ERP System Integration for Small Businesses with Keith Reardon
Keith Reardon discussing ERP System Integration at Commonwealth Consulting Group

Custom Payment Solutions and the Future of Cash with CCG’s Keith Reardon

Episode Overview

Episode Topic:

Welcome to an insightful episode of PayPod. We get into the intricacies of ERP System Integration with Keith Reardon, the co-founder of Commonwealth Consulting Group. Keith brings a wealth of knowledge and practical insights into how ERP system integration can revolutionize business operations. This conversation highlights the importance of seamless payment processing solutions and how integrating these systems into your ERP can significantly streamline your financial management. Keith also discusses the ongoing relevance of cash in today’s digital age and how his company is adapting to meet the needs of businesses that still rely on cash transactions. Tune in to learn about the latest trends in payment processing and how ERP system integration can benefit your business.

Lessons You’ll Learn:

Listeners will gain valuable insights into the world of ERP System Integration. Keith Reardon shares his expertise on how integrating ERP systems can enhance business efficiency by automating processes and reducing manual errors. You’ll learn about the challenges and solutions associated with payment processing, the benefits of cash discount programs, and the importance of fraud prevention tools. Keith also discusses the significance of providing personalized service to clients and how this approach differentiates Commonwealth Consulting Group from other faceless payment processors. This episode is packed with practical advice for businesses looking to optimize their payment systems and integrate them seamlessly into their existing ERP frameworks.

About Our Guest:

Keith Reardon is the co-founder of Commonwealth Consulting Group, a firm specializing in payment processing solutions and ERP System Integration. With a background in both education and financial services, Keith brings a unique perspective to the payments industry. After a brief stint as a high school chemistry teacher, Keith transitioned into financial advising and eventually co-founded Commonwealth Consulting Group in 2010 during the financial recession. His company’s approach focuses on providing personalized service and tailored solutions to meet the specific needs of each client. Keith’s expertise and dedication have positioned Commonwealth Consulting Group as a trusted partner for businesses seeking effective and efficient payment processing solutions.

Topics Covered:

This episode covers a wide range of topics related to payment processing and ERP System Integration. Keith Reardon discusses the benefits of integrating ERP systems to streamline business operations and improve efficiency. He also delves into the relevance of cash in today’s economy, the challenges faced by businesses with credit card fees, and the rise of cash discount programs. Other key topics include fraud prevention tools, the importance of tailored solutions for clients, and the future of payment processing technology. Keith shares his insights on how small businesses can leverage these integrations to enhance their financial management and overall operational efficiency. This comprehensive discussion provides listeners with a deep understanding of the current trends and best practices in the payments industry.

Our Guest: Keith Reardon – Leverages ERP System Integration for Business Efficiency.

Keith Reardon, co-founder of Commonwealth Consulting Group, brings a diverse background and a wealth of experience to the financial services industry. A native of Worcester County, Massachusetts, Keith graduated from Holy Cross with a degree in chemistry. His initial career path led him to teach high school chemistry, but he soon transitioned into financial advising before venturing into the payments industry. In 2010, during the financial recession, Keith and his business partner founded Commonwealth Consulting Group, a company dedicated to providing personalized payment processing solutions for businesses of all sizes​​​​.

Keith’s approach to the payments industry is heavily influenced by his background in science and education. He utilizes the scientific method to explore and answer questions within the merchant services industry, focusing on detailed, analytical solutions for his clients. His commitment to exceptional customer service is a hallmark of Commonwealth Consulting Group. Keith’s clients appreciate his hands-on approach, ensuring that their specific needs are met with tailored solutions rather than one-size-fits-all services. This dedication has earned him a reputation for reliability and excellence in the industry​​​​.

Beyond his professional endeavors, Keith is deeply committed to community and personal causes. He spends much of his free time with his wife and two children, enjoying outdoor activities such as fishing and climbing in New England. Keith’s personal experiences have also led him to advocate for mental health awareness; he serves on the board of directors for UMass Memorial Community Healthlink, an organization that supports the mental and physical health of families in central Massachusetts. This role allows Keith to give back to his community and support causes that are close to his heart​.

