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Credit Cards do you accept them?

#1 User is offline   Tokoz 

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 10:38 AM

This is the first time for my friends and me to be in an art show and we were discussing how to gain the ability to accept credit card payments. My research seemed to put the various readers, merchant accounts, payment gateways and their associated fees outside our price range pretty much permanently. I was wondering if anyone else had looked into credit card acceptance or had any opinions on it one way or another.

Also, I realize I'm probably the only person who still uses paper checks and can't also claim membership in the AARP, but I was wondering what others' policies on accepting paper checks were. Do you take them at all? In-state only? With a phone number? Not an issue?


And, lastly, a plug for our wares: http://tokoz.deviantart.com for my foam wings, and http://lobster-ball.deviantart.com for my friend's needle felted plushies (which are totally awesome, IMHO. She's amazing with wool and pointy slivers of metal).

#2 User is offline   Manifested Dreams 

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 10:58 AM

View PostTokoz, on Apr 16 2010, 12:38 PM, said:

This is the first time for my friends and me to be in an art show and we were discussing how to gain the ability to accept credit card payments. My research seemed to put the various readers, merchant accounts, payment gateways and their associated fees outside our price range pretty much permanently. I was wondering if anyone else had looked into credit card acceptance or had any opinions on it one way or another.

Also, I realize I'm probably the only person who still uses paper checks and can't also claim membership in the AARP, but I was wondering what others' policies on accepting paper checks were. Do you take them at all? In-state only? With a phone number? Not an issue?


And, lastly, a plug for our wares: http://tokoz.deviantart.com for my foam wings, and http://lobster-ball.deviantart.com for my friend's needle felted plushies (which are totally awesome, IMHO. She's amazing with wool and pointy slivers of metal).



Lovely work!

As for Credit Cards, I accept them and find they are well worth the cost. I went through my bank and pay a relatively small fee per month to be able to process them and rent the equipment. It was a two year contract, $10ish a month. If you plan to travel to shows as a regular thing, it's very worth it. I've found it adds a couple hundred to most shows I go to.

As for personal checks, I try to avoid taking them as a general rule. If you get a bounced check it's hard to get the fees back. If you absolutely have to take a check though, make sure to get ALL of their contact info, including phone number. This is for your benefit and theirs. Also, make sure they understand that any bounced checks will incur a $20(or whatever the fee is at your bank) fee.

#3 User is offline   Neko_master_Luna 

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 11:02 AM

I have never be in the merchant's shoes, but I may suggest what most do & charge a fee for using the credit card, it should help cover cost. Though It's why I always bring plenty of cash, you never know, I just might find some rare Dante item I just have to have, lol!
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#4 User is offline   Manifested Dreams 

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 11:09 AM

View PostNeko_master_Luna, on Apr 16 2010, 01:02 PM, said:

I have never be in the merchant's shoes, but I may suggest what most do & charge a fee for using the credit card, it should help cover cost. Though It's why I always bring plenty of cash, you never know, I just might find some rare Dante item I just have to have, lol!


Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express all express very clearly in their contracts that this is not allowed and is illegal. A merchant can only charge an extra fee if it applies to ALL payment types or if it is for expedited services, etc. Like-wise, it is technically illegal to require a minimum purchase. If a merchant is caught doing this, the fines are incredibly hefty. Granted, some do it, but if they get caught they'd be fined and have their processing capabilities revoked.

This post has been edited by Manifested Dreams: 16 April 2010 - 11:14 AM


#5 User is offline   Neko_master_Luna 

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 11:26 AM

That's interesting, because I have seen places charge in the dealer's room every year.
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#6 User is offline   frzndaqiri 

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 11:35 AM

Just because they do, doesn't mean they should. ;) They can (if reported) get in trouble for this as MD said. I don't believe ACEN takes the stance of enforcing this however, as it is an agreement between the processor and the vendor, and not us.

Non staff comment time: Feel free to mention to the vendor that you know they aren't supposed to charge, and that you won't do business with them because of it. If nothing else, better knowledge and loss of business should shake them up. That goes for your local store that does the same (I see it often in the malls).

Back to the topic: I don't have a CC reader, (though, wow MD, that's working out pretty cheap, I may have to look into that again) however I do take Paypal payments through my phone/laptop. I do NOT take paper checks. Sadly, there is little way to verify that it is valid and the costs of recouping a bad check far outweigh the number of people asking.
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#7 User is offline   Manifested Dreams 

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 11:36 AM

View PostNeko_master_Luna, on Apr 16 2010, 01:26 PM, said:

That's interesting, because I have seen places charge in the dealer's room every year.


