Charge Savvy

cs 1Jeff Nickel vividly remembers one memory from 20 years spent in operations between restaurants, bars and nightclubs: Contested charges. That meant employees had to drop what they were doing and waste hours sifting through paper files hoping to find proof to combat claims of fraudulent charges. Then a decade ago, Nickel switched to the adult nightclub scene and found the problem was even worse. Seeing how problematic all this was, it struck Nickel something had to be done to streamline this incredibly time-wasting process. Three and a half years ago, Nickel and his two partners went to work building the system that is now known across industries far and wide, Charge Savvy.
The Apple-based software program is compatible with POS systems, the majority of which utilize Windows. Nickel says they chose Apple products because of their safety features. As he puts it, Charge Savvy has the tools to talk to Windows, they just don’t let Windows do the processing. For that reason, Nickel doesn’t anticipate inclusion of Windows tablets or Android compatibility.

Telling the all-too-well-known tale of buyers’ remorse after a night of partying at a gentlemen’s club, Nickel explains what separates the pros who are cons from the truly regretful spenders who are seeking salvation through a flaw in the system. That difference, he says, is roughly six months.
“The people who are smart about this know that they wait,” Nickel says. “For them it’s not about the money, it’s about winning the game.”
But armed with his past experiences, Nickel is aiding adult club owners everywhere battle one of the biggest financial calamities facing their industry.

Twelve seconds

With Charge Savvy, adult nightclubs can put in place the defense system against the attack of chargebacks in 12 seconds. Employees simply have to log into Charge Savvy via their iPads (as purchased through Charge Savvy or separately), and once the customer hands over their credit card, the image of the credit card is captured along with the driver’s license. What’s more, it’s all PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant thanks to the data being encrypted.
In the case a chargeback does come in, an owner or manager simply has to log into the program’s dashboard, go to customer history, enter the last four digits of the credit card and search the card in question, which is made easy thanks to results filtered by line items.
“When a club gets a dispute, we made it very simple,” Nickel says. “You hit ‘send’ and you’re done. In less than 20 seconds, you’re done with the chargeback and you can move onto business.”
Another useful tool in Charge Savvy’s arsenal is its ability to remember customers who contest charges. If a credit card associated with a chargeback is used, a warning pops up that alerts of charge back attempt and requests an alternate method of payment.
“It gives them a head’s up that, ‘Wait a minute, this is somebody that’s done a chargeback against us before.’ So maybe we want to have them go to the ATM and get cash,” Nickel says. He cites privacy laws that prevent the club from knowing how frequently the customer has tried to get a chargeback or the dollar amount, but the preemptive warning is there.
“We want to give our club owners as much ammunition as we can to help them protect their money,” Nickel says.

Putting the “savvy” in Charge Savvy

Despite the quickness with which Charge Savvy fights chargebacks, the program has grown to cover other areas. Much like his program’s name suggests, Nickel designed Charge Savvy with the understanding that while chargebacks are a constant threat to the welfare of an adult club, they aren’t the only headache adult club owners and managers deal with.
Today, Charge Savvy has evolved into being a full-blown POS system, while also continuing the fight against chargebacks.
“I didn’t want this to just be a chargeback solution,” Nickel says. “We’ve stayed ahead of the game on all of the aspects.”
He points to the introduction of the now commonplace EMV chip (credit card) system, which wasn’t user-friendly. But with Charge Savvy, clubs can conduct EMV chip card transactions table-side, including check out. The program’s back-end dashboard also features a bevy of reporting tools to have easy check out at the end of the night.
“No more having to count receipts, count tips, reconciling the receipts to the POS report,” Nickel says.
There’s even a new tip program Charge Savvy is implementing which allows adult clubs to pay staff via prepaid payroll cards in lieu of cash, “which we know the IRS is hammering clubs for.”
Nickel stresses he didn’t want to compromise change at the expense of usability. Charge Savvy is so customizable it can be tailored to how you do business right now with very simple—yet very thorough—training.

Don’t fear technology—embrace it

The final point that Nickel wants to stress is that the technology Charge Savvy implements is nothing to be feared. Rather, it should be embraced.
To further illustrate his point, he notes one of their newest clients, Blush in Pittsburgh. Though a veteran operation and  a Steel City fixture for four-plus decades, Charge Savvy has been seamlessly integrated into the club.
“There was no fear at all by (Blush owner Albert Bortz)  when the club brought this technology in,” Nickel says. He knows technology can be intimidating to people and purposely built it so that it wouldn’t be. In fact, when a business makes the decision to go with Charge Savvy, the systems arrive ready to use, right out of the box.
“If you can turn a cellphone on, you can use our system,” Nickel says. “I really approach Charge Savvy from the building aspect of it, from an operator’s point of view. If it doesn’t help an operator make their life better and protect their funds, it’s useless. That’s why Charge Savvy has seen the tremendous success it’s seen.”

For more information on Charge Savvy, please call (708) 272-8170, email or visit

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