CC processing companies?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-26-1999
CC processing companies?
Fri, 03-29-2013 - 1:53pm

This isn't really debt related. We are just getting our business going and figure that we need to be set up to accept credit cards. I'm looking for any input in regards to what to look for in a credit card processing company, what to look out for, etc. I've done a few hours of research and it's very confusing how many different companies there are and all the rates and terms are different between them, so it is very difficult to compare.

I'm in Canada and I've read that processing fees charged to retailers in Canada are some of the highest in the world; I've also read a couple of (legitimate media) horror stories, so I have a lot of fear of getting into a bad contract of some sort.

I asked at our credit union and spoke to the merchant rep. for the company the CU is partnered with. It sounded good, $5/month account fee and $5 "maintenance fee" for the "free" terminal, but he didn't mention the $350 set up fee for the terminal....I've since spoken to a merchant who uses that company and she said she can't recommend them because their fees are very high. They are a well known global company...and I couldn't work out what I would be charged in fees from the info that I received from this company.

In terms of customer perceptions of a business & customer trust, my partner feels that the card readers that plug into an iPhone look "cheap" and that customers will not trust that their data is secure, compared to a traditional counter top terminal. I'm wondering what people think of that idea. From what I have read, the cost to get set up this way is very minimal, and these iPhone readers have a set % fee. My research has come up with an average 4-6% fee for countertop terminals once all the fees are added up, although they advertise around a 1.8% fee. 

If anyone can recommend a Canadian company or wants to venture an opion on perceptions of card readers used with an iPhone I'd appreciate any input. Thanks!

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Mon, 04-01-2013 - 12:43pm

Me again...

I just kind of assumed retail when you said store front.  Hence, my concern with buying a shirt and having issues returning it because I didn't get my "e-mail receipt."  

I think under the circumstances, you have a little leway on this one.  I would take Arryl's advice and find out if you can print with a wireless printer.  I still kind of like a printed receipt when I use my credit or debit card.  

Although I did start thinking about it, and before our CC system went on-line, I used to have to hand write everything and then go home and call it in.  They didn't get a receipt.  Granted, this is direct sales in customers homes, but point being that there are circumstances where people don't expect a "real" receipt.  

If you are remote and writing up repair slips, then I supposed you could just write or stamp PAID like Arryl suggested.  The garage I take my car to is pretty much a hole is the wall type of place and although I do get a CC receipt, everything else is still hand written and I don't really give it much thought.  Although the phone thing is still kind of odd for me, if they did switch to that, I would probably be okay with them e-mailing me a receipt and marking my paper receipt "paid."  

I still think that ideally, a counter top reader and printer would be prefered, but offering a fair price to your customers is important, also.  I would be prepared for some of your clientele to bristle at phone reader.  (I am thinking of my dad, who is the type to walk out before he would hand over his card to let someone swipe it on a phone.)

Just a few things to consider.  

Serentiy - CL Making a Second Marriage Work

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Mon, 04-01-2013 - 12:01pm

Of course it ate my post the first time in a while I hadn't copied my post... 

My DH has his own business and he just recently got a card reader for his phone.  He is out and about at customers' locations all the time though and has lost customers because he didn't take credit cards.  You may want to check to see if the card reader is able to print to a printer via wifi.  Our printer does that at home so I can print anything from my ipad to the printer wirelessly, that may be an option for a printed receipt instead of a counter top card reader.  I know DH investigated other cc processing services before and wasn't happy with the amount of fees involved.  For us, we do a carbon invoice on the spot for repairs and hand write paid on it and the method of payment, and then if they want a further receipt, once he brings home the invoices for me to do, I either email them a receipt or mail a hard copy showing it paid in our accounting software.  That probably isn't much help, but thought I'd chime in on the card reader portion.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-26-1999
Fri, 03-29-2013 - 7:44pm

Thank you Norma and Serenity, your input is helpful.

A bit more info: we have a storefront. We're mechanical repair services. We are quite remote; the nearest ATM is a one hour round-trip drive away. Many of our clients will be seasonal/non-local and lots of Americans. We can takes cheques from locals but need a more secure form of payment and one that is more convenient to clients...which I think taking credit cards would be.

We use a paper invoice book so there is that for a receipt, but no cash register receipt. I had not really considered the receipt factor for using a phone card reader...I know I wouldn't like that either (entering my email on someone else's phone, nor the lack of paper receipt). So I really think that is definitely out. Now I have to really do more research into what company i can use...

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Fri, 03-29-2013 - 6:37pm

Hi Rebecca, I take it that you will have a store front, since you mentioned a countertop reader.

I don't really know much, but I am in direct sales and we use ProPay for our website orders, or I can manually enter the info. on the computer.  Although I realize this is a different situation, I think I pay 2.5% plus 35 cents per transfer to my checking account.  I could use a card reader for my phone, but most of my orders are on-line or over the phone.

So, even though my situation may not be very helpful, I did want to chime in on the smart phone readers.  

Personally, I don't care for them in a store front.  I was shocked to see one in Nordstrom.  Then they ask if you want your receipt e-mailed to you or a paper one.  I thought "eh...I am not leaving this store without a receipt...are you kidding me?"  But receipt issue aside, I thought the phone reader was very odd and made me uncomfortable.  

Now, we did go to a hot dog vendor that used the phone reader and although I still didn't care for it, and the ONLY way to get a receipt was to enter an e-mail address, at least a situation like that did make a little more sense.  

Now, here is what I really didn't care for.  Went to a restaurant, a small town, but the ONLY way to get a receipt was to enter out e-mail address on her phone.  Really?  Who wants to enter all of that on those tiny phone buttons.  My SO was annoyed and just said "forget it" and we left, so therefore no receipt.  

I remember years ago my then MIL tried to run her business out of a store front and as a new business owner, the fees were really high, like maybe 10%, or something like that.   Just something to consider.

Lastly, as I don't know what kind of business you have, but there is a local mail depot type store here that just simply doesn't take any kind of debit or credit card.  But they do, therefore take checks.  :)  

I don't know that I was of any help, but wanted to throw out my two cents.  

Serenity - CL Making a Second Marriage Work

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-01-2008
Fri, 03-29-2013 - 2:15pm

I'm in the US but when I worked for a bank (over 10 yrs. ago) the fees varied for the equipment and monthly service fees.  Shop with real time customers and see who has fewer breakdowns and better fees.  You might have to get out and hit the pavement in some strip mall and ask florist, beauticians, etc.  There are so many hidden fees, just be sure to do your homework.