*nods* Like I said, it happens. People do it generally because they assume no one will know any better or they simply fail to read their contracts. Regardless of who you go through though, the contracts are the same for each company. I've got mine right here, because I wanted to make sure I wasn't blowing smoke lol.

And as an added note to the OP, if you decide to go with credit cards AVOID AMERICAN EXPRESS.

I've never had anyone ask me if I took it, since it's a higher end credit card and your average Otaku generally don't have them. They will charge you out the bum if you don't have a minimum processed amount with them. They'll say it's easier and cheaper, but it's just a way to rape your wallet. Generally when you sign up to take CCs, you get a packet with all of them. You can simply call American Express and cancel with them specifically.

EDIT: Frzndagiri, it really is. A Case Of Random and I went through the business division of our local bank(PNC) and if you just sit down and talk with someone, you can generally work out an agreement. The equipment cost, I believe, $150 or so initially but after some back and forth, the bank agreed to deposit the same amount into our bank accounts after the first CC was processed, making the initial cost nothing. It's just a matter of going and talking to someone in person. They want your business, it's just a matter of convincing them it's worth it. By the end of my contract it'll cost me about $240 plus CC processing fees and monthly insurance on the machine($5 I think) so basically, $15/month + rather low fees per CC. The Fees get taken out during processing, so the remaining balance then goes into my business account.

This post has been edited by Manifested Dreams: 16 April 2010 - 11:51 AM


#8 User is offline   Random McCrankyface 

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 12:00 PM

Yeah, if merchant services account people catch a seller adding fees or requiring minimum transaction amounts they can pretty much smite a n00b or small business owner to bits. If I remember correctly, the fines start in the multiple-thousands of dollars.


AmEx sucks; Manifested Dreams and I both had them try to charge us for not using their cards when she's never been offered one and I've only been offered one once. It was a gift card, too. If you get one of those (of any type), make sure you run it right then and there. Once they're used up, they're done, and you'll have no way of hunting the buyer down. It's not often, but sometimes you'll see people trying to buy things on emptied gift cards.


Also, if you have the ability, run credit cards right there, whether it's on your phone or laptop. It may be a pain if your table's busy but it saves you problems with declined cards later on.

#9 User is offline   Tokoz 

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 02:03 PM

Wow, Manifested Dream, I can't believe I didn't ever think of talking to my local bank (which, iirc, might have been bought up by your PNC recently). I feel like such a goober. ^_^; The price you got is much more reasonable than what I was finding for internet-based services. Whether or not I pursue an official setup further will depend on how well I do at ACen, I think.


frzndaqiri: I'd originally thought of Paypal as an easy way to take credit cards, but then I heard there wasn't 'net access in the convention hall where the AA will be. Is this not the case? How were/are you able to make Paypal work?

#10 User is offline   frzndaqiri 

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 03:55 PM

Aircard / phone tethering and an unlimited data plan. I don't do so many conventions/transactions that I've been hit for it.

A proper aircard account is fairly pricey, and tethering doesn't work for most phones (yay android), so your best bet, and the most approachable answer is if you have a phone with browser support that's easy to use -

Navigate to the paypal page, have the customer log in with their credentials and send you payment OR set up a link that has the checkout page all set up if you have flat prices (I believe you have to have a verified account for that). It's not the most elegant thing, but it works, and gives you a decent idea of whether a cc machine is worth your while the next year.
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#11 User is offline   Manifested Dreams 

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 06:50 PM

View PostTokoz, on Apr 16 2010, 04:03 PM, said:

Wow, Manifested Dream, I can't believe I didn't ever think of talking to my local bank (which, iirc, might have been bought up by your PNC recently). I feel like such a goober. ^_^; The price you got is much more reasonable than what I was finding for internet-based services. Whether or not I pursue an official setup further will depend on how well I do at ACen, I think.


frzndaqiri: I'd originally thought of Paypal as an easy way to take credit cards, but then I heard there wasn't 'net access in the convention hall where the AA will be. Is this not the case? How were/are you able to make Paypal work?


Yeeah, we started with internet based ones as well. The benefit of this is generally a shorter/non existent contract but the prices are higher. The way our processing system works, we don't HAVE to have the internet, which is nice. We just get the info, write out receipts and then process once we get back to the hotel rooms. It's efficient and nice. The funds generally take until Monday to show up but then the business account gets some nice padding to it lol The biggest word of advice is to get ALL their info, including their address and phone number. Because of the fact that generally, you can't process on site, there is a chance it'll bounce. When that happens you just hold onto the info and try a week later and continue until it goes through. If it's particularly tricky though, you can contact them and ask what is up.

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