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Thread: How do you accept credit card payments over the phone?

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    How do you accept credit card payments over the phone?

    I have tried to avoid accepting credit cards in the past because of the incurred cost. It looks like that I need to change this because more and more brides and grooms want to pay via credit card.

    My question: Do you accept credit cards? If yes, which company do you use? Which type of service/provider should I avoid? Which is the most cost effective provider? What is the easiest way to start this?

    Thanks for all you help!

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    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: How do you accept credit card payments over the phone?

    I always accept credit cards—Mastercard and Visa only. Amex charges over 4% here, so we do not accept these.

    It is common for businesses here to add 3% for credit cards. Another way of looking at this is that cash payers get a 3% discount!

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    Re: How do you accept credit card payments over the phone?

    I've been using a little device called the Square (www.squareup.com). The charge me a flat 2.75% per swip on the four major cards, MC VISA, Discover and AMX. There's a slightly higher fee if the card isn't swiped.

    Been using this for several months now and very pleased with it. The funds have showed up the next business day and so far I've swiped all four types.

    You do need a smart phone or iPad. I use it on my Droid.

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    Re: How do you accept credit card payments over the phone?

    +1 for square.

    setting up a merchant services acct. with your bank usually also entails a monthly fee so not worth it.


    You can process refunds too with the squareapp if you are worried. Its really very simple.

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    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: How do you accept credit card payments over the phone?

    CC charges taken over the telephone are entered manually on-line. I print out a receipt and put into client's folder. I use Merchant Warehouse or something like that for years.

    I'm glad to pay more for AMEX. I'm not going to make things harder for my clients to purchase from me. Additionally, sales with AMEX have historically been above average for me so I'm not going to quibble. I spent a lot on marketing to get them in the door and couple of bucks more is a non-issue.
    Last edited by David Schneider; 11th January 2012 at 07:42.

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    Re: How do you accept credit card payments over the phone?

    Thanks!
    I have just ordered the square reader! I love that there are no monthly fees! I don't have a wedding every month where the bride and groom wants to pay with the plastic. Does this only work on a phone? Can I enter the credit card number on my PC/mac over the internet?

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    Re: How do you accept credit card payments over the phone?

    I only know that it works for iPhone.

    Quote Originally Posted by haring View Post
    Thanks!
    I have just ordered the square reader! I love that there are no monthly fees! I don't have a wedding every month where the bride and groom wants to pay with the plastic. Does this only work on a phone? Can I enter the credit card number on my PC/mac over the internet?

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    Re: How do you accept credit card payments over the phone?

    According to the website information it works on iPhone, iPad and Android. I use a Droid with no problems.

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    Re: How do you accept credit card payments over the phone?

    I have had good luck with Square for myself but my wife's new company we are smack in the middle Of a lot of problems with the security team on charges over 8k and they have been sitting on a **** load of money on her business charges and not made the deposits yet. Its been a week now. Also no phone number for support which is absurd. Sorry right now they are on my major **** list.
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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: How do you accept credit card payments over the phone?

    Quote Originally Posted by kit laughlin View Post
    ....It is common for businesses here to add 3% for credit cards.....
    I think the ability to "charge for credit cards" varies by jurisdiction. I do believe (at least here in California) that it is illegal to charge an additional fee for credit cards. Not to say you can't give other incentives/discounts... Not many of my clients use credit cards, so really rather nominal and becomes just a part of doing business.

    ken

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    Re: How do you accept credit card payments over the phone?

    Quote Originally Posted by kdphotography View Post
    I think the ability to "charge for credit cards" varies by jurisdiction. I do believe (at least here in California) that it is illegal to charge an additional fee for credit cards. Not to say you can't give other incentives/discounts... Not many of my clients use credit cards, so really rather nominal and becomes just a part of doing business.

    ken
    good to know!

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    Re: How do you accept credit card payments over the phone?

    The Federal Truth in Lending Act states: 167, (2) “No seller in any sales transaction may impose a surcharge on a cardholder who elects to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check, or similar means.”
    Kens the attorney not me...

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    Re: How do you accept credit card payments over the phone?

    I do know that some organisations here do charge a surcharge for CC use, but this is stated up front, and it is simply because the CC companies charge businesses that percentage for their services. As well, many small businesses here will not allow credit cards to be used for amounts under an amount they determine (like $10, or $30), whereas in the US, people can use CCs to buy a coffee. For the larger business-type amounts, clients who want to avoid any surcharge (if levied) usually direct deposit into a nominated account.

    We do not have Square here yet; a pity—though (to Guy) please let us know how your wife's company fares in this regard.

    Kit
    Last edited by kit laughlin; 11th January 2012 at 16:29.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: How do you accept credit card payments over the phone?

