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Lowest cost credit card acceptance ideas


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I have an idea about a custom machine I want to create that would be able to accept credit card as payment.

I would like it to be able to be wireless (that is, no phone line connected to the machine).

From the little research I did online, it looks like credit card acceptance is a big investment.  I understand that credit card processors will charge a percentage of the transaction as commissions and fees, but what I don't like is how you will also have to pay for monthly wifi or cellular serivce.  Also, I don't like how these companies basically  try to force you to buy all the credit card equipment and services from them.  It is all very proprietary and looks like there is very little you can customize or custom design (to help reduce costs).

Does anyone have any good ideas of how to save money on accepting credit card as payment?  Are there any lower cost or alternative companies in this market?

Can I design some DIY service where I use radio to transmit encrypted credit card information to my office and have software to then enter that into validating software or a validating website using my office internet fixed line - and then transmit that validation back to my machine via radio (thus eliminating the cost of cellular monthly service)?

Any ideas?

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My friend, you are playing with fire.

Remember how big a deal it was when Target got hacked? This is an easy way to get into that same position.

At a minimum, you will have to comply with the PCI DSS standards.

Also, you will still pay processing fees to whatever credit card processor you choose. And if they get wind of what you are doing they are going to shut your account down.

I can't think of any way that doing your own systems is going to save you any money. Unless you were, say Canteen and could afford to spread the cost of engineering over hundreds of thousands of machines. And even they use USAT.

Put it this way, a USATech reader is 300 plus under 10 bucks a month. You will spend more than 300 in the time and hassle of engineering everything properly and buying the equipment. If you spend more than an hour on this a month (which you will) you are making the equivalent of less than 10 dollars an hour. If i wanted to make minimum wage I'd work at McDonalds. And the percentage that USAT charges is not much more than what a regular card processor charges.


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Dude, you aren't paying for cellular service, you are paying for the submission of batches of transactions by cell signal.  Just because it's by cell signal doesn't mean you have a cell account for it.  It's built in to the monthly fee you pay.  You are also paying for the backend prosessing that the provider does on your behalf.  Unless you are going to be a bank or a backend processor you can't do this part yourself.  Payrange is a good option but it's unseen and you have to entice or train people to use it.  Or you could tape a Square swiper to the machine :)

Edited by AZVendor
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A card reader costs about $300 + $7.95 per month for the wireless fee.  Of course, you pay transactions fees but those can be passed onto the consumer.  If that's too big of an investment for you, then I don't know why you would want to start building custom-made radio devices and custom swipe devices that somehow transmit card data.  How would you ever make the radio transmission send the data back?  What if the radio transmission is too weak?  Your technology would be extremely insecure and very unreliable, and likely illegal.

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