The way that I do credit cards at shows is this:
I use a Motorola cell phone - analog- with a “cellular interface” and
special cord purchased directly from Motorola. The interface
basically lets the stripe reader - a Trans 330 - think that it has
a land line with a dial tone. If you have power that’s all you need.
If you are in the middle of a park without power, add the following
stuff: a rechargable 12 volt battery pack, found in the camping
section of Target, a voltage converter that converts direct current
to alternating current, also found in the sporting goods or auto
accessories department. Plug the adapter for the stripe reader into
the voltage converter, and you are online.
I had a bit of trouble at this point until I realized that the little
adapter that makes the stripe reader work doesn’t turn the ac power
back into dc like most adapters. It changes the ac voltage from 110
to something lower, but still ac.
Price for this stuff was about $30 for the battery, $35 for the
power converter, $95 for the cellular adapter, and about $35 for the
special cord that goes from the cellular adapter to the cell phone.
The stripe reader was $300 new - do not lease it, it will cost you 4
times as much. The phone is what would be considered an old model and
should be very cheap or free. My cellular company lets me change
from digital to analog for shows, all on the same account.
The wrinkle is this: the only device that I know of today that uses
a digital cell phone is a special purpose one that costs $1800.
That’s why this is kind of a cobbled up system. However it works
like a charm and is much faster than calling and punching in 40 to 50
numbers on a phone. I don’t have a printer, but use a knuckle buster
for a physical imprint of the card and to secure the customers
A comment on equipment - when I got this equipment about 5 years ago,
I was warned that changes are coming. I’m sure they are, and if we
ever see “smart” cards, it will take special equipment. However,
think about the installed base of credit cards - even if they are all
replaced with a different kind of card, think how long that will
As to how the money works - I’ve tried the business account at the
bank - and the charge for the account, the charge for reports, the
charge for breathing, etc tried my patience. What I do now is this:
I found a credit card processor that lets me keep my money where I
want it, or said in other words, not associated with a bank. I keep
my money for my business in a credit union account. The credit union
referred me to these people because several other of their small
business owners used them - a hair dresser, house painter, etc. The
money is transferred to my account about 48 hours after I run the
card. I do not have a store front but what I do have is a very good
credit rating, which allowed me to set all this up.
I’ve noticed that Sams club has an option for business customers to
do their credit card processing thru Sams. It’s not a bad deal, but
just puts one more greasy palm between you and your money.
If you have more questions, or this is clear as mud, e-mail me at
@Judy_Hoch and I’ll try to clarify.
Judy Hoch - in cold, cold Colorado - but the skiing is great!