With Michael Whitlock of Transaction Expert
Business Name: Transaction Expert
Member Name: Michael Whitlock
Business Address: 9202 Charleston Drive, Manassas, Va 20110
Business Phone: 703-981-5486
Business Website: transactionexpertva.com
When and why did you decide to start your own company?
I started my business in 2014 because I kept seeing credit card breaches. This caused new liability laws to be enacted, which put merchants at risk of going out of business; I want to make sure that does not happen.
How does your business serve the local community?
My business provides services that help a merchant grow and run their organization more effectively. We assist in increasing overall sales, implementing the best way to generate payment for those sales, increasing average sale amount, and managing risk associated with electronic payments by educating owners about EMV (global standard for Europay, MasterCard and Visa), PCI (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) Compliance, etc.
Please share one of the greatest moments you’ve experienced in your current profession. I worked with a business to increase profits by leveraging new technologies for accepting electronic payments (through the mobile wallet Apple Pay) and to save expenses and time by providing a point of sales solution (POS). I also provided a mobile marketing platform (gift and loyalty) to bring in new customers.
A customer called me and said the FBI told him that he was the center point of a credit card breach and needed a bank audit–he was totally lost. I calmed him down and explained that the bank will do a forensic audit ($25,000) to find how it happened; the expenses and liability were the responsibility of the owner. No worries, the customer was covered by my business for $100,000. I was with the owner every step of the way. The results were that a new employee was skimming card numbers. My customer was not liable, and I was able to have him PCI compliant again.
Tell us about your experience with the HGBA. How has it supported you in your local business? The HGBA is focused specifically in a small area that is growing. They offer great referrals, with down-to-earth small business owners that become friends.
What top three business tips and tricks can you offer other professionals?
- The leader closest to the people wins. Ask what they need from you to be successful, then listen.
- The only guarantee for tomorrow to be better is for you to grow today.
- Quit asking “How long will it take?”, and ask instead “How far can I go?”
Are you from this area? If not, what brought you here and what do you like about our town? I am originally from Chicago, and moved to area in 1995. I love the small town feel, but I still have all the amenities close by without having to travel to DC.
What is your favorite season in this area, and why? Spring–daylight extends, weather heats up–outdoor activities abound.
What are some hobbies you enjoy? Playing and growing the sport of Pickleball in our county. It is the fastest growing sport in the US; it gets people active and moving. Also, the sport has increasing memberships in our community centers, and provides mentoring for local entrepreneurs and youth.
What is your favorite restaurant? Giuseppe’s. I love homemade Italian food. The local business has great owners and spacious digs.
What is your favorite local school sports team? Kettle Run Cougars–my grandkids go there–and Auburn Middle.
Are you involved with any nonprofits?
I’m involved with many: Serve our Willing Warriors Retreat (I support veterans), Sweet Julia Grace Foundation (I love kids), and the Prince William County Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence Task forces (families are the foundation of our community).
What was your first job, or your most interesting job prior to your current profession? I worked in retail for over 40 years: at FW Woolworth for 30 years in many capacities, and I started out working for Kinney Shoes–I even opened the first Foot Locker Store in 1978!