View Full Version : Accepting Credit Cards with your business

Gregg Vaughn
01-01-2009, 8:45 PM
We started and have continued to work out of a small niche dealing with law enforcement agencies and aviation. Over the past several months we have had more and more customers wanting to pay via credit card. We have never been web centered or been setup to accept credit cards.

Can anyone give me the basics of "accepting credit cards 101"? Is there a "best" avenue for dealing with this? I assume there is a cost associated with accepting credit cards, but sending invoices has a cost as well I suppose.

If it makes a difference, I am in Indaiana andI have a registered retail business certificate.

Rudy Ress
01-01-2009, 9:12 PM
I'm not in business yet, but did notice that COSTCO has some business solutions (e.g., credit card processing). The following link to that page will provide some basic information and costs: http://www.elavon.com/acquiring/costco/

Other Creekers will probably have more info.

pete hagan
01-01-2009, 9:15 PM
Try Quickbooks Pro and get the merchant services (credit card processing) through their company Innovative Merchant Soultions. I had credit card processing through my bank for 10+ years. IMS charges the same rate or slightly less than my bank and it is intigrated into QB so no double entry in my accounting!


Richard Rumancik
01-01-2009, 9:25 PM
Unless you expect to do a high volume of credit card business, I think you may find it to be an expensive option. There may be an initial setup fee. Some of them charge $10-25 a month processing fee, plus a per-transaction fee. It can be more per tranaction if you are doing business where you don't actually swipe the card, (eg telephone sales) as there is a higher risk of fraud for the card company. They charge a % which is higher for smaller companies with few transactions (maybe as much as 5%.) They may want you to rent equipment as well.

For infrequent card sales I would suggest that you look at PayPal. Because of eBay, PayPal it has reasonably good recognition and you don't need to have secure servers to use it, as the main security is with PayPal. You can send "invoices" by email where it makes it fairly simple for the customer to make a payment by PayPal.

You don't need to be heavily web-based to go this route. No need for "checkouts" and such. You don't even need a website, just an email account (or phone) to receive orders and Internet access to email PayPal invoices. I don't have current costs for PayPal but it is something like $0.30/transaction plus 2-3%. For a small number of transactions, PayPal is a "pay-as-you-go" option.

bob pfohler
01-01-2009, 10:27 PM
I had the same problem as Richard! The number and amount of bank fee's were incredible.
I try to accept credit cards through PayPal if the customer insists.

pete hagan
01-01-2009, 10:40 PM
I agree with many others. If you are not doing 5K a month in credit card sales then paypal would be fine. I believe they have a plug-in that allows for simple shopping carts but you can simply send an invoice through paypal if you wish.

For me I have to create an invoice (or cash sales receipt) for anything that goes out the door and I ship 100% of my orders (mostly not laser product) so with the shipping and credit card processing intigrated QB makes sense for me.

I do accept paypal because many clients sell on ebay and they have paypal money to use so that makes it easy for them.


Mike Null
01-01-2009, 10:50 PM
I use my bank for credit cards and telephone authorization as I never see my customers.

The local bank and telephone auth. is a little more expensive than PayPal but I'm not an Ebay fan nor am I a fan of giving Quickbooks any more business than I have to.

My monthly fee is $25 minimum but depending on volume that may be the max also. I like the telephone auth. as opposed to a terminal which must be rented or purchased.

I do some gov't. business so accepting credit cards is a must. (Paypal charges extra for gov't cards)

Randal Stevenson
01-01-2009, 11:03 PM
Does anyone know how Paypal CC transactions, affect your payment restrictions? (let me explain)

A lot of CC contracts, have that you can charge more for using the CC then cash, but NOT for checks or other payment forms.

On a side note to the original poster, how many phone lines do you have? What do they run you a month? Besides the machine cost (which can be unplugged and share a line), you should figure in the cost of that phone line, the percentage the credit card companies charge, the costs of the CC printer, etc. to figure if it is really worth your time.

Pete Simmons
01-02-2009, 8:48 AM
Take a look at


I have used them for 4 or 5 years with no problems.

