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shopping for credit card merchant accounts

updated mon 16 nov 09


Ingeborg Foco on sat 14 nov 09


Most people just look at what the rate is and think 3% is nothing. People
who don't pay attention to the bottom line and miss the little stuff usuall=
aren't very business savy. No offense intended just an observation. It
is as you say extremely complicated. My husband was a controller for a
major company and he is very business oriented and I have to follow suit.
He laid out a spread sheet and we input (that doesn't sound correct
but..)all of the information I gathered from a number of companies. I spent
days doing this. The one you thought was the best deal, was not when you
looked at all of the fine points. The company was sold and someone else
took over before my contract was up. They imposed an annual fee, increase=
rates until I reminded them of the contract. Of course, that was temporary
once my annual contract was up, everything was up for grabs.

I am like you, I never know what that card will cost me until I get my
monthly statement. I hate that. One time I had over 5% taken out and whe=
I called and said they made a mistake, they said it was a Corporate card.
Well shesh! Tell me how I can distinguish a regular card from a corporate
card. Sorry, they all look the same.

I hope Kathi is correct in thinking that cash will reign once again. I
haven't seen it happen but I do notice more people using debit cards which
only cost me 1.78. At least I don't have to pay for their points.

I have a retail shop and most of the people are from out of state. I doubt
they would pay for a $1,000 item by writing a check (which I would gladly
accept) so I feel like I am stuck. I was surprised when I read that you
succumbed to taking plastic and David I must say I was a bit disappointed.:=

Best wishes,



David Hendley on sat 14 nov 09

I agree with Ingeborg about how confusing it is to determine
the costs of a credit card merchant account.
These service providers make dealing with the terms of used car
salesmen, satellite TV companies, and cell phone providers seem

One of the reasons I closed my account was because I never
know how much it would cost me. When someone handed me a
card I didn't know if the processor would take .8%, 1.7%, or
3.7%. I hate that. I like to know what something costs me and I
like to be in control of my expenses. I felt like I had given them
a blank check.

I am very knowledgeable and experienced in business matters.
I have a B.A. in business. My check book is always balanced.
A few years ago, I spent, literally, many days researching credit
card merchant accounts. I called dozens of companies and had
a notebook full of notes.

In spite of my best efforts at research, I ended up with a deal that
did not really resemble what I was told I was getting. This after
I spent, again literally, half a day reading the 12 pages of fine print
and calling for clarification, before signing the contract.
I didn't even know WHO my account was with, as there were
various sub-companies that took over different aspects of the
process. Any complaints were met with the "it's out of our hands"
response. They couldn't have cared less when I finally terminated
the account.

At this point, I'm no longer interested in their BS. I can get along
just fine without them and it brings joy to my heart to cut them out
of the loop.

That said, Richard A. as he usually is, is correct to point out that
there is no "right way" for everyone. My business is all pretty
local. I don't know that I would feel comfortable traveling to a
show in Michigan and sending people away with bags of pots
and a promise to mail a check to Texas.

It is also true, however, and this has been demonstrated to me
countless times, that people almost always have another means to
pay if you tell them you don't have credit card facilities. If they
don't have a checkbook, often their shopping partner will quickly
pull out the cash.

I know I have lost a few sales by not accepting credit cards.
Maybe the customer buys the piece they really want but they
might have bought a second piece. So be it. The lost sales don't
come close making up for the expenses paid to the credit card

David Hendley

----- Original Message -----
> Your idea of shopping around for merchant credit card fees it certainly a
> good idea. I spent an inordinate amount of time shopping for the best
> deal. It isn't simple since one is always comparing apples to oranges;
> one
> charges annual fee and a lower ach charge, another has higher monthly fee=
> and so forth. You can't just look at the percent per transaction. I ran
> a
> spread sheet and came up with what was the best deal for me at that time.
> Since I opened my shop in 20001 much has changed in the credit business.
> Originally I had a contract for 1.3 (I think) and then after my one year
> contract was up, that went up. It is now up to 1.78, if it is a regular
> card. If someone has a reward card, a cash back card a bonus card etc
> etc.
> the rate can and does vary significantly. Most of them I end up paying 3=
> up to 4%
> I've complained to the Merchant processing company and they told me it i=
> out of their hands since Visa/Mastercard charges those fees. If you kno=
> of a way to get lower rates without paying for every one's reward bonus I
> would be very interested to hear.

Lee Love on sun 15 nov 09

On Sat, Nov 14, 2009 at 5:52 PM, Ingeborg Foco wr=
> David,
> Most people just look at what the rate is and think 3% is nothing. =3DA0P=
> who don't pay attention to the bottom line and miss the little stuff usua=
> aren't very business savy.

Ingeborg, deal with a different company. I pay one small yearly fee
and a percentage of each sale. That's all. I never have to wait
until the statement comes.

It importance of taking cards really depends on your work,
and where you sell and who you sell to. I used a debit card to
buy a Mike Norman pot yesterday. I was just going to visit Mike
and other friends at his holiday sale on our way to a friend's holiday
sale at the Book Art's Center, .but I found a tea bowl I could use to
show students you don't need to use a Japanese bowl to make matcha in.

Lee, a Mashiko potter in Minneapolis

"Ta tIr na n-=3DF3g ar chul an tI=3D97tIr dlainn trina ch=3DE9ile"=3D97tha=
t is, "T=3D
land of eternal youth is behind the house, a beautiful land fluent
within itself." -- John O'Donohue