I'm not a stallion owner but part of my job is setting up & educating businesses on merchant services.
I have learned over the years is if you accept more than $1500 per month than you want to go to actual merchant vendor. Most larger banks have a division that can set you up (Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo) & they have special regulations so they have to disclose everything. They even have "seasonal" pricing so when breeding season is over it can go into a dormant status.
Paypal is great if you are doing less than 1500 just a flat charge.
Stay away from the square a lot of my customers have had a lot of problems.
Beware of those offers for 1.9% or less per swipe because almost NO card can be processed for this amount.
Your biggest issue will be with disputes or charge backs they are a lot nicer to the card holder than vendors but if you keep good records you should be fine.
I know the breedings I have bought & used a credit card with charge an additional 3% fee on the purchase.
Let me know if you have any questions on merchant.
If you do go the Merchant Service Provider route, I HIGHLY recommend looking into the customer service with each company. Rates are always going to be part of the decision on which company to use, but if you have a company with crappy customer support, it's going to be one massive headache after another. It can also cause delays in getting everything set up.
Spend the time up front to talk to your merchant service provider about what factors affect your processing rates/chargeback protection. Some companies will give a lower rate if you are using address verification/card code verification, and these things also affect you in cases of chargebacks. Take the time to read EVERYTHING. Make sure you know the companies you are doing business with, and what they do.
Also, talk to your gateway company (if you use a gateway) and merchant service provider about fraud prevention and how to handle it if fraud occurs before you start processing. If you know the basic steps to take, you are in a much better position to handle things than if you're trying to learn on the fly. The following article is one that many of my merchants find useful:
And the big one: Know how the company you go through to start processing cards sets things up. For example, if you go through a company like Wells Fargo or Paymentech for a merchant services account, they might also set up an account with a gateway company (like Authorize.Net) for transaction processing. Or they may set you up so that everything is done completely by them. A lot depends on the company you go through, and how you plan on actually accepting the cards.
Back when my stallions had a lot of breedings, I did set up for cc's. I also boarded for awhile during that time, and had a lesson program, so the cc was very handy to accept payments for that as well, rather than chasing down checks.
When I wound all that down, I stopped the service. If it were today, I'd probably go with Paypal.
Remember, it's not just the fees you have to think about, but the equipment lease.
But with the new phone doohickey where cc's can be accepted through a cell phone, that could be the way to go. Even my corner vegetable stand people use that now.
Technology has changed so much since then. I'm old.
We've had good experiences using Intuit GoPayment for board, show fees & stabling, etc. It's handy to just swipe on your phone or tablet and you can also process without the card present (although the fees are higher for this). We did stop acceptinf Amex because of how difficult it was to make sense of the deposits & fee withdrawals. Otherwise, my only gripe would be that when doing the bank account reconciliation, it is kind of a pain to have to sit there with the monthly list of transactions & figure out which charges were deposited together, which fees came from where, etc. A flat monthly fee would have made it easier but during months without shows, we barely process CCs.
Also, Intuit is a local company for me so I know them well & their customer service has never been sub par. Rarely would we need to contact them because problems have been few and far between.
Stübben North America
Los Angeles - Ventura County - San Luis Obispo
I have a merchant account, that I've used for many, many years. I have not had any trouble with people charging back payments, which is my biggest concern.
I also use Paypal, however, because it is very easy for people to use. Some customers use a combination of both -- for instance they may pay the stud fee via Paypal, but the collection/shipping with credit or debit.
I really don't see any downside with Paypal. I have a Paypal debit card, so the money spends right out of there just like it does a bank account, or they will transfer it into your account for free. If I didn't already have the merchant account, I'd probably go ahead and just use Paypal and be completely happy with their services.
I also recently got the phone dohickey from Paypal, and it works a treat.
I am set up with Helcim.... I do credit cards as well as can accept PayPal. The first week I had it set up it paid for itself
So, I cover just about every payment possiblity for clients to make it easy for us all. My iphone is what I use and it can be done manually (with the number given over a phone) or swiped. The cost to purchase the equipment was $65 or something. Nothing deal breaking
I use credit cards for breeding fees and for my boarders. I love doing this. Sometimes it happens that a mare is ready before the customer has sent me the Stallion fee check. Now we can put the whole process together in minutes via fax, email and credit card. Slick!!
I have also sold a pony via credit card. Customers love this.
No reason it shouldn't as long as the buyer has enough of a credit line with the cc company. That said, I would be VERY careful to read the refund policy. With as much scammy stuff that happens with horse people, it would be awful to sell a horse then have the charge reveresed. That could be sticky.
We accept all cards through a merchant account and Paypal, no problems for 25 years now. I recommend you talk to the bank you currently use as it is one you are already familiar with and they with you. You need phone and or internet authorization. Go with a provider that does not make you lease equipment!
Costco has a reasonably priced merchant card service through Elevon, I've been very happy with it for my (non-horse) business, and you can do it all online. As other posters have mentioned, keep good records in case of chargebacks.
in this modern day taking credit cards is quite easy. you dont need merchant accounts, gateways or anything else. there are many companies out there (square, paypal, and others) that allow you to swipe cards easily.
the big thing is to read and understand the rates you will be charged, how and when the $$ will hit your account. the differences in rates between swiping (ie having the card in your hand) and entering the numbers (not having the card in your hand)
expect to pay from 2.5 - 6% - of amount in fees.
also be sure to check out the limits - square is awesome for folks wiht lots of smaller amounts as they transfer the money within 2 days. if you are taking in larger amounts you need to go thru a more rigorous application process .
also, your $$ per month will also affect fees - usually the more $$ you charge thru the less per transaction it will be. but please do read the fine print and run a few "test" transactions in various scenarios to see what you will actually pay.
in the end i think that it is well worth the extra $$ you pay (also be sure to add those fees into what you charge )
oh also of critical importance: what will you do with the CC info you have of your customers? remember that this can be a huge security hole - if you write down the numbers, or have them fax them in: what will you do with that sheet of paper? if you are going to store the number - how will you store it to protect against fraud?
this is one reason why i like paypal so much - the merchant never has to touch or know the CC number.
Maybe start with Pay-pal with the phone swipe. That's what I have now after learning the hard way with Well Fargo/Authorize.net.
I had a merchant account but really wasn't doing enough business (horse related but not breeding/board etc) so I wanted to cancel.
In the very,very fine print in the contract if you cancel before 3yrs they charge you a $500 fee !!!We signed up with an agent over the phone and that little snippet was never disclosed to us! I ended up paying the $500 because it cost something like $70 a month between the bank and gateway a month and I just wanted to be done with them. I think we still had 2 yrs on the contract.