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Does anyone have a suggestion for a credit card processor?

For a small retailer credit card fees can really eat into the profit, especially on small sales.

We are currently having to upgrade our credit card processing machine. As long as I was at it I looked into different Credit card processing services.

What a nightmare. It's almost impossible to get rate information from these people. They want you to sign up first...then tell you the rates.

There are 6 kinds of cards all with their own rate.

Regulated Debit*
Non-regulated Debit*
Qualified
Mid-qualified
Non-qualified
Rewards

On a sample statement one sent me the rates are

0.49%
1.49%
1.69%
2.49%
3.49%
1.99%

Plus a transaction fee of

$.25
$.10
$.10
$.10
$.10
$.10

However they gave me rates for my account only for the

Qualified at 1.86% and $.20
Mid-Qualified at 2.66% and $.30
Non-Qualified at 3.36% and $.30

*I thought they had dropped the discount rate on debit cards. I think I understand about the regulated vs non-regulated debit.
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No. of Recommendations: 2
Does anyone have a suggestion for a credit card processor?

Since you are in WA (aka the land of Costco) have you looked at what Costco offers their members? http://www.costco.com/merchant-account.html?ddkey=http:Catal...

AJ
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Yes, as a matter of fact I have.

I even did an application. Now before they can go further they are saying the underwriter wants my income statement and tax return. We've been an executive member since 1986.

My existing service has a $10.00 monthly service fee.

Evalon's rates are less, but there is a min. of $20.00 per month about half the months we didn't reach that min. with our current service. Our business is pretty seasonal.

Qualified is 1.22% and $.12

Mid-qualified 1.99% and $.19

Non-qualified is 3.35% and $.29

Opt Rewards is 1.99% and $.19

Opt Commercial is 2.65% and $.25

The nice thing is it's showing 0.00% and $.12 for debits. During Plant season I have a lot of debits, but that is only 2 months

That $20.00 min. monthly eats up a lot for us.
Last year our highest month was $334.77 in fees, 4 months were below the 20.00 min even with the $10.00 monthly fee the provider charges me now.

I'm looking into Squareup. A friend is using them. It's 2.75% for every swiped transaction and 3.50% + $.15 for keyed transactions. No monthly fees.

It hooks into your phone or tablet. I'm not sure how it hooks to the computer and how to print out a receipt. I'm not sure about it taking a Corp of Engineers card.
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AJ,

The underwriter on the Costco provider sent this email to the person that took the application:

Good morning,

We will need 3rd party Financials to continue underwriting this application. Thanks


Credit Analyst |Underwriter

Elavon


The person that took my application sent it on to me. With this note:

Please see notes below from underwriter.<?i>

I asked what that meant, she responded:

This means that the underwriter is requesting your last year taxes to base the service on. They may also accept profit, loss and balance sheets it available.

Why would I be a third party? Why would they even use that term? It would make more sense if they said "We need applicants Financials."

I asked at our bank, the manager said she's heard of them asking for credit card processing statements from the previous processor, but never financials.

Jean
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Corrected for formatting

AJ,

The underwriter on the Costco provider sent this email to the person that took the application:

Good morning,

We will need 3rd party Financials to continue underwriting this application. Thanks


Credit Analyst |Underwriter

Elavon


The person that took my application sent it on to me. With this note:

Please see notes below from underwriter.

I asked what that meant, she responded:

This means that the underwriter is requesting your last year taxes to base the service on. They may also accept profit, loss and balance sheets it available.

Why would I be a third party? Why would they even use that term? It would make more sense if they said "We need applicants Financials."

I asked at our bank, the manager said she's heard of them asking for credit card processing statements from the previous processor, but never financials.

Jean

PS There were places on the application for additional owners. I was surprised I couldn't fill them in. I had started completing the application with DH's name. He's the Pres. She asked who would be the signer...I'm responsible for the book work, so I said me. There was no way I could add DH as an owner also. I wonder if that has something to do with it.

There were spaces on the application that asked for All Additional owners with greater than 25% ownership.
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No. of Recommendations: 2
I often am in places where people have the Square (not sure if it's the same as SquareUp)

Once the transaction is over, there's an option to email/text receipts.
I try to use the same card for Square transactions because if I bought something from a farm market in Pennsylvania and entered my email, then when I go for tacos at a food truck in texas- my info is already there. Square remembers associated card info.

For physical printing, I think you would have to have or buy a compatible printer, but I've seen it happen...

peace & purchaser PoV
t
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Yes, it's the same.

I looked it up and asked some more questions. Gads, I can barely use my phone to call. My friend mostly uses a tablet for the processing because it has a bigger surface.

The email or text a receipt sounds so big brotherish. Are they developing a mailing list?

It doesn't work with windows...so it has to be a phone or tablet. I'm not the only processor at our store, so I'd have to get a tablet.

Telephone customer service is not available. They have no phone contact at all. I know, I know, it's 2016! I'm being dragged kicking and screaming into this stuff.

