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#43008 10/01/04 11:44 AM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 151
Dallas Offline OP
How many of you accept credit/debit cards? How many do even if you're not a service-oriented business?

I have been deluged recently with folks wanting to "help" me accept credit/debit cards. I did take credit cards for a while, but because I didn't handle enough transactions, my monthly minimum payment went to better than $60 a month. (I also used the internet to complete the process, which was almost $20 a month right off the bat).

Since we rarely are even asked if we accept cards, I dropped handling them. We even advertised on our Yellow Pages ads that we took cards, but we rarely did 6 CC transactions a year. Am I doing it wrong? (Won't be the first time!)

Any thoughts?

#43009 10/01/04 02:31 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 308
I took credit cards but due to lack of enough transactions,high monthly bills, no swipe terminal at the customers home I decided to cancel them.

Through my networking group I met a gentleman who does credit card processing and he can setup a system on my laptop where i go for a service call, present the bill, connect to a phone line, swip the card and instantly money transfers to my account.

I am seriuosly giving it a thought. I think it would even be cheaper than my old processing company.


#43010 10/01/04 03:06 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 494
credit card transactions do not post immediately. they have to go through a MERCHANT account at your bank etc. it usually takes 24 to 48 hours..

i stopped accpeting cards due to the risk of a chargeback/dispute etc..

the bank will ALWAYS rule in favor of the on it..




#43011 10/01/04 03:14 PM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 105
Yes- I still accept credit cards-mc and visa only. I have some large institutional and government customers who have gone to a "p-card" type of payment, which is a mastercard or visa card. I really had troubles deciding to do this and when I started looking for a company to get a merchant account, I was amazed at all the different pricing- huge differences in $$ and not much difference in service. Finally one dealer told me that because I was already using quickbooks, that I had the processing software already for MOTO (mail order/telephone order) through that. Rates aren't bad- 2.4% + $19/month- no contract. So I informed the customers that I would be able to accept with a slight increase in rates- they said no problem and proceeded to increase their volume with us-I wish I had done this sooner. I don't know how well it would work with the general public, but if you have quickbooks2004, you can try it out. I see deposits in 3 days after billing-and that I like!

#43012 10/01/04 04:59 PM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,429
LK Offline
We get next day posting, and pay 2.6% plus the $10 a month. accept all cards. It has helped with high ticket jobs, they find out you accept plastic and price is not the concern after that.
We had two customer disputes, we faxed the contract to the bank, and payment was reversed in our favor. always get a contract, and with service work, get an authorized work signature.
On service calls we charge the card before making the call just to qualify the customer, and prevent the oh i called someone else after you get there, if you do this be sure to record all calls for customer quality assurance!

[This message has been edited by LK (edited 10-01-2004).]

#43013 10/01/04 06:32 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 914
We accept credit cards. As someone else stated, the customer will often pay a higher price or go ahead with a project that otherwise they would've waited to do if you can take a credit card.

To get started, for a minimal fee of $5 per month American Express will set you up to let you send in a paper receipt rather than using a terminal. Until you charge $5000 for a 12 month period, they won't take any percentage of your payments. It's a great way to get started without a big expense. It's what I did for the first few years.

#43014 10/01/04 11:26 PM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 151
Dallas Offline OP
Really interesting replies. I'm still using Quickbooks 2001, and was using the program Intuit was offering through Quickbooks to accept Visa and MC. The merchant service middleman was the main reason for the large cost increase, although I'd bet Intuit got their pound of flesh as well.

Edward, what type of card swiper will you use with your laptop? Do you plug the laptop into the phone jack, or do you have to use a separate terminal for the authorization/receipt? I'm still interested in handling cards, if there is a way to do it convienently for me and my customers, and at a reasonable cost.

My main reason for all this is I was offered a deal for 1.76% per transaction, with no minimum, and a $25 a month terminal lease. It sounds good, but that's still $25 I could use elsewhere, especially if there's little interest. For you that do a fair amount of business with cards, did the clients ask you to start accepting cards; or did you start taking cards, then tell/sell your customers on it?

#43015 10/03/04 04:29 PM
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 86
I wanted to accept credit cards so it would look good in my advertising to customers. Well I also was inandated with phone calls trying to help me get set up to accept credit cards. I finally relented and singed a contract to lease a terminal. Well I had only about two credit card transactions in one year and was paying $25.00 per month for five years to lease this piece of equipment. Was not worth it to me so I tried to cancel. They made me pay the rest of the contract amount of $1,200.00 and I still had to return the equipment. So you can see that this is a sore subject with me. I say unless you are being asked by many of your customers to accept credit cards, try to stay away from any non cancelable contracts.

#43016 10/03/04 08:13 PM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,429
LK Offline
Now, I can see why accepting credit cards, has some turned off, It's the way you go about setting it up, using a terminal or swipe is great for mass transactions, however for the small contractor, a merchant bank and an old card machine will do just fine, $5 to $10 a month and 2.2 to 2.7 discount rate.

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