Tuesday, April 24, 2012

More Ways to Accept Credit Card Payments

Now that I've bragged to you about how much I love using Square to process credit card payments on my iPhone, it's time to tell you about some of the other options out there.  It's only recently that I've noticed competition popping up. They include new and revamped systems.

Vistaprint, a company known for affordable business cards and free samples of other custom imprinted items, sent me a postcard advertising Pay Anywhere. Their service originally charged 19 cents per transaction in addition to the percentage-based processing fee when they started up a year ago. Pay Anywhere recently dropped the transaction fee and now charges only the 3.69% processing fee.

Intuit (maker of QuickBooks) has GoPayment. They offer an interesting option that may save money for those who are processing larger amounts of credit card payments. You can pay a monthly fee of $12.95 and the percentage charged for the credit card transactions will drop to 1.7% for swiped cards. One advantage with this system is that it works with QuickBooks. You can also have multiple users on your account so you can have sales going on in various locations, but still be able to track who made the sale.

You may have also noticed that PayPal is finally jumping in. When I first started looking for credit card options I could use for live sales, PayPal was the first place I looked. I figured it would be better if all my credit card payments were coming through one payment system. Unfortunately, PayPal didn't have anything available at the time. Now I face a dilemma over whether to stick with Square or switch over to PayPal's system for the iPhone. PayPal Here isn't available just yet, but you can get on the list to be notified when it's ready.

Which system should you use? Each one offers the iPhone or Android app and the credit card reader for free. They claim to have no extra or hidden fees and each has a slightly different rate for processing the credit cards. Access to your money is same day (PayPal), next day (Pay Anywhere, Square), or in 2-3 days (GoPayment). There are other features that will speak to one seller more than another, so make sure you read up on all the details. Personally, I'm fascinated by how different each card swiper looks. I have to admit that I'm intrigued by the blue triangle for PayPal...it's so pretty. After my experience with Square, I think GoPayment and Pay Anywhere may have the advantage in stability since they look like they'll stay put on the phone as you swipe the card.

What system looks good to you?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Credit Card Processing on the Go

If you've experienced selling your merchandise in person, you've probably noticed that people seem to be willing to buy more when using a credit card. At a previous job, we joked about how the payroll deduction forms were the company "gold card" since it didn't feel like you were really spending money.

For about a year now I have been using Square so I could process credit card payments when selling in person. The account and the credit card reader were free and the credit card fees were similar to what I was already paying on PayPal.  Since it was connected to my iPhone, I could use it anywhere I had cell phone service.

Some of the things I really like about Square:
  • Sales tax - You get to decide when to charge sales tax and how much to charge. If you are selling in different locations with different sales tax charges, this is very helpful. Some sellers like to include sales tax in their purchase prices and would want to turn off the sales tax charges.
  • Entering cash transactions - My friend Brittany at Trinkets and Butterflies told me about this one. You can enter all your cash payments in the Square app and keep a nice record of all your sales.
  • Photos of items sold - Square likes to market this as a way for customers to remember what they purchased from you. I like it because a lot of the items I sell are unique and the photo helps me remember which item I sold and a photo so I can try to make another item like it.
  • Easy to use records - Not only can I look on my phone to see how our sales went for the day, but the Square website lets me download records as a spreadsheet.
  • More personal than a credit card machine - The customer can watch the entire process and receive receipts by email or text message. They walk away with their purchase without having to leave their credit card number with a stranger. I never liked knowing that a merchant wrote my credit card number down to process it or had the imprint on a carbon somewhere.
  • I get paid! - I don't have to worry about whether the credit card number is any good or whether a check will clear. Square lets me know instantly that the transaction went through. I can't afford to gamble when it comes to having people pay for their purchases.
My friends who own Black Sheep Cafe were recently featured in a news article about Square replacing the cash register for some small businesses.  They use an iPad and Square's register app that allows them to enter their menu items (with photos). It turns the iPad into a touchscreen cash register that the server uses to assemble an electronic ticket for the meal and process the payment. The customer can even add a gratuity/tip. As a small, eclectic new business, using Square has kept more profits in their pockets instead of paying for financial services meant for large-scale businesses.

No, I'm not getting anything in return for praising Square. These are my opinions and experiences, free of charge. In my next post, I'll tell you about some other companies who are providing credit card processing via smartphone.
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