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Collecting credit card info

Dear All,

I’ve recently experienced some protests when collecting credit card
info at shows. I generally like to take down the name, address, and
phone number when accepting a credit card. I like the idea of having
contact info when running a card. Several times at the last show,
people refused to give me a contact phone number. One women didn’t
want to give me her address either, but I pointed out I needed at
least the zip to even run the card. I know identity theft is a
problem, and I truly sympathize, as I know several close friends that
have dealt with this issue. However, as a vendor, I like to have
contact info in case of a problem, on my part or on theirs. I guess
I’m wondering if I’m being unreasonable?

I’ve talked to my bank who has my merchant account, and they
recommend holding the card info 6 months and then shredding it. I do
about 8 shows a year, which doesn’t really justify buying a wireless
machine to run cards, so I transmit via phone, and use a
knucklebuster type imprinter. Perhaps if I upgraded and didn’t
imprint cards people would be less wary?

Nearly all of my sales are run on credit cards, so not taking them
is really not an option.

Anyone else experiences this reluctance?

Nesheim Fuller Design
Mason City, Iowa

Hi Brenda

I would highly recommend changing over to the better electronic
system especially since you say most of your sales are credit card.
The electronic box would also get you a better rate than the manual
entry. Sometimes as much as 1.5-2.0% depending on your carrier

Have A Great Day!
Bill Meyer

yes Brenda even before identity theft was as rampant, or at least
publicized, as it is now.

You must protect yourself, You are gathering that you as
a credit granting entity are entitled to collect…additionally you
should write the issuer of the credit card down as well (orchard
bank, wells fargo, whitney bank, etc). Also you must have recourse
which without any of the info you described, you have zero.
Ultimately, you may tell the buyer or if you simply want it in black
and white have a small sign made that says "credit given with name
address, telephone number and driver’s license only. " the DL is to
verify the person’s or identity. I agree with your bank
as you must prevent chargebacks, without any prospect of getting your
merchandise back, equally you may use the to compile a
mailing list of past purchasers that were clearly interested enough
in your work to buy it and may appreciate some sale or seasonal
marketing materials as long as you don’t sell it ( in which case I
believe you then should ask whether or not they would like to be
included on your mailing list, and whether or not they would be
interested in receiving third part offers from similar merchants, or
however you care to disclose that the list may be sold).

If it is worth the risk to you to loose your time, show entry fee,
transportation and per diem to attend, materials costs, studio
overhead and miscellaneous costs that could arise if you have to try
and collect on fraudulent cards, then you may let them bully you
into giving you only their zip code. What they are doing is using the
promise of money they do not posses to turn the suspicion from
themselves to you… that is at least, not right, you must be
willing to sacrifice a sale over a person’s indignance at being asked
to supply you the you require to complete the
transaction. there are also a number of companies that will
essentially lease or give you a machine to use for allowing them to
process the cards. I don’t however recommend that as you say for a
few shows a year, particularly those outdoors with no facility for
landlines or wireless . because they get a commission on top of the
fee, or charge you a fee for each one verified by

the company through the larger org. like visa, MC or am ex. If you
go to internet retailer magazine’s website there are links to many of
hte company’s that loan you machines to use on site for free and for
"membership"-avoid the membership ones as you pay too high a fee for
a machine that is ultimately not yours feel free tocontact me if you
need more info.

R. E. Rourke

Anyone else experiences this reluctance? 

This year, for the first time, I have encourtered it a few times–
people who hesitated about giving me phone numbers, in particular.

No one has actually refused, so far-- I tell them that their phone
number will not be used unless there is a problem with the charge.
Then they can’t refuse without seeming shady! But really, it seems
to be a policy they have adopted, but when they stop to think who
they’re dealing with (an artist), they decide I’m not likely to scam
them, and they make an exception.


as a vendor, I like to have contact info in case of a problem, on
my part or on theirs. I guess I'm wondering if I'm being

Yes. I don’t want you calling me, writing me, or coming to my house,
so there’s no reason you should have that If I have a
problem with the merchandise, don’t call me, I’ll call you.

Why do you feel you need this anyway?

Al Balmer
Sun City, AZ

Hi Brenda,

I haven’t had a problem with it. I tell people that I need the
and that it is for my records only in case there is a
problem with the card. I do it with a smile and I haven’t had anyone
ever give me a problem. I haven’t even had anyone ask me if their
is secure or anything like that.

Of course, it could be all those years working as a police officer
where I sometimes had to get out of unwilling people
without a fight!

Francesca Anatra

When I first entered retail, many, many moons ago, the manual swipe
and telephone call was all there was. I was taught to write on the
credit card slip the name, address and phone number, so if there
should happen to be a problem we would be able to get in touch with
them. In all my many years of retail I have only needed that info
twice, but boy was I glad I had it those two times!