    Well it all got cleared up but it was a mess. We opened the account and started charging large sums of money one was 25k for example. So first they wanted all this documentation on her company which BTW she just bought from the previous owners. Anyway they wanted Tax ID and other documentation . Than they wanted 6 of the charges the CC holders ID and Credit card scanned to prove they where legit. Yes we had to call each one across the country have them scan there Drivers license and CC together to prove they where the rightful owners. After almost two weeks of not depositing her companies money they finally released it for deposit. FYI Nancy puts on a huge Modeling and Talent conventions which she has done for 25 years and finally her and investors bought it 3 weeks ago. So in the end Square is fine but if you get into big money than you may run into this. I do understand the security factor but i do not understand why a company does not have a direct 800 phone number to talk to a human being. To me that is unacceptable.
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    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: How do you accept credit card payments over the phone?

    Good news on your wife's new/old business. And I recall that the first time (so long ago!) I bought gear from B&H I had to scan both sides of the actual CC and fax it back to them (major PITA at the time). I totally agree re. no direct 800 number, though: unacceptable. Even Paypal here in Australia has a direct number (after years of complaints). A simple phone call can ease a difficult situation in a moment or two.

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    Re: How do you accept credit card payments over the phone?

    I'm cash or PayPal only. 100s of weddings and only a few clients asked if I take CC, and none had an issue with writing a check when told I didn't accept CCs. No one has opted for PayPal yet.

    CCs are okay for big turn over services and products, but weddings? I guess if you have a big studio with multiple shooters pushing through 50 to 100 weddings a year, or shoot seniors portraits/dance studio stuff it'd be worthwhile.

    I require a non-refundable cash retainer/deposit up front and the balance is paid two weeks prior to the wedding so all funds are cleared and in my account before any work is done. Afterwards, I sell prints through SmugMug and custom albums are paid up front before designing them, and having them printed.

    Eventually, if checks and cash go the way of the Dodo, I'll do it. But for now I see no upside, and the downside is a chiseler can throw their payment into dispute for any slight, real or imagined ... or if the clients break off the engagement and tries to get their retainer/deposit back.

    -Marc

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    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: How do you accept credit card payments over the phone?

    Marc, you are probably well-known enough in your field to ask for this (cash, PP, or cheque). Honestly, that would not fly over here—in fact asking for cash in this country risks being labelled as a 'tax cheat'. Tradesmen, if they know you, might offer a cash rate on part of a job, but this is rare for photogs. (good ones, anyway) who usually charge $1,200+ per day.

    In Europe, where I have also worked, CCs or direct deposits are the norm. In Australia, not even a really famous photog. could ask for a non-refundable cash deposit up front. As for paying the balance before delivery of the images—that will not happen here; the usual approach is a percentage up front (I get 50%) and the remainder on delivery of the negotiated product. To be frank, this seems fair to me—what do you do if you are so ill the day of the shoot you simply cannot get out of bed to get onto the location (this has happened to me, BTW)?

    Re. chiselers: in 30+ years of being in this business, no one has done that to me, although I know it happens.

    Here, CCs are just normal business, and as others have said, at the end of the day it's 3%, and just another cost to factor in to your day rate.

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    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: How do you accept credit card payments over the phone?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I guess if you have a big studio with multiple shooters pushing through 50 to 100 weddings a year, or shoot seniors portraits/dance studio stuff it'd be worthwhile.
    There's no quess about it. If you don't take CC with seniors to hold sessions, you will have tons of no-shows. Take their money for session on telephone and you have virtually no no-shows and minimal postponements.

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    Re: How do you accept credit card payments over the phone?

    Quote Originally Posted by kit laughlin View Post
    Marc, you are probably well-known enough in your field to ask for this (cash, PP, or cheque). Honestly, that would not fly over here—in fact asking for cash in this country risks being labelled as a 'tax cheat'. Tradesmen, if they know you, might offer a cash rate on part of a job, but this is rare for photogs. (good ones, anyway) who usually charge $1,200+ per day.

    In Europe, where I have also worked, CCs or direct deposits are the norm. In Australia, not even a really famous photog. could ask for a non-refundable cash deposit up front. As for paying the balance before delivery of the images—that will not happen here; the usual approach is a percentage up front (I get 50%) and the remainder on delivery of the negotiated product. To be frank, this seems fair to me—what do you do if you are so ill the day of the shoot you simply cannot get out of bed to get onto the location (this has happened to me, BTW)?

    Re. chiselers: in 30+ years of being in this business, no one has done that to me, although I know it happens.

    Here, CCs are just normal business, and as others have said, at the end of the day it's 3%, and just another cost to factor in to your day rate.
    Understood. Different areas, different payment customs.

    The "Should an act of God" keep me from doing a shoot, disclaimer is covered in my signing contract ... as much to protect my client as me.

    Full money paid is refunded immediately, and every effort possible is made to secure a replacement. I came close to this only once ... in 2011 I herniated a disk and couldn't even walk upright a week before a huge destination wedding assignment in Boston ... I did it, and they loved it. However, I had a guy in Florida ready to fly there on a moment's notice while I gulped pain pills and rested up.

    My back still hasn't healed.

    -Marc

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