Episode Transcript

Kevin Rosenquist: Yes, there still are some cash-only businesses. Every time I see one, I’m always like, are you doing cash only? Is there something going on back there? But Yes, it’s less and less. I feel like I certainly don’t have nearly as much cash in my wallet as I once did. Hey, welcome to PayPod, where we bring you conversations with the trailblazers shaping the future of payments and fintech. My name is Kevin Rosenquist. Thanks for listening. Today I’m talking with Keith Reardon, the co-founder of Commonwealth Consulting Group, a financial services firm specializing in payment processing solutions. They offer a wide range of services aimed at helping businesses manage their payment needs more effectively. How are they different? Instead of being a faceless payment processor, cold calling and sending out spam, they sit down with clients and provide actual service, ensuring that every business they work with is getting exactly what they need. Novel concept, huh? We had a great conversation about payments industry trends and how cash is still very relevant. Joining me now, Keith Reardon, you spent a year and change as a high school chemistry teacher, switched to be a switch to being a financial advisor, then founded Commonwealth Consulting Group, a payments company, in 2010. I’ve heard people say before that being a founder is one of the hardest things they’ve ever done. Is it harder, or easier than teaching science to high school kids?

Keith Reardon: I would say they’re equally as challenging. But I knew I wasn’t going to be in education for that long. Okay. When I got done with school, I took a year off. I was planning to go to medical school, but at some point during the aspect of teaching, I enjoyed making a paycheck and decided that going to medical school for four years and then a residency and a fellowship wasn’t for me. So just had my resume up, and got into the financial services industry kind of by accident. Then through that, I met my business partner and during the recession, we started Commonwealth Consulting Group.

Kevin Rosenquist: Oh, well, you could I guess it could have gone worse. You could have gone the Breaking Bad route and went from teaching chemistry to cooking maths.

Keith Reardon: Yes, right.

Kevin Rosenquist: Well, that’s cool. So were you always interested in finance, or is that something that just sort of kind of happened?

Keith Reardon: It kind of just happened. I had my resume out there. I got recruited by a lot of very large, well-known financial institutions. The reason they liked my resume was that I had a degree in STEM, and I was teaching. So they knew that I could take a complex subject matter. I always joke around and break it down into Lego terms.

Kevin Rosenquist: Lego terms, that, well, we just talked about our kids, so I guess that makes sense that you say Lego terms, huh?

Keith Reardon: Yes, Yes, exactly.

Kevin Rosenquist: That’s a good way to put it. So, Commonwealth Consulting Group, or CCG, you guys have a lot of offerings from payment processing to ATMs to gift cards and loyalty cards. Is there one particular thing that’s your bread and butter, or do you kind of just spread it out amongst different things in the payments?

Keith Reardon: About 65% of our revenues are through payments and merchant services, and then gifts and loyalty are just something that comes along with merchant services. Then about 35% of our revenues are made up of ATMs. We have a bunch of financial institutions that we do a lot of work with. About five years, or so ago, one of the financial institutions told us we needed to put an ATM at this location and we were like, no, we’re all set. They kept saying, no, you need to put an ATM at this location. We were like, okay, we’ll figure it out. It was one of the greatest things that we did because we always knew about that side of the business. But you can only be good at so many things.

Kevin Rosenquist: You want to spread yourself too thin.

Keith Reardon: Yes, exactly. But overall we’ve started a whole ATM division, and that’s growing really? Well with the merchant services side, and it’s just been kind of a good marriage between our merchants that you need both services from us. It also allows us to focus on some cash-only establishments, whether it’s your local diner, your barber shop, or whatever it may be, where it makes sense for an ATM to be present. People think cash is dead, but it is not.

Kevin Rosenquist: Yes. There still are some cash-only businesses. Every time I see one I’m always like, why are you doing cash only? Is there something going on back there? But it’s just less and less. I feel like I certainly don’t have nearly as much cash in my wallet as I once did.

Keith Reardon: Yes, but we’re seeing it in Massachusetts and the Northeast. We’re seeing a big uptick in the amount of cash. Specifically, I think it’s due to a lot of your smaller mom-and-pop businesses that are converting to either surcharging, or cash discounting depending on what state they’re in and whether they can do surcharging, or not. So with that, there’s been a big increase in the amount of cash that businesses are taking in due to them having some type of surcharging, or cash discounting program.

Kevin Rosenquist: Yes. Interesting. You’re right about the fees. small businesses with credit card fees and stuff like that. If you’re not supplementing that through a surcharge, or cash discount, you’re spending a lot more. You’re spending a lot of money. I’ve managed some businesses. Holy cow, like, we spent a lot on credit card charges.

