So today I am interviewing Debbie Woodruff of Central Payment Corporation. She is going to answer questions about credit card processing that I am sure we have all wondered about. As business owners, we have to offer our customers options for payment yet we all hate to pay money to take money. Debbie says she has ways to save us money for using Central Payment as our processor so let’s get started.Kelley: Debbie, what makes Central Payment better and less expensive than other companies?
Debbie: I will be honest, Kelley, most card processors are out for the almighty buck. They sock it to the small guys and the large companies get all the perks! With Central Payment we try to cater to everyone from small to large. The small guy is the one that really needs the breaks so we waive many of the fees or reduce them so that they can grow and pay very minimal amounts.
Kelley: Is CPC less expensive than say, ProPay or PayPal?
Debbie: CPC is about 1/3 of the cost. Plus, what I have heard from many of the soapers is that they have held up depositing funds for some soapers ‘just in case’ they have a dispute, which makes no sense! It is like calling the President to find out why funds are being held up when this happens and unfair for sure as you gals work hard for your sales and you want the funds now….not 30-90 days from now! Central Payment does not hold up funds. If one of your customers disputes a charge we call you first and let you know who and what they are saying and get your input. We may ask you to provide documentation (a signed receipt or a copy and paste from your website that states all sales final or what your policies are). We never automatically debit those funds like other companies do. We do a full investigation and keep our merchants in the loop as to our findings.
Kelley: Thank you for clarifying that as I often wondered how they determine who is right and who is wrong. How do we keep from getting a claim/dispute in the first place?
Debbie: Good Question, Kelley. You always want to ‘batch’ or ‘settle’ on the same day you run the transaction for one thing. Keeping that transaction in the terminal for several days can do a few things: #1. It downgrades your good rate from qualified to a non-qualified risk rate because that customer made the purchase today and not 3 days from now which will reflect on their credit card or bank statement when they get it, and could even fall on the next months bill instead of this months bill. #2. Always get a signed receipt or if using an internet system to process make sure you have a disclosure statement that states they agree to your terms when making a purchase (i.e. all sales final, accepting the terms acts as their signature of approval, returns have to be made in x number of days, etc. etc.) Make it clear what your policies are.
Kelley: Thank you, those things make sense to me. Soapies has policies that MUST be agreed to prior to check-out for that very reason. So what does it cost to get started and what kind of equipment do we get from your company?
Debbie: Kelley, basically I can get the customer whatever they want for FREE! If they have a store and prefer a landline terminal where the customer comes in and you swipe the card, I have several terminals I can give you FREE. If they do all of their business home-based and use the internet, I have an awesome system that is also FREE. It is called PayJunction and allows you ways to process several ways: virtual terminal from your desktop, any landline or cell phone which is awesome while at shows, etc., and it also comes with a free shopping cart with up to 2500 generator buttons and does real time processing so that your customer enters all the credit card information and it sends them a receipt and notifies you of the sale! Most soapers just use the virtual terminal from their desk top and love the 10 second approvals. But what is nice is they have the option to grow into a website if they want to without having to pay for a shopping cart service. This is all free from us! Our system has all sorts of reporting features and holds history for you to review anytime, view statements before you get them in the mail, and I have many doctors and health clubs using this program due to the recurring transactions they can do.
Kelley: Wow, it is expensive to add a shopping cart so great that yours is FREE! Let me ask you a question. What if they are already committed to another processing company for a specific length of time?
Debbie: Easy. If they are under contract with another processor we will buy out that contract up to $250. We deposit that amount directly into your account the same day you provide us with a bill or debit showing they have deducted or billed. As I stated, we cater to your specific needs so I can do short term trial agreements to see if you like it and am comfortable doing that because no one has ever not stayed beyond a trial agreement.
Kelley: Debbie, so what are the rates and fees we would be paying as I am sure everyone wants to know?
Debbie: Exactly! Why even ponder change if it is not going to benefit you! Again, it depends on your specific needs. For retail I have proposed as little as 1.39% for MC, Visa and 1.65% for reward cards and Discover with between $.18-$.22 per transaction, and then there is what is called Mid-Qualified and Non-Qualified charges. We keep those really low too and if you charge through the internet the Mid-Qualified charges do not apply and the non-qualified are only for international cards but I keep those really low too at 1.59% above cost as many have Canadian customers. If you go with the PayJunction program there is an $8.00 gateway fee. We also deal with other gateway companies such as Authorized.Net We also have a MOTO account which is designed, specifically, for merchants that ONLY process online without a card ever being present and we can do 2.19% across the board for those merchants. Most that I have come across without cards being present are well over 3.5% and I have seen some paying as high as 8%.
Kelley: Really? 8%! I would be out of business at that rate!
Debbie: Sad but true. Many have been with the same processors for so long that they do not even know what percentages they are paying. I had a restaurant that processes over 30k a month that was paying over 6%! I saved her over $6,000 a year in processing fees!
Kelley: I hear so much vibe about PCI and compliant fees, etc.. What is all that about?
Debbie: Master Card and Visa now charge EVERY processor an annual PCI Compliant fee for each merchant as of last fall 2008. Many processors and banks did not have certain policies in place and compromised hundreds and thousands of cards and were heavily fined. You most likely read of this in the newspapers. You will be happy to know that Central Payment eats the PCI Compliance fee for every merchant that is willing to take a 5 minute survey on our website after they become a merchant. There is not another company out there that waives this fee that I know of. We employ our own PCI Compliant Team whereas most processors hire an outside support service to monitor their policies. Plus, Kelly, you can tell them that I am willing to walk them through the survey at a time convenient for them, or will do the survey for them with them on the other end of the phone line. To some, it is a bit confusing but I just ask them the questions and we get that fee waived.
Kelley: Sounds great, Debbie. So how does one contact you and get started?
Debbie: Really easy, Kel. They can call or email me and I can do everything via phone, email scans or fax. I just have to ask a few questions and need a voided check for the bank they want to use for deposits. I can have them set up normally within 3-4 days. Just have them call my cell as I am glued to it 24/7 at 574-292-2590 or email me at email@example.com. If they have time they should also go to www.centralpaymentcorp.com and view the demo for PayJunction. All they have to do is click onto the services overview and then scroll down to E-Commerce and click on to Our Trinity. Plus, they can email or call me with any questions they may have.
Kelley: Are there any special times they should call you?
Debbie: Anytime, day, night or weekends. Kelley, I also have a referral program so any other companies they refer to me they get a $50 referral fee as soon as that customer comes on board and starts processing! I live by referrals!
Kelley: Thanks so much for taking the time to enlighten our readers about credit card processing and all that it entails! Toodles for now!
~ This concludes the Soapies Blog interview with Debbie at Central Payment Corporation ~
To visit their site: http://www.centralpaymentcorp.com/
Mishawaka, IN 46545