As another summer comes to a close many Islanders breathe a sigh of relief that the hectic day to day existence known as tourist season is coming to an end. Their Island will soon return to the tranquility that brought them here and keeps them here year round. For the merchants who rely on the short tourist season to sustain themselves, their employees, and their families, it will soon be time to assess the hard work and long hours they have invested.
If the weather cooperated, the economy was strong and the diesel generators that power the island don’t catch fire (great job by BI Power Authority in getting power back within a day) it will hopefully have been a prosperous endeavor. However, with such a short business window, it leaves a very small margin of error and as such requires the business operations be run with an almost military-like efficiency.
One small but very important component of business operations on the island is how the merchants are paid for their goods and services. Cash is always welcome but with the ever increasing costs and the reluctance of tourists to carry large sums of cash the credit card has become the preferred method of payment. The convenience of the credit card for the consumer does come with additional costs for the merchant and over the course of the tourist season that translates into hundreds of thousands of dollars that leave the island in the form of fees charged by the credit card companies.
Traditionally a merchant would look to their bank to secure a credit card processing account. On Block Island that most often meant Washington Trust as it is the only bank on the Island. This provided many merchants peace of mind as when an issue arose they could go into the bank and get it resolved. It came as a surprise to many merchants when Washington Trust sold their credit card processing portfolio to Vantiv Inc. in March of 2014. Other than the Washington Trust name on the monthly statement, the bank has nothing to do with the merchants processing account. Vantiv is a monster in the credit card processing industry that handled over $720 billion in volume in 2015. Many would assume a company this size would offer some advantages. In reality the processor is simply providing a gateway between the card holders or customers issuing bank of their VISA, MasterCard, Discover or Amex and the merchant’s bank. In most instances the merchant will have access to those funds in no more than thirty-six hours from the time they “batch” (settles the days transactions) out their terminal. No matter the size of the processor they all operate essentially the same and maintain very similar standards. This is where RS Capital Group comes into the equation.
RS Capital Group was established in 2009 by its CEO and President David Scalia. David’s history on Block Island began in high school with a summer job at the Highview in 1987. After several weekend visits to the Island last summer for some R & R David started making inquiries with a few of the business owner’s regarding possible opportunities. In the fall of 2015 a merchant with several businesses on the Island asked RS Capital to review their current processing accounts. Upon completion of a statement analysis of all of the entities, RS Capital projected annual savings in excess of $10,000 could be achieved by moving their accounts to its processing platform. At the time of this article being written that merchant is on pace to meet if not exceed that projection.
From there word began spreading around about the two guys who are driving around the Island in a blue jeep. It got to the point in late spring that merchants were waving us down on the street to ask if we could come in and “switch them over” to our processing platform. We have yet to find one merchant who we have not been able to save them money and provide them with a level of customer support they never experienced with their previous mega processors.
What exactly constitutes superior service? How about doubling the transaction capacity by installing new high speed terminals and internet access points. Providing solutions/options on how to implement the new “EMV” (chip card) technology. On-site training and installation of all equipment to include Point of Sale cutover support. Full warranties on the terminals and we provide all of the required thermal paper associated with them. RS Capital also provides unprecedented access to its merchants by making regular on-site support visits to answer any questions and to offer assistance in addressing the communications issues unique to Block Island. RS Capital is a member of the Block Island Chamber of Commerce and it is our privilege to work with all of the amazing merchants on the Island.
Below is our most current customer list for on island merchants. I strongly encourage you to ask what their experience has been like since making the switch.
The Oar, The 1661 Inn, The Narragansett Inn, Club Soda, Bethany’s Airport Diner, The Surf Hotel and Restaurant, Poor People’s Pub, Kimberly’s, Red Bird Liquor Store, Beach Rose Bicycles, Rose Farm Inn, McAloon’s Saloon, New England Airlines, Star Department Store, The Beachhead, Wave, The Tipsy Mermaid, Mad Hatter, Captain Nick’s, Mohegan Café, Old Harbor View Takeout, Block Island Accommodations, Blocks of Fudge, Beachcomber, Kimberly’s, Diamondblue Surf Shop, Old Post Office Bagel Shop, Bonnie and Clyde, Papa’s Pizza, The Sullivan House, Champlin Water Sports, Aldo’s Mopeds and Bicycles, Essentials, Koru Eco Spa, Block Island Historical Society, East of the Nile Trading Company, My Oyster and the Island Experience.
If you own a business that requires you to accept credit cards and are located on Block Island or anywhere in the country for that matter we welcome an opportunity to work with you. Allowing RS Capital Group to help you navigate your way through the electronic payment industry and put more of your money back into your business will be a decision you’ll wish you made sooner!
Sr. Vice President & CSO
David T Scalia
President and CEO, RS Capital Group