search  current discussion  categories  business - sales & marketing 

my saga of accepting credit cards

updated sat 5 jun 04


Eleanora Eden on fri 4 jun 04

Hi June and all,

I first went to my own bank and had a merchant account through them. When
their monthly fee went from nothing to 7.50, I went to Novus which at that
time was a good deal. They started messing with fees and I went to First
national Merchant Solutions 1-800-228-2443 (which gives you a $100 credit
if somebody signs up and give your name so if somebody signs up from this
notice and gives my name I will split that with start-up-ee....such a
deal). My account there is 5.00/month + up to 3% (I think).

Last year this First Nat'l kicked in some new service at 9.95/month
that you had to refuse or else you got it so it took awhile to straighten
that out but it got done. The point is that any service that has a direct
line into your bank acct MUST be monitored.

We went along taking the slips back to the hotel at night and calling them
in for years before getting ripped by some professionals at Coconut
Grove. I had been very nervous about Miami and tried to get a direct link
and was told you couldn't get there from here except for a very expensive
gadget. My next fair that spring was Northampton and that wonderful glass
guy (the earth spheres) Josh Simpson was across from me and his booth had
the set up I wanted. They gave us the info and since then I have been like
a gas station with the printed slip and the money going directly into the
bank (mine).

The only downside was a roaming fee for each call (if t he call didn't go
through there would be multiple roaming fees so my USCellular bill would be
hundreds on fair months. Just found out the other day that for about a
year they have had a whole country rate for $10/month more than the rate
for the southern VT-NH rate I have had. So until that changes I won't have
the roaming fees anymore.

The hardware for this is the Novus box which is maybe $400, the analog car
phone, and some modem that was the big hangup that gives the right tweeters
to the box. Not much compared to the thousands of bucks for the systems
that claim to run anywhere on local radio waves and I often wonder how well
those work at a busy fair.


I will get my husband (the techie) to write up the system for clayart if
anybody asks for that.

At 09:17 PM 5/31/04 -0400, you wrote:
>Does anyone use this service? I lost a couple of sales at the last show due
>to my inability to accept credit cards. I only started doing shows last
>fall, and plan to do one small show a month, so I really need to keep it
>affordable. This one says it charges $35 yearly, plus 3.5% plus $.35 per
>transaction. It looks like I can just run to Staples, pick up an imprint
>machine and some forms, send in my 35 bucks and register, and I'm good to go
>When you all are at a show, do you use a manual imprint machine to get info,
>go home and send in the info online afterwards? I understand there would be
>some risk due to declined or stolen or even cards that have not been
>activated. Or does everyone use the type of equipment that you send in the
>information right there on the spot to get an approval or denial? I just
>don't ever see me going that route, financially. My number of sales would
>not really support it!
>How did you all get started with credit cards?
>Send postings to
>You may look at the archives for the list or change your subscription
>settings from
>Moderator of the list is Mel Jacobson who may be reached at