Keith Reardon: Yes. Merchants continually get frustrated with us. But it’s not us that are making interchange rates. The banks have a monopoly on both sides. They’re creating the interchange rates that businesses pay to accept cards, and then they’re charging their cardholders interest rates if they’re not paying their balance off at the end of every month. So the issuing card brands control everything. We just have to kind of follow the rules. Then you have all the network guidelines with Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and Amex.

Kevin Rosenquist: And I saw, I noticed you work with POS systems too. I’m curious, let me give you a scenario. So if I’m a restaurant owner and I use Aloha for my point of sale, I saw you guys integrate with Aloha. What does CCG provide me? On top of what I already get from the processing that Aloha has?

Keith Reardon: So there’s a lot of point of sale systems that are out there that are similar to Aloha, where they have sort of a franchisee model where there’s a there’s an Aloha office in your particular region, and then they have their payment processing. Typically they’re doing things at much higher costs than what the marketplace is because they know they have you hooked. You’re already on that particular system. So they kind of upcharge a little bit on the merchant services fees. So we’ve worked with a lot of software development agencies so that we can create integrations to various systems that have an open API, and so it allows more autonomy for that particular business owner. If they want to stay on that particular point-of-sale system, they could work with us, they could work with their current vendor. They can now work with any other vendor. We don’t like any merchant to have to be forced into working with us. We don’t do contracts. We don’t do termination fees. We’re month to month with all of our customers because we feel that we need to be delivering great products and service continually, or you should be free to leave. That’s not the standard within our industry. You’re seeing more and more software companies getting into the payment space and locking down their systems so that they’re you can only use them for payments. I feel that that’s a massive disservice to the merchant because it just doesn’t give them the flexibility to shop their vendors and make sure that they’re getting what’s the best possible cost structure for their particular business.

Kevin Rosenquist: Yes. That’s interesting. Why do you think? is it just greed and just not wanting to let go of people? Why would someone lock down their system? I feel like people would be more receptive to a platform that has a little more openness to it and not being so locked down.

Keith Reardon: It’s greed, for the most part, they want to control the monthly SaaS fee as well as the merchant services revenue. They’ll tell you that the reason they do it is because of technical support, phone calls, and somebody calling and complaining about the merchant services, and they don’t know who that merchant services rep is. So it streamlines the point-of-sale systems and tech support. But if you do have a good relationship with your merchant, your merchant knows, okay, if it’s a point of sale system problem, I’m going to call the POS software company. If it’s a credit card or debit card-related issue, I’m going to call my merchant services provider. So it just comes down to relationships and just making sure that you have a good relationship with your merchant and you’re educating them. So many businesses out there do tiered pricing, or flat rate pricing, which is easy to sell, but it’s just not in the merchant’s best interest. They should be getting the wholesale rates from interchange based on the Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and Amex tables that change every April on every October, and then have some type of basis, point, and transaction fee markup on top of that, because then they’re getting the best possible cost structure and they’re able to hit the best interchange categories for their business, whether they’re a restaurant, or a school, or business to business, which is critical to make sure that they’re on an interchange pass-through structure just due to level two and level three processing rates, which can lower a B2B company’s costs by upwards of a whole percentage point, simply by making sure that they’re processing their cards properly on the interchange tables.

Kevin Rosenquist: I wonder if that’ll change more, because I feel like more and more people are hesitant on the long-term contracts and they’re hesitant to be locked in, especially, with you seeing a lot of things where even commercials for cell phones and everything, it’s like, no long term contracts anymore. I wonder if you’ll see more people going, oh, okay. Yes, I don’t need to be locked into a contract and will force businesses to change.

Keith Reardon: I hope so. But I don’t see it in the industry right now, it’s been this way for 15, 20 years since we’ve been doing stuff within the industry. It hasn’t changed much with our competition.

Kevin Rosenquist: What did you see in the payments industry that made you want to get into it?

