The Best & Most Convenient & Cheapest Credit Card Processing

Hey guys,
I’m still shopping and doing some research on what kind of credit card processing machine is the best fit for the company. I’m leaning towards to
just having the customer write out their credit card # and such on the invoice sheet. After they do that I’ll gather the credit card information from the crew leaders and key away the transaction on my computer. My key rate would be appx 2.25 % and .25 per item with $18 per month fee and not set up fee with a certain company. Swiping the cards are cheaper…but obviously you can’t take their cards home :). The swiper machine actually cost a lot to buy and run.

I saw a number of other options that could keep the customer from having to write down the credit card info on a sheet of paper, which can ‘lead to identity theft’.

Option 1. Mobile Credit Card Swiper
Adv. Convenient. Real Cheap Swipes. On the spot transaction with receipt. Each Crew Leader can have one.
Disadv. Each swiper can cost around $300. Lose them babies…and you’d be hurtin’. A charge per swiper monthly.

Option 2. Cell Phone key in and or swipe.
Adv. Cheaper than Option 1…much cheaper. You can either print out or email invoice.
Disadv. A charge per cell phone to use service. Appx $5-$15 a month.
Per swipe % is higher.

Option 3. Laptop
Adv. Don’t have to pay for multiple set ups and multiple fees. Really simple. Works really well if you are a one man crew.
DisAdv. If you give each crew leader one…that can rack up the cost of equipment(computers) and liability.

Option 4. Do it from the office.
Adv. One monthly fee. Cheaper in light of not having to by equipment.
DisAdv. Inconvenience to the customer in writing the card number down.
Wait a little longer to get the paper to key in the credit card information.
Key in rate is higher that swipe.

Option 5.  Paypal
   Adv.   Easy to do.
DisAdv.  You can get a cheaper rate from option 4.

I’d love to get the cell phone swipe or key in! However, its the newest of the options in terms of technology. More and more companies are starting to use this. I’m leaning towards Option 4 for now and wait out to see if Option 2 comes out with better deals in the future.

I’d love to have feed back in what may work the best with having credit card processors/with crews

On the mobile credit card, or cell phone key…How do you give a receipt at the scene? Does the mobile one come with a printer? Does it plug into cigarette lighter? I am looking into CC this year too.

With the mobile credit card swiper, they have a small receipt printer on there.
Depending on the company, you can send a receipt to customer’s email.
The mobile credit card swiper is expensive if you get more than one. They
do have car chargers that are sold separately.

With the cell phone, you can get a receipt printer or you can just email it
to the customer’s email. The receipt printer usually runs of the cellphone’s
power. If you have a car charger that goes with the phone you should be fine.

We just record # over the phone as the original appt is booked. Then the morning after the job is complete it gets processed through service ceo.

Shockingly they offer a pretty good rate.

Booking the job and getting the credit card over the phone at the same time, is probably the most convenient/cheapest way to do it.
Do you encourage credit card processing to your customers. Even though you get a good rate…you still put a lot of money weekly towards the %. I guess it takes the headache away. Do you still push for checks?

You have to be very careful with those SPECIAL DEALS. I dropped my CC processor, 3rd one this year lol. They are just super sneeky. I have no problem with paying them for their service, but most of the time you don’t even know where you stand with them and the fine print. Cell phones, well problem is what happens when you are in a location that has no service? Cell phone swipes? Well if you dont have that SPECIAL SPRINT PHONE, then the thing wont work. Oh whats the RENT on that thing anyway? How much is it to replace if you say, drop it in your bucket of water? Hum… Costly. Oh what’s the rent on the equipment. BTW check and ask the processor what happens when you are in the off season and don’t run any cards? They may tell you that you have to pay $30 if you don’t meet the required % transaction amount. Meaning you have to have X amount of funds run through the card to equal the $30. $30 don’t seem like much but when you are dealing with 2.5% more or less $30 is not something to sneeze over. If you ran $1000 worth of transactions every month you still don’t hit the $30 mark with SOME of the card processors scams. Really really look into this, and think twice.

Sorry I don’t have a CC processor now. I forgot this is 2009.

Checks and cash for me. I will most like stay that way. I don’t see checks or cash leaving us anytime soon. I am right with Juggernaut on this one!

Thanks the only reason I had mine was because of an account that will only pay with a credit card. But what I have found out is you can talk to these guys about signing up free of charge. I also have found out that most of these companies will let you cancel without having to pay any fees. So this year when the account needs to be serviced again. I will sign up with another cc processor, run the card and then cancel the service. I wish I could use paypal but the account won’t allow for paypal transactions.

We advertise with google adwords, and google credits our google checkout account for the amount we spend on the adwords. So the processing is free! Its simple stupid to set up and we send them a free google invoice via email that takes them to a secure site for them put in there credit info. A google checkout account is required for the customer to pay. Most of my customers are happy with it. It also takes about 2-3 days to credit our account. We just started taking a minimum deposit the same way. Hope this helps

Me Too!

I value my integrity and to me personally, it is the most valuable possession I posses, therefore I would want to protect it. As a business owner should I have employees, I certainly would hope that my employees who represent me and my integrity, would also live by such standards. However, one really never knows. Should my customers experience credit card theft because they trusted my company, what does that say about my integrity?

