Because credit cards have become the most popular form of payment among customers, it seems only natural that a small businesses would want to expand their current payment options to accommodate this preference. Still, before you go ahead and start allowing your clients to pay by card, you need to find an affordable merchant whose transaction fees will not eat up your profits every time a purchase is made. In episode #152, Gene Marks and Elizabeth Larkin discuss three credit card merchants with reasonable processing fees.
2:01—Today’s Topic: Where Can I Find an Affordable Credit Card Merchant for My Small Business?
2:24—While PayPal and Square offer reliable service, these merchants charge approximately 3% in transaction fees, which is on the higher side.
3:12—One less expensive merchant for business owners to try is SumUp, which accepts a wide range of credit cards and only charges a transaction rate of 2.65%.
4:07—Another merchant worth considering is Intuit. Their app is called GoPayment and its fees can range from 1.6% to 2.4%, depending on which subscription plan you choose. It is a great option for small businesses that use QuickBooks because of its easy integration.
4:58—Lastly, small business owners can also use Clover Go; this app offers subscriptions with monthly rates beginning as low as 2.7%
7:05—Gene discusses a new small business called PooPrints, a waste-management service that tracks down negligent pet owners, using DNA analysis.
Elizabeth: Welcome back to the Small Biz Ahead podcast. I’m Elizabeth Larkin from The Hartford, and I’m here with Gene Marks, my co-host of the Marks Group.
Gene: Taking your questions and your issues about small business very seriously.
Elizabeth: Today’s question is about taking credit card payments at your small business. We’ve talked about this so much, but Albert from North Carolina actually sent us a question, and I don’t think we’ve answered before. After we hear from our sponsor, we’re going to dive into Albert’s question about accepting credit card payments. Gene, the problem with accepting credit card payments, and I know your opinion on this is that everyone should accept credit card payments.
This podcast is brought to you by The Hartford. When the unexpected strikes, The Hartford strikes back for over 1 million small business customers with property, liability and worker’s compensation insurance, check out The Hartford’s small business insurance at TheHartford.com.
QUESTION: What Merchant Should You Use To Process Credit Card Payments?
Gene: Do you know the city of Philadelphia right now is joining, gosh, was it D.C., in requiring businesses to accept cash.
Gene: Yup. There’s a bill right now at the city council, maybe by the time this airs will have passed, but it looks pretty probable that all businesses, there’s a few businesses in Philadelphia like Sweet Cream and a few others that only accept credit cards. They’re going to be required that they have to accept cash. The reason is they feel it might be discriminatory or whatever. Having said that, we all have to accept, obviously, the preferred method of payment from those people is credit cards nowadays.
Gene: If you’re a small merchant, right, you need to accept them.
Elizabeth: Albert from North Carolina has written in. He works in the government contracting business and owns a small business. His question is this. “I’m currently using PayPal and Square to process credit card payments. Would you recommend any different merchants who charge less than three percent?” Gene, I’m assuming they all probably charge around the same.
Gene: Yeah. They are somewhere around the same. First of all, I want to just say straight out, PayPal and Square are great. Okay? I have a lot of clients that use both of those services. They both provide the hardware, the software. The process for them is seamless. The reporting is very, very good. I don’t work for either of these companies, I’m just saying they both provide financing for their small business customers as well based on their cash receipts. You’re not going to get fired for recommending PayPal and Square to your boss if you’re working in a small business. Certainly if you are a small business owner, they’re great. However, they do charge on the higher end of the transaction fees which is around three percent.
There are other services that do compete and may cost you a little bit less than that. Now, I went to a site called mobiletransaction.org. It is a great site that covers all information and issues in the mobile industry. They actually have an article about alternative Square and some good payment that may or may not be more expensive or hopefully less expensive. Let me give you three alternatives to Square and PayPal that you can check out. One is called Sum Up. It’s sumup.com. We’ll add this to the show notes.
Elizabeth: Yeah. We’ll have this in show notes.
Gene: I believe they’re a German-based company. They charge 2.65 percent for chip and contactless cards, and magnetic stripe cards as well. They’ll accept VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. They’re an up and comer, and they’re trying eat away into the business of Square and PayPal. They’re called Sum Up.
Elizabeth: What was that called again?
Gene: Sum Up is what they’re called. There’s another, Intuit, the giant company that makes QuickBooks, and Quicken, and Turbo Tax. Their mobile payment application is called Go Payment, Intuit Go Payment. If your system is already on a QuickBooks based system, it will integrate with it right away, so it’s good for anybody that’s current. QuickBooks users, they offer pay as you go plans. They offer subscription plans. The pay as you go plan is a swipe rate of 2.4 percent when people swipe, but then they also charge an extra 25 cents per transaction. If your keying in, it’s higher. It’s 3.4 percent. If you get the monthly plan, you pay a monthly fee, and then the percentages can be as low as 1.6 percent.
Elizabeth: Hmm. Interesting.
Gene: There’s some options. You can do the math and figure out what works best. The final option that you have is Clover. Clover is also well known in the retail business. They have a bunch of mobile point of sale stations as well as mobile point of sale options. They’re product is called Clover Go. You buy it through a Clover partner or through Clover’s website. They partner with banks. Again, there’s monthly fees. Depending on what you get your transaction rate by as low as 2.7 percent on any of the swipe or chip transactions. All those are lower than what Square and PayPal’s rates are. They all have their pros and their cons. My recommendation, I’m not going to recommend any one of these individuals because it depends on your situation.