Keith Reardon: So when we were in the financial services industry, we were working with business owners and CFOs and other C-suite executives at companies doing personal wealth management. Then during the 2008 and 2009 financial crisis, they kept having us look at their profit and loss statements to try to figure out ways to reduce their operating costs so that they could stay in business. What we kept seeing was that they were spending a lot of money to take money in, and we had no concept of that, like, why are you spending thousands of dollars a month to take payments? It was just so foreign to us. We always assumed that it was Visa that did everything right. So when we peeled the onion back and looked at the merchant services industry, we, my buddy and I, who’s my business partner, just kind of had an epiphany. We’re like, I think we could just do this. So we went to one of these businesses and we said, hey, don’t cancel anything with your current vendor. But here’s what we’ve done. Here are the agreements that we put into place with the acquiring sponsor banks and various networks for data, etc. I think that we can do this, and I think we can do it better, but we don’t know. However, you’re begging us to help you with your operating costs, so let’s just give it a go.

Kevin Rosenquist: Yes, that’s what you got to lose.

Keith Reardon: Yes. No. Exactly, exactly. So that’s what we did. 30 days later, we went back to this client, and we saved them more money than we thought we were going to. We increased the time efficiencies greatly. They were doing everything manually. We completely automated their sales process and how payments were processed. We eliminated their are they didn’t have any are anymore except for outstanding debt prior to when we got there because now everything was automated. So as soon as the product shipped, boom. The account was billed either by credit card, debit card, or ACH, so they were never needing to send out invoices anymore. That was revolutionary for them and it helped them to create better cash flow. Then they were able to go to their their lenders and refinance all of their debt because they had a more predictable cash flow. So they look a lot better to a lending institution. Then we told the CFO and the CEO of this business to tell everybody you know. That’s how we started. That’s how we grew. Then we formed some good relationships with some CFOs and controllers, and they’re a very connected group. There are so many CFO and controller groups on LinkedIn and various other platforms, and they all talk and they ask about various vendor relationships and vendor issues that they might be having. We kept getting more and more referrals. Then we started going upmarket, working with businesses doing several hundred million a year in revenues to the businesses doing billions of dollars a year in revenue. from there, that’s how our products and services expanded.

Keith Reardon: We started working with clients that were using US dollars and Canadian dollars, and now we needed to figure out how to settle funds in Canadian dollars as well as US dollars. Once we figured that out now, we needed to figure out how to deal with all the currency exchange between those two currencies if they needed to move money from their Canadian accounts to their US accounts. We tried to figure out ways that we could be better and less, more cost-effective than their current financial institution that was doing their currency trading for them. I think without having that financial services background, we wouldn’t have been able to do what we have done and take that relationship-based selling and bring it into what is traditionally a transactional-based selling model. People aren’t used to us coming in and sitting down and trying to understand their business, how they operate, what they do, so that we can come back to that not just with ways to save money, but how to eliminate time spent, whether it’s integrating into their, oracle, or SAP, or Salesforce, or whatever ERP they’re using all the way down to QuickBooks. So that. Everything is automated, everything is easy. They don’t have multiple systems that they need to log into, and they’re getting a cost-effective payment processing solution that’s at the wholesale rates for whatever the service is, whether it’s credit cards, whether it’s ACH, whether it’s it doesn’t matter. We’re very transparent and we show them here’s what our cost is and here’s what our markup is. If you’re not okay with that you’re free to leave.

Kevin Rosenquist: Yes, that’s interesting too because I remember being in business and I would get calls and emails all the time from payment processing companies. There was no personal touch to it. It was just generic, call center calls kind of stuff. You know what I mean? So I suppose you’re right. That’s probably because people are like, oh, there’s actually like a bit of service here. That’s weird.

Keith Reardon: Yes. I think people, CFOs, controllers, and then your smaller businesses where it’s just a sole proprietor, do you have such a bad taste in their mouth because they get 3 to 4 phone calls a day, they get 1 to 2 people walking in off the street. They just take a different approach. So a lot of the time, the hardest part is getting them to understand that we’re not like the other companies out there that are cold calling. That’s the most challenging part because once we peel the onion back and we have a meeting and we can then provide them with some solutions, the sales cycle is relatively simple from there. Does this make sense? Yes, or no? And if they say no, we’re usually shaking our heads like, okay, okay, sure.

Kevin Rosenquist: What’s the first thing you look at when you do an audit of a potential client?

