“I don’t even carry cash,” said Tarek Saheli, owner and CEO of Bank Card Systems (BCS) in Rochelle Park. “Almost no one carries cash anymore, and I’d be surprised to find a business that doesn’t accept credit cards for payment. It simply is a way of life these days.”
Established 15 years ago, BCS is in the business of providing all those credit card processing products and services to merchants of all sizes across the country, including corporate retail chains, midsized business and mom-and-pop shops, including your favorite morning stop.
“We have become a cashless society, no doubt about it. What we do is provide the services companies need to make their transactions smoother and more efficient,” Saheli says.
Changing with the times
Saheli said savvy business owners are always seeking to improve their point of sales (POS) systems to streamline transactions. For BCS, that means keeping up with technology.
“When we started out 15 years ago, we were using countertop credit card machines. That seems like a lifetime ago,” said Saheli. “Our goal is to stay current—and even ahead of the curve—when it comes to innovative technology in the field. We pay attention to changes in the industry and we pass along that knowledge to our customers.”
BCS offers a variety of credit card processing solutions including standalone terminals, registers with integrated credit card processing, mobile solutions for Smart phones and other mobile devices, POS systems, online solutions/ecommerce and wireless terminals—which have increased in popularity as many businesses are shifting to non-traditional formats.
Wireless terminals are also increasing in use in locations where network connectivity may be unavailable, such as outdoor venues, food carts, kiosks, sporting events and open markets. Saheli said wireless terminals are the most flexible, compact and ready immediately wherever the merchant can connect to cellular service.
The POS System remains the most popular among restaurants and food-service business because of the multiple features it offers. The POS can accept every type of payment, manage employee schedules and track employee hours.
“It also has the options for accounting and bookkeeping and does advanced reporting,” Saheli said. “We offer products and services for one-stop shopping.”
In addition to a wide range of credit card systems, BCS also offers solutions for check services, gift cards, cash advance and loans. BCS customers include merchants from all industries, including retail, government, food service, healthcare, nonprofits and ecommerce, among others.
Quality service, trust are key
With such a rapid evolution of products and technology, Saheli said BCS strives to ensure their customers feel confident in whatever solution they choose.
“It can be a bit overwhelming for merchants when it comes to choosing a product. We do all we can to help them choose the best system for their needs,” Saheli said. “We want them to feel comfortable in choosing the options that best fit their business type and their volume of sales.”
Some systems are very sophisticated and are ideal for a business that handles, for example, a million dollars in sales a month, Saheli said. “Those types of systems don’t make sense for a small business without that kind of volume, so we will not sell that same equipment and services to both. We want it to be a simple solution for our customers. It’s not about pricing, it’s about the quality of service.”
BCS said the sales team, which includes independent contractors located across the country—as well as in the Rochelle Park headquarters—give 100 percent to all customers.
“These days, there is more competition for us than in the past. We make sure our sales people offer only their best for every customer, no matter the size of the business. If that doesn’t happen, we don’t do business with that sales rep anymore,” Saheli stressed.
He added that BCS is not looking for rapid growth that “will make it hard for us to offer the same quality service.”
“We personalize our attention to the customers, something that is sorely lacking in a lot of businesses,” he added. “I’d rather we continue that approach.”
‘Attractive sales package’
Unlike many of its competitors, BCS offers a unique combination of affordable and fair pricing, no long-term service contracts and the equipment is provided free for the merchants.
“Most companies make their customers purchase the equipment in order to use it. Bank Card Systems does the opposite. We provide all the equipment free of charge and we walk through its use, step by step as part of our service,” Saheli said. “We’re also available 24/7 if merchants have questions or concerns, and customers who open accounts with us can cancel at any time without paying a cancellation fee.”
Because of this, referral business has always been very good, Saheli added. “Our sales people know and understand the equipment and are always available to help, no matter what.”
Interchange fees with the credit card companies themselves are fixed, so the BCS options and free equipment become an “attractive sales package,” Saheli said.
Security, increased risk factors
With the explosion of credit card use—whether in-store, online or through one’s cell phone and mobile device—there also is an increased incidence of fraud and security breach.
“We read about it every day, and sometimes it seems like no matter what we do, it happens anyway, to small companies, individuals, the big retailers, banks; no one is immune,” Saheli said. “It’s an ongoing battle but just as the systems themselves are evolving, so are the security solutions, and BCS is working constantly to make sure our security software stays updated.
“We are very aware that the risk factors are there when dealing with credit systems. We also remind our merchants that they, too, are responsible for keeping their POS safe from hacking and other breaches. It’s a priority to help our customers stay as safe as possible, and we do that through communication and trust.”
Saheli is a few short steps from completing his doctorate in civil security leadership, management and policy at New Jersey City University in Jersey City, New Jersey—the only program of its kind in the United States.
“There are so many different layers to maintaining data security in business today,” he said. “What I’m learning can only be more beneficial for our customers and for the industry.”
The Bank Card System headquarters is located in Rochelle Park, with convenient access to north Jersey’s major roadways—Routes 17 and 4, the Garden State Parkway and Interstate Rt. 80 are close by. In addition to the country-wide sales team, the BCS office staff consists of Erica Morales, the BCS communications and marketing manager, who joined the company in 2000; and Estella Herrera, BCS office manager, who has nearly 30 years’ experience in the industry.
Saheli laughed when asked about where the credit card processing business can possibly go next.
“Who knows? Some of the technology we have now will be obsolete or outdated before you know it. The chips in the cards are getting smaller and smaller. Maybe we’ll even have chips implanted in our hands or something,” Saheli said. “I’ve heard about technology that may include eyeglasses that have the internet that’s activated by blinking. It’s the stuff of science fiction, and people will do it, no doubt.”
And likely, BCS will be right there with it, he added.
Angela Daidone is a freelance writer, editor and public relations specialist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.