Questions we've been asked by local business owners about our program.
About Local Dollars
Can you explain the subscription fee? Are there cancellation penalties? Am I locked in?
The subscription fee is $25 / month per terminal. This includes staff training, participation in our fundraisers, a terminal device (for use at your point of sale), a wooden stand for the device, door stickers, customer hand-out cards, in-app listing, and social media coverage. You may cancel your involvement in The Local Frequency at any time. There are no cancellation penalties.
Why give 3% for debit/cash transactions and 1% for credit card transactions?
The Local Frequency allows you to issue a cash back reward that works for your business depending on the payment method the customer chooses. The credit card reward is slightly lower to account for the higher processing fee of that payment method.
You will have access to my bank account through a pre-authorized debit agreement. Is this safe and secure?
Protegra’s community of businesses includes a payroll company called Blue Canvas who performs the payment processing for The Local Frequency. Blue Canvas serves 450 businesses and is the official payroll provider for the Winnipeg and Manitoba Chambers of Commerce.
How do refunds work?
If you offer refunds for in-store credit or exchanges, then simply exchange for the full amount and do not issue more Local Dollars. Local Dollars were given out on the initial transaction.
So customers can earn Local Dollars from me and spend them at another participating business?
Yes. In addition, Local Dollars can be earned elsewhere and spent at your business. The program then exchanges those redeemed Local Dollars for cash back to you. Our program is a network of local businesses for which there is a net overall benefit to participating businesses, as customers actively seek to purchase and earn Local Dollars within the network.
When someone spends Local Dollars at my business, how do I receive money for that? Am I giving away things for free?
To keep things simple, 1 Local Dollar equals $1 Canadian dollar in value, e.g. 1.05 Local Dollars equates to $1.05 Canadian. When Local Dollars are given out, we collect the cash equivalent from the business that gives those Local Dollars via pre-authorized debit. Subsequently, when Local Dollars are spent at that business, or any other business in the network, we transfer the cash equivalent of those Local Dollars back to that business via pre-authorized debit. We settle the accounts every month.
What if I give out Local Dollars to a customer and they never spend it? Does The Local Frequency keep the money?
If a user hasn’t earned or spent Local Dollars over a 12 month period, these Local Dollars expire. An exception to this are Local Dollars a customer loads into their account. These Local Dollars don't expire and follow gift card legislation. For earned and expired Local Dollars, we will then try to return them to the business they were earned at. We believe if the Local Dollars are not re-circulating and adding value to the network, they should be returned to the originating business.
I already use a loyalty program. Can I use The Local Frequency at the same time?
That’s a good question. There isn’t anything technically preventing you from offering Local Dollars in addition to your current loyalty program. You’ll have to determine if the numbers make sense for your business.
Ease of Use for Staff
I don’t want to make life difficult for my staff. Is the solution easy to use?
The whole process takes less than 8 seconds to scan the customer’s QR code and submit the transaction amount. Our design has focused on minimizing impact to staff and customers.
Will I have accounting difficulties because the program device is separate from the point of sale device?
We’ve worked with local business accountants to ensure that the monthly statement report will meet your needs. This transaction report allows you to see what transaction fees you’ve been charged, how much Local Dollars you’ve given out, and how many of those Local Dollars have been spent at your business. The net dollar amount of Local Dollars given out, Local Dollars redeemed, and fees is pulled from, or deposited into, your account monthly. We give notice prior to the debit or credit occurring.
Promotion to Customers
How are you promoting this program?
Our Local Frequency Fundraiser helps local fundraising groups raise funds and introduces their contacts to local businesses on The Local Frequency. We have also have an emphasis on social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), and online & traditional advertising. Our aim is to drive traffic to our program, and in turn, our participating member businesses.
How do I get my customers to sign up to the program?
We offer point of sale material that explains the program, and small temporary sign-up cards that allow a customer to claim the Local Dollars from their first transaction. These can be offered by your staff at the point of sale. In addition to this, The Local Frequency has its own marketing program to encourage customers to sign up.
What kind of support do you offer?
We offer phone support during business hours, and we also have email support.
What if my Wi-Fi connection fails in the middle of a business day?
Our training material shows you how to work in offline mode, allowing you to continue to give Local Dollars to your loyal customers. You will not be able to accept Local Dollars as payment without a connection to our servers.
How does training work?
We train your staff at your store, after which your staff are able to train other staff. If you need a refresher, we offer a user guide. If that’s not sufficient, we’re happy to come out and assist. In addition to training on the use of the device, we give your staff simple messaging to use when your customers ask what the program is all about.
Do you have experience building secure software systems and apps?
Yes, we have lots of experience building secure software for government, banking, payroll, wealth management, telecom, insurance and lotteries. We’ve taken the same care in building The Local Frequency systems.
Are you a locally-owned business?
The Local Frequency is a branded offering of Protegra. Protegra is a 100% employee-owned Winnipeg business that began in 1998.
Do you collect personal information about my customers?
The only personal information we collect from your customers is their email address so that we can verify their account information. If there is a support issue involving a particular customer, we may have to collect a bit more info to resolve the matter – with their permission of course! We will not use this additional information for any other purpose.