Keith Reardon: If they have a current vendor relationship, we’re going to audit all of the statements for the past few months. There are a lot of companies that are transparent, but there are also a lot of companies that hide the true costs of processing, and merchants aren’t going to comb through their statements to fully understand that. So we want to make sure that they’re set up with the right merchant category code. B that they’re on a proper pricing structure. Then we’re going to have a conversation around what’s your sales cycle, or is it face-to-face? Is it over the phone? Is it the internet? Is it some type of combination of them all? What are you using for an accounting or an ERP system? Who’s the financial institution that you’re working with? What’s your There are like do you have a ton of net 60, net 90 that are just sitting out there and that 180 that are just sitting out there? Okay. 180 then let’s talk about you’d be shocked. That’s crazy. There are so many manufacturing and industrial companies that just don’t get paid. It’s amazing to me when you look at there are and how long an invoice has been sitting out there, and it’s a little bit different if they’re doing federal contracts with the military, or various government institutions, like, yes, that’s slow money, but that’s good money and it’s coming.

Keith Reardon: But if another business is similar to yours and they’re not paying you, why are you providing a product or a service? But anyway, we just try to have that conversation and just figure out, okay, here’s how you’re doing it today. Is that the right way? Couldn’t it may, or may not be, but we’re going to go through and just try to punch holes in that whole process and figure out ways to make it so that you’re able to process payments quicker, with fewer clicks, or no clicks at all, and that the accounts receivable department, no matter if it’s a one-person operation or a 500 person operation that’s handling their AR department, they’re able to get what they need to reconcile quickly. Then we talk about price. So we want to come in with some value because everybody is going to talk about price. Oh, you’re at 50 basis points above cost. We’ll do it for 30. Like who cares about that? What is the actual value that you’re providing? That’s where I think our integrations into ERP systems, accounting systems from QuickBooks and Xero and FreshBooks because you could just process directly with Intuit Merchant Services.

Kevin Rosenquist: Yes, that’s what I’ve done.

Keith Reardon: They’re incredibly expensive. Very. So if you could work with a company like us and still have your QuickBooks, it’s and in you’re able to still do everything in QuickBooks. Well, that’s a win-win for a business because they’re used to creating that invoice in QuickBooks and handling everything in QuickBooks. So if we can make that all work and then have the payment processing fully connected and integrated to that in the native way that they’re used to doing their business, it just makes it simple to talk to them about why it might make sense for them to work with us, versus the native merchant services relationship to that particular accounting, or ERP system.

Kevin Rosenquist: Obviously.

Keith Reardon: If it’s got an open API, will integrate,

Kevin Rosenquist: You’ll integrate it. Yes, yes. With all the technological technological changes, especially in the last couple of years, what are some of the new trends you’re seeing in the payments industry overall? Does anything stand out?

Keith Reardon: Bigger businesses have always been doing integrations because they have the budgets to do it. But the biggest thing that we’re seeing is your small businesses, not even your mid-sized businesses, but your small businesses are looking to automate and integrate. That is growing very, very rapidly. It’s good for those small businesses, because if you’re an electrician or an HVAC company and it’s one owner then maybe they’ve got 3, or 4 licensed electricians or HVAC techs working for them. That’s a small operation, but to them, it’s their life. It’s their livelihood. It’s their blood, sweat, and tears that they’ve built. But what they’re good at is wiring a house, fixing an electrical problem, or making it hot, making it cold, making it a cube, and making it not humid. What they’re usually not good at is running the business. So if we can come in and create ways for them to run their business better, and more efficiently without them having to do anything, it’s revolutionary to them. So many times we’ll go into trades, people’s offices, my sales agents, and there’ll be mounds of estimates and invoices and nothing’s been done with them, because the only time that the business owner has to do it is 7:00 at night until they go to bed, because during the day they’re doing the work, or they’re trying to get out and do that estimate, and they don’t have time to work on the business because they’re always in the business doing their trade. That analogy works with so many other small businesses as well. They’re good at making their product or making their service, but not great at running their business and making sure that their profit margins are going to give them the net profit that they need to survive for the long term.

Kevin Rosenquist: And so you’re seeing smaller businesses looking for ways to help that side of their business, the actual business side of their business, and they’re able to do it because of the technology because it’s cheaper. Is that kind of what you’re saying?

