Electronic Payment Options

  Spring 2015
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 The busiest season for farmers’ markets is fast approaching. Make sure you’re ready for the crowds with the latest in electronic payment options.
It’s easier than ever to accept credit cards these days. There’s a variety of digital devices available, and depending on your needs—and the strength of your internet access—they’ll work almost anywhere.

The majority of devices are the hand-held, pay-at-table type we’ve all used in restaurants: a slot to read the credit card, a digital screen with number pad below to enter point of sale details, usually a printer that spits out a receipt as well as the option to email a receipt should the customer request one. Most providers now also offer a mobile device that plugs into the standard headset jack of your smartphone, and effectively turns it into an onsite cash register.

Standard transaction fees apply on all types of devices (usually 2.75%) and some suppliers also charge a monthly user fee.

These devices are offered by a variety of reputable suppliers, and are compatible with all major banks. But check out all options to source the best deal. It may be directly from the supplier or it may be through an outside retailer.

The Better Business Bureau website has some good information, and it’s always a good idea to talk to people already using them. We talked to a few ourselves; here are some tips they gave us:

  • Internet access: all devices are dependent upon signal strength. If in a weak area, it might not be worth the investment.
  • Most devices are compatible with your payment processor (bank) and require no special software or hardware, but it’s a good idea to check with your bank beforehand.
  • Data storage: most devices have more than enough room for payment processor transactions, but check with your internet service provider if you’re unsure.
  • Platforms supported: both iOS and Android, but Blackberry is often not supported; check with the payment processor.
  • One issue with all providers is that the fees quoted are often starting discounts, and may increase for different types of transactions or for credit cards that collect loyalty points.
  • Watch for US-based companies, they can cause headaches if you need to return a malfunctioning device. If they use a Canadian supplier, make sure they are reputable.

Square: At one time the exception to the hand-held rule—this cute little device plugs into the standard headset jack of your smartphone or tablet. Swipe the credit card through the slot at the top and enter the sales details on the smartphone.

Customers sign the screen with their finger and money is deposited directly to your bank account, minus the 2.75% transaction fee. Receipts are also sent via email. Both the device and app are free, and there’s no monthly user fee. People we spoke with loved Square for its ease of use and no monthly fee. Order at squareup.com.

Moneris Solutions (moneris.com) is Canadian owned and the largest supplier of electronic payment options. They offer a full range of devices, and monthly rental fees apply for some—you only pay full cost for the months you use it, on the months you don’t, the rate is reduced. Transaction fees vary for Interac, Visa and MasterCard, and additional charges apply for non-bank credit cards and credit cards that accrue points. On the plus side, Moneris offers 24/7 customer service.

P.O.S. West is a major supplier in Canada of electronic payment services including Visa, MasterCard and Interac for merchants. They custom build a merchant package for every customer based on the industry and types of transactions and cards that are being processed. You must purchase the device (costs vary depending upon type). They also offer 24/7 customer support. Visit poswest.com for details.

Chase Paymentech Canada (chasepaymentech.ca): They offer both a hand-held device and a smartphone attachment similar to Square. Visit their website for a complete list of compatible devices.

EFT Canada (eftcanada.com): EFT Canada handles larger transactions and there is a holding period before funds are transferred. This is particularly useful for those with online stores: the customer submits an order, but if you’re out of stock, for example, there is time to adjust the order before payment takes place.

Digitech Payments: Digitech offers both a hand-held and smartphone attachment. The process is similar to Square. digitechpayments.com

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Eileen Kotowich.
This information published to the web on May 26, 2015.