The Travelling Cash Register
By: Virginia Jennings
Many people, me included, no longer carry around cash. We rely on our debit cards. Which is all fine and dandy until you are sitting at a book signing trying to sell books and your customer only has a debit card on them. Before your next book signing be sure and sign up for your very own debit card reader. Debit card readers are helpful for yard sales, small businesses, and… yes, authors and publishers.
Bear in mind that it will take up to a week or more (depending on the mail) to get your card reader.
Some questions to ask while you are choosing your card reader:
Do they accept Visa/ Discover/and Mastercard?
Do they send you a free card reader or will you have to pay for one?
Do they have different per transaction rates for swipes verses manual entries?
Are there any other set up fees or hidden fees?
Will you be paying a monthly charge?
Some advice on the monthly charge:
If you are not making enough sales every month to justify that per month fee, you may want to look into a different card reader. With a per transaction fee you don’t have to worry about those months that you didn’t have a book signing or didn’t make a sale. Mine sits in my purse costing nothing at all when I am not at book signings!
One other piece of extra advice:
Stick with the brands everyone knows, nothing is worse than being at a book signing and having your customer look at you suspiciously for wanting to use a brand of card reader they have never heard of before.
Comparing 3 Major Card Readers:
Intuit Go Payment, Square it up, and Paypal. All three send you a free card reader.
Intuit’s rates are as follows:
Swipe rate: 2.40%
Manual entry rate: 3.40%
Transaction fee: $0.25
The cost works out like this: Say your customer buys $10 worth of stuff. 2.40% of $10.00 is $0.24, add in that $0.25 transaction fee and you have a $0.49 fee for every transaction.
For those times when the card won’t swipe properly and you are stuck doing a manual entry the cost works out like this: 3.40% of $10 is $0.34, add that $0.25 and you have a $0.59 fee for that transaction.
Square Up’s rates are as follows:
Swipe Rate: 2.75%
Manual: 3.5% + $0.15
The cost works out like this: 2.75% of $10 is $0.275 per swipe, that’s it!
For manual entries: 3.5% of $10 is $0.35, add on that $0.15 and you pay $0.50 cents per manual entry.
Paypal’s reader rates are as follows:
Swipe rate: 2.7%
Manual entry: 3.5% + $0.15
The cost works out like this: 3.5% of $10 is $0.27 per swipe. So a little cheaper than Square up and a whole twenty two cents cheaper than Intuit!
For manual entries: 3.5% of $10 is $0.35, add on that $0.15 and it is $0.40 cents per manual entry. Ten cents cheaper than Square Up and nineteen cents cheaper than Intuit!
So, our winner is:
(Time for me to change card readers!)
Plus, if you set up your Paypal card reader as a business account they give you extra tools that will allow you to use Paypal buttons directly on your website. Every author should have a way to sell their books from their website! In order to set up a business account you don’t need anything special. You don’t need a license. You allow Paypal to verify your SSN, give it your address, and your phone number and you are done!
Also, just for that person that still carries around checks… check with your bank- some banks have apps that allow you to deposit checks right from your phone!
Virginia Jennings is a speculative fiction author of two books so far; Visionary From The Stars (published by PDMI Publishing), and The Alien Mind (contracted by PDMI Publishing for a second edition). She is also an illustrator for PDMI Publishing currently working on illustrating her second children’s book through them; the first being Wiggle Worm’s Shape Adventures. But that is the boring stuff! Who is Virginia really? Virginia loves putting her creative, bubbly personality to work while helping those she comes across. She loves fixing things and solving little problems here and there. Inspiration can strike at any time! Her favorite moments are the cases where she has to learn something new or come up with a crazy solution in order to fix something Virginia is a speculator, a what if’er, which probably explains her love of The Walking Dead. She enjoys friendly philosophical debates with her husband and analyzing why humans do the things we do. When her husband isn’t available for brain picking she instead turns to debating concepts with her characters in her mind or on her blog. She believes we are capable of so much more than we have even begun to explore. Through her writing, she enjoys trying to figure out what our human potential is and where that could lead. Over all Virginia is just about as real as a person who talks to the voices in her head can get. She even sings along with her favorite local radio station (89.7 WMHK) while driving her kids to school! (Real people do that right?) She also enjoys Doctor Who or Star Trek with her family over dinner, and watching the latest sci-fi, or action movie with her husband. On the weekends, you may even find her at the local comic book store with her kids hunting down yet another Superman comic. Best of all, she loves to meet new people and would love to get to know you as well!
And as founder of one of the largest Writer/Author groups on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/wherewritersandauthorsmeet/