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  #1  
Old 05-18-2008, 08:10 AM
dilida dilida is offline
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accepting credit cards

Hi ya'll,

Can anyone share thier experiences with accepting credit cards? I'm at the point where I need to do that, and I wondered what evils that might entail. Not online sales, just the old fashioned kind I can use out on the street. (No cell phone, or laptop). My husband and I have never had a card ourselves, but I'm missing sells because so many people rely on them.

Thanks,
lisa
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  #2  
Old 05-18-2008, 11:50 AM
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Landseer Landseer is offline
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Re: accepting credit cards

It is pretty involved to directly accept credit cards, you need a fair amount of banking credit history, there's fees, requirements and so on, you can't just open an account and start taking cards.

You CAN however go to PayPal and open a PayPal account which is free, and with a minimal fuss you can accept credit cards THROUGH your PayPal account.
There are transaction fees with all of these payment methods, around 3% or whatever it is, so whether you use one or the other you will still be paying fees for the transaction.
I get as well as pay with credit cards thru PayPal all the time, when I pay for an item using my card thru my PayPal account rather than my checking acct, I get an extra layer of buyer protection- my credit card company AND PayPal.
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  #3  
Old 05-18-2008, 01:17 PM
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evaldart evaldart is offline
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Re: accepting credit cards

I have been accepting credit cards for deposits and payments for 12 years. Anyone can do it just go through the process. I'm quite sure that many, many sales would not have occured had I not accepted them as a form of payment. Amex takes a bigger piece of the pie but in all its a pretty small sacrifice. If you ever do any art festivals or art fairs or trade shows 90% of your take will be credit card. It feels like free money...its easy to whip-out on an impulse...art is very often an impulse-buy. I have a buyer arriving today to pick-up a commission, I have his cc # on file, the pieces are payed for...easier for everyone.
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  #4  
Old 05-18-2008, 01:32 PM
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tonofelephant tonofelephant is offline
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Re: accepting credit cards

Quote:
I have been accepting credit cards for deposits and payments for 12 years. Anyone can do it just go through the process. I'm quite sure that many, many sales would not have occured had I not accepted them as a form of payment.
Evaldart is right. Over 80% of the clients that come here use credit cards. If you do shows - that means no land line phone hook up - ask to be a paper merchant. Being a paper merchant means that you have a 2 or 3 part paper receipt to make out and run the credit card receipt through one of the old embossers. At a conveninet time in the day, call the charges in. Very easy. We have been a paper merchant for 20 years. Not many banks want a paper merchant but they are around. Be aware that you also need to sign a credit card agreement with the bank/credit card processer. Basically the agreement says that you are responsible for everything.

An aside, if you do become a credit card merchant, set the credit card account up in a seperate account. The reason for this is if the credit card company deducts a sale from your credit card/checking account, because it is disputed, you wont be bouncing checks.

Carl
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  #5  
Old 05-18-2008, 05:12 PM
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Landseer Landseer is offline
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Re: accepting credit cards

Quote:
Originally Posted by evaldart View Post
I have been accepting credit cards for deposits and payments for 12 years. Anyone can do it just go through the process.
Well maybe things have changed in the last few years, but I know when I tried twice to look into it- even though I had great credit and a credit card I was given a whole list of ridgid requirements, including having a business license, sales tax number, business listed phone, business checking acct, no bankruptcies and more. Chances are if you've ever had a bankruptcy on record they won't give you the account either.

That all is a bit much for a part time artist working from home without a store, employees etc.
The same sort of thing about a business listed phone was a requirement to get FedEx pickups at a residence, they require it and verify it, but a business phone is like TWICE the cost of a residence phone, and I wouldn't want to be listed in the yellow pages anyway.


