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While Americans deal with soaring prices in nearly every facet of life, gentlemen’s clubs aren’t exempt. As the federal rates rise, so do fees attached to credit card transactions. Visa and Mastercard, which account for approximately 70% of credit card volume, raised interchange fees for merchants earlier this year. Credit card fees and the cost associated with acceptance are also Federally regulated.
“Now more than ever a business has to work with vendors that are focused on helping them keep their doors open,” says Ramos. “Savings without service can cost a business in other areas. We pride ourselves on providing service that is unparalleled.”
Ramos says she and her team are available 24/7 and that clients are welcome to call her directly.
“Our client service team remains in-house — no out-sourcing,” she continues.
In these turbulent economic waters, Ramos and Platinum Processing are promising to be a lifesaver to which the industry can grab ahold of.
“This is a time where a business needs to cut costs, not incur unnecessary fees,” says Ramos, citing the average annual savings of $20,000 clubs can take advantage of.
“Multiple factors go into negotiating the best rates we can provide to our clients. My own reputation and history has an impact as well on the clients I service. While we service all industries, my personal passion remains with the adult entertainment industry.” — Miriam Ramos
“They need to work with vendors genuinely concerned, dedicated and passionate about the success of these members, especially now.”
That opens the door to what is normally a taboo subject — kickbacks and POS choices — which can carry sneaky add-on fees for clubs.
“These were once conversations that happened behind the scenes,” Ramos shares. “I discuss this openly with my clients. I can and will show them these unnecessary fees. We refuse to participate in the ‘hidden fees,’ aka kickbacks.”
This is a measure designed to protect clients as well as prove Platinum Processing’s integrity.
“We do not apologize for educating our clients,” Ramos says. “A business has a right to know what they are being charged and why.”
She harkens back to a conversation she recently had where she accepted a new client and reached out to their POS support to make changes. She was told she wasn’t “approved to process” on that POS.
“The reasoning had nothing to do with the ability or compatibility to add on the processing file,” Ramos recalls. “The reason was due to our refusal to add on an additional 10 cents a transaction to the business’ fees.”
That additional fee would have been relayed to the POS provider for processing the transaction. Compatibility and functionality were not the issue, refusing to charge the client an unnecessary fee was the reason for the delay in installing. The issue was resolved. The client did not incur the additional fees.
“Let me be very clear about why these fees should not be assessed to the businesses by the POS system being used,” says Ramos, “if fines are imposed, regardless of reason, those at risk are the business, the processor and the sponsoring bank. We take this risk knowingly and willingly when we accept the application. Our sponsoring banks agree and they also absorb some of the risk. The POS needs only to be compliant and registered by Visa as certified if it is fully integrated.”
It rankles Ramos that clubs are hit with fees simply because of the nature of their business.
“We are discussing a business’ right of choice and the costs incurred when those choices are taken away,” Ramos says. “Processing is simply a function like inventory, employee time, menus, etc. Why should a business agree to continue to pay for one of the features of their system? They aren’t continuing to pay additional fees for the other functions, are they? In the same way I won’t purchase a computer or a television that only allows me to select from a few internet providers; I buy the product with the technology I need. That’s it. I decide who my provider will be. If the business wants a particular processor, it is their right and freedom of choice to do so. The POS side should not be involved in limiting the choices of the business. Nor should the business allow it.”
Platinum Processing addresses bank relationships, chargeback negotiations, rate hike protection, true data breach protection among other factors for its clients. It’s part of the company’s tenets — to treat clients’ business as their own.
“Processing and negotiating the initial rates, then continuing to protect and monitor those rates requires full time focus to give the client the best rates and service available,” says Ramos. “If the client wishes to work with us, there is rarely a technical reason why they cannot. We will work with the POS reseller every step of the way. In fairness to the resellers, not all support these restrictions. It is not unusual to hear a reseller unhappy about being forced to impose limits on their clients. We can and we will help.”
“If the client wishes to work with us, there is rarely a technical reason why they cannot. We will work with the POS reseller every step of the way. In fairness to the resellers, not all support these restrictions. It is not unusual to hear a reseller unhappy about being forced to impose limits on their clients. We can and we will help. — Miriam Ramos
As mentioned before, Ramos has been working with the industry for years (including as an ACE National Preferred Industry Partner) and vehemently believes gentlemen’s clubs are slighted for no other reason than stigma, pointing out how the industry was left to fend for itself during the pandemic with withheld funding, denied loans and forced closures (some of which have stayed permanent).
“The same energy that unified the industry during that time needs to be put into protecting the rights of owners to choose in every aspect of their business,” Ramos says. “Protecting the right of choice should neither be overlooked or underestimated. There is always strength in unity. We are proud to have earned and retained that relationship.
“While I am always excited to help an owner increase their profits, I do not enjoy telling an owner that the fees they have been incurring were never necessary,” Ramos continues. “Often the more the savings, the more skeptical. Who wouldn’t be? They have most likely been misled in their processing history. I understand their hesitancy; I put what I say in writing — our reputation, our referrals and our decades of support for the industry definitely helps assure those that may be hesitant. To my knowledge no other processor has consistently supported the industry and the EXPO as we have. This industry can count on us.”
For more information, visit www.platinumsolutionsmiriam.com or call (216) 543-4983 or visit them at booth #30 at the upcoming Gentlemen’s Club EXPO. Platinum Processing is an ACE National Preferred Vendor.