Magazine Article | February 26, 2008

Secure Online Solution Reduces POS Transaction Time

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

PGA TOUR achieves greater customer satisfaction by implementing Web-based credit card processing terminals in all its resorts.

Integrated Solutions For Retailers, March 2008

When avid golfers arrive at the course ready to start their round of golf, they don't want to be kept waiting. But because of a slow credit card verification system and a high volume of customers, that's exactly what was happening at courses owned and managed by PGA TOUR.

"When someone checks into a pro shop to play golf and people are standing in line at the cash register to buy merchandise, a slow credit card authentication time makes the golfers' wait too long," says Steve Evans, senior vice president of information systems for PGA TOUR. "We were using stand-alone credit card verification solutions, which made the POS experience slow and inefficient. Even a slight delay at the terminal [cash register] can keep our guests from having the positive experience that we want them to have."

PGA TOUR is a membership organization of the world's best golfers. Headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, the company owns and/or operates 30 facilities — including 17 Tournament Players Club (TPC) golf courses — across the United States for both private members and vacationing golfers. PGA TOUR has 3,500 employees and $1 billion in annual sales.

At the 17 TPC clubs, 1,600 employees use POS terminals for purchases of merchandise and golf fees. Each club uses 10 to 20 terminals. 

In the 1990s, PGA TOUR used its own software developers to build IT solutions for the company. As 2000 approached, the organization began searching for an outside software vendor for its POS operations. They chose Infogenesis (now Agilysys), which was a partner of Shift4. Due to that relationship, PGA TOUR chose to adopt the Shift4 $$$ ON THE NET POS solution.

Shift4's $$$ ON THE NET solution is a real-time payment gateway between merchants' POS systems and their banks/processors. The solution collects, formats, transmits, and reports transactions from every PGA TOUR property through a single system, which integrates data throughout the company. $$$ ON THE NET also provides reporting, fraud controls, and presettlement auditing. Further, it provides a 'test bench' that allows PGA TOUR staff to run test transactions to train employees or experiment with a specific functionality without disrupting the actual business transactions conducted on the properties.  Shift4 delivers the solution in the application service provider (ASP) model and hosts the data and application — the customer doesn't have to provide dedicated hardware or infrastructure, and very little end-user training is required. 


Satisfy Customers With Fast, Secure Credit Card Transactions 
"At each TPC location, as well as at our headquarters, we utilize the Shift4 $$$ ON THE NET product to manage our credit card transactions," says Evans. "This provides us with a secure, centrally administered solution that is timely for the customer. Prior to this solution, we had a difficult time in the back office reconciling the business each day of each location."

For PGA TOUR, a main benefit of using the Shift4 solution is reduced credit card  transaction time. In this area, a few seconds make all the difference. With the previous system, a typical credit card transaction would take 20 seconds. With the Shift4 solution, the average transaction time is three seconds. "It doesn't sound like a lot," says Evans, "but those seconds saved are very important to our guests' experiences at our properties."

Another is complying with credit card security standards for all transactions. "The Shift4 solution meets all criteria for credit card security compliance," says Evans. "It enables us to protect our guests' transaction security, giving us and our guests peace of mind." 

In the future, PGA TOUR will use the Shift4 It's Your Card software for its upcoming gift card program.  The It's Your Card solution supports plastic and e-cards and will enable PGA TOUR properties to sell, activate, and inquire on balances for e-cards over the Internet.