Merchant Account/Credit Cards

Hi everyone! I am trying to set up a merchant account so I can start
taking credit cards when I go to shows, fairs, etc. I am not able to
afford a wireless terminal and won’t have access to a phone line in
most cases.

I am looking for a place that will take phone authorizations at an
affordable cost. I also want to stay away from long contracts. Is
there such a thing?

Is there anything I should keep in mind or be aware of through this
entire process? Does anyone have a similar service and, if so, how
satisfied are you?

Thank you!!

I don’t think there is any credit card contract that isn’t long.
Your dealing with some of the largest businesses in the world here.
They’re going to protect themselves. They’ll probably want to check
out your credit record, but that is as tough as it gets. If you are
looking for a contract with few fees or transaction costs you will
have to do your research. Personally I just go through my bank.
Since I set up a business account since they offer a lot of other
services in conjunction with that. It costs $15 a month if I don’t
have sales where the commission reaches that amount and the
commission rate is around 3%. I have the old knuckle buster style
machine and call in every transaction on the spot with my cell
phone. I have had sales from $45 to $8,000 with (knock on wood) no
problems yet. I’d love to go to a wireless system with a lower
rate, but my sales numbers just don’t justify the added expense or
qualify me for a lower rate, so for now I’m satisfied. Good luck
and go for it, credit card acceptance makes a world of difference
and as long as you don’t get locked into a service for a specific
period of time, you can always change services if you find a better


We use a merchant service provided through I paid an
initial $100 fee, which wasn’t collected until the first $100 in
sales was recorded. We have a flat discount rate of approx 3.5%, no
additional fees nor monthly statement fee. I use my cell phone to
call in the transaction on the spot and get the confirmation number
before the customer leaves. The money hits my account within two
business days. I also have a very low volume, so this scenario works
for me. There is no contract, however, if I decide that I want to
upgrade my service to a swipe system, I can do so without any
additional deposit or fees, and my discount rate will be lowered at
that time as well.

So far, so good…


 if I decide that I want to upgrade my service to a swipe system, I
can do so without any additional deposit or fees, 
Betty,wont there be a pretty hefty charge to lease or buy the swipe machine?
wont there be a pretty hefty charge to lease or buy the swipe

Usually, the charge to buy is a one time charge . … yes, it can be
hefty. My last one cost about $600.00 (second unit, electronic with
print out for a storefront), but that was over a year ago and I’ve
not paid any other service charges (Ohio Arts and Crafts Guild has a
“deal” for members.)

My other unit is compact, about 6 inches wide and long, and about 1
1/2" high, this one cost me around $300.00 (reasonable in my
opinion) and I’ve been using it for more than 5 years. I hand swipe
the credit card, then hand key when I get to a phone line that
doesn’t cost extra. There are other options . … computer imput,
and phone imput with a charge per call (about seventy five cents)

Used swipe machines and new ones can be bought on ebay for cheaper.
I just bought a used machine wirh printer for around $100.00 and
with the $7.63 a month fee (paid to the credit card processor) that
guarantees the equipment with replacement if anything should break
plus all my printing and paper for said equipment, it was quite a
bargain.Just be careful of the brand of equipment you purchase.
Check with your card processor tech. department and ask them what
brands need servicing and which ones are dependable. Verifhone trans
380 or higher was recommended to me as one of the best. Go for the
swipe it saves money in processing fees alone not to mention the
convience. Frank Goss

Do not lease a credit card swipe machine!!! It is the biggest rip
off it should be a crime. All you have to do is contact your
merchant account provider and ask them what machine is compatible to
there software then go on Ebay and bid on a new or used machine it
really does not matter. But Never Ever Lease I made that mistake
and it cost me $4,000 for a machine that i could have bought for
around $350.00 tops.

How come those of you who chose to comment on the
equipment/service providers didn’t name names? Brands, models,
account processors? I can understand not using names when one is
negative, but why not be specific with good advice?

For example , Frank Goss, ( she said , naming a name) who handles
your merchant account for only 7.95 a month? B of A has been
handling mine for a long time with out problems but it’s 25 a month.
I think I still get a pretty good rate per charge which is important
to me as the savings of a low monthly fee would be wiped out with
one transaction if the % were too high. So, Frank, is the % high?

