Virginia Card Services Nexgen Partner Strategies

Our Green Company

Just as our logo is green and white, Virginia Card Services is a green company.

We feel we have a corporate responsibility in that area, and that we have a head start because our industry--electronic payments--is (by nature) a green industry. But that hasn't always been the case.

Twenty-some years ago, credit card payments were processed by imprinting the cards on multi-part carbon forms we still provide those imprinters, called knucklebusters, for specialized uses. The imprinted slip was once deposited at the bank like any form of payment. A lot of those slips were used.

The volume of credit card transactions has increased astonishingly since those days, but now it is all done electronically. In fact, there are so many transactions that they can only be handled by electronic means. If we were still using imprinter slips, we would be drowning in paper and all the attendant waste and the pollution of manufacturing that paper.

Of course, the electronic credit card terminals now in wide use print a receipt for merchant and cardholder, but these receipts are a fraction of the waste of the old slips.

The same green equation is true where we provide electronic check processing systems and debit card acceptance systems, which can eliminate the resources used to create and transport paper checks.

Our gift card and loyalty card solutions eliminate paper gift certificates and paper punch card programs with durable, reusable plastic cards.

Naturally, you will say that the credit card terminal itself - which is a mini computer requires resources to manufacture and deploy, including plastics, circuit boards, and the like. This is very true. But, beyond just ensuring less paper waste from the many millions of credit card transactions each year, modern terminals themselves contribute to the proper husbanding of resources.

Old terminals used impact printers the kind that print with ribbons, like typewriters. The modern terminals that Virginia Card Services provides use thermal printers that employ heat sensitive paper. There are no ribbons or polluting ink.

Virginia Card Services is keeping a close eye on materials innovations as relates to the green manufacture of terminals. Most of the toxic materials we are concerned about are found in very small amounts in most terminals. Lead content is a big concern of computer manufacturers because of its use in CRT displays, which are not part of credit card terminals. Polyvinyl chloride, arsenic, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium and brominated flame retardants such as decabromodiphenyl ether are of concern, and we are watching the implementation of European RoHS and other standards in these areas. Of course, we do not manufacture credit card terminals, but consistent with other needs we would always choose the source manufacturer with the highest standards in these areas.

Modern terminals are also extremely reliable. The typical terminal has a service life of eight to ten years. So, the resources that go into manufacturing these terminals are well-spent given their long service life.

Also, the terminals that Virginia Card Services provides are typically open-source terminals, meaning that they can be used by any major processor. Even if a merchant client chooses to no longer use our services, they can still use the same terminal. There is no need to discard the terminal and buy another.

Virginia Card Services is a leader in providing Virtual Terminals which do not use a physical terminal. Where applicable, the merchant uses their existing computer or cell phone to process transactions.

Our broad compatibility with the merchant's existing point-of-sale terminals means that many times we can use existing legacy equipment without the need to replace.

Terminals do need replacement at times. Any piece of equipment may fail, or require an upgrade due to functional needs of the merchant. When Virginia Card Services receives such terminals, we adhere to the green concepts of Reuse, Renew, Recycle. As appropriate, terminals are used for loaners or test terminals, refurbished by qualified facilities, or sent to local E-Waste facilities. We do not ship E-Waste to overseas facilities.

Additionally, nearly 100% of all recyclable items we accumulate are actually recycled, including waste items (like paper) from our office operations.

We are also moving toward a paperless process for our business workflow. We process internal documents electronically. Our intercompany communications are largely electronic with web-based and email-centric training and information exchange. Numbers of our staff employ video conferencing for meetings, rather than traveling. We universally use fluorescent lighting, flat-screen monitors and Energy-Star electronic equipment in our business operations. We encourage car-pooling and public transit use among our office staff.

There are certainly great advances still to be made in the protection of our natural resources with Green practices. It behooves all of us to keep an eye on advances and possibilities in this area.

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