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13: Love That Plastic: Taking Credit Cards in Java
13: Love That Plastic: Taking Credit Cards
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Setup fee for starting the account: Again, lots of companies will set you up for nothing Try to avoid the ones that charge you for the simple act of becoming a customer Monthly statement fee: This is a charge that the credit card companies levy on you because they have to keep track of how much money they re making from you You d think that they d be glad to do this for nothing, but that s not the case Percentage of each sale: This is called the discount rate Transaction fee: Yes, you re already paying a percentage But the company still wants a few more cents Minimum monthly charge: If you don t make enough sales for the credit card company s cut to meet a certain minimum amount, you have to pay the minimum amount anyway Hey, the company isn t going to lose money just because you might American Express has a refreshing difference it doesn t have a monthly minimum Equipment charges: If you re strictly online, you don t need any kind of equipment Don t get suckered into buying a point-of-sale system or anything else you re not going to use Leaving off equipment, because it s unnecessary and wildly variable in cost, Table 13-1 shows the lowest costs typically associated with these fees Lots of places claim to offer lower costs, but those firms must be running charities because these are the minimums that MasterCard and VISA charge Internet companies (They do offer lower rates for more stable traditional bricksand-mortar firms, however)
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Fee Application Setup Statement Discount rate Transaction Monthly minimum*
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Low Internet Company Fees
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Amount $0 $0 $9 230% $030 $20 When Paid One-time One-time Monthly Per transaction Per transaction Monthly
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* If company s income from your transactions doesn t reach this amount
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Part IV: Raking In the Bucks
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How do you pay all this and still make a profit The same way every other merchant does: You raise your prices and pass the increase on to the consumer However, a number of factors can make it hard to figure out exactly how much it costs you to accept credit cards Sales that include the CVV number (the three-digit code on the signature strip on the back of the credit card) usually qualify for lower rates than sales that don t include it, for example And, if you re in a specialty business (about 30 businesses fit this category, including adult entertainment, credit repair, jewelry, and airlines), the rate you pay will be about double the standard rate for other types of businesses Some companies, of course, actually care about your business and have nice, helpful people working for them The best way to find out whom you re dealing with before you sign up for a merchant account with any company is to talk to some of its current customers You can ask the company for references, but its employees will likely steer you only to people they know will say nice things about the company Think about the references on your r sum You don t include the boss who thought you were a turkey or the coworker who always tried to take the credit for your work, do you The credit card companies don t want to send you to the people who are mad at them either Well, it s kind of hard to track down the clients of a company without asking someone at the company, so why not do it the other way around Every Web site that takes credit cards has to be doing business with an acquirer And almost all sites have an e-mail link to the Webmaster Just surf the Web and keep leaving messages Who do you use How do you like them Have you had any problems with them (That kind of thing) Pretty soon, you ll start to build up a consensus about which companies are currently the best to do business with
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