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Fire Pond Pottery

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    Fremont, NH
  1. In my efforts to replace our knucklebuster with a way to swipe credit cards (see other thread http://ceramicartsda...nuckle-buster/), I took Mea’s advice and contacted Jennifer Estrada at Chase Paymentech. She replied with the following two options: 1) ICT250 Terminal - $500 2) Orbital Virtual Terminal - $100 Set-up fee + $25 per month Neither option is a good one for small pottery businesses with a low volume of charges. They’re targeted for true retail businesses, not to seasonal businesses like small pottery shops. Five years ago, the Chase Paymentech benefit from the Potters’ Council was a fantastic way to accept credit cards when few vendors could. The knucklebuster made it look official. The monthly fee of $3.50/month ($42/year) was the best you could find for a merchant account. Even with the confusing tiered system for transaction fees, it was a great service for potters who do 99% of their business in two months of the year. Even when ProPay came out a few years ago and offered a low-fee alternative with much simpler terms, Chase Paymentech was a little cheaper. Fast forward a few years and everything has changed. Chase’s phone system for entering charge information is now kind of ridiculous. There should be a website for this. The same knucklebuster which legitimized the process five years ago is now obsolete and makes you look like you’re stuck in the dark ages. The whole purpose of having Chase Paymentech as a Potters’ Council benefit was to fill a niche, but the service they offer has become obsolete. We do more charges every year, so this service just isn’t worth the effort and time it takes to process charges. I’ve been comparing the different options from the new breed of merchant account companies (Square, ProPay, Intuit GoPayment, PayPal) and will summarize them in another thread. Even though we’ve resisted getting smartphones so far, it’s time to step up and get a smartphone or iPad. I especially like the option to add cell service when you need it (http://ceramicartsdaily.org/community/topic/2501-square-up-issues/page__p__22129entry22129). I just wanted to share these thoughts. I think Chase is losing a potential market through inaction as these other services targeted small businesses and individuals. I don’t see why anyone would enroll in this benefit anymore, as it hasn’t kept up with the times. And the Potters’ Council has one benefit less.
  2. Thank you all for the great ideas. Mark, I have a call out to Merchant Warehouse to see what they suggest. I wonder if just about any credit card reader/printer would be able to do what I want, as long as I can tell it to skip the authorization step and just print the receipt. Brian and Neil, I'm still trying to avoid the smart phone options for now and stick with Chase Paymentech through the Potters Guild. I think it's just a matter of time, though, before we're all processing charges with our phones. Mea, I'll check with Chase to see if they can take any kind of terminal. I'm trying to keep it simple and just replace the knuckle buster with a card reader, especially now that more cards no longer have the raised numbers. I've seen those smaller imprinters before, and I wondered if they worked well. If I can't find what I'm looking for, maybe I'll try one. Thanks again! Larry
  3. We use Chase Paymentech through the Potters Council, so we have to call in every charge and enter them manually after a show (that's fodder for another topic). We're still using a knuckle buster for our charges, but with the holiday season approaching we're not looking forward to another season of using the clunky machine which is slow and makes us look like we're still in the 90s. I know many people use square with a smart phone or ipad, but we already have the merchant service and I like giving our customers a paper credit card receipt. Does anyone use a credit card reader/printer for this purpose? It doesn't need to authorize the transactions because we'll still need to call them in manually. It would be nice to enter an amount, swipe the card, and have two receipts print out (one for them to sign and one for them to take with them). If so, where did you get it and what model do you have? There are some fairly inexpensive ones on eBay, but I don't know if any credit card reader/printer will do. Any suggestions? Larry
  4. Thank you for the quick replies. In another thread, John Baymore recommended having shelves sandblasted (http://ceramicartsda...indpost__p__367). That might be a good alternative to the angle grinder if it doesn't cost much. Larry
  5. We use a dremel tool to clean glaze drips and kiln wash from the bottom of pots, but we were thinking of getting a grinder to make this job easier. It would also be nice to polish the bottoms of pieces and to be able to do some kiln shelf cleanup, too. From posts here and on the old clayart board, some people use bench grinders to clean and then polish the bottoms of pieces. This would be nice because some of our clay is a little rough and it's not practical to polish the bottoms of our pices with the dremel, but I don't know how a bench grinder would work for kiln shelves. Other people use angle grinders for kiln shelf maintenance, but I don't see how you would use an angle grinder on your pieces. Any suggestions for something that can be used on our pots and also on kiln shelves? Thanks in advance for any advice and experience. Larry
  6. We just got our February statement, too. It only shows the $3.50 fee, so it looks like they took care of this for some of us. We didn't have any activity in February, so I don't know if that has anything to do with it. Larry
  7. That's great! It seems like Chase Paymentech forgets about their relationship with the Potters Council every now and then. It's nice we don't have to find a new service. Thanks for following up so quickly. Jessica and Larry
  8. Over two years ago we wanted to accept credit cards so we signed up for a merchant account with Chase Paymentech through the Potters Council. Like many potters, we do almost all of our sales in November and December each year, so an account with a $3.50 monthly fee was perfect. The Chase Paymentech rep at the time wasn't the most responsive, so it took a while to get all of the information we needed to set up the account. The discount fees have gone up at least once each year. American Express keeps switching our account to a monthly fee plan instead of the discount fee plan, so we have to call them periodically to refund the fee and switch us back (they always do this without any problems and their customer support is fantastic, unlike the experiences we've had calling Chase Paymentech). Despite the occasional hassle, we told ourselves it was still worth it in order to offer credit card processing. Today we received a letter from Chase Paymentech they will be adding a Monthly Minimum Fee of $25 starting in February. I'll call them tomorrow to ask if they'll waive the fee. If they don't, that eliminates one of the nice membership benefits of the Potters Council. It might be time to shop around for a new credit card processing company.
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