2 Easy Ways to Take Charge (Cards) and Get Paid

Someone once told me that if you’re not making money, you don’t have a business, you have a hobby.

If you want a business, you need to make it as easy as possible to get paid. Accepting credit cards is a great way to do that instead of relying on cash or checks.

When I first started my business, I received some “not so great advice” from someone who already accepted credit cards.

They explained to me that to accept credit cards, I had to go through my bank. So that’s what I did. Boy, what a pain that was!

Let me share the highlights with you:

  • I filled out a lengthy application and paid an application fee. This process included a credit check, too.
  • I had an auditor visit my place of business to make sure I was “legit”. My fancy business headquarters is my house, so I gave him the grand tour of my office and conference room (better known as dining room).
  • I was terribly confused about how to set up my website to accept credit cards using the bank’s “convenient” application programming interface.
  • I was charged countless monthly (seemingly sporadic) fees from my bank.
  • I asked to cancel my account and was told there was a $500 cancellation fee.

Really $500 to cancel? Yes. This was the last straw that led to finding a simpler way of accepting credit cards to get paid.

How you can take charge (cards) and get paid

Depending on your type of business, there are several ways you’ll need to get paid. What does this mean?

Well, if you have a service-oriented business, you may need options to send electronic invoices, manually enter credit cards online or swipe credit cards on the spot.

You might sell physical goods, you may need to have the same options but also need an online shopping cart.

Or, you may be like many mom entrepreneuers and offer both products and services.

Sound confusing? It’s not, I promise.

There are two great ways to accept credit card payments to make your life easier, avoid headaches and get paid on time.

1. PayPal

PayPal isn’t just for eBay anymore. Nope, it’s a lot more sophisticated now.

You can generate links and buttons to sell products from your website through your customized shopping cart. You can order a PayPal credit card swiper to use on your smartphone. And you can easily send professional looking invoices to your clients and customers, who can then pay you with their own PayPal account or a credit card.

PayPal even offers a debit card that draws from your account balance. What about fees? Get this – PayPal takes their fees off the top only when you get paid.

How’s that for affordability and flexibility?

2. Square Up

The Square card reader put this service provider on the map.

To use the free card reader, all you do is download an app, plug the small swipe device into your smart phone and start accepting card payments. It’s really that easy.

You can use Square to manually enter credit cards, and you can even turn your iPad into a “cash register” and have the option to carry a virtual wallet to pay for things.

Square’s fees are straight forward and your money is deposited into your bank account the next day.

Hmmm…which to choose?

Both of these options are great for any business owner who wants to accept credit cards.

And if you’re hung up on the fees associated with PayPal or Square, remember that 3% is a small price to pay for you to get paid faster and to offer your customers the convenience of paying with credit cards.

Plus, it’s so fun to say “Will that be cash, check or charge?”

What do you use to accept credit cards for your business? Share with us in the comments below.

About the author:

Terra Bohlmann, PMP, is the founder of TheWorkingHouse.com and the creator of Virtual Team Building Boot Camp, where she coaches entrepreneurs to understand how to grow their businesses using the web and virtual teams while working from home. Terra lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and three sons (9 year old Grant & twin toddlers, Cooper and Lance). Stay connected with her by visiting her blog, subscribing to her eNewsletter, HOME|WORK, or following her on Twitter.


Terrah Bohlmann

Entrepreneur Coach at The Working House
Terra Bohlmann, PMP, is the founder of TheWorkingHouse.com and the creator of Virtual Team Building Boot Camp, where she coaches entrepreneurs to understand how to grow their businesses using the web and virtual teams while working from home. Terra lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and three sons (9 year old Grant & twin toddlers, Cooper and Lance).

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  1. bob h

    I wish I had seen your info sooner. I must tell you Square is horrible. Customer service is terrible and good luck trying to speak with someone. I have read your feed back on PayPal and will look forward to working with them.

  2. Tonya

    PayPal also offers a virtual terminal service. Note: The card swipe option only works when plugged into a computer. I used this option before the smartphone card swipe became available.

