Wednesday, September 7, 2011

opinions please!

what a difference a day makes... we woke up to fabulous, dry cool air today. i was motivated right away to get to work. as i was weighing out clay to get started on mugs there was a visitor in the gallery. i say visitor because it wasn't a customer with a wad of money to spend, but a salesman from a credit card processing company.
jeff and i were interested in what he had to say because we have been thinking for a few months about join the ranks of credit card accepting craftsmen. we haven't really lost much business by not accepting cards, but sometimes we wonder if people would spend more if they could use that plastic card in their wallet.
we know if we go the credit card route we want a swiper with the store and go feature for when we are at shows or a wireless swiper.
the salesman today talked a good talk (like any good salesman). he represented EVO. the percentages sounded good, monthly minimums not too bad... the big hang up we have is signing a three year contract. i searched this company online and found some negative reviews. but a lot of times no one ever comes forward to say nice things :-(

my head is  now spinning about which direction we should go. i would love some input from readers...
anyone know anything about EVO?
any recommendations of a good company offering a decent price on swipers and low fees?
EVO's pricing is $395 for the store and go swiper (hooks up to a landline for immediate verification or stores the number until you plug it in to a landline) and $595 for a wireless swipe. jeff thought the prices were a little high and i am totally clueless.

wall sconce from the July's salt firing


  1. If you have an I phone of Ipod touch, you can get square. THe software is free, they send you a free plastic gizmo that fits right on the Ipod touch or Iphone and there's no contract and no monthly fees - just a small fee per transaction based on whether you delay the charge, or do it on site.
    The only drawback is the limit of charges you can take in a month; but I think they may up it after you've used it a while.
    Paypal is another way to go since there's no charge to sign up, no monthly fee, and you just use your computer to bill them; and you can tie it in to Etsy and similar venues.

  2. PS: Be careful with some of these bank contracts. Some of those have fines for terminating.
    There are places that don't charge a set up fee. Also, if you have to buy a swiper, you can often find used ones on ebay.

  3. Hi June, thank you for your input! i have heard about the "square" thing but we don't have iPhone's and no plans in the future for one. i didn't realize there was a transaction limit for the square either.
    i currently use paypal for etsy and it works well for that. since we have a gallery attached to our studio that is open 6 days a week, i think we should go with the more traditional card swipe method... should we decide to bite the bullet!

  4. Michele, check out Propay, it's a one time $50 annual fee, really low rates and they have a swiper that's about $89. I have been very happy with them, although the swiper doesn't work with my Mac so I just hand write the tickets. I sort of like it that way, I get the customers address for my mailing list and it gives me a little time to spend talking to them.

  5. Propay looks interesting, we would have to go with the higher annual fee because we there is a $1000 monthly limit on the $50 dollar level. Too bad their swiper doesn't support a Mac... we were trying to avoid the handwritten process. we have a couple of windows platform PC's but they SUCK and are unreliable, that's why i like my Mac!

  6. Sadly, I don't have a problem with the $1000 monthly limit :(
    I think that you can use a Mac for the swiper, you just have to run a certain platform and I don't think I have that. I should check back since I have a newer computer now.....
    I did a lot of checking around when I decided to take credit cards and propay was the simplest and most affordable deal for me. They move the funds to my account very quickly and have answered all of my questions when I have called them. So far, I am very happy with them. I have a few friends that use Propay as well and are happy too. When I was researching this I found a good website that reviewed all of the options out there, it was very helpful. You could google it and find it most likely.
    Good luck, you just have to find the right fit for your needs.

  7. ooof, I have never been involved with a credit card swiper etc, and paypal works well for me, as does telling people to take what they want and send me a check after they get home :) trusting, sure, but never a problem....

  8. Tracey -the Propay swiper will work if you install a Windows operating platform on your computer, i just don't think i want Windows to touch my Mac :-). If we could do the swiper on the Mac i think we would definitely go the Propay route... and unfortunately we have had a few months at the gallery that were under $1000 and that was cash and checks (very sad).

    and Gary... we too do the mail us a check thing. as a matter of fact did it this weekend. we are fine with small items but if someone wants to buy a $2000 big vase... thats another story. that is also where having the swiper would come in handy - if we had an internet connection we could verify the card right away.

  9. I used Merchant One for a while with a knuckle buster. It worked well but I had to call each sale in at the end of the show and sometimes it would take an about an hour. Also, there always seemed to be extra fees (annual, compliance, etc) So in June I got the square. It worked great for the one show I have had since then. The money was in my account quickly and they have a spreadsheet with sale, tax and fees. I looked up the $1000 limit and found that it only applies to non swiped sales per week, and they just delay payment. You do have to have an Iphone, but you will most likely have to pay a $30 monthly fee for any device you get.

  10. i am ok with the $30 minimum monthly fee because we will most likely meet that every month... keep in mind that we don't do a lot of shows, we have a gallery that is open every day at our studio in Seagrove. i would like to avoid a three year contract.
    it looks like with the square or maybe even propay - there is no printed receipt (i suppose you just hand write one). has anyone had customer leery of not getting a receipt? or non-tech savvy people worried about their card being swiped into a phone?

  11. With Square you can give them a handwritten receipt, but they get an email or text receipt. I had a customer that was so excited when her receipt popped up in a text within a few seconds. They sign the receipt with their finger on your phones screen.

  12. I started using Square this spring and it's a miracle. Like Tracey, I don't worry about the upper sales limit; most of my sales are cash. But at this summer's shows, the Visa and Mastercard signs have been encouraging people to use their cards. If you have a smartphone and you have a signal, taking a card on Square is amazingly short and sweet. And they send the money right to your bank account, which for this very poor bookkeeper is a serious blessing. I bought my iPhone for $49 at the AT&T store, and the monthly plan is about $50. Given everything else that is available on the iPhone, it's a pretty good deal. The three-year plans, the monthly fees, the sign-up fees are, I think, soon going to be in the past. Square and people like it are going to drive out that kind of bank expense.

  13. You might want to check out The Potters Council. They offer a credit card program for members.

    I'm enjoying your blog. I've been following without commenting for some time. Time to come out of the woodwork!

  14. hey smartcat, thanks for joining in! i went right to the potters council web page and checked out their rates. the monthly fee was low and there was no mention of what the minimum fees. the percentages paid for different cards seems higher than most other companies... this is all so confusing.
    we still haven't made any decisions.


I welcome and appreciate comments. Lately I have had a lot of spam and therefore have had to turn on word verification as well as comment moderation.