View Full Version : Now Accepting Credit Cards!!

02-05-2001, 11:27 PM
I'm considering accepting credit cards this season - For those of you that have done this, have yo found it to be beneficial, considering the % of margin you're giving up?

Rex Mann
02-06-2001, 12:02 AM

We take credit cards. And, I tell people uf front we add 2% to the amount put on a card. Everyone understands. Currently I pay 2.25 % processing fee plus a montly fee. To our operation it is worth it.

If our proposal is over someones budget, then they can put the diffrence on a cc or even have more things done. It just makes sense today to take them. Seems everyone is going for the points or miles these days.

BTW: I am only one of a very few in our area who take cc.


Randy Scott
02-06-2001, 01:02 AM
I'm on the bubble with this also. I most likely will offer it and will somehow work the cost into the contract, maybe try and get a feel for the customers paying methods before finalizing the contract. Seems everyone uses their credit cards nowadays for everything.

02-07-2001, 09:41 AM
"We take credit cards. And, I tell people uf front we add 2% to the amount put on a card. Everyone understands. Currently I pay 2.25 % processing fee plus a montly fee. To our operation it is worth it."

Read the Bankcard Agreement. If they get wind of your policy they will pull your account (VISA, MC, dont know about the others)

Jason Pallas
02-07-2001, 10:15 AM
I was thinking of taking cc too. What's the monthly fee like, other minimums, $ and cents? How hard was set up? Bank? Credit Union?

I looked into this about 8 years ago and it was extemely difficult to get set up (and costly). It seems like it may have changed since then. Is this true?

02-07-2001, 12:48 PM
Seems easy to set up. Fees are small, like $50 per year. The cost is in the % the CC company gets - 2-3% off the top of the total purchase.

Lawnguy - I was asking about this last night in the chat room - sounds like others may do it, too. But it sounds like they automatically jack everyone up 3%, then give a discount for cash. Like a gas station.

02-08-2001, 11:50 PM
I thought that a surcharge for use of a credit card was just against California law. Nice to know Visa and M.C. are against it also.

All the little mom and pop computer stores around here all charge a 3.1 % surcharge for using credit cards to purchase products.

John Allin
02-09-2001, 06:48 PM
We were on the fence about credit cards for years. Finally jumped in a year ago. Shoulda done it years sooner. We figure we added $50,000 new sales the first summer season. Also found that people loved to put the "deposit" for installation project on the credit card. Made it easier for our sales people to 'close' the sale that way too. No need for cash or checks that way.

Our recieveables clerk calls when the job is finished to 1) see how the job went, 2) if the customer is happy with the finished product, and 3) "How would you like to take care of the balance? We have MC, Visa, Discover, or we have have someone stop by tonight and pick up the final payment". Emphasis on "tonight". About 1/2 put it on the credit card over the phone.

We are amazed at just how much money we are running though the credit card machine.

02-11-2001, 12:10 PM
Credit cards certainly help the "Cash Flow" big time!

I suspect in my lifetime I will see a "Cashless" society.

We have seen a tremendous increase in "Debit Card" use. For those of you not familiar with Debit Cards - simply a Credit Card product BUT it actually "Debits" your Checking account immediately.

We have added another product called: Check by Phone. It also has taken off - although I was a little skeptical at first. We purchased a product called "Check Writer". It allows us to actually print your check on our printer with a check number you give us. A great tool for deposits, etc.

As far as the CC Fees are concerned - I too was lead to believe that a CC Surcharge was "Frowned Upon" by the CC Banks. I have yet to hear of any company Merchant Account being pulled as a result of it.

I have a Friendly competitor down the street that has charge a 4% Surcharge (for Snowplows & Spreaders - thats $100.00 +) on CC for 15 years. People pay it without question.

Hey - Maybe I need to look into it!

Bill Nero

Vandora Lawn & Landscape
02-11-2001, 05:33 PM
How do you go about setting up a merchant account to accept credit cards?

John Allin
02-11-2001, 06:44 PM
Call all the banks in your area.
Just ask.
They'll fall all over themselves to talk to you.
Call Discover.
Call Am Ex.

02-12-2001, 10:10 AM
Negotiate your rates! CC Processing is a HUGE Business and everybody and their brother is in it. You should be able to negotiate decent rates from the get go. For example - my first Merchant account was a 2.95% for all cards. Due to the high ticket items we sell and the volume of smaller sales - we now pay 1.67%. The exception is American Express. Unless you are doing in excess of $1,000,000.00 a year on just their card - they won't even talk to you.