I just got a new system that works with my old equipment and a cell
phone…off to use it for the first time. I’ll let ya know if it
worked well. Marianne

O.K. Sorry was just being lazy and didn’t want to dig through my
files for the exact but here it is. My merchant
processing agreement is with Retriever. I was placed in contact with
them through my bank. My fee for processing is 1.7% on most cards
(amex higher ,discover about the same) and a $.25 fee for each
transaction. Monthly fee for statements is $8.00. and the service
package( provides paper etc. and replaces faulty equipment) is$8.65.
Total of $16.65 a month without any usage. This is all direct
deposit and debit from my account. Their number is 1800-376-3399.
Harrison Litle is the account rep I deal with here in Houston, tx.
Hope the exact numbers help. I can’t guarantee anyone else will get
these same numbers so I hesitated to quote numbers, but since you
asked here they are for what they are worth. The equipment I
purchased was a used Verifone Tranz 380 and Verifone 250 printer
which I bought on ebay for $110. I have only had them a couple of
months so I can’t say if they will last or not. They are older
models and seem to be holding up so far. Hope all this helps. Frank Goss

Hello Everyone, Merchant accounts vary with the hosting banks and the
regulations for the various types of swipes: x% for physical swipe
and hard copy, X++more money for mail order or over the phone with
different rules, and their is the craft fair charge a swipe but no
authorization until the portable machine returns to the business,
links up to the phone line and all the data is transferred the
riskiest type - good if your sales average about $25.00. If sales
average over $100.00 and no authorization can be done until you
return home, there might be dead charges that the company eats, or
sues the buyer(s).

If you have a cell phone and can afford the “roaming long distance
charges” unless you have that doesn’t charge for that, then you can
call from your location and get a verbal authorization for charges.

Every institution charges differently. Our company has a portable
machine that can roam to wherever the sales are and have the use of
a phone. We pay $99.00 per year because in a few years we will own
the machine out right and still have access to using it for charge
card sales. This machine was found in a craft magazine or if you have
a “Ben Franklin Store” or other craft stores in your areas that have
craft shows, seek them out to see if what types of charge card
accounts they have for crafters. Some of you might be surprised
that some of the discounts are substantial because crafting is now a
large home cottage industry.

Craft magazines have some very reputable charge card providers that
offer a variety of memberships, depending on how you run your
charges through. A phone authorization is 2.9% of the sales, which
also includes the taxed amount. A swipe is less than 2%.

Costco and Sams clubs should have business services provided to
Executive Members. One thing very good about that is these Super
Stores care about the services they provide and if you have a valid
complaint about a company you use listed from their vender services,
they will assist you.

We have been burned by many checks not clearing, so we offer
DISCOUNT for Cash because it’s worth it to our company. They may
use a charge card but they do not receive a cash discount. Stated
plainly on our Sales Flyers that are sent to our customer list, many
buyers run across the street, go to one of 5 ATM machines to get the
cash so they can get the discount. No one has complained about this
to date.

Cash sales are greater than charge card sales because many want the
discount. Those who use charge cards like to use them because they
receive miles and fly to Vegas about every quarter. SCALES:

This might be a little late in the thread of scales but eBay has a
large company that sells a large variety of scales with scales that
can convert carats, grams, ounces with the I don’t remember the
store’s name but if you enter scales into eBay’s search engine their
name will pop up. Hope this helps with some of you looking for

With the Holidays approaching, we wish all of you a great Holiday


Merchant processing charges vary a great deal and affinity groups
get better deals from processors. How about Orchid getting a
prefered rate? There’s an opportunity here. Are there many on this
forum who do shows on the road and who do not have store fronts?

K Kelly

We do not have a storefront. We take our jewelry to our customer. I
would LOVE to be able to get a better rate!


I bought my credit card software for my business computer from I believe they also have terminals … However,
if I were to do shows, I would want a small, inexpensive laptop (
older models are cheap) put the credit card software on the laptop
and get a mini printer. Now, when you do shows, your customers
address is automatically memorized by your computer software,and it
will process the credit cards for you. The advantage is that you
will have all your customer contact info with you . if you are good
at Computer art, you can do renderings on your computer for your
customers … on the spot! By having
software on the computer, you can have your complete costing of each
item with you , allowing you to know exactly what your costs/profitsd
are instantly. This is just how I would attempt to do it… if I were
to do shows!!! As a finished products and casting company
manufacturer for designers, we have not had time to be at the
manufacturing shows.

Daniel Grandi we do casting and
finishing for designers, stores, catalogs and individuals in the trade.