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Old May 21st, 2013, 02:42 PM   #1
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Is anyone here using their smartphone to swipe credit cards for on-the-spot sales?

I'm not doing this right now, (at the moment only check or cash), but am considering it, and would like to know "real world" pros and cons.

How much more/less bookkeeping work is it?
Are there benefits in addition to "immediate sales"?

Inviting all advice and tales of experience, good or bad.

Thanks.
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Old May 21st, 2013, 03:52 PM   #2
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Re: Is anyone here using their smartphone to swipe credit cards for on-the-spot sales

I use Square, though Paypal's in very similar.

Sign up for free, install the app, and they send you a dongle that let's you swipe the card. The rate I pay is less than I used to using regular Paypal.

Square puts the money in your account the next business day. Paypal is still the usual 3-5 days, though you can get a debit card tied to the account with instant access to your money.

It's easier for accounting because, unlike cash, the transaction is already accounted for.

Clients like options, and it's yet another that will bail you out when someone forgets cash and you don't want to accept a check.
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Old May 21st, 2013, 06:56 PM   #3
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Re: Is anyone here using their smartphone to swipe credit cards for on-the-spot sales

Yes, I use Paypal Here (on an iPad), after I upgraded my Paypal account to "merchant". Customers love it, they think it's totally cool (you sign with a finger), book keeping is a snap, and it's a painless setup. Print mailing labels, whatever, with a click.

Real world: at the last shoot where I sold discs on site, I advertised cash, check, or credit card. The very first person who walked up didn't even look at my signs, didn't say hello, and asked,"Do you take credit cards?"

There is a 2.5% transaction fee, which is pretty much standard for this technology. 2.5% is chump change if allowing the use of a credit card is the difference between making a sale or not.

Obviously, I'm a believer.

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Old May 21st, 2013, 09:20 PM   #4
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Re: Is anyone here using their smartphone to swipe credit cards for on-the-spot sales

I use Square. Love it. Clients like it much better than writing checks and so do I.
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Old May 21st, 2013, 09:53 PM   #5
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Re: Is anyone here using their smartphone to swipe credit cards for on-the-spot sales

Hi Dennis!

I use BOTH Square and PayPal.

Typically, I use PayPal to invoice small and one-time clients for larger amounts. That would be voiceover fees for work delivered via the net, and when the occasional person in my market asks me to rent them my teleprompter, spider pod or maybe lights. I don't do much of this, just the occasional gig, but it's great, particularly when the client is out of state and unknown to me. If so, it's nice to be able to send them a really low rez watermarked version of a video file via email, with a note that as soon as the PayPal invoice payment is received, the system will generate a URL and password to download the full rez clear version of the work. Kinda takes collections out of the process.

OTOH, if I'm anywhere that there's a line of people who want to buy something from me, I use the Square reader on my Phone or/iPad. It's faster and makes it easier to interact with them since swiping is much faster than typing.

I can't imagine doing business without both solutions available.

FWIW.
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Old May 21st, 2013, 09:58 PM   #6
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Re: Is anyone here using their smartphone to swipe credit cards for on-the-spot sales

Not disagreeing at all with any of Bill's comments, I would merely add that PayPal Here is exactly "swiping." That is, like Square, you stick a card reader in the audio jack of your iWhatever and off you go.

I looked very hard at three services, including Square (which I've seen time and again in cabs here in D.C.) and just decided on PayPal since I already have an account with them.
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Old May 21st, 2013, 10:09 PM   #7
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Re: Is anyone here using their smartphone to swipe credit cards for on-the-spot sales

Have a friend/colleague who looked into this, and found some things during his research about square that he didnt like. I dont recall what they were and they may be nonissues at this point but he went with another service called intuit.
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Old May 22nd, 2013, 09:22 PM   #8
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...using...smartphone to swipe credit cards for on-the-spot sales

Thanks so much, everyone. It seems Square, PayPal, and Intuit are the big 3.

I've been using PayPal for a couple of years, but not the swipe-on-the-spot gadget (PayPal Here, I think). I only recently learned about that.

For anyone using Intuit, does it make using QuickBooks easier in any way, e.g. maybe automatically generating a journal entry for the sale(s) and bank deposits? Or maybe some other feature that makes QB easier to use/update? (I use QB for my bookkeeping/accounting, and while it's easy to use, finding (making ?) the time to do bookkeeping is such an interference to working (or finding work). It's ALWAYS one of the last things I do, and I always put it off as long as possible. For spending, I only use my business debit card, so everything shows up on my bank statement, but it seems making deposits would be easier (and hopefully a little more frequent).

I'm a bit of a penny-pincher, so on to checking out the respective rates.

Thanks again. Best regards to all.

