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[YAK] Credit and Insurance help


I am completely overwhelmed by the options for bankcard services
(ie;receiving MC, VISA, etc.). I have considered several possibilities
but am still befuddled. Could use some concrete suggestions ASAP. Also,
if you have any recommendations for studio, inventory and tradeshow crate
shipping insurance that would be great! The place that I contacted was
overthetop expensive. Thanks in advance. Wendy


Dear Wendy,

My wife and I decided to consolidate all our charges and just have one
card. We pay the balance completely every month. It is a Northwest Orient
Visa card. We build frequent flyer miles and pay bills at the same time. I
don’t know what the interest rate is because we pay the balance every

I had a fellow instructor here at our College pay his kids tuition with
the same type card and got about a half dozen free tickets so far.

You’d be surprised how many of our suppliers take credit cards.


TR the Teacher & Student


I have been doing some looking around at different credit card processing
options. I was wonder what the opinion the forum members have on leasing
eqipment or buying processing equipment. Currently, I am considering
leasing for 29 dollars a month, however, there is a 4 year lease attached
to it that I am not crazy about. Any suggestions?

Katrina Barnett


Hello Karen,

I’m using Bank of America. It costs $20 a month for the terminal plus $17 a
year for a manual card imprinter that I take to shows. The percentage is a
little higher if you don’t scan the card through the terminal. This can be
partially offset if you get the address number and zip code a the time of
the sale and enter it as a mail/phone sale. This is an option that you will
need to ask the bank for.



Hi Katrina- I have just started looking at the same problem. I have heard
for processing credit card transactions, that CostCo has the best rates.
The catch there is that the annual business membership is $100/year. In
terms of lease vs. buy (and actually for processing terms as well), I plan
on sitting down and “doing the math” - multiplying out the 2-3 top options
and seeing which is better in the short term (1 yr) and long term (4-5
years). I also do not like “deals” that attempt to lock me in for too long
a period of time.

I’m interested in hearing what others have to say… Lori Bugaj in Seattle -
where the weather this week is so beautiful that it makes you forget about
the other 51 weeks in the year…


Hi Katrina, I just purchased a Novis machine through a promotion. There
is no minimum charge and I determined it would pay for itself in a year or
so, just in the bank charges I would have incurred by either leasing the
machine or, even more expensive, to continue to use the imprinter, which
the banks are moving away from by raising the rates. You just have to
compare the costs yourself, but I do find it to be much more convenient
than running to the bank with the imprinted charge slips. Contact me
off-line if I can be of any further help. Good Luck! Susan.


Hi Katrina, I strongly suggest buying equipment if you can afford the
outlay. If you’re paying $29/mo for 4years that’s $1392 for your equipment.
I don’t know what kind of equipment you are needing specifically but… I
was able to buy a basic swipe the card type terminal for about $270 from
the bank that was issuing our merchant visa account. A terminal that swipes
the card and also prints up a receipt - just got one for the coop I’m part
of runs about $420. This is called a Tranz 440. You might even check on
the web - or locally in business equipment sales/supplies and classifieds
there are occasionally used terminals for sale. Good luck, Michelle

Sumiche Handwrought Jewelry
Creating what you want in gold, platinum and silver


HI kATRINA, You are paying an awful lot with the setup you now have.
Check around for a better deal. I was able to get a novus imprinter and
used terminal for $120 total. $35 was for the imprinter, and $85 for
the used terminal which included reprograming it for me… I considered
getting one that I could swipe on the spot, but since I only do 3 shows a
year the least expensive route seemed the most practical. Novus is great
to work with–lots of backup and support.–Good luck, Alma.


Hi Katrina- I went to a small local bank and they set me up. This was
about 4 years ago. The whole system cost me about $2200- that included
the swiper (Verifone) and then i had to go to the cell phone store and get
a cell phone to go with it- This is for the portable unit which i suppose
is what your interested in. The bank has to believe that you’re a business-
so working from your home could be a problem. They came dowm to do a “site
inspection” of my studio. You may have to shop banks. Definatly get one.
You will make money with it. It makes you look more legitamate in the eyes
of your customers and helps them purchase your work in a painless way. Good
luck with the banks! Rona


I have been accepting MC/VISA for over 10 yrs at arts & craft shows.
Banks charge the highest rates and require you to have a business account
which eats away at you as well as other misc fees. Next best is through a
credit union. But for the past 5 yrs I have been with NOVUS (Discover card
people) where the rates are the cheapest (under 3%) & I can also do

For my shows I take a cell phone, marine cell battery & power inverter to
provide electricity, and my electronic swiper & printer. I get printed
approval which the customer signs just like at a store. I deposit my
charge sales electronically at the end of each day into the bank/bank
account of my choice. I am assured that all of my charges are good, & I
encourage charges over personal checks.

We own the equipment & have had no problems with it but sometimes the cell
phone can be tricky dur to weather. Also, you have to tell Novus to
program your equipment to call an 800 number instead of a local number if
you’re going to be doing charges away from home.



Katrina Barnett - on the subject of credit card processing. The comment
is right on about the outrageous cost of leasing a terminal - You should be
able to buy a good card swiper for about $250 to $300. Another bigger
problem with leasing is that you are tied to their processing services.
I’ve noticed that the processing services that also lease equipment are
often, not always, much higher cost.

What I use is a Trans330 swiper and a knuckle buster to imprint the card.
Thats because I don’t want to spend $350 more for a printer that hooks up
to the swiper. I do a lot of shows away from the shop and often without
110 power. I can use a rechargable 12 volt battery with a power inverter
that gives me 110 ac power for my swiper. That is hooked to a computer
interface (dial tone generator) that plugs into my analog cell phone. I
get real time authorization codes while the customer is standing in front
of me at the show, and I get the benefit of the much lower cost of swiped
cards. This lash-up cost me about $65 at Target for the 12 volt
rechargable battery and power inverter, and about $100 from Motorola for
the computer interface box and cable. It sounds like a lot, but I don’t
have to call in on the cell phone by hand to be assured that I get paid for
the $700 piece of jewelry. It has worked flawlessly for 2 years and many
transactions. If you always do inside shows, you don’t need the battery
and inverter, you just need 110 ac from the wall. Anyway, there is one
little thing you might think about, when I started taking credit cards, my
sales nearly tripled, and currently, credit cards run from 65% to 82% of
sales this summer. It’s really busy here in sunny Denver!

Judy Hoch,

Incidently, so far, I can’t find a cost efferctive interface for digital
or PCS phones. PCS uses a different protocol and needs a special swiper
for about $1700.


A number of Arts and/or Crafts Organizations offer Visa/MC processing
services and insurance( health, property, liability, and studio
insurance,etc.) as a membership benefit - Ohio Designer Craftsmen do, I
think, The American Crafts Council definately does, perhaps SNAG, also.
Check their publications - Metalsmith, American Craft, Art Calendar, The
Crafts Report, Ornament, etc. - especially the classifieds - for more



A little slow on the uptake, but here’s my experience with
credit card companies: I use Discover Card Services(now Novus
Network), & have been happy with them for many years. One can
lease or purchase the equipment; I found it made more sense
financially to purchase, given the payments & figuring in the
lower percentage rate compared to what I was paying with older
equipment. Any institution will charge a nominal extra
percentage for non-swiped sales; with Discover equipment, there
is no charge for ‘keyed in’ Discover card sales. Their phone #
is 1-800-347-2000 Daphne on the murky coast of Maine