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Credit Cards -- Do You Accept?

by Karen L. Maslowski
Sewstorm Publishing


How would you like to forget about worrying whether or not your new customer’s fat final payment check will bounce? Wouldn’t it be great to no longer have to wait for that check to clear, but to know the money would appear in your account within 24 hours? These are just two of the benefits of having credit card merchant status.

Customers are much more likely to carry credit cards than they are checkbooks, and most are happy to defer payments by charging higher ticket services. Since most drapery workrooms do have a fairly high average sale, banks will be more likely to accord merchant status to you than to many other types of sewing business. But how do you go about initiating the process?

First, go to your own bank, where you currently have your business checking account. They already know you, and many banks require merchants to have accounts with them, anyway. Once you have made your way through what will likely be a voice mail maze, the representative will give you details on costs, then send you a lengthy credit application to fill out. Having access to customer’s card numbers is a serious trust, and they will investigate your credit, etc. If your bank won’t allow you this service, look elsewhere; many other financial institutions offer this for you.

Rates on credit card services vary wildly; shop around for the best ones. Be wary of plans that charge you hefty rates for equipment. If your business is likely to only process one or two charges per week POS, or Point of Sale electronic equipment is probably not necessary. Such fancy equipment, which combines a cash register with an approval device, is expensive to rent.

My own equipment allows me to slide a credit card, and the machine automatically dials up the credit card company for approval. You’ve seen these everywhere you use cards. I can also call an automated voice number for approval, and I purchased a "slider," the portable machine that imprints credit cards onto a multi-part paper charge slip.

Other charges the company might make include a monthly processing fee, per sale charges (usually 2-7%), and sales taxes.

When your customers find out that you accept credit cards for their sales, be prepared for higher average sales -- many customers will be willing to add other accessories and options to the sale!

SewStorm Publishing 1999

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