Jean...does not like change
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The email or text a receipt sounds so big brotherish. Are they developing a mailing list?

I like emailed receipts.

PSU
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Thanks, PSU, that is interesting. As someone that has avoided everything that ever looked like it would get me on a mailing list I do have a hard time with it. That said, I was more concerned about the customer's thoughts.

There is nothing stopping me from having Square and another provider.

I called our current provider last night. I found out they HAD a contract with my bank. My bank is changing providers...thus the reason for the change. The bank customer service rep kept saying it was required for their new platform they were going to because of the change in the law.

It irritates me the bank said the upgrade was required by law to meet the new standards. While that, in part, might be true; it's certainly not the whole story. The current provider follows the law too.

I can stay with the current provider Merchant-e Solutions, but I would have to set up an individual account instead of going through the bank.

Jean
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Thanks, PSU, that is interesting. As someone that has avoided everything that ever looked like it would get me on a mailing list I do have a hard time with it. That said, I was more concerned about the customer's thoughts.

I don't think having a receipt for your nursery business is that important unless you are providing some warranty on plant life.

I like emailed receipts from places where there is a warranty on a product. Often receipts are printed on a paper that will fade over time, especially when exposed to sun. Home Depot receipts are like this. Then I have to fill a file cabinet for these receipts. With an emailed receipt, I can store them all in folders on my hard drive or a flash drive.

If I'm buying mulch, fertilizer or tomato plants, I just toss the receipt. If I'm buying a bathroom faucet with a long warranty, I'm getting an emailed receipt.

PSU
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I don't think having a receipt for your nursery business is that important unless you are providing some warranty on plant life.

=================================

I only guarantee that they are alive and well when they are purchased. :-)

We do have the hydraulic repair shop...the real money maker. More and more of those customers are paying with a card. If it was just my plants, that's only me and I can use my phone. But with the shop I'll need a device that the guys can use too.

Part of the problem is the government cards. Square won't accept all of them and we do work on some of the hydraulic stuff for the Corp of Engineers and Fish and Wildlife. FWIW, the are the highest fee cards.

Jean
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No. of Recommendations: 3
I have used Square for my business for 4.5 years. I am not a techie/gadget person, nor is my spouse, MrBig. We manage with Square fine.

We use it on our smart phones, but I know a lot of other vendors who use it on a Tablet, for whatever reason.

Most (95%) of my customers buying jewelry or antiques are satisfied with a receipt that is emailed or texted. For those that need a physical receipt, I use one of our business cards and write the particulars on the back (date, amount received, sometimes an item description but usually simply "jewelry", and then I write "Thank You!" and my name).

One thing about Square, you don't get "instructions" and not everything is intuitive. I am fortunate in that I am often at a festival or in a situation where there are other vendors using Square, and have been able to get answers from other users when something comes up. I would find someone you know (a hairdresser? I know most are using Square these days) and run through a few scenarios to get you to a comfort level.

When I first got my Square, I practiced using it with one of my own credit cards using small amounts.

One of the nice things about Square is that you only pay a fee (% of each transaction) when it is used. Since your business has times with less activity, there is no service fee to pay regardless of activity.

I know that PayPal also has a similar device for card processing, but I have no experience with it. A couple years ago the PayPal app did not accept AmEx, don't know if that is still the case, but worth looking at since you need an app that accepts cards that I've never even heard of (thus, I assume even less common than AmEx).

Hope this helps.


Sass
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Evalon's rates are less, but there is a min. of $20.00 per month about half the months we didn't reach that min. with our current service. Our business is pretty seasonal.
.
.
.
That $20.00 min. monthly eats up a lot for us.
Last year our highest month was $334.77 in fees, 4 months were below the 20.00 min even with the $10.00 monthly fee the provider charges me now.


I would suggest looking at how much Evalon would have cost you through an entire year, instead of looking one or two particular months.

If you have 6 months where you have to pay the $20 minimum to Evalon because you didn't reach $20, that's $120 a year in minimum fees. Since you are already paying $10/month to your current process, that's equivalent. So, if for at least 6 months a year, you should be over the minimum, and Evalon's fees for transactions are cheaper, you probably would come out ahead with Evalon.

AJ
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One thing about Square, you don't get "instructions" and not everything is intuitive. I am fortunate in that I am often at a festival or in a situation where there are other vendors using Square, and have been able to get answers from other users when something comes up. I would find someone you know (a hairdresser? I know most are using Square these days) and run through a few scenarios to get you to a comfort level.

I noticed that. Our friend that uses it says he'll help.

When I first got my Square, I practiced using it with one of my own credit cards using small amounts.

That is a great idea.

I put in an application for Square. Poof it's done. It didn't ask for my first born or anything.

I did order the chip card reader, the swipe reader was free. It should be here in 5-7 days.

I'm amazed at the stuff the other providers need to set up the service. You would think I was applying for a loan.

One of the funny things was the ap from Evalon that I mentioned above. I'm going to fill out the application on line and see if I get the same results. It's asking for DH and my driver's license numbers.