PS: Hi Bill D.
How are things out your way? My wife and I have been out to Las Vegas a few times since that job you and I worked in Pennsylvania, but not close enough to your area to try checking-in with you.
I hope all is well.
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Old May 23rd, 2013, 10:56 AM   #9
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Re: Is anyone here using their smartphone to swipe credit cards for on-the-spot sales

There were no costs to having a Square reader/account, and I found it works with older phones (PayPal has "minimum requirements" that ruled out older Android phones in my case, I've since gotten a newer phone, and the PayPal reader). PayPal Here reader is also a free thing, just ask, it'll show up in your mailbox.

These services open up a simple and cost effective way for the "small biz" to take plastic, and hopefully increase sales, no reason not to get them! Much better than the "old school merchant account" that used to be needed to take credit cards!
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Old May 25th, 2013, 01:47 AM   #10
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Re: Is anyone here using their smartphone to swipe credit cards for on-the-spot sales

Hey Bill. What service do you use for the high res password download? Is that paypal? Been looking for something like that for a grad I do.
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Old May 25th, 2013, 05:18 PM   #11
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Re: Is anyone here using their smartphone to swipe credit cards for on-the-spot sales

I use two processes depending on what I need to accomplish.

If it's a video file for wide distribution but that needs to go through a private approval loop, I'll toss it up on my Vimeo Pro account behind a password. I can then email that password to them after they pay the bill. At that point, they can download their own copy of the file, or even send it to other facilties by passing along the URL and password.

If the work is more proprietary - I use YouSendit. Again, I post their file and let them know they'll get the URL and the password when payment clears.

For clients that need to "see" the work before they pay, I have a template set up in FCP-X that does a low rez "email" version with a large watermark that I can send as a proof.

Neither system is fully automated - where the file or viewing opportunity lives behind a paywall that automatically gives file access upon cleared payment. I have to do that manually.

Someday I expect one of the services I already use to offer that - or I'll find a service that does that a reasonable cost.

But that's what I do for now.
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Old May 27th, 2013, 07:23 AM   #12
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Re: Is anyone here using their smartphone to swipe credit cards for on-the-spot sales

Denis, I would ask what kind of work you are doing? If it is large payments then credit cards will eat away at your margins. If it is a lot of smaller sales like an event they are mandatory.
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Old May 27th, 2013, 08:39 AM   #13
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Re: Is anyone here using their smartphone to swipe credit cards for on-the-spot sales

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Polster View Post
Denis, I would ask what kind of work you are doing? If it is large payments then credit cards will eat away at your margins. If it is a lot of smaller sales like an event they are mandatory.
Build the costs into your prices, like every other industry. The luxury of credit cards has added quite a bit to the cost of things we buy already. Your service is no exception, though $30 on a $1000 charge isn't too bad.
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Old May 27th, 2013, 09:09 AM   #14
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Re: Is anyone here using their smartphone to swipe credit cards for on-the-spot sales

Thanks for joining-in.

It's small sales, (unfortunately not what I'd call "a lot"...maybe 5-10 per show).
I'm an OMB and shoot a lot of barrel racing. I take orders for individualized/personalized DVDs for each show I shoot. See samples at these links:
Ad Hoc Video Services, LLC. - Video Previews
Ad Hoc Video Services LLC - YouTube
Ad Hoc Video Services, LLC. - Stage Videography

I save all my footage, and I get additional orders after the season has ended, when riders can get multiple runs on a single DVD rather than 1 or 2 runs on multiple DVDs. They're often used as Christmas gifts among the riders.

(These folks love their sport, their horses, and love seeing themselves ride, whether to learn from mistakes, or to bask in the glory of a fast time. Some individual rides have been watched more than 40 times).

I also charge for on-the-spot viewing on a 22" monitor via a laptop. A family member transfers the files, runs the laptop, collects the $$, and takes orders while I continue shooting. I use either a Panasonic HMC-150 or HVX-200.

Some might consider it a niche market, and I'm certainly undercharging for what I provide, but I'm also trying to become the "go-to guy" for any/all such shows in my area.

I'm in the research stage of adding Blu-Ray to my offerings, and am trying to come up w/a model for PPV live-streaming of those events and others at the same venue. I'd also like to find some kind of subscription model I can adapt so only paying members can view their runs online.

I'm pretty sure I'll need a new 4G phone for the live-streaming, and I'm presuming most new phones will also handle a "swiper" without any problem.

If you're aware of limitations, either of "swipers" or of phones, I invite your input.

Thanks again.
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Old May 27th, 2013, 09:11 PM   #15
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Re: Is anyone here using their smartphone to swipe credit cards for on-the-spot sales

Sounds like good little thing. I have a full blown merchant account with Sam's Club which is only $60 above a normal membership for the entire year. We puchased a wireless card terminal a few years back and it is great. Swipe the card and it spits out the paper for the person to sign.

Costs more than the phone gizmo but I think you look a little more legit this way and trust goes far in one-off event sales. Not to say the phone thing is bad .. :)
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