Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Credit Card Processing - Don't Call Me!

Warning:  Cranky vent post ahead.

I just got a telemarketing call from a credit card processor.  Did I know that they have these new super cheap rates and that my small business can have the same credit card processing rates as the big stores, like Walmart?

Why yes.  I did know that.  Because you called me yesterday.  Very same company.  And the day before that too.  Very same company.  Are you so hard up that you have to call the same list every. single. day.??

But I've gotten almost this exact same groundhog day telemarketing call several times each and every week for like a year now from a huge list of credit card processing companies.  I can't stand it any more.  I guess it doesn't matter that you are on the "Do Not Call" list.  This law applies to everyone else except credit card processors.  Oh, and that creepy robo woman who calls about once a month to steam my carpets.

Here's the longer version.  When they first starting calling, it was when the Durbin law or some blah-de-blah came into effect, and I actually did have the first company do an estimate and comparison of what I was currently paying.  And it was a lot less.  Sort of.  The rates were less, but I had to buy all new equipment to do it - at a substantial cost.  The next company was pretty much the same.  But I took those rates back to my current company, and they adjusted me down to lower rates all around.  And I was happy.  I like my little system right now.  It works great.  And when my machine breaks down or gets technologically obsolete (which could be three months from now, meh) then I would re-look at my options and find the best deal at that point.

Now?  I am not spending another minute listening to every single sales rep's schtick about how much cheaper (by a penny or two) they are to the next guy.  It's all such a math game anyway.  And it gives me a headache.

If you have not had a merchant account before, then you have no idea what a pain it all is.  These people are bankers.  Enough said.

Some have minimum fees.  Some have statement fees.  If you decide to go wireless, there are wireless fees.  There is a transaction fee for each transaction.  Plus there is a percentage rate for each card transaction - which of course, varies with each card.  A credit card is different from a debit card.  And a rewards card costs more.  A swiped card is the cheapest.  But when I do mail order or internet orders, and do not have the card in hand - only the number - that's a different rate altogether.  Then they make you buy a terminal.   If you're doing it only online, that's a whole different kind of fees.  Oy.

Of course, there's now the Square - one flat rate for every single swipe and the reader thingy is free if you have a smart phone.  But that doesn't help me much for my mail and internet orders.  And their rate is probably the highest of anything else I've seen.  So there is no need to pay more if it's only for my show sales.

I am quite sure there is something a little less expensive out there.  But I am not interested in spending a month of tedious hours trying to ferret it out from all the other deals out there.  It's not worth my time.  I'm good where I am.  The cheapest thing usually comes with it's own set of problems.  Like bad customer service.  Or going out of business suddenly.

The entire system is going to change in the next few years anyway.  The entire credit card system is being transitioned from having those magnetic strips on the back of the card where all the information is stored, to having a chip in them.  For security.  Apparently the chip is much harder to read and steal from than the current stripe type card.  So we'll all be getting new cards and merchants will have to get new equipment all over again.  There is a date by when it's required to be effective and I think it's some time in 2015, but don't want to look it up right now.   It will affect every single person with a card - and for every single card too.

But back to the telemarketing dilemma:  Caller ID doesn't help me at all over here.  They have regular phone numbers that just say 'Dallas, TX' or 'private number' - something ambiguous that I would never know is not a customer or other business type call.  In good faith I try to answer everything.

These people are really trying my patience.  What's the solution?  Are you hounded by telemarketing calls too?  Or do you have some gem of information about credit card processing that you'd like to share.  Let me know.  I'm all ears :)