The slips were always filed with the store’s financial records, and
were never available to employees or anyone else unless needed.

I explain to people that I need that just in case I do need to
contact them if there should be a problem with the card processing,
and so far I have not had anyone object. If they do object I would
tell them it is a necessary part of doing business, and you would be
happy to take cash instead (or checks if you take checks). Just be
very polite and friendly; assure them of the safekeeping of their
and wait. Always wait…don’t jump in to fill silences

  • wait for them to decide what they are comfortable doing. You might
    make sure you know where the nearest cash point is, and suggest that
    if they don’t want to give you the credit they could go
    there and get the cash they need, then come back to make the purchase
    and you’ll be happy to hold it for them for…however long seems

Most people today do have debit cards (I feel a bit like a dinosaur

  • I just finally got one, but don’t use it ), so they should be
    ok with this.

If someone still objects I would be more concerned with whether that
is actually their card, than with identity theft! I did once have
someone come in with a stolen card - that was NOT fun!

Best wishes,
Beth in SC

Brenda - I collect the address and often the email
as well. While it serves the same purpose, I ask if they
would like to be on my mailing list. Nearly all agree.

Because you are telling them that it is verification for the credit
there may be an overtone that the customer hears, that
you may not trust them. Try just asking for the for your
mail list.

I went to your website to see what you make. If the items on your
site were what you sell at shows, it would only take one bad charge
to pay for a mobile real time unit. The new machines are relatively
inexpensive - about $300. They use your cellular phone for
transmission so you don’t have an additional cellular charge from the
merchant processing folks. You can cable the swiper/printer to your
phone or if you have a pda with Bluetooth capability, you can beam
the sells the equipment and
service. An artist friend who is very happy with the equipment and
service has recommended them to me. I’ve been using a Nurit 8000 for
the past several years and like it just fine. The pda equipment
wasn’t available when I had to buy a new machine.

You don’t have to buy the service or equipment thru your bank. The
money still goes into your account. And with the money you save by
getting a swiped rate, the wireless units eventually pay for

Judy Hoch

Hi Al,

I don't want you calling me, writing me, or coming to my house, so
there's no reason you should have that If I have a
problem with the merchandise, don't call me, I'll call you. Why do
you feel you need this anyway? 

I don’t want to call you, and I only mail a postcard after asking if
folks want to receive them, then I add them to my list. I want the
phone number etc. to contact someone if their charge is rejected so I
can give them a chance to make good.

This has happened exactly twice in 20 years, but once it got me out
of a chargeback and once it got my money for me on a closed checking
acct. I still think the lady who mistakenly issued a chargeback
against me should have reimbursed me the $40.

In addition, many credit card systems ask you to enter the zip code
or street number to confirm that this isn’t a stolen card. A lot of
retail businesses do that now.


Check your state laws carefully. In Minnesota, our laws changed in
2006 and we can no longer have the full number of any credit card on
file. This law change required us to invest in an entirely new system
and put aside our old, reliable, knuckle buster. But, on the upside,
I must admit that the new system is much faster and we got a great

BBR - Sandi Graves, Beadin’ Up A Storm
Stormcloud Trading Co

I get all the that I can. Phone numbers, addresses, DL
Numbers, blood type ;>) etc…

This past year, I had two checks bounce… Big ones… One, the
children had switched the trust fund to another bank,… and didn’t
tell Mom… they called me on the Tuesday after the show, when
they realized what Mom had done, all worked out.

The other, a bank was purchased and all previous accounts had
changed, and the customer had so much money, that they never knew of
the closed accountor that they had a new account. All the mail from
the new bank had been considered junk mail. All credit cards were
suddenly refused, and she couldn’t figure out why.

Took a while for that one to get straighted out, but it did… Moral
to that story, always open your mail

Joan, who still uses the swipe and call in the evening from the

I don't want you calling me, writing me, or coming to my house, so
there's no reason you should have that 

The vendor needs the in the event there is a problem
with your credit card. In the years I have been doing business I have
had a card fail twice. Once, I was able to call the buyer and obtain
another card number so the sale went through. The other time, the
number was disconnected and the account had been closed for some
time. Never could get hold of the woman and I was out some money.

Stores ask for identification and/ or a phone number when you use a
credit card. It’s the normal course of doing business.

Francesca Anatra

I don't want you calling me, writing me, or coming to my house, so
there's no reason you should have that 

Actually you do need this when you take a credit card.
No matter what the little machine says about an approval code, it is
only as up to date as the credit card thefts that took place a week
or so ago. For those who don’t know their cards have been stolen yet
and haven’t reported them, nothing shows up. Also American Express,
in particular, will charge back a merchant account at the drop of a
hat. It is critical that you can call a customer up and say “Hey,
your charge bounced back and what’s up with that?” Your statement
only takes into account if you have a problem with the merchandise.
What happens when I have a problem with your charge card?

