Payment Solutions for Small Businesses

smartphone with credit cardsmall business tips

Taking credit cards 101

If you work at home or just own your own small business, you've probably cringed more than once when a client or customer asked, "do you take credit cards?" The reality is, you can't own a business today, especially if you work with clients across the nation or around the world, unless you can take a credit card. But it's important to understand the fee structures, available on-site and mobile technology and drawbacks to each system.


Probably the most well-known payment system is PayPal. Like many of the other solutions, it doesn't require any special equipment to use. It allows you to accept credit cards online (whether or not your customers have a PayPal account), accept payments directly through PayPal, and any kind of account can request a free card-swiper for an iPhone, iPad or Android device to take payments in person.

The base PayPal account is free and charges a fee of 2.9 percent plus 30 cents per transaction. There's no setup fee or cancellation fee. Even lower rates may be available if you have high-volume sales, smaller transactions or are a nonprofit. (As with almost all credit card processors, additional fees apply for international transactions.)

The big drawback to using PayPal is that the seller protection it offers isn't available to those of us who sell intangible goods, like digital items, or for transactions conducted on goods delivered in person. It only applies if you ship the item, which is a bit difficult if you're a web designer or writer or if you're selling at a craft fair. Basically, that means someone can claim they didn't purchase the item, even if they've already received it, and PayPal itself can't protect you.


Square is primarily for people who plan to take payments in person. There's no API (a fancy abbreviation for a computer protocol that allows two types of software to talk to each other) for taking online payments. You also can't take payments on your computer. Square only takes payments on mobile devices (like iPhones, iPads and Android smartphones).

While that may seem like a big drawback, if you don't plan to have an e-commerce environment on your site, it's not that big a deal. You can still take payments over the phone, using the keypad the Square app brings up, or swipe people's cards in person (on the free reader that comes with your account).

The main advantage to Square is that it's cheaper. It's only 2.75 percent per transaction or a flat rate of $275 per month (with no per-swipe fee).


If you already use QuickBooks, the company that created it, Intuit, can manage credit card payments online, on-site or in the field. It's a great way to save time and processing. If you don't already use QuickBooks (or even if you do), beware and do your homework. QuickBooks is great software, but their other services may not be right for you.

VeriFone Verifone Vx510le Credit Card Machine
CE (VeriFone)
  • Technical Specs: 3 MEGs of memory. 14.4 Dial-Up communication terminal. IPP. PCI-PED Compliant. Does NOT support multiple applications.
  • Features: High speed thermal printer with no ink needed. SoftPay core software offers extensive and flexible support for all types of payments. It is simple to install...
  • Design: Quiet, integrated printer with easy drop-in paper loading. Vertical, triple-track card reader accommodates all magnetic-stripe card payments. Supports peripherals...
  • Made For Business: Small footprint size that takes up only a small amount of countertop real estate space. Advanced features enhance security for risk-free processing...
  • Paper: Uses a high speed thermal printer eliminating the need for ink ribbons. The thermal paper that fits this terminal is the most common size; 2 1/4 X 85 .
2010-01-05 04:18:52 by WillowFinancial

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2008-12-21 11:46:19 by CPC_FtWayne

Save on your Merchant Service Fees

We are Central Payment Corporation. A Registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank.
When was the last time your Credit Card Processing Company Representative came to your location to see how business was going for you? Do you even know what rates you are paying for which types of Cards you are processing? Is your profit margin aligned to cover the fees and keep you profitable?
At Central Payment Corporation, we build relationships with our Merchants to insure your business is maximizing your profits by reducing your Merchant Services fees and offer ACH / EFT funding of check transactions

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