Article Written By: Michelle Shangraw | Retail Banking Director | Mercantile Bank of Michigan
As a way to help keep our customers informed about specific topics of interest to them, we recently kicked off our Fall Seminar Series. Our first event, which took place on September 18th, was titled “Bosses, Babies & Big Decisions- How choices impact earning power”. GVSU Professor, Dr. Sonia Dalmia discussed how women’s choices impact their earning power. Sonia is well known for her research in analyzing the differences gender makes in employment and earnings.
On September 25th, Major Gifts for Major Impact will be presented by Deb Minton, founder of Philanthropia Partners. Deb provides thoughtful and innovative counsel to nonprofits, their leaders, philanthropists and entrepreneurs seeking to maximize their impact toward the greater good. Deb has over 24 years of nonprofit executive experience and will be discussing ways to enhance a non-profit’s ability to attract and retain major donors.
Location: Mercantile Bank, 310 Leonard St NW Grand Rapids, MI
Deciding when and how to collect Social Security benefits can be challenging for individuals. It becomes an even greater challenge when you are married. That’s why we are offering the seminar “Understanding Social Security Retirement Benefits” on October 17th in partnership with Mark Oberlin of Raymond James & Associates and BlackRock Investments LLC.
Our speaker, Paulette Walz is currently a Retirement Specialist and is responsible for delivery of Social Security presentations. Paulette has more than 30 years of experience educating individuals, community groups and financial organizations on Social Security. She will walk individuals through different strategies to determine the best approach.
Time: 6:00pm -8:30pm
Location: Mercantile Bank, 310 Leonard St NW Grand Rapids, MI
The series wraps up with our final topic on November 8th, when Steve Ford, youngest son of former President Gerald Ford will be discussing Leadership during Challenging Times. Steve will share his experiences and stories that have helped shaped his own brand of leadership. Steve has a diverse past including living at the White House as a teenager, competing as a rodeo cowboy and acting as a cast member on the soap opera “The Young and the Restless”. Steve is currently a motivational speaker and chairman of the Gerald Ford Foundation. This event is by invitation only.
Location: Bissell Tree House at John Ball Zoo
We are excited to be able to bring these seminars and networking events to our customers this year. We are looking forward to some exciting and informational events!
Article Written By: Mark Alcock | Retail Manager | Mercantile Bank of Michigan
So, anyone that knows me knows two things about me; I love to travel and I love gadgets! If I can travel and have a gadget, then it’s pretty much nirvana for me.
This past summer I was fortunate enough to attend the Olympics in my home city of London. It was truly an amazing experience to see athletes and spectators from all over the world come together to celebrate incredible feats of human performance. Sometimes, the athletes, brand new to the sport thanks to certain entry allotments for certain countries, came in a long way down the field, but no matter, they were at the Olympics and people cheered them on anyhow.
Before heading to London though, or any country for that matter, there is always the logistical issue of money. Should I take cash, a debit card, a credit card, a travel card….. Anyone thinking Traveler’s Cheques, you are really dating yourself as these are now becoming increasingly hard to find and sometimes even harder to cash. The Olympics more than any other event, highlighted just how far payment systems have evolved the world over.
First, in order to purchase tickets for the event, you could only purchase them using a Visa card. Sorry, your Mastercard or American Express card was not welcome as a result of an exclusive corporate sponsorship deal that Visa has with the Olympic organizers. Once you overcame that hurdle, next up was how you were going to pay for merchandise and concessions once you were at the events. This was also a simple answer in the eyes of organizers; cash or Visa again. This time though, there was something different about Visa, and that was the enormous push at the Olympic venues towards contact-less payments.
Europe has worked on a Chip and PIN system for years which means there is a chip embedded on the front of your card that you place into a payment terminal and enter your four digit PIN. In restaurants they bring the terminal to your table (wirelessly) so the card never leaves your sight and therefore reduces the risk of someone taking your card details without your knowledge. The reduction in fraud in those countries that use Chip and PIN has been enormous and is making it harder and harder for American visitors to get by with their traditional magnetic stripe cards. So, Chip and PIN has been effective, but like everything, what if you could make the payment process even quicker, and that is where contact-less payments come in.
Quite simply, it does what it says on the box i.e., your card has an additional chip embedded inside the plastic which when placed 1-2 inches above a contact-less terminal will authenticate payment and debit the card. When I heard about this, in my mind it was quite clear that I had to have a contact-less card!!!
It was hard to find a merchant that would offer one in the US, but after some searching I found not only a contactless payment solution, but even better, it was attached to a watch. $50 and a few days later, I was the proud owner of a RumbaTime GoPayments watch! It had to be preloaded as it currently doesn’t take funds directly from your own bank account, so I loaded a small amount of money onto it and headed to London. I wanted to try it before I got there so I tried it in McDonald’s on the way to O’Hare (third thing people know about me, I love the golden arches)! Once at the games I used it twice and got the same reaction both times:
“Did you just pay for that with your watch?”
You can’t really argue with the cool factor or the speed at which the transactions were approved. Now, I know there are always going to be the people questioning the security aspect of such devices, but given the chip will only work within a 1-2 inch distance from the terminal, it really is safe. Again, think back to when you paid for your bill in a restaurant recently; how long was the card out of your sight, and how many people got to look at the numbers on the card?
Going one step further than just contact-less cards, cell phone manufacturers are getting in on the action and making the SIM card (the card inside your phone that holds your cell number and contact details) a contact-less payment card. Samsung had a limited edition Olympic version of their new Galaxy SIII phone which they gave to people to demo. It had a preloaded SIM card and also an application on the phone that provided an additional layer of security to the device. Once the phone was held over the terminal, the app would appear on the screen asking for your PIN to authenticate. Again, cool just about sums it up in my mind!!
So, when you think of the old marketing phrase “Don’t leave home without it” it could be talking more about your phone or watch than a certain plastic card.
Visit www.rumbatime.com for more information about the contact-less watch I used, and visit Visa for information about Visa PayWave technology and Mastercard for information about Mastercard PayPass (also a contact-less payment technology).