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Talk to me about card machines

(17 Posts)
FiveGoMadInDorset Fri 22-Aug-08 21:58:17

Do you need a business account, how much a month are they, how does it work. OUr business turned over £30k last year and expecting to be up this year, we need to be able to take deposits over the phone as we have had a lot of no shows this year.

NotAnOtter Fri 22-Aug-08 22:00:02

i reckon they are worth it
turning business away is soooo gutting and when you dont have one folk can go elsewhere
negotiate the deal - barter the companies for best deal...

FiveGoMadInDorset Fri 22-Aug-08 22:01:48

We run a B&B and most people want to pay by card. DO you have one and where did you get it from?

NotAnOtter Fri 22-Aug-08 22:06:45

royal bank of scotters

FiveGoMadInDorset Fri 22-Aug-08 22:07:47

Thank you

NotAnOtter Fri 22-Aug-08 22:08:39

i always think its silly not to
you just lose trade

nannynick Sat 23-Aug-08 01:14:01

Deposits taken over the phone will be a 'Card Not Present' transaction. As the customer is not present to enter their pin, there is increased risk with this type of transaction. With address verification systems now common place, with luck you won't have trouble finding a card processor.

Initially ask your bank who their preferred merchant service is (generally their own). I have used Lloyds Cardnet in the past. I suspect you will need a business bank account.

You may want to look at WorldPay whose name you may recognise as an internet transaction processor. As well as internet transactions, they also have systems to process phone and e-mail orders. So it may give you more flexibility over the years having everything via one processor (as in the future, you may want to take internet bookings for example). WorldPay is part of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group.

There is usually an initial setup fee, then a monthly fee, plus then transaction fees. It can all add up, so negotiate as best as you can with regard to fee levels.

For example, WorldPay fees (23-Aug-08) for internet based payments (additional fees will apply for phone payments):
Set-up Fee: GBP 200.00
Monthly Fee: GBP 30.00 each month (first month payable upon application).
Transaction Service Charges:
GBP 0.50 per transaction for UK Debit cards.
4.50% on the value of all other transactions e.g. credit and charge cards.
GBP 0.06 per transaction for Fraud detection.

nannynick Sat 23-Aug-08 01:25:15

HSBC pricing structure.

Details about Lloyds Cardnet Also tells you a little about CNP, AVS, CSC. May help with getting to know the lingo.

nannynick Sat 23-Aug-08 01:34:00

As you run a B&B, may be worth considering the special offer for B&B Association members. details
They say that they can arrange the merchant account for you. The actual merchant processing service is provided by Streamline, part of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group.

dilbertina Sat 23-Aug-08 07:02:58

Good thinking Nannynick, I've seen offers through organistaion like Federation of Small Business etc too. Rates can vary a lot. As a fairly small turnover business you don't have much bargaining power so I think you probably going to be much better off going through a trade organisation of some sort who have already negotiated good rates.

FiveGoMadInDorset Sat 23-Aug-08 08:26:52

Thank you for all of that. Nannynick I bow to you as the font of all knowledge. Will have a good look and a chat to the accountant.

nannynick Sat 23-Aug-08 12:31:07

Oh I'm not all knowledgeable you know grin I just seem to know small amounts about lots of things. May be due to Asperger's Syndrome... possibly.

I left retail in 2003, so things may have changed a bit. AVS is now pretty standard for CNP transactions, whereas in pre-2003 days, I used to have to phone the card processor almost every time, to get authorisation as the machine would not do it without a phone call - AHH! Transactions were high value though, often £3,000 plus.

Ask around a bit, see which companies will even consider giving you a quote. Before shopping around, try to estimate how many transactions per month you would be likely to be putting through, and the amounts associated with that.

Check out the trade associations offer, as that will have been designed specifically for B&B owners needs, it may even give you better rates - and is likely to give you a lower initial startup cost, as it can often be the setup fee and terminal rental costs that get discounted.

Terminals used to require their own phone line, not sure if that is still the case or not - but certainly you won't be wanting it on the same line as your incoming bookings calls. So you may need to factor in the cost of a new phone line. Contact terminal providers to confirm what their terminals would work with.

Some systems like Barclay's ePDQ-Lite work via the internet, but I am not sure if that gives you a terminal, so not sure it it could be used for card present transations.

As a B&B, I expect you want to:
Accept deposit payments for bookings via Phone/E-mail/Web (Card Not Present with Address Verification)
Accept payments directly from the guest - such as settling accommodation bill, bar bill etc. (Card Present, with PIN verification)

Something else to look at is what cards to accept. I found that accepting Switch (now Maestro), Visa Credit, Mastercard Credit, were sufficient. Though I did have customers who wanted to pay via Ammerican Express. If you get quite a few international guests, you may want to look at accepting American Express (AMEX) but the transaction costs can (at least they were 8 years ago) be a lot higher.

Perhaps survey your guests, by having a question on their checkout survey asking what card types they would have liked to pay with.

nannynick Sat 23-Aug-08 12:35:08

Where is your B&B - I've read your profile so know roughly where it is. Don't suppose you have a room available this weekend, say Sunday night? I'm bored this weekend, may fancy a drive to Dorset.

kormachameleon Sat 23-Aug-08 12:44:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dilbertina Sun 24-Aug-08 18:21:58

you shouldn't need an additional phone line. I work for a pub company and the card m/c shares normal phone line. Each authorisation call only takes less than 30secs so not a prob.

aurelieandrose Mon 25-Aug-08 16:54:54

Hi there. Not sure if anyone has already suggested this but what about the FSB (Federation of Small Businesses)? I joined this last year to get the good deal they offer on Streamline facilities (via Worldpay)for my web sales. A lot of other providers are not keen on web sales if you are new, or on customer not present transactions, as you mentioned above. I found it no hassle at all, unlike some other providers I investigated as an alternative to Paypal.

You have to pay an annual fee to join the FSB but there are lots of other benefits too as they have links with the Co-op (for business banking), legal advice, insurance deals etc. You pay according to the number of people involved in the business. They come to see you before signing you up, to check you are a real business, so I think that is why Streamline accept you as an acceptable risk! Worth a look at their website anyway?

aurelieandrose
www.aurelieandrose.co.uk

FiveGoMadInDorset Mon 25-Aug-08 17:07:53

Thank you will look into that, like the look of card save as well.

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