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Monday, August 23, 2010

Credit Card Opinion Poll

Here is a piece I'm working on for the Clay and Blogs show, except "someone" broke the little guy in the back so he won't be there.
Meredith gave me some gentle prodding to step up my business practices when we saw her on Saturday so I have begun the process. I have been flying pretty low under the radar, but it's time to get my act together. Here's my question, I am missing sales at festivals because I don't accept credit cards. If you take credit cards how do you do it and what company do you use? I talked to Chase this morning about it, but I'm really confused about my options, so I thought I would ask the experts. Let me know what you think works best!!

24 comments:

Sister Creek Potter said...

Perhaps you chould look for a company that offers 'seasonal accounts'. You can turn on and off the account based on the months you expect to be in public selling opportunities. Then you are not charged for the months you are not using the account.
I want the little guy back! That is a great 'pot' but I miss the little guy.

Cinderelish said...

You are definitely missing sales by not taking credit cards. The cheapest rate by far is through the potters council.

Linda Fahey said...

I am thinking of utilizing the pay pal via my iphone scenario - because I only do a couple shows a year; I can't warrant the cost of the Visa machine/monthlyfee/expense.

if you have an iphone and a paypal account perhaps that will work for you?

Tracey Broome said...

I don't have an iphone, not an option I'm afraid. Yeah I liked the little guy, he is in the recycle bin. I'll check out the Potter's Council thanks!

S_crack said...

Hi Tracey,
I would agree that taking credit cards will get you more sales.
We have been using Propay for three years, and it has worked well for us. We use a knuckle buster, and enter the info after each show, as we are not millionaire potters that can use an iphone and electronic scanning/wifi.


http://www.propay.com/

Jaccy Boy said...

have not tried it but paypal has a usbswiper for laptops

http://www.usbswiper.com/

Hollis Engley said...

Hi, Tracey. I've used ProPay, but I am a terrible ... and I mean TERRIBLE bookkeeper and retailer. I guess I've said that before. So right now I don't take credit cards. I take cash and checks. People often don't carry checkbooks any more, so I have offered to let people take the pots and send me a check. That offer is usually accepted and I have never been stiffed on it. I'm not recommending that "method," though. Most bloggers reading this comment will probably regard me as a bad example. Guilty.

Judy Abdelaziz said...

I use Merchant One and found it to be pretty resonable, but I have not checked into Potters Council. I use the knuckle buster since it is an extra $30 a month for electronic. My monthly fee to carry the account is only $5, but there are other transaction fees as well. Credit Card companies like to get your business, so be sure to negotiate between two, to get the lowest fees.

barbaradonovan said...

I'm like Hollis Engley of the "bad bookkeeper and retailer" group. I only do a few shows and don't have an iphone and have let people mail me a check or send money via Paypal when they get home. Crazy, yes, but I haven't had a problem. Perhaps people who by pottery are an honest bunch...

BTW, hello -- I'm generally one of those non-commenting lurkers but am trying to be better about it. I enjoy your blog.
Barbara

brandon phillips said...

i'm at school and can't remember the name of my provider but i use something called a virtual terminal. basically take their info on a knuckle buster and you enter it all the info into a secure website rather than having to call and punch in all the numbers. mine keeps all the records online so I can always review past sales if I need to. The more information you have on the customer(home address, DOB, home phone, etc.), the lower the rate. Sage payments, that's what they're called. Anyways, they charge $10 a month but it's waived if you meet the $10 with % fees. Not bad. I don't remember my % but I remember that it is reasonable. I don't do enough CC volume to be too concerned with all that.
We've done the knuckle buster at shows and entered them at home and never had a CC. We've also entered the info right at the show on a laptop if there was secure wireless available(ours).

Paypal also has a virtual terminal though I was denied when I applied. Their fees are pretty high though.

cookingwithgas said...

Oh- I love the house boat!
And darn on loosing the little guy off the back.
Good question and I am going to pay attention to the answers- I am always looking for a better deal.

Tracey Broome said...

Thanks for all the input guys. So far, I checked into a bunch of these and Propay is looking like the best deal. Hi to some new bloggers, nice to hear from you! I'll keep looking....I want it simple, the manual imprint is about all I want to deal with right now.

S_crack said...