Not long ago when I was working in retail, we all witnessed one of our most favored, loved and adored co-workers be put in the back of a squad car and hauled off to jail. Theft! If we were to bet money on his integrity, we would have all lost our butts because he would have been the last person we would have thought to steal. But you never know.

Residential accounts, customers generally assume that they will need to have the check or cash ready to pay for the job. I don’t think having an option to use a credit card even enters their mind, unless you present it to them as an option. I would not offer the credit card option, especially if I had to ask them to trust someone other than myself with their information. If … I offered this option, I would ask them, when giving them the quote, I would ask, how would you like to pay, cash, check or credit card? Create a service work order for the employee to take with them at the time of the job, which states how the customer is going to pay and they will know if they need to collect cash or a check. If it states by credit card, they do nothing except get the service order signed, customer stating they agree with the charges. When work order is returned to me, and at that time, I would personally process the charges.

Commercial accounts, certainly using a credit card option is probably best with commercial accounts. One, you can charge their account immediately and not have to deal with billings and collections. I would collect that information the same way as I stated for Residential accounts and make sure I protect my customers and my integrity!

Joie ~ N. CA

Why not? Your customer doesn’t need to have a PayPal account. Anyone can give you money via PayPal if they have a major credit card.

I got signed up with Paypal (a couple of weeks ago) for a similar reason as you. One customer takes for ever to pay by cheque via Head office. They still owe me for Jan & Feb service but the cleaning I did last week, I got paid right away.

Because it’s a government account. They have rules :smiley:

I still haven’t seen any great suggestions on being able to take a credit card. I’m particularly interested in people who can take a credit card over the phone. What credit card service do you guys use to take credit cards over the phone? I know Service CEO can do it but I don’t have 2800 dollars to fork out for that right now. What other options are there that people are using right now and like? I know you can do it with paypal but the customer has to do that, you can’t. Thanks in advance guys?

At least you know that you’re going to get paid. Think of the percentage as a convenience fee.
Personally I would rather have a check but CC’s are way less complicated.

I just had a thought…what if, we give the customer the option to pay by check but still ask for a cc # just in case the customer wont be home or payment is late. Im not sure how this would fly with commercial work though. I like to be paid right after the job is completed. Mailing an invoice and having to wait is a thing of the past. If we (service businesses) have the technology for instant payment we should use it. I still copy down cc #'s and wait till I get back to the office. I have the Iphone now so I’ll soon switch over to mobile cc processing.

We have a credit card machine in the office and 75% of our credit transactions are done by the customer calling in their credit card #. We use FirstData. I bought my machine outright with payments of like 30 bucks a month for a year. Paper & printer stuff is supplied by them for free if I need any. Alot of my customers are using credit cards now a days. It is especially useful in getting deliquent accounts to pay up.

Some of you guys that are saying that you will likely stay with the cash and check system are missing the boat. I know quite a few friends and customers that enjoy paying with a credit card because they like using the credit card companies money for 30 days. Accepting credit cards will get you more work no doubt over a competitor that doesn’t accept credit cards. If you dont take credit, you should check into it. You are losing a good share of the work and money thats out there. My 2 cents.


Great info Steve! I’ll check into firstdata.

Steve, This is what they quoted me. Does this sound like what you pay for? Do you have a payment gateway and a virtual terminal?

The payment gateway with virtual terminal is $199 to setup and $15/month. Processing rates are as follows…
Visa/MC/Discover Credit: 2.09% + $0.29 per transaction
American Express (optional): 3.50%
Batch/Deposit Fee: $0.35 per batch
Monthly Service Fee: $10.00
Annual PCI Compliance Fee: $94.75 (billed in October)

Kurt that sounds about right. Ive been doing the credit card thing since about 2003. I dont accept AmEX tho. I have had about a handful of folks that wanted to process an AmEx card over the years (i do mean a handful). AmEx will charge you a monthly fee regardless if you do “0” business with them. No thanks.

When I come across a customer that wants to use that card, they simply use a different one instead so its no big deal.

I dont like paying transaction fees just like the next guy but the benefits really outweigh the negatives. I very rarely get cash from a customer (Residential WC only here). Most are checks and credit card transactions.

I can recall a few years ago when a large company called our office for a quote and the first thing that she said was "first off, do you accept credit cards?"
Lowes Home Improvement stores called us too several years ago and that was one of their requirements was that we had to be able to process their corporate credit card. I can honestly say that those are two examples that landed us those jobs. We have the Visa MC Discover logos on all stationary and on our company vehicles. People do like payment options, I know I do (especially in the Winter:D)


I had this come up last week when I bid an Altell job. The office manager asked if we took credit and said she can pay for the service with credit but checks would have to go through corp and I would have to to get on their vender list and such. I thought about it and put a link on my website to take credit payments through my paypal account. I know I will have the hanlding fee but is it not better then lossing the three digit job? Could not the same be true for Res clients. They could process their payment whil e you are on the job and it can be confirmed prior to you leaving site.

I was kinda on the fence about whether or not to start taking cc this year. I think after reading all these posts I’m going to stay cash & checks too tho. In ten years Ive really only had a handful of people ask if I take cc, & when I said i didnt, they either pd w/a check or cash, didnt seem like a big deal to them.