I’ve got you tell you something. If you’re running a retail store or restaurant, and you’re accepting credit cards, you should a few hours on this and do your research. This is the core cost that you’re going to have in your business. This is the cost that could be the difference between you having a really great year and a really not so great year. When you think about it, if they average around three percent in fees, think about three percent of all of your transactions before your direct costs, and your labor, and all that, that’s a big chunk right off your top line. Don’t take this lightly. Do your research when you’re coming up with your point of sale system and really figure out which system is going to be the most cost effective for you.
Elizabeth: Great. Thanks Gene.
Gene: You’re welcome.
Elizabeth: We’ll be right back with Gene’s word of brilliance.
WORD OF BRILLIANCE: Poo
Elizabeth: We’re back with Gene’s word of brilliance.
Gene: Elizabeth, my word of brilliance today is poo.
Elizabeth: I feel like you’ve actually used poo before, but this will be a new one.
Gene: Okay. Well, we won’t go into any details about how I may or may not have used poo before, which may or may not have been on this podcast. The reason why I bring up the word poo is because there is a really fun spa. I like to talk about fun small businesses that are out there. There is a fun small company that’s based down south in Alabama, I believe, called Poo Prints is what they are. What poo prints does, I’m sorry, Tennessee is where they are located, Knoxville, Tennessee. What poo prints does is this. They have a network of partners, so if you’re looking for an opportunity to get in the poo business, this might be of interest to you. The partners go out and they sell Poo Prints kits to condo associations, buildings, …
Gene: … apartment complexes, or whatever. Here’s how it works. If you want to move into an apartment complex, you have to get your dog DNA tested. Then once it’s DNA tested, this part of the test they said that the lab does, they also test the dog and their poo that’s DNA tested.
Gene: The reason why they do that is because if you do not, if any poo is found on the grounds …
Elizabeth: If you don’t clean up after your dog.
Gene: Right. The apartment complex owners or managers send the poo to Poo Prints for laboratory analysis where they can match the poo up to the specific dog that left the poo there. Then what they do is then they order their men to go capture the dog, put it into a truck, and immediately have it sued.. Just kidding. Who from Poo Prints are going to sue us? That’s not true at all. The Poo Prints people just do the analysis.
Elizabeth: You probably just get a warning.
Gene: You’re right. You get a fine or a warning. Some of the condo associations get a little draconian. You do that once or twice and boom, you’re out on your bottom and your dog’s bottom as well with poo and everything. It’s a growing business. The company, it’s only been around for a few years. It’s already grown to about seven million dollars a year in revenue, so it’s a great little entrepreneurial idea. They’re growing their network of distributors. I’m just saying it’s an entrepreneurial idea.
Elizabeth: My condo complex I recently moved into, they’re actually toying with the idea of doing this. They’re just one of those, it’s very nicely manicured. I haven’t seen a lot of people not cleaning up after their dog.
Gene: I’m a huge supporter of it. I think it’s a great idea. Just in case you’re wondering for what these tests cost, the kits themselves are between $40 and $60 for each kit. Then you have an additional kit for $15 bucks. I’m assuming the association just charge that right back to the owners, or the renters, or whatever. You’re in a community. I live in the city, and I walk around, and there’s dog poop somewhere, and I go ballistic. Who doesn’t clean up after their dog poop. If I lived in a condo association, I’d be thrilled to have that kind of a service.
Elizabeth: A story. A couple of months ago, it was really late at night. I was walking my dog. I had the leash. I was holding it. Somehow she got away from me. There is a family of rabbits that live amongst the condos. She just chased one and yanked the leash out of my hand. I dropped it. She ran back into the woods. She wouldn’t come back. She wouldn’t come back. I was calling her. Then I realized, I’ve just got to go back because I don’t have a phone on me. There’s nothing I can do. It’s pitch black. I was running around trying to get her, and she wasn’t coming back. She usually does listen to me. I walked back, and she’s standing right in front of my condo.
Gene: Oh my goodness.
Elizabeth: Looking at me, giving me that look like, “Where have you been? I’ve been waiting here.”
Gene: It’s called the stink eye.
Elizabeth: Yeah. We go in. I take her leash off. I’m like, “I can’t believe you ran away from me.” No treat for her that night. The next morning I get up at 6:00 in the morning before work, we go for a walk. She keeps pulling me towards this person’s yard. I realized she had pooped in their yard the night before and was pulling me over there so I could pick it up for her.
Gene: Really. She didn’t want to poop again in the same place.
Elizabeth: No, she was pulling me towards it to show it to me.
Gene: That’s amazing. What a smart little dog you have.
Elizabeth: I know. Right?
Gene: Very cool.
Elizabeth: Right? Yeah. I hate it. When people don’t pick it up, it just gives the rest of us dog owners a bad name.
Gene: I agree. I think it’s a great entrepreneurial idea. Good for Poo Prints in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Elizabeth: All right. If you have a question, go to smallbizahead.com. Click on the podcast button at the top of the page. Open up any of our shows. You can see all the notes from the show, all the links we mentioned. There’s a link to submit a question. If you submit a question, Gene will happily answer it on the air for you.
Elizabeth: Thank for listening and we’ll talk to you next week.
Submit Your Question
Download Our Free eBooks
- Ultimate Guide to Business Credit Cards: The Small Business Owner’s Handbook
- How to Keep Customers Coming Back for More – Customer Retention Strategies
- How to Safeguard Your Small Business from Data Breaches
- 21 Days to Be a More Productive Small Business Owner
- Opportunity Knocks: How to Find—and Pursue—a Business Idea that’s Right for You
- 99 New Small Business Ideas