Keith Reardon: Yes. Because so many plugins have become available they used to be out of reach financially for that small business. now for a nominal monthly SaaS fee, you’re able to create all of these integrations into that small business accounting type system. With big businesses, a lot of things are just centralizing everything so that they can just do everything in one platform. So having it fully integrated into their ERP, or their CRM so that everything is just done that way. They don’t have multiple systems that they’re logging into. That’s a really big thing. Then from a technological enhancement, I think one of the fraud tools and making sure that they’re on and working properly has become big. fraudsters are good at stealing people’s identity and stealing people’s card data and then running phishing attempts on businesses, websites, or however, they might be able to infiltrate their network. It’s making sure that they have those proper fraud tools and chargeback prevention tools in place. So that, I think, is another big area as well, that we’re seeing a lot more penetration. Because businesses are getting hacked so much more frequently, like, yes, fraudsters are going after the targets and the Walmarts, but they’re more so going after that smaller business because they know that target spending hundreds of millions of dollars to try to prevent fraud. That small business is typically spending $0.

Kevin Rosenquist: Yes. I totally agree.

Keith Reardon: It’s a lot easier to hack that system than it is to hack one of the big multibillion-dollar corporations.

Kevin Rosenquist: Yes. The last day job that I had, I was like, hey, we should probably upgrade our security. We’re too small. It’s like that.

Keith Reardon: And that’s the biggest mistake.

Kevin Rosenquist: The worst thing you can say. You’re the target because they know that’s what you’re thinking and that’s what you’re saying that you’re too small.

Keith Reardon: And small businesses, get so frustrated that their passwords with everything that we do need to change every 90 days. We’re like, I get it, you hate having 900,000 passwords, but if we don’t do these things, it’s so easy for criminals to get into your networks.

Kevin Rosenquist: Yes. Well, I was going to ask you about the security in payments with all this rapid change in technology, and the fact that more small businesses are getting involved. Are people more vulnerable now, or do you think that technology is doing a good job of keeping up with the bad guys?

Keith Reardon: Yes and no. So many business owners have default passwords on their routers and modems. So if you’re we there are so many broad attacks that happen because a fraudster is sitting in your parking lot on your guest’s Wi-Fi, because the guest’s Wi-Fi is the same network that the point of sale system is on, and they are able to log into everything with default passwords. Then they’re stealing all of the data that flows through there. PCI security for a level four merchant is a joke. It’s a self-assessment questionnaire that if you don’t answer yes to every single question, you fail. So merchants just answer yes to all of those questions so that they get quote unquote, PCI compliant. But then they’re not putting those protections into place within their business. So a lot of it’s education.

Kevin Rosenquist: Yes. It does seem to come down to education. I’ve talked to some other guests about security and stuff, and education, and just, I don’t know, put a little effort in I feel like. We’re all guilty of it. I’ve talked about it on this podcast before. We’re all guilty of the you download a new app and you just like agree, agree, agree, agree, agree. I want to play this game. I want to play this game. So it’s like we all do it. But it’s not the smartest thing in the world just to sit there and agree to share all our data all the time and not think about the security aspect of things.

Keith Reardon: Yes, the younger generation is more cognizant of it. Your boomer owners and decision makers that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, or they’ve been doing it this way for so long that trying to change their ways is a monumental task. That’s very true. That’s the wrong way of thinking. But it’s so hard to resonate with them because, oh, it’s not going to happen to me. It’s not going to happen to me.

Kevin Rosenquist: Not to me. Yes, yes. It’s gotta it’s going to happen to somebody. So why not you?

Keith Reardon: Yes. Exactly.

Kevin Rosenquist: How do you see future regulations shaping the landscape of payment processing, again, with this technological sort of revolution we’re on? Do you think that’s going to make some pretty big changes to the payments industry?

Keith Reardon: From a regulation standpoint, every single time the federal government has gotten involved in our industry, they’ve done it very poorly. regulated debit is a perfect example of that. They took something that was this and then created that, and that is costing merchants more because the small business owner went from calling it 85, to 95. Even so much like 105 basis points on a debit card. But then it was $0.10 for the transaction now, okay, regulated debits, five basis points, but it’s $0.22 per transaction. So there were all of these unintended consequences that that came from that particular regulation. The tech industry I think has done a good job with self-regulation going from SSL to TLS and all of the various different versions of that. The PCI Council, I think, is doing a great job with updating all of the PCI rules and regulations and what’s compliant. I think that it was moronic for the United States to not do chip and pin like every single other country does in the world. So what that people need to remember a PIN for their credit card? It should be chip and Pin. That would make your point of sale-based transactions bulletproof.