Costs are not to bad.

Barry Richardson
01-02-2009, 9:05 AM
I use Propay too. It's about as easy as it gets, and I've never had a problem with it.

Scott Shepherd
01-02-2009, 9:27 AM
I use authorize.net and have used them for years in and out of this business. I do not do a lot of credit card transactions now, more so in the past business experience, but they have a wide range of services. They offer up modules for free for most all of the popular online shopping carts, so if you find yourself in the future needed to go that route, you can easily integrate that into your cart. For me now, I use their virtual terminal.

I just log into my account, enter the information, and click it. It authorizes it immediately (or declines it). No need for expensive credit card swiping equipment and the fees associated with it.

I think it costs, all said and done, about $30-35 (it says $25, but when it's all done, it'll be $30-35) a month minimum. After you reach a certain point, it will be more, but for me, I don't use it enough to ever meet the minimum, but it does give me the option.

Mitchell Andrus
01-02-2009, 9:59 AM
I've used Authorize.net for 10 years or so. I've got a secure site to enter phone orders and I've got them integrated into my website. There are fees and % of sales service costs, but one or two rescued sales/yr pays all of that. They hook up to a bank account and make the deposits... done!

Very easy to set up but if you've got a criminal record, an account can be tough to get started. Paypal is OK, but not everyone has an account (like my mom and dad).

Funny... I'll get a call every so often from someone who doesn't trust the internet to place credit card orders. I have to write their info down and then enter it on the 'net anyway... so it's a bit LESS secure when a human is involved.

Doug Griffith
01-02-2009, 11:31 AM
I use Verisign's Payflow Link which is now owned by PayPal and kept as a separate entity. It is a very good service but is only a gateway so you would still need your own cart and backend. I also offer PayPal for customers who prefer to use it and for international orders who pay by credit card. PayPal has a better international verification process.

PayPal is one of the easiest ways to go for accepting credit cards. You do not need an account to perform cc transactions. One problem is that a lot of people hate PayPal for their policies. Another is that PayPal is a less professional solution in the eyes of the consumer.

I do not know of any PayPal payment restrictions.

Talk to your bank and see what services they offer.


Jack Harper
01-02-2009, 1:20 PM
I use Paypal, but I do not send invoices through them. If you look you will se they have a virtual terminal online that you just type the info in and process while your customers is standing there or waiting on line. It is very fast and costs no more than any other Paypal transaction that I do. I do use their electronic login keyfob for added security on the account and transactions.

Gregg Vaughn
01-03-2009, 9:46 AM
Thanks everyone .... I'll digest all this and do a little net surfing and calling. Its always nice to start from a point that you know is working for others.

Dave Yanke
01-03-2009, 1:58 PM
I sent you a PM with info that should help.

Trevor Watson
01-03-2009, 5:46 PM
Not sure about in America but down here in Australia It costs me $25.00 a month with a once off $110 install fee for a mobile Eftpos machine which Ican take anywhere with me works via the cell phone network whereever cell phones work this Eftpos machine works.. I can proccess Credit cards or ATM cards via this on the road or leave it plugged in at home and type in ppls credit card numbers for mail orders.

Trevor Watson
Xenetech 1325XLT 40w with Rotary attatchment, Corel X3, Photograv3.0, XGW 6.45

Mike Hood
01-03-2009, 7:31 PM
I use Authorize.Net as my gateway and e-online for my merchant account. Setup is pretty straightforward and like said earlier it comes out to $35 or so a month. I just chalk it up to a couple extra sales each year.

It's all deductable anyhow.

Dean Flannery
01-03-2009, 8:38 PM
The one nice thing about paypal and virtual terminal is you can turn it on and off on a monthly basis, we normally accept credit cards from November thru January for the Christmas orders then turn it off for the rest of the year. If you got a really big credit card order you could pad the bill a little bit and turn it on for that month.

Mike Hood
01-04-2009, 9:58 AM
Yeah... but once you're burnt a few times by PayPal... you'll embrace a "real" merchant account. I've had ZERO charge backs through authorize.net, and lost scads through paypal and ebay.

