Business Identity Q's

Submitted by - on 2/20/05 at 9:40 PM. ( )

Do your customers like you more (trust you more, refer more business to you, bring you more stuff to mount, whatever) if you get a toll-free number they can call?

How important is your credit card terminal? (merchant account/dma)

I ask because tonight's ruminations include consideration of both.

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MY OPINION, save your money

This response submitted by George on 2/20/05 at 10:15 PM. ( )

A toll free number is just a hassle and unnecessary cost. 99% or your work is going to come to you from within the local calling area. If your customers go outside, believe me, they'll call you.

Personally, I accept credit cards as a "customer service" HOWEVER, I refuse to buy the remote terminal. I deal in only paper forms and use a company that will accept them. A remove is going to cost you in excess of $600 and will take most people over 10 years to recoup in sales. Less than 5% of my customers use credit cards.

I'm with George

This response submitted by Dan Hudzik on 2/20/05 at 11:04 PM. ( )

Why look for a way to cost yourself more money. Your work will get you more business than you can handle. Stick with it and watch it grow. Good Luck to you. Dan Hudzik

Approx. 50% to 95%

This response submitted by - on 2/20/05 at 11:20 PM. ( )

Of my customers use credit cards, and of those, approx. 99% are not local to me.

VT's range from $0 to $500, terminals from $150 to $1100, it's the merchant account itself that costs all the money: 1.75% to 5% per transaction plus fees. BUT that's a transaction I may not have had at all without the terminal.

So I weigh the options and ruminate...


This response submitted by Steve D on 2/21/05 at 7:40 AM. ( )

Ok this is probally a stupid question but, you guys that take credit cards, would it be cheaper and maybe easier to do all credit card transactions thru pay pal, Dont laugh hang on a min. Maybe have a computer set up in the shop just for customers to do payments on or they could even make it from home, wouldnt have to hear "sorry I was on vacation for a month thats why I didnt drop any money off to you" > email address, credit card number, and done, moneys there. You have fees thru the merchant account anyways dont you,and with a paypal debit card the money should be available right away. I dont take credit cards and it really does (at times) cost me work, but I didnt want the extra fees from the account,just something I was thinking about and wanted some input. Thanks SteveD

Steve, Paypal is not your friend

This response submitted by George on 2/21/05 at 8:41 AM. ( )

I dropped them like a lead balloon when they notified me that "some information may have been observed by hackers". That's enough, thank you. They wanted me to change my account number, but I just let the whole thing lapse.

Today's banking is a long way from what it was just a few years ago. Banks are required by law to process the transactions immediately. A new law coming defines that as in one business day. If you have a reader, or like me, a call in service, that transaction will be completed that day and the transfer of funds is secure.

After my dealings with Paypal, I felt like one of those guys who couldn't get car insurance with a reputable company and had to settle for one of those shyster dealers.


This response submitted by Steve D on 2/21/05 at 8:45 AM. ( )

Thanks George I didnt realize any of that. I think Ill look into the whole merchant credit card thing a little closer. Thanks for the info.

Wouldn,t be with out the CC machine

This response submitted by John on 2/21/05 at 11:04 AM. ( )

We run through about 25% of our customers through the machine. thats cash flow I wouldn't have had with out it.Shop around for the best best rates though.John

I also use the CC machine alot

This response submitted by RJ Simington on 2/21/05 at 11:59 AM. ( )

About 50% of my customers use credit cards instead of checks, It is more convenient for them & some are getting sky miles at the same time, But I also charge 2% per transaction with a CC & some of them will go ahead & write a check to save alittle money.
Especialy on some of the larger Safaries.
But I atleast give them the option Credit Card,Check, or Cash.
I would also say that the guys with credit cards will spend more on Specialty mountings & Bases, such as 1/2 Lifesizes & Pedistol Mounts . Where if they couldnt use a CC they would probably opt not to.

That comes alot from selling your ideas to your customers though.

R.J. did you know that was illegal?

This response submitted by George on 2/21/05 at 12:47 PM. ( )

Adding anything extra for the use of credit cards is illegal and a violation of the fair trade act as well a several other commerce laws. If you do it, don't advertise it. And it's certainly better to build that extra into your cost for ALL your customers so that the ones with credit cards get the free ride and the others support the priviledge.

RJ, if I'm not mistaken...

This response submitted by marty on 2/21/05 at 12:48 PM. ( )

...charging extra for credit cards is illegal. That is why the gas stations stopped offering gas cheaper for cash vs. c.c.'s a few years back. At least in Illinois it is illegal. Not sure about other states...

It's illegal

This response submitted by - on 2/21/05 at 2:47 PM. ( )

It's illegal under Mastercard and Visa rules, and is a violation of most merchant account service agreements. You can get canned off your merchant account and added to a blacklist if they find out you are doing it. It's also illegal by PayPal rules, you can't charge someone more to use PayPal, that kind of thing.

I don't think it's illegal "under law". It might be (it actually probably is) - I haven't heard of the "fair trade act" though. There might be some sort of fair credit use act. The only free trade act I am aware of is Nafta.

Just looked at the merchant account stuff last night.

PayPal is NOT your friend, they will suck funds out of your account on "temporary hold" without even the hint of a chargeback, they will seize your account, and they will fail to rectify the situation even after you provide them more documentation then a mortgage broker asks for.
Been there, done that, and would love to have the lower fees of a real merchant account. 1.79% and 25 cents (reality) vs. 2.85% and 29 cents (paypal), makes a big difference.

Just wondering if I should get the toll free # AND the merchant account...

Depends on how it's worded

This response submitted by Keith on 2/21/05 at 7:19 PM. ( )

It is illegal to charge more for the use of credit cards.

However, if you feel you must make up the 2% on the CC fee, increase all your prices by 2%, then offer a 2% cash discount. This is not the same as charging more for CC use. Yes, this may seem like the same thing, but this is perfectly legal.

Personally I wouldn't mess with it. Just bump up all the prices 2%. You would spend more time explaining the difference to customers than it would be worth.


This response submitted by marty on 2/21/05 at 7:52 PM. ( )

That's exactly what the gas stations use to do (offer a discount with cash) but that is illegal now. No matter how you shift the numbers. I don't agree with it, but that's the law...

The District attorneys office

This response submitted by RJ Simington on 2/21/05 at 10:27 PM. ( )

In K Falls Oregon told me that It Is Legal to charge the customer more for CC payments.
I do check into things before doing things like this in my studio.

As for the use of the machine that I Own I can charge what I want As long as the customer agrees to pay it before the transaction.

It is the same as charging the customer for custom service on there mount.
Always check your state laws because every state is different .

In Fact Our

This response submitted by RJ Simington on 2/21/05 at 10:52 PM. ( )

County Court house even charges you for a CC transaction to pay for tickets.
But as I said you should check your own state first.

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