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140

I am a bit on the customer privacy side on this one. I have recently
switched from Propay to PayPal to handle my credit card processing
at shows. One reason Propay had a $3000 per month limit unless going
through an underwriter and perhaps leaving funds on deposit and pay
more money. With Propay you needed to collect the billing zip code.
With PayPal all you need is the credit card number and expiration.
That you can get off the imprint.

I still ask for the customer phone number just in case there is a
problem with the transaction. Why would you need customer address? If
someone is using a stolen or otherwise bogus card there just going to
give you a phony address. Unless you want to go through the process
of phoning each card in or have a wireless point-of-sale device it is
just one of those risks you take.

BTW. More and more I am asked to present a drivers license when
using my credit card to purchase something. Maybe it’s my long hair
and beard or does everyone get their ID checked?

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Rocky Mountain Wonders
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Hi Al,

In today’s world – unfortunately! – it’s far too easy to get this
kind of from the web anyway. Are you the Alan Balmer that
lives on N. McPhee Dr.? I found your full address and phone number by
searching at using your name, city and state.

While I think we all need to be very careful about identity theft,
giving a phone number to a vendor is a minor matter, especially when
you’ve already given them your credit card number! If you’re willing
to trust them with the latter, the former is trivial.


Hi Beth,

I was taught to write on the credit card slip the name, address
and phone number, so if there should happen to be a problem we
would be able to get in touch with them.

These days, you should never write this info on the credit card
(for those that still use that method). Take the info, by all
means, but write it on the invoice or a mailing list sign-up sheet.
It’s bad enough when imprinted credit card slips fall into the wrong
hands; why make it easy for the bad guys by giving them a potential
victim’s location as well?!


You must protect yourself, You are gathering that you
as a credit granting entity are entitled to collect 

Pardon me, but that’s not true. You are not a “credit granting
entity”, the issuer of the credit card is. That issuer (or your
broker) will tell you what is required to protect you. The most
stringent requirement I’ve seen in years is a zip code.

When you buy gas, does the gas pump ask you for address, telephone
number, driver’s license, etc?

Al Balmer
Sun City, AZ

So glad this thread is happening now - my friend and I are working
on the issue of what to do about credit cards before we do our next

Her research sent her to Pay Pal’s Virtual Terminal, which apparently
works as a regular credit card system, though you have to input the
on your computer later on. There is no contract and no
equipment to lease or purchase, but it does have the usual percentage
fees and transaction fees as other plans. Does anyone have any
experience with this?

Al - you must not take credit cards, and must not use them in many
places. My credit card processing company requires that I take this
It has nothing to do with a problem with the
merchandise, and everything to do with a problem processing the
payment. I don’t give away my work - I expect to be paid for it.
Sometimes there IS a problem processing a card, and it may not show
up immediately. Then it is imperative that the vendor be able to
contact the customer to straighten things out. I have never had a
customer resent, or not be able to understand, this.

I am quite accustomed to being asked for identification when I
present my credit card in various stores; some require contact info,
with electronic processing some don’t. But anyone who doesn’t
process electronically WILL need this I have never
placed an order by phone with a catalog company who did not want all
of my contact info, not just what they needed to deliver. This is a
very standard practice!

If a customer doesn’t understand this aspect of a business
transaction, and doesn’t trust me enough to be willing to give me
the necessary then I wouldn’t see how they would trust
my jewelry enough to buy it!

Beth in SC who is delighted that it is now in the “cool” upper 90’s

  • doesn’t that tell you it has been much too hot, when the 90’s are

Hello Brenda,

As a retail customer, I am usually reluctant to provide any more
personal than necessary, in part I suppose because of
identity-theft paranoia and also because of an aversion to junk mail
and phone solicitations.

However, when I attend shows as a wholesale buyer (of jewelry-making
supplies), I am more than happy to provide this to
licensed vendors – I only deal with a few suppliers and obviously a
degree of trust is required for us to do business.

Perhaps at retail shows you could post a concise ‘privacy policy’ to
make your customers feel more comfortable giving you this
I certainly think it is wise for you to collect this
if you are using a manual credit card machine, since it
cannot provide you with an immediate authorization or decline of the
requested payment.

If you frequently process credit card sales but do not want to
invest in an electronic machine, you might consider using a
processing service such as ProPay (please note: I am not affiliated
with ProPay and receive no benefit from this recommendation). My
understanding is that ProPay allows you to process credit cards using
your cell phone or Internet connection (i.e., you don’t need to
purchase an expensive machine to receive instant payment
notification). Use of this service at a show would require good cell
phone reception and/or Internet access. Others in the forum who have
used this kind of service might have additional insights or opinions
as to its merits.

I hope this helps!

D. Marie Henderson