change. Remember before credit cards had chips and certain outdated POS systems required awkward workarounds to make transactions work? Experience is everything, and your business needs a payment processing engine that’s future-proof.

Whether your software accepts payments through a single channel or many — Sphere can adapt to your business. With multiple integration options, and APIs in a variety of languages, it’s easy to get started.

There’s a growing need for a platform that can support more than just “basic” payment support. At Sphere, we understand the importance of flexibility. Businesses need integration that’s quick and efficient to support the way you do business today, as well as in the future. With our frictionless merchant application for credit card processing, we make it easy for your customers to sign up. To us, you’re a priority. We provide payment support that won’t slow you down.

  1. Manage Your Risk

Risk is never fun to talk about (and it’s even less fun to experience). Trust is an integral part of business, and a reputation of being secure and reliable is a necessity. Sphere helps you manage your risk by securing your data. We offer multiple methods to protect payments, including: validated point to point encryption, tokenization and hosted payment pages.

Get comprehensive risk management and security that allows you to defer much of the cost, risk and threat involved with handling cardholder information.

Wrap Up

Payments shouldn’t be a hassle, nor should getting the support you need to resolve any issues that may arise. That’s why integrated software vendors who are specialists in these and other industries partner with us:

  • Healthcare applications
  • E-commerce & Shopping Cart Developers
  • Membership management software
  • Bar and restaurant applications
  • Software Vendors

It’s time to take the complexity out of integrating payments. Accept payments your way with Sphere. Our payment processing solutions are designed for ease of integration with third-party software. Speak with the Partner team today.

By Dr. Heather Mark

The healthcare industry is, as most know, a heavily regulated industry. Government regulations detail how data is to be collected, shared, and protected.  It details how patients can access their data.  The way that research is conducted, how it is reported and a multitude of other factors.  Layering in the protection of payment card data can seem overwhelming.  Particularly given the size and complexity of health care networks – physicians’ offices, laboratories, hospitals, and clinics.  Fold in a sprinkling of online bill pay, as well, and one can see how the prospect of complying with the PCI DSS, as well as other regulatory mandates, can be overwhelming.  But PCI DSS compliance can be made more manageable by employing scope reduction strategies.

First things first, though.  What is scope reduction?  To understand this, one must understand what is defined as the Cardholder Data Environment, or CDE.  The CDE is defined by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) as the “people, processes, and technologies that store, process, or transmit cardholder data or sensitive authentication data.  ‘System Components’ include network devices, servers, computing devices, and applications… [and] any other component or device located within or connected to the CDE.”  So, the scope of the CDE is any device or person that has access to cardholder data and any device connected to that component.  For many organizations, in healthcare and beyond, that scope can seem fairly daunting.  The objective of scope reduction is to minimize the number of components that come into contact with the cardholder data.  By reducing the number of components that contact cardholder data, an organization can reduce its scope. This serves the purpose of reducing the complexity of the CDE, the cost and complexity of the PCI DSS assessment, and the work factor involved in maintaining compliance.

So, how can an organization reduce their scope?  The first step is to know where and how payments are accepted.  Questions that can help in that process include:

  1. Where does your health system physically accept electronic payments?
  • Registration
  • Front Desk
  • Call Center
  • Pharmacy
  • Parking
  • Radiology
  • Emergency Room
  • Gift Shop
  1. How do you accept payments in these locations?
  • In Person
  • Online
  • Kiosk
  • Mobile
  • IVR
  • EHR Software
  • Other
  1. Does your EHR system offer a secure payment integration?
  • Yes
  • No
  1. Does your payment integration support?
  • Tokenization
  • Validated Point to Point Encryption
  • Hosted Payment Page for secure online transactions
  • Secure recurring billing and installment payments

It is also important to determine whether or not you have appropriately segmented your CDE to prevent bringing your entire organization into scope.  In other words, if your payment environment is connected to your corporate environment, without firewalls, routers or other appropriate measures in place to act as a DMZ, you could end up having to manage PCI compliance for every part of your network. Per the PCI DSS, “Without adequate network segmentation (sometimes called a “flat network”) the entire network is in scope of the PCI DSS assessment. Network segmentation can be achieved through a number of physical or logical means, such as properly configured internal network firewalls, routers with strong access control lists, or other technologies that restrict access to a particular segment of a network. To be considered out of scope for PCI DSS, a system component must be properly isolated (segmented) from the CDE, such that even if the out-of-scope system component was compromised it could not impact the security of the CDE.”

Another strategy that can be employed to reduce the scope of the CDE is to reduce the number of cardholder data touchpoints in the environment.  The more the input of cardholder data can be reduced, the greater the level of scope reduction.  Any number of solutions can be employed, but here is a brief description of the most effective means* of reducing interaction with cardholder data:

  • Hosted Payment Pages – merchants can accept payments through the use of a hosted payment page. The Payment Page is hosted by a PCI DSS validated, registered service provider.  The payment information posts directly from the consumer to the service provider, bypassing the environment of the healthcare provider.
  • Tokenization – in this solution, the payment information is replaced with a randomly generated value that used to represent the payment mechanism. The healthcare provider can still use that token to process subsequent payments, as may be useful for patients on payment plans, reporting purposes, patient payment analysis, and chargeback or dispute purposes.  The benefit here is the reduced payment data footprint within the organization.
  • PCI Validated Point to Point Encryption (P2PE) – a P2PE solution is one in which the cardholder data is encrypted from the point of interaction (swipe, dip, entry) all the way through the processor. The payment is processed, but when the authorization response is sent to the healthcare organization, the payment data is replaced with a token.

As technology continues to evolve and healthcare organizations find new ways to connect with and serve their patients and communities, it is important to remain mindful of the potential risks that those new technologies may present.  By implementing the above solutions, healthcare providers may find a strong balance between patient service and data security.

*The amount of scope reduction benefit for each of these solutions can vary depending upon the specific environment and the way in which they are implemented.  It is highly suggested that all organizations consult with their Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) and/or their Acquiring Bank to determine the exact nature of the benefit afforded by these solutions.