Accepting Credit Cards

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Let’s face it; organizing services are not inexpensive, and there will be many occasions when someone would just love to hire you, but they don’t have the cash on hand. Maybe you’ve thought about signing up for a credit card merchant account, but were put off by the expensive monthly fees which you’re required to pay, even during months you have no credit card activity.

Credit Card

I was so happy to learn that there is an affordable alternative. You can sign up for an account with PayPal in just a few minutes, and there’s no application fee, nor are there any monthly fees. In fact, your only expense is a small percentage of any payments you receive.

With PayPal, your clients can use their VISA, MasterCard, American Express, or debit card to pay you online, and they don’t even have to sign up for a PayPal account themselves. As long as they have Internet access, they can make the payment while you’re at their home or office, and you can leave with peace of mind, knowing that you won’t have to worry whether their check will clear. With this system, you never have access to your client’s credit card information, which provides them with an additional level of security.

For a slightly higher fee, PayPal also offers a Virtual Terminal, which lets you enter your client’s credit card number online, which can be especially useful if he or she doesn’t have Internet access.

If you’re planning to sell physical or digital products through your website, PayPal is the ideal solution. Even the FlyLady is a big fan!

I know that some people are nervous about using PayPal, but I’ve been using it in my business for over five years and have always been 100% satisfied. Most of the horror stories you hear are related to emails from scammers pretending to be PayPal, trying to gain access to your account. This is called phishing, and although it’s unfortunately quite common, it has nothing to do with PayPal itself. I’ve received similar emails appearing to be from dozens of different banking institutions, and as long as you never click on links but only access your account by going directly to the website, you should be just fine.

If you have any questions about PayPal, or would like some help getting started, drop me a line.

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A former professional organizer, I now eliminate stress for my clients by hosting, monitoring, and maintaining their WordPress sites so they don’t have to worry about security, downtime or performance issues. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking.

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  1. Avatar Jacki Hollywood Brown on April 24, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Great post Janet! Coincidentally, I just signed up for a PayPal account today 😉

    I hope to get the techno-organizing part of my business up and running very soon!

  2. Julie Bestry Julie Bestry on April 24, 2009 at 11:54 am

    I’ve had two PayPal accounts (one business, one person) for as long as I can remember, and have never experienced any problem. I don’t accept credit cards from my clients, as I try to discourage people with disorganized finances from buying services they can’t afford that very day.

    I do, however, sell the digital products on my site via PayPal, and it works very well. I’m notified within moments, and if there’s a problem, I can fix it quickly. One day, I received a sale notification that one of my clients bought a digital product I knew I’d already given her. I picked up the phone, confirmed that she’d made a “booboo”, and was able to go onto Paypal and “reverse” the purchase, easily crediting her back her money without it costing me at all.

    Janet, can you further explain the PayPal Virtual Terminal? I never quite understand the details.

  3. Avatar Janet Barclay on April 24, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Jacki, we’ll look forward to hearing more about that!

    Julie, that’s very responsible of you! What if you had a client whose financial house was in order, but preferred to use credit cards so they just have one monthly bill to pay, or to collect rewards points, or some other reason? I’m just curious…

    I’ve never used the Virtual Terminal myself, as it’s only available in the US, but this is the way I understand it to work. Instead of the purchaser going online and entering their credit card info, which is never seen by the seller, with the Virtual Terminal, the seller obtains the credit card information from the purchaser, then goes online and enters it for processing.

    In other words, if someone called you to book an appointment and you require a deposit, you could take their credit card number over the phone.

  4. Avatar Karen Salzsauler on May 5, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    My paypal account did help me collect from a client that I could not seem to collect a cheque from.

    I do however have a merchant account too. This allows me to have control over processing the payment rather than relying on prompt payment from clients. it is written in my contract that I will take payment on the day of service and then I provide them with a receipt.

    I justify the expense by thinking of it as being equal to what it would cost me if i had just 1 consultation a year that I couldn’t collect.

    While I don’t recommend anyone go into debt for services they can’t afford, some people, me included, use their credit cards as convenience cards. Keeps all payments in one place and only one payment to make at the end of the month. This can help keep you organized. But the trick is to pay off in full every month.

  5. Avatar Janet Barclay on May 6, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Karen, thanks for your insights! It’s great to have a mechanism in place to ensure you get paid for the work you’ve completed. And many expenses that people are reluctant to make in their business will actually pay for themselves over time.

  6. Avatar allison carter on May 6, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    I love using paypal. The most people who want to use it are people who want the points. I DO warn people who haven’t used it before about phising and scams and to never ever ever answer an email from paypal.
    — Allison

  7. Avatar Ruth Maude on February 11, 2011 at 4:01 pm


    I’ve been using PayPal for years but I do prefer when a client pays by email money transfer – saves PayPal fees.

  8. Avatar Janet Barclay on February 12, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Good point, Ruth – plus the money is in your bank account right away, with no need to initiate a transfer and wait a few days for it to go through.

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