The thing people don't think about when they come up with the idea of runing credit cards is, well, what's to stop "Joe" craft person from just going to a new bank, open a checking acct with $10, start accepting credit cards and then sit there all day for 30 days running people's cards, even stolen card numbers- thru the system with all kinds of fake charges on them and then skipping town before anyone ever gets their statements and protests charges they didn't authorise. By the time it was all checked out "Joe" could set up a new boiler shop 6 states over.

On the other end of things, after you ship the item, the buyer can decide they want to keep it and a refund too, so they claim the box never arrived or was full of bricks and you ripped them, meanwhile the card company puts a hold on your account for that.

I very rarely ever have anyone ask if I take cards, 99% use PayPal, maybe ONE client in a year sends a check- very often a business check.
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  #6  
Old 05-18-2008, 05:21 PM
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Landseer Landseer is offline
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Re: accepting credit cards

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonofelephant View Post
We have been a paper merchant for 20 years. Not many banks want a paper merchant but they are around.

Carl
That's anoother issue, you have been doing that system for 20 years, the trend has been now to do it all electronically and swipe the card in the machine, this includes UPS where they are phasing out the old rubber stamp and book method-it's obsolete.

As you point out, not many bans want paper merchants any more, this is true since they have even gone to electronic imaging of checks for clearing instead of mailing them around to be cleared and returned to the customer, most people no longer get their paper checks back any more unless you demand it and pay a fee.
I have a hunch the way things are going, paper checks themselves are going to be fading off into the sunset too, the first step along that line was registers at stores imprinting the merchant name, date and amount for you, leaving you only to sign, everything is going to plastic.

About 3 years ago I tried to get a UPS stamp and book and was told they were obsolete and phased out, but when I pointed out the boss has them at work they told me that they still provide the stamps and books for their longtime customers who haven't made the switch yet, and that the new system involves using their web site and printing out the labels with the bar code on it.
So like those old check punching machines and mimeographs we all remember at school, the paper methods are going away.
Carl still uses the paper and long distance call method, but for NEW accounts I'm sure the story will be different, or at least that old method strongly discouraged, and sure to be eliminated completely before too long.
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  #7  
Old 05-18-2008, 05:48 PM
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tonofelephant tonofelephant is offline
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Re: accepting credit cards

Randall,

My bank just changed their credit card processor. The new credit card processor did not give me any trouble. My brother who has a part-time business, got Visa, MC and AMEX as a paper merchant - no problem. I know he pays 4 1/2% not 3% on his card processing.

I do have a business checking account in addition to the personal checking accounts. The most important thing to the credit card people though is your signature on their document to start the credit card processing. It is very through and comprehensive. The credit card processing people are very clear - you as the merchant are throughly and totally responsible for any and all problems. The new credit card processing contract was approximately 15 pages of legalese that covered all eventualities in deadly, mind-numbing detail.

The crux of the document said: If you are stupid or irresponsible you will be charged hideously for your mistakes. So it behooves you to not make mistakes. Pretty simple really.

Carl
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  #8  
Old 05-18-2008, 07:55 PM
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Landseer Landseer is offline
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Re: accepting credit cards

Quote:
you as the merchant are throughly and totally responsible for any and all problems. The new credit card processing contract was approximately 15 pages of legalese that covered all eventualities in deadly, mind-numbing detail.
Geez, well see, that's what I like about PayPal- you don't have all that krap or assumed risks- the customer typically already has their credit card on file with PayPal and the funds are immediately charged to their account and shows up in yours right away. I also have a PayPal debit card I can but havent yet- use in any ATM to take the funds out
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  #9  
Old 06-08-2008, 09:39 AM
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Julianna Julianna is offline
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Re: accepting credit cards

I agree with Landseer about using Paypal. I already had an account for purchases, and there wasn't an application process or anything to accept payments. I don't have a high enough volume of sales to justify all of the monthly charges I'd have to pay with a bank... and I can even offer for people to pay me in instalments by using their subscription option.

...Of course, the last few sculptures I sold were all paid with cash and cheques. All the better, because I don't lose the 3.4% Paypal charges!
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