I swear there are people on eBay only there to scam a nickle. :(

Dan Hintz
01-04-2009, 4:45 PM
Authorize.net is my gateway, as well, and I can second (third?) Mike and Scott's $25-$35/month fees. I set up my e-cart to use a module for automatic verification, charging, etc., but if you only plan on using it for direct entry orders over the phone, you can use their free virtual terminal... all you need is an internet connection. If you choose to actually swipe cards, expect to spend a couple hundred $s for the equipment.

Bill Cunningham
01-04-2009, 10:21 PM
I give my customers a .pdf order form and a toll free fax number, that way I have a signed P.O. for all orders.. I accept Visa ONLY. Mastercard was just too expensive, and for the small percentage that use it, it was not worth the time or effort.. I also get telephone authorizations for each transaction, and my cost is a minimum $16.00 charge, + .15 per transaction and I pay under 3%. In 20 years, I have only had one charge back, and that customer had made a error. He apologized, and sent me written permission to recharge his card for the total amount, plus all my costs, both interest, and charge back fee.. I don't sell generic retail products, everything is custom/personalized, and proof approved before it goes into production. So, it would be hard for a customer to say he or she did not order it. If they say they did not receive it, then it's a problem for the shipping company or post office. But, neither of those things has ever happened... My credit card service is through the T.D. (Toronto Dominon)Bank In Canada..

Jerry Hay
01-05-2009, 5:54 PM
This is the company I deal with for credit card sales. They supply all of the equipment free of charge. They have great rates and great tech support. I recommend them highly.

Teryl Bishop
01-13-2009, 12:55 PM
Let me second those with positive history using ProPay. As a secondary we also have a PayPal account. Fees on both are quite reasonable for small volume work.

Jerome Hanby
01-13-2009, 1:48 PM
I've setup a few web based businesses using Paypal to handle credit cards. I'm sure they have some small fee per transaction, but you don't have to deal with all the nuts and bolts...

Tim Bateson
01-13-2009, 3:12 PM
I had tried unsuccessfully to use PayPal with my website's shopping cart (CubeCart). I never got PayPal to work consistently. However this is just part of the issue. Keeping both the website & shopping cart in-sync and current was too time consuming.
As it turns out 90% of my web customers emailed me rather then try using the on-line shopping cart. I then do my online billing with a PayPal invoice which only requires the customer's email address. As my business increases, I may in the future work with an automated payment system again. For now those monthly fees just aren't worth it. So tonight will be the death of my website's shopping cart. :(

Jerome Hanby
01-13-2009, 3:17 PM
I wrote the webstore and used paypal's developers information and testing system to test it and get it working and once it was working never had a problem. The bounce back and forth with PayPal was a little awkward as i recall, but it worked pretty well.

Frank Corker
01-13-2009, 4:55 PM
Yeah... but once you're burnt a few times by PayPal... you'll embrace a "real" merchant account. I've had ZERO charge backs through authorize.net, and lost scads through paypal and ebay.

I swear there are people on eBay only there to scam a nickle. :(

Paypal is great for paying for stuff, but their so called 'insurance protection' is worth diddly squat. They are not interested in giving you back the money they promise to protect. They hold onto your money for way too long to be reasonable, just see what they are like if they refund your money, five days later to get it!! They take it out immediately of course.

Doug Griffith
01-14-2009, 10:28 AM
Paypal is great for paying for stuff, but their so called 'insurance protection' is worth diddly squat. They are not interested in giving you back the money they promise to protect. They hold onto your money for way too long to be reasonable, just see what they are like if they refund your money, five days later to get it!! They take it out immediately of course.

I agree. PayPal protects the buyer more than the seller. If the buyer makes a complaint that PayPal considers justified (whether true or not), PayPal will hold the funds for 30 days. They then leave it up to the 2 parties to resolve the issue. If it is not resolved, the funds go back to the buyer. PayPal tells you that it is under investigation but they just sit and wait. My girlfriend found this out after many phone calls. She was told it "off the record".

Because of this, I try to keep PayPal sales to items under $500.