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Question: Advice regarding card machines

Asked by PrueN 4 years ago

13 answers

For the last seven years, as a self employed massage therapist, I have accepted cash, cheques or direct bank transfer as means of payment. Recently I am being asked if I accept either Visa of debit cards. Can anyone advice about hiring a card machine - costs and value to their business. Thoughts greatly appreciated.

Acupuncture, Therapeutic Massage, Aromatherapy Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Physiotherapy

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Top Answer – As rated by the community

JLWmassage 4 years ago

In the past I have used http://www.cellcharge.com but I have since gotten the DROID and I wanted an app for my phone so I have changed to http://www.squareup.com and they have a card reader that goes on you phone which is pretty cool

Answer Comments

cmiller 4 years ago

hey that is awesome

Other answers (12)

healer98 4 years ago

I've been accepting credit cards since 1994 or 1995. I now have what is called Interchange plus which has pretty good rates because it's based on what Visa and Mastercard charge plus a small percentage so the processing company can make their money. There's also a monthly statement fee. Be sure you get an agreement that is month to month so you're not locked in for 3 years or so. If you don't have a terminal sometimes companies will give you one free just for signing up with them and when you end your contract you just send it back. You have to shop around. I won't recommend the company I'm with only because they take too long to pay; otherwise they have really good rates. Good luck.

Answer Comments

cmiller 4 years ago

I am going to check them out. thanks

TimGardiner 4 years ago

i dont find that a Credit/Debit card machine is worth the costs for the few clients that wish to pay that way. I find that PayPal is good enough, and doesn't cost that much ...

Answer Comments

PaolaEnergya 4 years ago

mmh not sure... my clients love the convenience of paying by credit card. I am a big fan of Paypal too, don't get me wrong! By the way have you tried Paypal's gift voucher facility? I wasn't expecting it to be so cumbersome, it takes too many steps to redeem the voucher and get the payment, I will not bother next time. Also Google Checkout has lower fees...

mmm2hands 4 years ago

I have been a self-employed massage therapist for more than 24 years and have NEVER taken plastic as payment directly from a client. I agree with the first answerer, Tim, and within the past five years have been using PayPal for credit card purchasers which has been used just one time as a gift certificate purchase for an out-of-state user.

MoyraStinsonBacktoBacks 4 years ago

The hire of a streamline machine (card machine) is approx £100.00, thereafter a monthly payment requires to be made maybe around £20.00 not sure and a charge of around 30p per transaction depending on the type of card. If your business is transacting and this is cost effective to your business then discuss with your bank the pros & cons, however, like yourself at present I accept cash, cheques direct bank transfers at no cost and also have a pay pal account which is far more cost effective. I hope this information is of use to you.

tink10 4 years ago

I did card payments through pay pal it's free or at a very low cost i don't use it any more, as I had to do it from my lap top, very good system though but then i joined the 'The Small business federation' were I could get a proper mobile 'hand held' card machine free, no set up costs, just a monthly cost. You can also get free phone line set up, bank & insurance privileges etc.

Answer Comments

cmiller 4 years ago

I will check this out - thank you

pure-synergie 4 years ago

Hi Prue

I have a card machine and definitely think its worth it. Of course you have the extra expenses a month, but it shows professionnelism and it makes it easier to upsell your treatments right there and then. I think its a great investment.

laurasmobilebeautytreats 4 years ago

You can get them from your bank, HSBC charge £10 :)

Sources: http://www.laurasmobilebeautytreats.com

Answer Comments

PaolaEnergya 4 years ago

Really? That's very cost-effective! I will look into this myself!

Allysa 4 years ago

I go through a company called NPR. They are great they only take out 3% and it's 9.95 a month. I feel it's totally worth it because most everyone wants to pay this way. It's just convient for the client and the more convient it is for the client the better! Plus then I don't have to worry about forgetting to tell the client there aren't credit card services. Go ahead and try it I think you'll see a boost in clientel.

PaolaEnergya 4 years ago

Hi Prue

My business has benefited greatly from accepting credit card payments. I do recommend looking into it as it makes your life much easier and your cash flow much healthier! You see, when you sell what I call "wellbeing packages" (eg deals like 3 for 2 or 6 for 5) it makes it easier for the client to see the convenience of getting a discount upfront while you are getting the money straight in the bank.
I use Card Processing Solutions but I am not entirely satisfied as I use a mobile terminal which sometimes doesn't get a signal. I pay £30 a month rental plus transaction fees (they are very low). Payments are made within 4 days of the date of puchase which is like a normal BACS transfer.
Having a credit card facility makes you as a professional look more stable and reliable to your clients (and they get a receipt), plus you can attract new clients as not many massage therapists accept card payments and clients will ultimately choose convenience.

In my experience I have found that people make choices on the basis of your personality, your skills, how far or near you are to their place of work or home and how easy it is to pay you. Facilities (your venue) may play a part too but as one of my clients said "I keep my eyes closed throughout the treatment so you could be anywhere really!".

Wishing you a great and prosperous 2011

Sources: http://www.energya.co.uk

cmiller 4 years ago

I really like paypal which is the same as debit but takes care of it for you and can deposit it into your account. It is easy to add onto sites and can be a lower interest than regular charge card services. Definitely get all the info before commiting there.

Sources: http://www.livingthespiral.com

mackenheather 4 years ago

i used to be self employed and honestly didn't find it a problem only accepting cash and cheques. I now have a salon and cards are vital for those clients who like to impulse buy and online shopping. usually about 2.5% of takings

CityMarshall 2 years ago

As per the top answer, please note that the OP lives in the UK...

It seems that Square are only available in the USA!

The new "PayPal Here" device will be launched in the UK by the end of 2012. No monthly fee or device costs - just a simple 2.7% flat commission (at least that is the rate in USA, Canada, Australia and HK)

A decent option seems to be Elavon MobileMerchant -
These guys seem to offer a one off £99 + £25 set up fee + VAT to purchase their machine for life and then all transactions at a flat 3%.
Although the 3% is hefty, the one-off £150 or so, does appeal to me.

They also have the same deal on a monthly £10 charge + VAT (plus £30 set up).
I simply thought that the £99 deal is more attractive, as you get to keep the machine for "life". Although you do NOT own it outright, and it remains their property.
On the plus side, you get free (?) maintenance and replacement machines if needed.

Finally, a company called mPowa has just launched in the UK as a FREE SMART PHONE APP.

Please note that their 0.25% flat fee only applies if you have your own existing Merchant Account. Otherwise, to create a new Merchant Account, the fee is 3% again.

Still, you save the initial up front set up costs that Elavon charge...

Any ideas about cheap ways of creating a Merchant Account?


Sources: http://www.mpowa.com/index.html

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