Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Credit Card Readers and WiFi Signals

Awhile ago, while vending indoors, I had trouble with my credit card reader and I wanted to share it.
Back when I went to Circle of Sisters Expo,I purchased some hats from a vendor on the street. He had been out there all day, and his phone was running out of charge. He tried to use his Square and it just wouldn't go through. He pulled out his Gopayment Intuit and it worked. That's when I learned it pays to have a backup. I have heard more than once that if your Wi-Fi signal is even a little compromised, your Square will be the first thing you have problems with. So I got Square, Intuit and Paypal readers.  After all, they are all free!
I first tried to use them on my Ipod, but it wouldn't work and I thought it was too old. Looking back, I realize it was probably just not a good signal.  When I tested it at home, it went through, but when I got out in the street, it didn't work. I would have lost buku dollars if I had had no credit card system at all, so in a pinch I wrote down credit card numbers, expiration dates, and security cards. 
When I got home that night, I was able to use the Gopayment Intuit's online website to punch them in.  At first I was mortified to find out that they system was asking for the customer's zip codes, which I had not thought to take.  But at Camara's suggestion, I punched in a fake zip code from the area.  Even though it didn't match my customer's zip code, I found that the credit cards went through anyway.  The zip code was just an extra measure to alert the merchant that the customer might be lying about their address and the credit card might be stolen.  Important thing is, I GOT MY MONEY! 
I don't have a smart phone, so for $99.00 I ordered the Netzero hotspot.  I can carry 7 more people on my Wi-Fi connection because of it, and it works great.  Since I only really use it for my credit card sales, I can use their free monthly plan with no contract, and it's enough.  It can be used with laptops, ipads and all types of devices. 
You can stop by their website and choose my wireless device (you only have to plug it in to charge it), or their stick that works for netbooks and laptops and which is half the price.  As a matter of fact, if you plan on using more than 200mb a month, they are offering a 50% off sale for their plans that are $19.50 and up.  And I don't think they have contracts so you are not stuck with any plan.   Their website also offers a way for you to check and see if they have Wi-Fi in your area.
Check the website and see what the plans are now that they are offering.  Also I have since found out that once you upgrade, there's no going back, so choose wisely only what you need.

The last thing I wanted to talk about was the problem that since I vend indoors, the Wi-Fi signal being blocked is an issue.  One charge will go through, the next one won't, the next one will make me put the customer through it many times.  So I learned that I had to go to certain spots.  Some sellers were going by the windows, but that only worked sometimes for me.  The front of the building near the windows and doors did the trick every time for me.  I noticed that other vendors had to do this as well whether they had a smart phone or whatever device they had.
I wanted to share my experience because if you are out there vending, and you know your devices are correct and all charged up, don't freak out if you lose your connection.  And some of the time your device may tell you that you have no internet connection.  Sometimes, your reader software will sit there "initializing" for an eternity, sometimes your reader won't read the card.  So there are a number of error messages you may get when all that's really wrong is that your Wi-Fi signal is not coming through.  It may tell you that your volume needs to be higher.  Check and make sure it is on the highest level (headphones too, found on the outside of your Ipad), before getting worried.
Next time, I will try each card just once at my table.  If I see that the signal is not coming through, I will pack up my customer and take them to "the spot" so we can redo the transaction one time and then let them go out the door.
Sometimes, the other vendors already know where "the spot" is and can tell you in advance.

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