Once you have an established track record (1 year or more) go back and have them re-rate you. Thinks they look for are "Average Ticket Sale" & number of transactions.


02-12-2001, 11:15 AM

Do you charge a surcharge on your credit card transactions?

John Allin
02-12-2001, 12:00 PM
No we don't.
We do enough credit card volume that I'm not concerned about the small percentage they take. I figure it's a part of doing business, and I look at it as though I'm giving them the percentage to get my money in 3 days. Heck, I'd give most customers 2 or 3% to get my money in 3 days, if they'd take it and pay it.

02-12-2001, 06:19 PM
It seems way easier now to accept cc's, i checked a few years ago for another bus. and couldn't even get a response. I started taking cards late last year, only used it 3 or 4 times but for $1500-3000 each and you know it's going to be in the bank. Good for automatic payments for monthly service too,have them fill out a form agreeing to let you charge whatever amount each month. i'll be pushing this payment method this year.
John , When i set mine up, in the fine print it said i could not charge deposits before any work was done without permission from the cc co. , don't know how that would matter but it was in there!

Mike Nelson
02-12-2001, 09:11 PM
It is funny how things turn around.Our sealcoating business started taking credit cards back in 1993.It never took off really,so we stopped.
Now today people are using plastic more than ever,so back to taking them again.
I feel it will be a big benifit to us this time around.Our drivers won't have to worry about collecting any money when they get done sealing a drive.
Good Luck to all :D

John Allin
02-12-2001, 09:29 PM
We'll have to take a look at that. Thanks for the heads up.

We will DEFINITELY take a look at THAT... Thank you too.

Mike Nelson
02-22-2001, 05:56 PM
Just talked to a credit card service and they wany 3% of sales and $70. per month. Does this seem right?


John Allin
02-22-2001, 06:47 PM
3% seems a bit high. American Express charges that type of fee (although I don't know from experience as we don't handle Am Ex).

Mike Nelson
02-22-2001, 08:00 PM
Does $70. per month sound high?

John Allin
02-22-2001, 09:26 PM
I gotta check with her highness. You know she does the finances. She's sleeping now. She has "first duty" tomorrow. We have crews starting at 2 AM. I'll ask her in the morning and let you know.

02-23-2001, 12:12 AM
Originally posted by Mike Nelson
Does $70. per month sound high?


I had mine through Centura, $10 per month if no activity and nothing if I had activity (except the %). $70 seems like a lot, I would shop around.

02-23-2001, 09:13 AM
Mike Nelson ...........

Your quote seems EXTREMELY high to me. Check with the Bank your business account is with. For what its worth - I started with a third party CC vendor. After a year of them I researched better rates with their competion and got it. The funny thing is - as soon as I started to switch, the first company dropped their rates even lower.

Eventualy - our Bank pursued us - lower our rate from 1.80 to 1.67% and NO Transaction fees.



Mike Nelson
02-23-2001, 10:12 AM
OK thanks for the heads up,I really appreciate all your input.

Kinda thought it was high,this was one of those telemarketers calling.

Thank You :D

03-20-2001, 01:32 PM
I'm a little further into the process now, and can share some additional information:

The rate I have thus far is 2.3% for Visa, 2.6% for MC. For an extra charge I can take AMEX and Discover. But there is also an $8/mo charge, and $0.20 per transaction. The charge I'm curious about is the setup. To run the numbers through some software via the internet, the cost of the software is $375. That seems high.

The other option is to have one of those card swipers in the office. Those are $265. Also seems high.

And here's the skinny on the discounts for cash. According to the paperwork I have, I can't charge MORE to a customer using a credit card, but I can offer a discount to a customer for using cash, check or chickens instead of the card.

And it appears that you can split payments between credit and cash/check. Might make it easier to sell the little extra they want but can't afford right now.

03-20-2001, 03:34 PM
Hello Everybody:

48% of our business so far for the past 3 months is charge card & growing at a rapid pace. Last year the first 3 months was about 32%!

Don't know about where you live but here The Sams Club adds the percentage back on your bill if you use a charge card. The Charge card companies are greedy & I don't think they would like loosing Sams Clubs Business.

Butt the Small Business Man I'm sure the Charge Card Companies would give you the Shaft in a Nano Second?

Everybody uses plastic Now, I only use it on the Internet!