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Posted by Caroline Gaskin, Dec 29 2011 4:06PM

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Taking credit card payments as a practitioner

Hi folks,

I'm interested in setting up credit card payment facilities for my clients and remember reading an article in our CThA magazine a while ago about this.

Regarding payment for appointments I work as a homeopath at 3 different practices, one doesn't take c/c payments on our behalf, one does but charges us 3% and only pays me at the end of the month and the other takes c/c payments and pays me at the end of the month at no extra charge ie. all 3 have different policies and most clients want to pay with a card.

I also post out remedies, kits & supplements that I'd like to take credit card payments for so ideally I am looking for a system I can use through my mobile phone as it's impractical (and must contravene data protection) to carry round details of clients cards to take payments using a landline at home (ie. where my admin work is done).

Does anyone have any information on this, any referrals for us as members of CThA or knowledge of any discount schemes for CThA members wanting to set up c/c facilities?

Best wishes to all of you for 2012, Caroline Gaskin
Stuart Dare
Dec 29 2011 4:49PM
Hi, You could try looking into the PayPal scheem, which allows you to process credit/debit payments via PC or smart phone I believe. You dont need the electronic card reader or merchant bank account. You need to check fees but at first viewing I didn't think it was too expensive an option, I guess it depends on the value of monthly transactions?
Hope that is of interest.
Stuart Dare
Coordinator - East Midlands Support Group
Caroline Gaskin
Dec 29 2011 6:38PM
Thanks Stuart, I'm looking into that right now, will post back on it, best wishes, Caroline
Amanda Clegg
Dec 29 2011 6:59PM
thanks Stuart & Caroline - useful info. Looking forward to any details.
Frances Patterson
Dec 29 2011 8:59PM
Hi Caroline,

I enquired about the Streamline system a couple of years ago; at that time, you had to rent the card terminal (£15 - £20 a month plus streamline take a commission for every transaction, which varies from about 1% to 2.75%, depending on the card). It also costs more to have a mobile terminal. I'm a bit vague about the cost because it was some time ago.
Joining the Federation of Small Businesses will give you a reduction but the cost of joining is quite considerable, plus there is a yearly fee.
As an alternative, you can (or your website manager can) organise an SSL certificate for your website, which i believe enables you to take payments online with the money going directly into your bank account, ie. the transaction happens immediately and you don't have to take or store any card details.
Best of luck.

Frances
Angela Rawlins
Dec 30 2011 8:51PM
Hi Caroline

I had the same idea as Stuart, Paypal. I've set up a paypal payment on my web site, or rather my web site chap did:) I used to have a business account at my bank and they were trying to get me to have a terminal - quite expensive if you don't take a lot of money. I did dispense with my business account when I started to have to pay charges after the free 18 months - charged me for breathing even!
Christopher David Handbury
Jan 2 2012 9:10PM
I have a mobile terminal for my clinic so i can use it for classes and events. I have had it for nearly 4 months and it has made a big difference, and most people expect it nowadays too! Cost wise is around £25 per month for the terminal, which is basically a mobile phone so you can see why it costs a bit. Merchant account just takes money for the transactions and when you transfer to your account. I worked it out at about £2.00 per transaction which includes your reciept rolls and other bits.
Up side is people are more likely to 'over spend' with a card than cash so there is room to make more money.
down side, realistically you have to add the costs to your charges. I have had customers mention that when they are at shops nowadays they say' i'm gonig to have to charge you x ammount for the card transaction'and they also mention why don't they just increase the sale price instead!
I have added £1 to my treatment prices with no problems. At least it cover some of the cost. Just work it out to see if you can benefit.
I have considered going back to just cash and cheques, which would mean telling everyone, and this is an inconvenience to the customer too!
It feels like a waste of money, but with the card machine the money is mine instantly, then into my businsss in just 2 days.
I opted for this because i did not want to get a phone line in and pay the line rental.
If there is an existing phone line the cheapest option would be run it off you phone through a laptop using some of the various internet business merchants.
I worked out that a phone line and internet would cost me £17 per month, plus a fixed terminal is around £15 rental, so £32 ish.
So looking at it like that the mobile terminal is a worthy option. Plus you can take it with you, do payments over the phone, refunds, chargebacks, etc.

I use elevon as a merchant and RMS for the terminal. I would suggest trying 'Handepay' or 'xlm' they are cheaper.

Good luck!
Angela Rawlins
Jan 3 2012 4:49PM
Thanks Chrisopher for you info, very nice to know for the future:)
Caroline Gaskin
Jan 3 2012 9:18PM
All really useful for lots of us I think!
Christopher David Handbury
Jan 4 2012 6:05PM
I think the mobile terminal is great if you are working at different sites or doing events. Plus you can take it home fro when people call and you need to do a transaction over the phone.

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