Credit card processing for shows

Was - An Orchidian sells orchids

A couple that I know that sell leather goods at shows and from
their remote home use a Verfone VX 610. They say it works great
and is built to last.

this does sound like the best solution so far, if only I
understood all the technical jargon they throw at me! Hopeless. Has
anyone used it? Does it have a monthly charge? Using it with wifi,
do you enter the eprocessing website and it logs on for you. 

Sumner - I sympathize with your frustration. There are so many
options that it hurts your head. I’ve been using a wireless credit
card processing system for more than 10 years. Currently I’m using a
Nurit 8000. It is a simple machine that swipes the card and prints
the receipt.

The option I suggested earlier, has many
solutions that use your cell phone.

What may be confusing is that you have to do several things to make
all this work.

First, you need to find a merchant account processor. The simple and
very expensive answer is to use your bank. A more economical option
is to find a processor independent of your bank. The one I reference
above has a good record and many options. There are many others. You
will still have your money from sales deposited to your normal bank
account or credit union account. If you belong to Costco or SAMs,
they have merchant processing options, but IMHO, they don’t
understand wireless processing. I tried both, they tell you they have
support, and neither one had 24/7 support. You absolutely must have
someone on the phone when you are doing this stuff on the weekend,
especially when you get started. Stuff goes weird, and you want to
make sales. You will need help.

Then you need a merchant account number - to get it you apply for it
because it is a form of credit. The processor needs to know that you
are a good guy, that you will honor returns, and that you actually
have a business account at some financial institution.

Once you get your account, then you pick your processing hardware.
You can use a device that interfaces with your cell phone or pda or
you can have a stand-alone device like the one I use. Most processors
now have options to also take the from your website.

The things that I think are important when you get into this stuff
are: what are the fixed fees, both onetime, and monthly. What is your
discount rate for regular swiped cards, manually entered cards, debit
cards, rewards cards, business cards and all the varieties out there?
Each one of these kind of credit card has a different rate. In
addition to discount rate, there is a per item charge, usually 25 or
30 cents.

Then there may be report charges, account maintenance charges, and
others. You will usually purchase your machine, but if you decide to
rent or lease, when can you cancel the agreement and what are the

If you use your cell phone, you will forgo the expense of having
another wireless monthly charge.

This stuff isn’t hard, but it’s worth asking many questions first.
You can very easily be tied up into something you can’t cancel that
costs gobs.

One of the uglies that no-one talks about is the bookkeeping aspects
of all this stuff. MasterCard and Visa make a daily deposit,
together; American Express and Discover have separate deposits. Each
of these has different discount rates. If you don’t ask, American
Express will take their discount each time they deposit money. If you
ask, they will do it monthly. So for each day, to make your business
accounts balance, you might have five deposits, MC and Visa, Amex,
Discover, cash, check. Multiply that by the number of show days.

Another important thing to know is when you talk to your merchant
processor, they will ask about what is your average ticket and your
monthly average sales. These numbers will influence your discount
rate and other fees. A modest average sale, maybe $250, and monthly
average of $20,000 are kinda normal. If you exceed the monthly
average by a lot, you will probably get a service interruption while
they check out what you are doing. Again it’s a credit thing - if
you deposit the money, spend it, and then get a return - can you pay
the customer back?

Last, be sure that the cell phone provider has good service where
you plan to do shows. That’s obvious on the phone you already have,
but if you pick a standalone machine, like the Nurit8000, you have
the option to pick the best cell provider.

I hope this is in English that makes sense. If you have more
questions, please email me. I got lots of help when I started and
happily return the favor.

Judy Hoch

Judy, that is great

There is also a great service from PayPal. If you sell on eBay that
is an asset. You sign up for a business account - ie. register a cc
and a bank account. They offer a product called Virtual Terminal. If
you already have their merchant processing on your website this is a
great addition. You can call in numbers with your cell phone or use a
laptop to process. It is $30.00 a month plus something like 2.5% or
something like that. It has tiers of sales volume. The higher your
monthly sales, the lower a percentage of your transactions. Its easy
and quick. If you have a laptop people without credit cards could use
their PayPal accounts. You could enter a request for money and your
customer gives you their PayPal email address. Just another avenue.

Donna Lewis

I use propay, we have a 3000 a month limit and the fees are very
reasonable. It REALLY has helped our business this year !

Donna mentioned PayPal as an alternative to the “standard” methods
of accepting credit cards.

I’d also suggest ProPay as perhaps an even better option. Their fee
is MUCH less, and although the percentages are a bit higher,
depending on your usage, it can work out to be a lot cheaper overall
since the basic fees are so much less. I used to pay about $35 per
YEAR, but for that I couldn’t accept Discover or AmEx (although that
wasn’t really a problem), and I paid an extra $25 per year to be able
to process cards via the phone (I wanted that for shows). Now I pay
more like $60 per YEAR (still a heckuva lot less than $30 per MONTH)
and I can accept all major cards, and process them over the phone if
I need to. I’ve been a happy customer of theirs for about 7 years
now, using their service for my website and for shows.

Designs by Lisa Gallagher

Thank you Lisa Tina and Kelly, I checked into pro pay myself and I
will be switching.

This forum rocks!
Donna Lewis