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on letting go

Back in 2000 I signed up for a merchant account with one of the larger name merchant providers. Remember, in 2000 the dot-com boom was still in full swing so I got approved to transact an ungodly amount each month.

For those I just completely lost, a merchant account gives you the ability to accept major credit cards, however, all merchants have a limit on what they can transact a month. If you've ever encountered delayed billing, the business you bought from ran into their monthly limit and therefore had to bill you later. See there? You learn something new by reading my blog, and knowing is half the battle. G.I. Schmoe!

My merchant account was done "old school" style, meaning a true-blue biz-checking-required blah blah thing where you have to pay (gasp) an application fee and the whole nine yards. On transactions I did it literally said my business name on the buyer's billing statement and not some other run-of-the-mill thing.

It was cool as far as business perks were concerned.

For the past several years I kept the merchant account alive mainly due to the fact I had such a great monthly limit - and I knew it would be almost impossible to get that kind of limit again if I dropped it.

The problem was that I hardly ever transacted anything. I mean, yeah, it worked and worked great.. but most of my biz transaction stuff was done by paper check.

As the years went on and I went back to working for other people I basically stopped using it entirely.

It cost me about $65 a month just to keep it going. For most people that's a somewhat-big expense for something you keep that you don't use.

After a lot of thought I finally decided to lay down the boom and let it go.

This is why:

First, if I ever decided to do my own biz again, the amounts I would transact would simply be too high. Smaller amounts with a max $250 are way better for cards. If you're running a retail store or something like that, having the ability to accept cards is mandatory. But in my situation it's not.

Second, with today's internet biz you literally don't need to go the old-school way of accepting cards any longer. There are several outfits that can do all your transaction stuff with very competitive rates.

Third, one word: eBay.

Fourth, given the choice most people are more comfortable with a check. I find this a bit strange because the risk factor to the buyer is essentially the same when comparing check vs. credit card. But for some reason people think checks are safer..? That one's a mystery for sure.

. . .

I was kind of sad to let the merchant account go. After all I did have it for almost 8 years. And it worked great.

But the fact is I didn't need it. And the $65 a month I save is very welcome.

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