Is Accepting Credit Card Payments Worth It?
Becoming a credit card merchant is one of the best things I’ve done for my business as it makes it easy for people to shop with me – especially over the phone.
Many people worry about the merchant fees the banks charge and yes, it is valid to be very aware of bank fees but don’t let them hold you back from building your business.
The merchant fees usually charge by the bank include taking a percentage of each sale, monthly fee for equipment, minimum service fee and then the credit card funds need to go into a specific bank account.
It does vary from bank to bank and it does pay to do your research, especially as there can be steep exit fees.
Many industry groups offer special deals with specific banks for merchant services that makes it all that much cheaper. There can be many benefits belonging to an industry group or association – they get group discounts not only for merchant services but travel, accommodation, shipping, insurance, trade shows, equipment, periodicals and books, seminars and training as well as summarising government industry legislation etc.
For me I’ve kept my life fairly simple. I have the old fashion click-clacks for market and jewellery parties as they are portable and free (no monthly service equipment charges).
I also have at home the electronic credit card machine so I can accept phone mail order sales and pay a monthly service fee for it – well worth it. I could have a portable one of these but I can’t justify the monthly cost of it.
Because I belong to an industry group and I’ve told my bank I have a nice small merchant fee percentage per sale that makes me happy.
As with most merchant facilities there’s a flat merchant rate a month as well but it is affordable.
It may all sound like a lot of fees but with the volume of sales I put through it is worth it.
The first weekend I had the credit card facility at market there was a mother and daughter team out for a walk who came upon the markets. Between them they had $6.50 and a credit card. Between them they spent $110 on the credit card. If I had any doubts about getting the facility they disappeared right then and there.
You’ve probably noticed I use PayPal on the website rather than using my bank’s online merchant services. This was because the bank was going to charge me twice the monthly fees all over again plus a $1000 setup cost. I couldn’t see the value in it.
PayPal can accept Australian dollars, has one flat merchant fee that I pay (not my customers, very important) and no setup costs. Most importantly PayPal is very safe and secure.
So you don’t have to have just one merchant facility solution for your business, you can have what works best for your situation.
Some of my friends charge a small fee – $2 usually – for credit card sales and don’t seem to have any upset customers. So they have found this works well for them.
Being able to accept credit cards has let me build my business and I recommend it to others.
Doing your research is key to getting the right merchant facility for your business. Find out what industry associations are available to you and what services they offer. Sometimes they can also provide help in talking with the banks.
So give it a go, consider it a 6 – 12 month project for your business and see what you can make happen. Remember with banks it can sometimes be useful to be tenacious and they need to feel secure in knowing who you are and that you are a safe bet for them.