Some additional thoughts:
1.I didn't want to imply that some commenting here are millionaires, using iphones to take CC. I saw a post where a potter was saying "how cool it would look" to be using an iphone to swipe CC.
After a little figuring, I figured out that, if you didn't already have an iphone, by the time you bought one, and the contract, and the card reader, and paid the fees, it would cost you $600-700 BEFORE you even took your first card. Most potters I know aren't in a postition to do that.
2. Get additional card slips on eBay, and DON'T pay $14.95 plus shipping for 100 slips. You can get 100 slips for about $8 WITH shipping. Shop around there.
3. BE SURE that the credit card number on the paper slip is legible BEFORE you resturn the card to the customer. After you get home, if you are missing two numbers or more, you are SOL. If it is a ten dollar sale, not oo bad, a $100 sale, you'll be cryin'.
4. If you take CC long enough, you will get a card that has not been signed, or is "signed" with "check ID" in the name strip.
Technically, this is NOT a valid card, and could lead to trouble later.
I know, there are many who will say "I have never had a problem" so I will point you here, among other sites, and let you decide:

http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/sign-or-write-see-ID-1282.php

After all this, it's really pretty easy to take CC, and you will probably wonder why you waited so long to do it!

Sue Pariseau Pottery said...

You're definitely missing out on sales by not taking credit cards. I often get comments from customers that I'm one of the few at a show that does.

I use Chase Paymentech through the Potter's Council. Set up costs are pretty low and transaction fees are not significant. I made the decision five years ago and have compared other providers a couple times, but didn't find anything that was more reasonably priced.

ang said...

this has been great info.. I looked into getting CC facilities here all the banks do a mobile unit now and its really costly no manual available but i will look into the paypal idea..cheers, love ya barn in a boat Trace!

cindy shake said...

IF (a big IF) you already have a business license, business checking account and already file taxes under your business name then proceed to step #2 -accept credit cards. Talk to the merchant services (they may call it electronic services) of your local bank first or where you currently have your business acct. You can pay for your merchant services various ways -use whichever service you can get the best customer service from, on the terminal, cheap consumable supplies etc. I pay slightly higher merchant fees and a slightly higher % because I'm technically a "seasonal" merchant by just taking credit cards (Visa & MC only) at shows but have totally local customer support and 24/7 over the phone technical support, which I seem to use with every batch I upload due to a funky card number or glitch. Hands down its 80% of my sales over $40 and all professional artists should be able to accept credit cards.

Michèle Hastings said...

we don't take credit cards either...and like hollis, if someone doesn't have a check we let them take the pot and mail the check. have never been stiffed :-)

Joe and Christy said...

we don't accept credit cards, either, and haven't felt like we lose out by our decision. like hollis and michele, we let people take pots on promise of sending a check, and have never had anyone fail us. think of what bad karma it would bring to drink tea every morning out of a stolen mug!
**c

createniks said...

We use Cutting Edge Bank Card services for our merchant service provider. Only $8 a month service fee even if you don't have any sales plus the normal visa fees, http://www.ce411.com/
We phone authorize sales at shows but you can use one of those old roller things to swipe the card and process when you get home too. Not a fan of that version.

jimgottuso said...

hi tracey, i haven't taken credit cards but i found out recently that you can get an application on an iPhone that processes them. i don't have an iPhone either but if you do, you might want to check it out instead of getting one of those machines.

Kari said...

I just started taking credit cards last month. I have an imprinter for shows and use the computer for sales here at the house. I have the option to turn off the service for months at a time, like during the winter. My pricing seems high compared to what some folks have commented, so I'm going to look into this.

Patricia Griffin said...

This is soooo timely for me. It's on my to-do list. Been taking checks and cash at my studio gallery. Have had people send me checks if they don't have their checkbook on them, but it's getting awkward. Time to go forward. I am so grateful for everyone's comments.
Thanks all! Thanks Tracey!

Laura said...

I have my dual business/personal acct with BB&T.. I got a cc swiper, they get some small percentage when I use it, and a service fee of like, $15/month. It was so easy to set up, and they have been great. Easy to do, just do it. There are quarterly sales taxes to do too once you declare yourself as a business... xo

Kings Creek Pottery said...

Hi Tracy, sorry for the "late" comment! I will add my vouch for the Potters Council program with Chase Paymentech. I've been with them for 5 years. Reasonable fees and supplies are free (after purchase of the 'knuckle buster'!). They have great support- as in real people you can talk to. I call all my sales in, so if I'm at a show I can use my cell.

Taking credit cards definitely helps increase sales and impulse buys.

Best of luck,
Kathy