Well, I broke down and did it! After 3 requests to use credit cards from customers last week I sent in my application for accepting credit/debit cards. I had resisted since I personally don't use credit cards, debit only. I felt it was sort of hypocritical to accept them but not use them. WTH, business is business!
My question is this; do you charge any different when the transaction is with a credit card? IE, cash discount, surcharges for credit/debit,etc? Do you require the whole amount of work be paid up front when paying by credit? This is something I'm seriously considering, esp for waterfowl. I hear stories of guys taking work home and getting the 3rd degree from the wife about it. I would hate to have such a transaction cancelled by a pissed-off spouse and end up having to eat a bunch of charge-backs. I do a bunch of work for folks who live hours from my studio. I'm in a big tourist area and get lots of their work, fish especially. Credit card problems from folks who live hours away will probably mean I end up eating the price plus fees.
I have gone thru some of these posts in the past but since this is a fluid industry, any input would be most appreciated.
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get ready to eat those charge-backs. I had a guy who paid his balance on a bear rug with a credit card. He did a charge-back on me after he had the rug in his possession, 2000 miles away! It seems like a great thing at first, but believe me, the pain in the ass isn't worth it. Also it's illegal to charge more when the transaction involves a credit card. I found a way to live with-out the dam machine, which is stilll in the file cabinet!
We started taking credit cards about 10 years ago. For the first few years, we didn't have that many transactions- I would say about 10%. In the past 2 to 3 years, I would say close to 75% of our business is handled via credit cards. I hate the fees that they charge but I have found pick-up time is reduced. We use the company that the NTA has worked out special rates for members, however, they recently raised the rate. If you do alot of business with people out of your area and you ship quite abit-I highly recommend taking the cards because getting the deposit and balance due is easier. A couple of warnings- when you manually enter a number (meaning you don't actually have the card in hand) the rate is higher. American Express takes about 4 days to credit your account so you might want to consider not taking AE. Corporate cards also demand a larger rate than from an individual. On the positive side, when someone pays with a card and I get an authorization number, they money is usually in the bank within 48 hours and I don't have to worry if thier check will bounce. I have never had any chargebacks not to say there are some jerks out there as stated above. We also have our prices set in such a way that the fees are built into the price of the mount, this is the cost of doing business. Hope this helps.
...getting set-up to accept credit cards. And my terms will be to be paid in full up front. Mrdux, how the heck do you even survive w/o credit cards?!?!? From ordering supplies to renting a car, I can't imagine being w/o them.
My question concerning this topic is where do you begin? I've googled the internet and there's an abundance of info but I'm still not sure where to start. I don't want any fancy card machines, the cheaper the better. All I want is the ability to accept credit crads both in person and over the phone.
I look at our scenario, friends and family and how much we put on the plastic. And I'd have to say it's the "American Way"! I'm SURE I'm losing a considerable amount of business by NOT accepting them...
I just started taking them. IMO, I'd rather have a credit card where I get immediate authorization than a check that may or may not be good. I went through my bank and the rate I pay is 2.25%. I'm going up on my prices and that will more than cover the fees.
...the banks in my town offer this service - and there's 6 banks in my town!
charge-back. Is that a refund of some type w/o your approval?
...the person questioned (and denied) the charges on their card when they got the bill. I would think there's a time limit on something like this though? In which case if you get payment in full up front, then this shouldn't be an issue?
I got a call the other day from North American Bancard. They offered free equipment, $10 month service charge, 1.59%+$0.19 per transaction. They also had wireless equipment which I had to have since I use my cell phone for my business phone. This wireless is an extra $25 per month but way less than a business hard-line phone per month plus I can take it with me to process cards when on the road on my snow goose hunts.
Marty, my wife and I fell into the credit card trap several years ago and got in WAY over our means. When we got it paid off we swore it would never happen again. I use a debit card which lets me order all supplies and motel charges when I'm on my hunts.
I have found that the cards are the easiest way to get your money fast. Rates vary from bank to bank and then they vary depending on how much your average bill is. My bank charges $3 a month and 2.75% per transaction. I built the cost back into the price of the service. IMO you can't beat it. A charge back now and then is not going to prevent me from taking advantage of this type of service. Especially when customers expect it in this day and age of instant gratification.
Hope this advice will help some of you!
Have your customer sign the "payment charge slip and understanding" this is where you have him/her sign away any right to charge back or refuse the charge on their account. You can also have an electronic deduction from their account again and again UNTIL it is paid. Also, you can have a separate understanding with your bank/card company etc. that you are guaranteed payment with no charge backs. This is becoming standard practice with certain services.
Keep in mind that IF a customer was to pull this stunt on you, this amounts to FRAUD and if over five hundred dollars, could be a Felony and you will be able to file criminal charges and do a lot more damage to the customer and come out on top of this bad transaction.
With special agreements where the bank or card company machine and verification service will GUARANTEE payment, the darn fees are around 5%. But, peace of mind is worth a few bucks anyway!
We used the company the NTA recommends for a number of years. We recently switched, both because they raised their rates, and because my machine died and I was unhappy with the (lack of and/or horrendous) customer service.
I'm working with Merchant Warehouse. No issues. They will sell you the basic swiping machine - no printer, you don't need it - for about $100.
It's definitely easier to get deposits this way.
And yes, it's illegal to make higher rate for using credit. We've never had a chargeback issue, and I think the poster with that issue could fight it since the rug was in possession. I *have* had bad checks from clients, though!