Merchant Services/ Credit Card Payments

Business By Katiebelle74 Updated 14 Jun 2010 , 10:13pm by cakesondemand

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Katiebelle74 Posted 31 May 2010 , 8:36pm
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I have a home based business (built on professional kitchen). At first I took cash and checks. Then got paid with a rubber check and never got my money also got a lot of bs "the check is in the mail" when it wasn't. Now I only accept checks in person for events that are more than a month away - plenty of time to make sure they are not rubber. I also started taking paypal payments via paypal invoicing... this way I can take credit cards and checks which was going great. Lately paypal has started being more annoying. Some of my clients don't like paypal, some do not have accounts and it becomes frustrating for them to pay that way. Now someone sent me an echeck and that has been pending for awhile. It looks like time to upgrade my payment methods. I want to keep it as simple as possible. I do not do tons of business yet as I have not spent the $$$$ on advertising and do not want a merchant service that charges monthly fees. I also do not want any complicated system that is going to take a lot of time to learn to operate. I would greatly appreciate any advice on what service you use for payments and your experience.

14 replies
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indydebi Posted 31 May 2010 , 9:39pm
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A recent post on Paypal:

Talk to your bank. I'm not aware of anyplace that doesn't charge a monthly fee (doesn't mean such a place doesn't exist ... I'm just not aware of any, so I'm not much help there), but unless you buy the equipment, there would be a monthly rental fee.

I had such a service and it was well worth the monthly expense. People tend to spend about 22% to 28% more when using plastic, plus using debit / credit cards is just so commonplace anymore. I'm not even sure if we have actual checks in the house ..... we pay all bills online via plastic.

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KoryAK Posted 31 May 2010 , 10:00pm
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Yes, I would say best bet is to contact a local provider, not an internet one and DEFINITELY one of those nationwide ones that cold call you!

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cylstrial Posted 31 May 2010 , 11:29pm
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I think Sam's Club even offers some type of credit card system. I have no idea how much or anything - but you might check and see.

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KHalstead Posted 31 May 2010 , 11:44pm
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I just do cash, checks and paypal as well.........I checked out the thing at Sam's.....basically you still pay a monthly fee and then pay several hundreds of dollars for the actual card swiping machine, so you'd be set up like any storefront as far as taking cards. You can punch in the numbers for taking a card over the phone as well.

What was it that you didn't like about paypal?? I don't think your customers have to have paypal to be able to send you money through there either!

So far it's been fine for my business......I accept payments through there a couple times a month with no problems! Stinks that they take a portion but the headache is saves wondering if a check will bounce is worth it to me!

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Exoticakes Posted 1 Jun 2010 , 6:04am
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There are actually some cell phone apps that you can get to accept payment through your phone. Windows based and I-phone compatible for sure and maybe other model phones as well. IDK all of the fine print on them but, check them out. HTH. icon_wink.gif

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icingimages Posted 1 Jun 2010 , 11:11am
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I have been using BBT for years now. I switched from an 800 number in the sky to a bank I can not only walk in to, but my rep has been there the whole time I have used them. They were able to beet my rates back then, but the service now is what we stay for. When it comes to money being filtered in adn out of your account, you really have to be comfortable with who you are using. I like the idea of having a physical place I can walk in to and get answers, but honestly , its my rep that has made the difference. Be sure you have the money go in to an independant account, but always make sure you retain a cushion in case there is a chargeback.

Credit cards companies charge monthly fees, ususally 10 or under, plus either a percentage and or a transaction fee. Do the math to see which system works best for you.

Another note, very important note is that you think credit cards are safe. NO absolutely not. Someone can file a complaint even 6 months after the order has been completed. If they say it is stolen, and you did not have all the proper info, than you are out the money. If you ship something and they say the never ordered it and they have it, you still could be out the money. But in the long run, they are still the best alternative. Just be sure to always have matchin information for what the bank wants and have the customer sign a document stating that they agree with the charge and they are satisfied with the product. This will help you if there is ever a dispute.

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tracycakes Posted 1 Jun 2010 , 1:02pm
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We just got setup using credit cards last week and had done a tremendous amount of research to determine the option we were going to use. We are actually using the credit card process through paypal but the customer doesn't have to have a paypal account. It just provides the business owner a way to key in the credit card information. You might want to check into that.

You are going to have fees for accepting credit cards. I used to work for a credit card processor (we actually ran the credit card process for the banks) and there will always be a charge for accepting credit cards. You might look into adding a handling fee for clients using credit cards. Just a thought...

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indydebi Posted 1 Jun 2010 , 8:12pm
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Originally Posted by tracycakes

You might look into adding a handling fee for clients using credit cards. Just a thought...

credit card companies usually have in their agreement a stipulation that you can NOT charge an add'l fee if the customer is using a credit card, and to do so will result in your credti card privilages being pulled.

The reason is they WANT folks to use their credit cards and an add'l fee for using the card deters people from using the card.

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KoryAK Posted 1 Jun 2010 , 9:24pm
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But you can always tack that fee on to EVERY order behind the scenes and then offer a "cash discount" icon_smile.gif

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indydebi Posted 1 Jun 2010 , 9:38pm
post #11 of 15
Originally Posted by KoryAK

But you can always tack that fee on to EVERY order behind the scenes and then offer a "cash discount" icon_smile.gif

Doesnt' that just crack you up that doing it that way *IS* ok? icon_lol.gif

I can't charge more for using a credit card, but I can give a discount for paying cash, which in effect means you are paying more for using a credit card! Buh-DEE-buh-DEE-buh-DEE Dat's ALL folks!

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pattycakesnj Posted 1 Jun 2010 , 9:42pm
post #12 of 15

I looked into a credit card processing company and most charge a higher rate for less than x amount of transactions a month so wasn't worth it to me.
I use paypal if client wants to pay by credit card, they don't need an account, just an email address. I charge clients 3% fee to use paypal since that is what paypal charges me, I am not taking the cut.

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Occther Posted 1 Jun 2010 , 9:52pm
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Don't use Sam's Club. I checked into it when I opened my coffee shop. Their rates were pretty high. Actually, one of the best places to start is talk to your bank. Make sure to compare all the options. When I had the coffee shop, I signed up with a company that tracks down bad checks. Didn't cost me a thing and they did all the work. Then, if they recovered the money, they sent you a check plus some extra $$$ - and they kept a portion of the fee. I doubt that the people who bounced the checks were very happy because I am sure that the fee was often higher than the actual check amount. But, hey - I got my $$$. Wonder if that company is still in business? I'll have to do some research later.

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Katiebelle74 Posted 13 Jun 2010 , 5:12pm
post #14 of 15

This is really helpful I appreciate all the feedback! I am thinking until I get bigger/more transactions of maybe doing the merchant service/credit card thing via paypal. I have been using regular paypal and even though "your customer does not have to have a paypal account" in reality they do or paypal hassles them. Just read the thread Indydeb posted. Then maybe the next step up after merchant service via paypal will be to move to doing it via a bank I can walk into.

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cakesondemand Posted 14 Jun 2010 , 10:13pm
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I started out using one of the simple hand sliders and phoned the card # in for authorization was the cheepest way to go I now have a machine but its very expensive Im looking forward to canceling when my contract is over and going the old way again think it was about $10 per month and some interest for every card I ran through doesnt take debit so I would ask for cash. Check with your bank.

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