  3. Jennifer Dunn

    One of my clients, WePay, just came out with something called Virtual Terminal where you can securely take credit cards via phone (yes, like the big guys) with no merchant account or expensive terminal rental needed. I didn’t think I would use it very much, but right after I found out about it I signed a new client and they asked “Can I just pay you the deposit over the phone?” For the first time, I was able to say “Yes!”

    • Heather Allard

      Oooh, very cool Jennifer! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  4. Thais Zoe | Lucky Duck Living

    Hi everyone, I’ve enjoyed reading your comments. I’m launching in a few weeks using an online shopping card and was able to integrate it seamlessly with both Paypal and Visa/Mastercard. For the Paypal I set up a biz account and do the one-link express checkout which shoppers seem to love. For most people who don’t us a Paypal account it was important to me to accept Visa and Mastercard. I heard about FeeFighters.com to find merchant processors and got SO LUCKY. I have to share that I found the MOST amazing woman to help me navigate how everything works, get me set up with the Authorize.net gateway I wanted, AND get me an amazing rate. If you’ve been toying with idea of adding this option, but daunted but what you think you might not know this is your sign to take the leap! I’m happy to answer any questions you might have, just comment below. Or, you can contact her directly at [email protected] Her name is Karen Gall and she works with First Data. If you let her know Thais at Lucky Duck Living sent you, she’ll take EXTRA good care of you. All the best and much prosperity to us all:)

    • Greg Figueroa

      Thais, you don’t need a paypal account as a shopper to pay for things on websites that use Paypal buttons.

  5. Sarah @ Family. Food. Fiesta.

    We use PayPal and it’s been great to us so far. I’ve been using it since 2006 and my has it advanced. I definitely like the ability to pay via Smartphone, too. I’ve never tried Square-Up since I’ve always been content with PayPal. Thanks for breaking down the two, though.

  6. Tera Maxwell

    I was thinking about this very topic today, and I saw your post! Thank you of sharing. I use Paypal, but I’ve been wondering about switching to an another service. I will have to check out the Paypal app too.

    It’s amazing the choices we have today as entrepreneurs. The sky’s the limit!

  7. Heather Allard

    Awesome comments, everyone! Thanks so much for sharing your experiences! 🙂

  8. erin

    Has anyone ever tried Popmoney.com? Their website advertises flat fees (95c) for transactions. I’m curious how it would work. I was thinking about Square, but Popmoney might be more versatile…

  9. Tonya

    I use PayPal and its card reader. I especially like the ability to accept payments from customers with the PayPal app installed on an Android or iOS phone. The PayPal app allows for electronic payment on the spot without swiping, or even seeing, a credit card. For those familiar with the Starbucks app, the capability is similar.

  10. Deanna

    What timing! I have a PayPal account which I’ve used for years but just minutes ago I signed up for a Squared account prior to reading this. I have seen the not so good reviews of Squared but am willing to give them a try as the total cost is much lower than some competitors. My side business is small but hoping by adding the option of accepting credit cards, this might boost sales a bit. We’ll see how it goes!

  11. Nicole

    I absolutely LOVE Paypal. It was very easy to set up, and the fees are very reasonable.

  12. Rivka Kawano

    Actually, you don’t have to choose anymore! Paypal just launched their own competitive product to Square – it is the same basic technology except it links through your Paypal account, and is a triangle shaped device. The fees are comparable or lower too! 🙂

    I have not had a chance to try it yet, but am super excited about this added option.

  13. Amanda

    I use the Square card reader at craft shows and even if someone is paying cash the app will let me calculate tax and change (saving me the headache of doing it manually). I haven’t had a problem with it yet, though I haven’t heard many good things about the customer service. I suppose I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

    For now, the ease of use and low fees are driving me to keep my Square.

  14. Scott Bradley

    Square has horrible customer service. I would recommend that you stay away from them at all cost. People are losing their businesses because of Square.

    If you want to see what I am talking about go to their facebook page (look at the comments), and/or google “Square Reviews.”

    It appears that if you have a problem with something, there is absolutely NO customer support help at all.


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