Keith Reardon: For the most part, they would. I think that there could be some component of pin-based transactions for e-commerce coming out in the future, but that’s going to require a lot of software upgrades to all of the payment gateways to be able to have that type of PIN encryption embedded into their systems because that would eliminate the e-commerce-based fraud. You would need to know the ten as well as the card data. So there are those types of enhancements I can I can see coming down, down the roadmap. But when the US came out with chip cards, I was shocked that they went chip and signature and not chip and pin like every other country. It also would make the table side that much more prevalent. You travel anywhere outside of the United States. You’re never handing your card to anyone, ever. You’re always making the payment yourself. No matter if you’re at a restaurant or a train station, it doesn’t matter. You’re putting, you’re tapping your card, you’re inserting your card. You’re then taking your card out. You’re never handing it to somebody. But in the US, everybody is just like, here you go, waiter, take my card.

Kevin Rosenquist: Then they run away for a while.

Keith Reardon: They walk around back and write down my card information, my CV, code, and everything. It’s mind-blowing to me that that’s how it is in the United States. So I hope that that changes. That would be a good regulation in my opinion. But when the government gets involved in interchange, they do it wrong. The Durbin Amendment is a and which created regulated debit is a perfect example of that. But certain regulations I think are good. As I said if they require a pen, it’s going to reduce so much fraud. So, I don’t know, I’m kind of wishy-washy a little bit on, on the regulation front just because of bad experiences. Do you know what’s been done so far?

Kevin Rosenquist: Yes. The pin’s an interesting thought. I guess I didn’t think about that. Especially think about how many people’s stuff gets stolen at gas stations. They put those little contraptions in there.

Keith Reardon: Scammers.

Kevin Rosenquist: Yes, exactly. Thank you. If there was a pin, that wouldn’t help, matter, right? They wouldn’t be able to get the pin from you.

Keith Reardon: Well, so in that instance, when the skimmers on the gas station pump, if it’s a chip card, that card number is unique. Where they’re getting the data is the magstripe. Why the banks keep the magstripe on chip cards baffles me. Every single business in America was supposed to have already had chip-based technology built in, but you go to some gas stations and they still only have the card reader, or they have the magstripe reader. That should be completely banned. There should be no more magstripes printed on any newly issued credit, or debit card. If they eliminate the magstripe now the chip is creating a unique card number every single time. That’s only good for that one transaction at that moment in time. You add a Pin to that. Now it’s even more secure. Yes, it would eliminate the effectiveness of skimmers.

Kevin Rosenquist: Interesting. I need to get there. I like to ask this question sometimes, and we talked about it earlier and I’m curious. So I’m guessing you don’t think we’re moving towards a cashless society, at least not soon, judging by what you said about the ATMs earlier.

Keith Reardon: Not at all. Because in our existing ATM portfolio, the cash is going up on every ATM. The amount of cash withdrawn on a monthly basis on every single one of our machines is going up every single month. There’s a real need for cash, and then there’s the illicit need for cash. people are still going to use cash for things that are not legal. Sure. But there’s there’s still a prevalence in your Main Street style businesses your barber shop, you just throw them 20 bucks or 40 bucks. You don’t. You don’t think about it. You just do it. If you forget cash that day, boom. Well, here’s an ATM for you. Within more and more regional and local banks reimbursing their customers for 3 to 6 ATM withdrawals from a non-bank ATM that’s part of their network. More and more people are using ATMs outside of their banks. obviously, Bank of America and Wells Fargo aren’t doing those types of reimbursements unless you carry a high account balance with them. But there’s still that need for cash.

Keith Reardon: And cash is king when it comes to tradespeople. Also if you’re doing home repairs on your house, a bag full of money goes a lot longer than writing them a check for a deck, or a bathroom rental, or whatever it may be. So there are still those needs. Then there’s the underbanked population, It’s or the population that is on some type of supplemented income through the state, or federal government, and they’re getting their cash benefit on the first, or fifth of every single month, and then they’re going to an ATM to take that cash out. They don’t have a bank that they bank with. So there’s always going to be a need for cash. We’re only seeing it increase. If that changes we’ll sell the portfolio and get out of the business. But for the time being and the foreseeable future, right now, I don’t see that. I love crypto. I think crypto is a great thing that could enable that type of cashless society. But I also don’t think the federal government wants that either.

Kevin Rosenquist: That’s a good point. Yes, I agree with you there that the federal government probably doesn’t want that. Well, Keith Reardon, Commonwealth Consulting Group, thanks so much for being here. I enjoyed chatting with you.

Keith Reardon: Oh, thank you for your time. I hope you have a great one, Kevin.