Art Fair Insiders

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I picked up my Mac from the computer repair facility and while the gal at the register was checking me out (read that; rang up the cost of the repair) I checked out the swiper device on her phone. Seems there is another new player in the POS biz. Payments is supported (in the fine print) by Wells Fargo. Their POS system boasts a low rate of 1.8%+15 cents per transaction, slightly higher for keyed transactions (2.3% ?). Doing the math shows this to be a far lower rate than either Square or Paypal at 2.75 and 2.7 respectively!
The free APP runs on your iPad iOS 6/7, iPhone and I think Android. They can also program some handheld devices, unfortunately my Nurit 8000 was not one of them.
I requested the swiper and received it in about 2 days via UPS overnight, plugged it in and, as I already had downloaded the APP, was up and running in no time. For me the interface was fairly intuitive given that I've already had a go with Square and Paypal. The APP provides some ready made templates for a variety of businesses like a salon or photo studio but given that I am neither of these I choose to make up my own categories.
Doing so is easy enough however if your category has a lengthy name it automatically gets truncated. The only trouble I had initially was distinguishing between an "item" and a "category", choosing the wrong one will display your items in a way you may not want. In addition to this there are also some automatic discount tabs at the bottom if you choose to use them. Another nice feature that I haven't seen on any other system is the ability to add personalized messages on the receipt as-well-as an image if you wish. I know Square allows an image to be added but the personalized message on the receipt is a leg up on the others. I put my name, business name and web address on my receipts.
The APP only allows you to enter one tax rate at a time so, as an itinerant artist, you'd have to change the tax rate each time you go to another venue. I guess that isn't such a big deal but I like the Square interface that allows you to make and save many different tax rates so as I travel I can just pick the one I need for the current city location. I called their support number and the friendly service guy verified that fact and said that was a good suggestion for an upgrade to their software (good customer relations!)
I'm only just getting into the ins and outs of it but its worthy of a look given the low rates, direct customer service number and ease of use. The only down side that I've run into so far is the lack of foresight on their part for the itinerant merchant and saving multiple tax rates.
They do verify your checking account for automatic deposits but any merchant account does that. They put in two small deposits, you verify the amount in your user account. You have to activate your account after that so you can use your own credit card to charge say 50 cents and then refund your charge and viola! You're ready to take charge cards. I used it for the first time this past weekend in Durango and only had one hiccup when it wouldn't take a card and I had to switch over to Square real quick but later in the day it worked just fine. You wont get an email like Square, which sends you an email for every transaction you make and their Dashboard doesn't show the fees charged. To find that you have to go to your "Transactions" to see it. I didn't see any fees for my weekends transactions and called them to find out that my first $5000 in transactions were free! That's almost $100 in fee free transactions!
Another thing they have over Square is when you check your transaction history the names of the credit card users are listed! I have my customers fill out a written receipt and often can't read what they have written so this is a nice cross check. I haven't had anyone request an email receipt so I can't comment on whether you get an email history or not. That's one of the downsides of Square, you can't capture email addresses for your mailing list.
If you go to their website be aware that there are two different business solutions one for restaurants which is a subscription service and one for POS users which is free.

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Comment by Mark V. Turner on September 27, 2013 at 2:53pm

Amex transactions have a variable rate (2.3-3.5%) and swipe fee ($0 - 0.15) depending your program.

However, if it's Wells Fargo underneath it all, count on the rules and fees changing quickly in order for them to monetize the program.  When they took over Wachovia, they maintained the Wachovia fee structure for those accounts for all of about 6 months. Then, free checking and savings both disappeared and were replaced with monthly fees dependent on balance.

Also, WF already offers credit card merchant processor accts. So, I have to imagine that they will be trying to make the rate structures match each other at some point.

What I cant find is their fee and rate page. They reference it in their promotional materials, but don't provide a link to it and it may be behind their sign-up page. If you have a link, Brian, please put it up here so we can see..

Comment by Nan Kennedy on September 27, 2013 at 10:14am

FYI -- the POS option only works for iPad, not iPhone

Comment by S Brian Berkun on September 26, 2013 at 11:20pm
My video card died! ;-p
Comment by Connie Mettler on September 26, 2013 at 9:37pm

This does sound amazing, but I've got to admit, I am totally lost in all of these options and glad I'm just running transactions that I key in on my home office and am not trying to find my way through all of these options. Sounds like you enjoy the tech challenges, Brian.

(what really surprised me was that your Mac was in the repair shop -- I've got all Macs and they have never visited the shop -- maybe I shouldn't say that ... )

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