Merchante-solutions asked for my SS-4. What it the world. That the application for getting a federal ID number. I wouldn't even know where to look now. That was 32+ years ago.

Also a copy of the business license and DH and my driver's license. Not just the number they want to see it.

These are the folks that have been servicing our CC since we started taking them That was in 2005, we were late to the accepting CC. We had to start in order to get payment from the Corp of Engineers. That's the only way they will pay.

FWIW, I ran the numbers on last years charges. The lowest % fee month (highest CC sales) was 3.1%

Square is 2.75 for a swipe. We do have some hand keyed they are at 3.5 plus $.15

They deduct the fee for each transaction. So if I make a sale of $100 they deposit $97.25.

Our current provider charges our account at the end of the month. They charge all the fees at once.

FWIW, I give plant customers a paper receipt and the CC receipt. So now they will just get the paper receipt and an emailed or text one if they want and I can figure out how to do it.

I was talking to someone in town and they said the Chamber of Commerce went to Staples and picked one up to use at their fund raising auction.

Thanks for all the input.

Jean
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I think some of application hurdles inherent in setting up a merchant account have to do with the fact that you are handling other people's credit cards, and the potential for malfeasance exists.

I think they basically want to know if you are legit. Are you trustworthy.

I recall the application for my previous card processing was more invasive, though I don't recall the specifics.


Sass
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I think some of application hurdles inherent in setting up a merchant account have to do with the fact that you are handling other people's credit cards, and the potential for malfeasance exists.

===========================

Yes, that and they are holding their billing until end of month and relying that the funds will be there to pay the fees.

That's what I have been working through...is how to record the payment when Square deducts the fee from the deposit. I have to credit my customer's account with the full amount.

Cash in bank debit reduced amount
A/R credit full amount
CC Discounts credit discount amount

That works. I was working on it at our store and couldn't get it to work with our accounting program. I was making it too hard.
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My kid uses Square too.

He came up and was helping me...he was bummed because he found:

Refer a friend...too late.

https://squareup.com/help/us/en/article/5210-sign-up-with-sq...
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Why would I be a third party? Why would they even use that term? It would make more sense if they said "We need applicants Financials."

I suspect that they mean they want financial documents prepared by a third party, such as by an accountant that you hired. This helps reduce the risk of you just doctoring up your own financials however you want them to look.

Bigger business than yours...but we hire a team of auditors every January to check our books and provide "third party" financial statements that are acceptable to banks.

xtn
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Okay, that makes sense. We are just tiny. I do the financials. I guess they are worried I'd take big charges, then have charge backs that I couldn't cover or something.

I really didn't think it would be this big of a deal. We have telemarketers calling us all the time to get us to switch to them as a CC servicing provider.

I finally heard back from the bank one today, sorta. They sent me an email with my rates from what I think is a copy of the application I or they completed in 2005. The rates were not the same as they quoted me over the phone. The ones on the application were less than 1/2 percent lower, but still.

There was still no mention of the amount of fees on the debit cards. Many of the cards I take this time of year are debit, but I run them as a credit since I don't have a machine that will take a pin. The new machine will have that capability, so I wanted to know what the rate would be.

So far I'm still going with Square. The square should arrive this week. I could have bought one at Staples or something, but that's a 30 mile drive and at least 1 1/2 hours of time. I can wait a couple few days.

Our old one still works. I don't know if it's too late to cancel for the end of the month or not.

Jean
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I now have the Square app. on my smart phone. I haven't received the swipe thing yet. I was looking at it last night. It's pretty amazing. It will record cash and check sales too.

My plants are divided into groups. Paks, 4 inch pots, etc. There aren't very many, less than 20. I entered them last night and did a couple of practice sales. I emailed and text the receipt to me. Pretty cool.

It sounds like it was made for people to use at craft shows, etc.

I've been hand writing and adding all of my sales slips. I have to go into DH store to run a card. With Square I won't have to...unless it's cold, windy and rainy like today is.

Jean
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A final update on the CC servicer change. It looks like we will be going with Square.

I finally used Square to charge a sale yesterday. It is pretty cool. Only 2 Credit card sales. Neither wanted a receipt. I do make out a sales slip and they had that, just not a CC receipt.

One of the sales I did itemize on Square, it was only one basket. The other I just entered the total sale since I had already added my sales slip. It was raining and I didn't want my cell phone in the rain. We went in DH's shop to do the charge.

At the end of the day Square sent me two emails. One for the amount of the sales with detail and one for the amount deposited. I've already left feedback that they should just be one email showing both amounts.

I do need to print them out for my helper to enter the deposit into my regular accounting system.

Jean
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PS

I was wrong. Their website has a great Deposit report. It listed the sales individually with the discount/fees for each. It can be exported to Excel or printed.

I'm impressed. It was impossible to get this kind of data from any servicer I have had.

Jean
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Woot, I had my first chip card today. It worked perfectly, except my stylist is also a pen and people keep trying to use the pen end. I need to get one that is not a pen.
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