So many small businesses are scared of credit card transactions – if you’re one of those scaredy cats I hope this article can bring you over the line. Credit card fees are easily managed today and recent changes to the law have legitimised the charging of credit card fees if that’s what you need.

Paying with credit card has become more popular in recent years not only because of the credit function, but the growth of the VISA or MasterCard Debit Card functionality most banks have in place make it easy to pay quickly, plus, if you’re like me you love your Qantas points. Friends think I have a Qantas points problem, but they didn’t fly business class home from Paris last year, did they ūü§£ (if you’re not on the points bandwagon, here’s an AMEX referral link so I get 20,000 points and you get 80,000 points free!)

This article is going to cover receiving payments in person and online – if your business has needs outside of these two domains, get in touch or you probably already know you need to talk to a developer or business banker about your requirements.

Receiving credit card payments in person

This part of the article is so easy. Square has made EFTPOS machines for small businesses an archaic hangover from the 90s. There are definite use cases where a dedicated EFTPOS machine attached to your point of sale system makes more sense than Square, but if you’re currently not accepting credit card transactions then you’re crazy not to start with Square. The paypass/paywave/contactless payment dongle thing is only $59 and at the time I was writing this the transaction fee is 1.9%. From $10, that’s 19c. $1.90 from $100. And if you need to jump in the deep end the ACCC has allowed you to on-charge that fee, so it’s ok to charge that processing fee on to your customer.

Follow this referral link to receive $1000 in free payment fees, that’s a sweet $19 back in your pocket.

Receiving credit card payments online

If you’re the kind of kid that likes to have as few eggs in their basket as possible, then you can also send invoices out of your Square app and they get charged at 2.5%. Or, for the total cost of zero you could roll your own solution using Stripe and Jotforms and it’s going to take you about five minutes to setup, assuming you already have a Stripe account.

So let’s start by signing up for a Jotform account at¬†¬†Once you’re signed up, create your first form.

Create your first form, and give it a title – something honest but not maybe as cheesy as “Give me money!”

To receive payments, at the very least you’ll need the following fields:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Email

I add in phone just in case I don’t know why they’re paying me. Which leads to an extra field: request context as to what the payment is for. Ask for an invoice number, a wedding date, or a product name.

Then add in a ‘Form Element’ from the ‘Payment‘ section – select Stripe from the list.

Selecting Stripe adds in a payment section to your form, requesting credit card details.

Ahead of the credit card details I’ve added two other fields: How much are you paying today, and the addition of the credit card fee. If you were willing to swallow the credit card fee at this step, you could actually ignore these two fields as the Stripe widget has the option for a¬†User Defined Amount. But if you like to play, add a number field, then add a second field from the Widget selection, search for Form Calculation.

The math I’m calculating asks for the amount the user wants to pay, then multiplies that number by 1.02 (2% credit card fee) and adds the 30c fee, totally covering the Stripe fees.

You’ll need to change the Stripe widgets settings as well, hover over the widget and choose “Payment Settings”.

Step one here is to connect it to your Stripe account.

Step two is to confirm that the following settings are in place:

  • It’s in live mode
  • The currency is your local currency
  • Choose which field to use as the billing address
  • Payment type selected as User Defined Amount
  • Suggest an amount is off
  • Get Price From is changed to the calculation widget, mine was called “withThe”
  • Change the additional gateway settings so the customer email field is changed to their email

Go to the form settings and you’re¬†almost home.

The two settings I want to change is regarding the email Jotforms sends the customer and the email it sends me. A few changes to the email subject should present it better, check out the screenshots to see my edits.

And click publish and the new payment form is live and it has cost you nothing! If you start taking more than 10 payments a month you’ll need to upgrade to the $19 per month plan.

And you have a payment form!

Bonus round

If¬† looks a little off-brand and ugly to you, you weren’t alone. As functional as the link is – you can click it, it’s live – I wondered how it would appeal to customers being sent there from an email, or off an invoice.

So I booted up Hover, my domain host and searched for a domain name to suit.

And directed it to the ugly Jotform address.

So now when people ask if I accept credit card, I can send them to “withers pay dot com” over the phone, or provide the link to in emails or on invoices.

What is the user experience like?

The user gets two emails – one from Jotform and one from Stripe. There’s a possibility I could disable the Jotform email.