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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 160 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: GenCon 2005 Booth and Credit Cards  (Read 10442 times)
Luke
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« on: July 05, 2005, 06:38:21 AM »

My experience at Origins this year also led this observation: We must find a way to accept credit cards at the Forge booth this year.

Must.

To do this, we'll need an internet connection at the booth and a computer.

Internet Connection Solution 1: I have a Mac Powerbook 12". If any Forgies know a cheap way to get a CDMA 1x wireless networking card to work with a Mac, we are good for internet access. Alternately, if any Forgies have a laptop with a CDMA 1x wireless networking card and would be willing to let us use it as our credit card machine, contact me immediately.

Wireless services range from $20 to $50 a month. And many places offer monthly deals for small business, rather than signing a year contract.

Internet Connection Solution 2: If we can't develop a wireless solution, then we can purchase an ethernet connection from the Exhibitor's hall. The connection costs $450 for four days. (that's $25 each)

Payment Solution: I recommend we use Paypal. They offer two services now, pay with your paypal account (of course) and pay via credit card. Paypal simply acts as the processing agent for the transaction. They charge 30 + 2% for each transaction.

The Whole Model (so to speak): I'm imagining that we have a laptop set to a home page that displays links to all of our paypal accounts. If a customer wants to pay with PP, we let them log in and pay. Julie or Ralph or whomever's at the register checks the confirmation screen (preferably even takes a screen shot of it) and then hands over the merchandise. This is the easiest option since the money goes straight to individual accounts. If they customer is buying two or three items, it's feasible that we can direct them to multiple accounts for payment. If they don't want to do that, we can just process the order as a credit card. See below!

If a customer does not have a PP account, then we direct them to a FORGE order page that has a shopping cart installed. They check off what they've grabbed at the booth, Julie and/or Ralph check it, and then we let Paypal process the credit card. Payment ends up in a "master" Paypal account. CC purchases like this will then be paid out at the end of GenCon, either by check or cash on hand if there's enough of it.

The drawback to this arrangement is our communal nature. There's no one central company, someone's got to step up and take charge of the CC payments. I'll do it, if you all are comfortable with it. I think BW might have enough cash flow to make most of the payments at the con, so you folks can go home with cash in your pocket.

What I need from you: Head nodding. "Ok, I'm in." Or something like that.

Wireless solutions. The conventions fees are usurious. If we can come up with a wireless solution, this is just going to work better all around.

Paypal account payment pages all set up and ready to accept payment. Try to make it as simple as possible.

-Luke
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Keith Senkowski
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« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2005, 06:56:55 AM »

Luke,

I don't have the use of a laptop, but I am more than willing to pony up extra money for the internet access if needs be and put together some web pages for all the folks at the booth and whatnot.

Oh and you don't have to have a PayPal account to use PayPal to purchase from someone.  Just a credit card and email address.

Keith
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timfire
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« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2005, 07:10:30 AM »

Is a CDMA modem just a standard laptop wireless modem? Or is it a special kind of wireless modem?

I'm in. It would be nice if we didn't have to pay for the connection, but if we have to, it's not that much.

But if we're going to use Paypal, then we might need to have 2 cashiers working at a time. Entering all the info into Paypal is going to take alot longer than a standard credit card swipe at the corner Target or grocery store or whatever. We might want one person to handle credit card sales and one person to handle cash sales.
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jrs
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« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2005, 07:19:26 AM »

Luke,

I know we lost sales last year at the booth because we didn't have the ability to accept credit card payments.  And you are right, the big stumbling block is that as a collective of game designers there is no central account for distributing credit card monies.  The laptop option you describe does seem viable, but I do need to raise an issue that bothers me about such a set-up.  As a potential buyer, I would have serious problems logging into my paypal account on a stranger's computer across an unknown network.

I'm really trying not to be a luddite about this.  Does anyone have any experience with accepting payment the way Luke describes?  What can we do to assure buyers that we are not collecting there paypal logins and passwords?

Julie
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Keith Senkowski
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« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2005, 07:28:03 AM »

Julie,

I dig your concern, but it really isn't any different than the risk you take at a restaurant when a waiter walks off with your credit card for a few minutes.  Some people will feel uncomfortable with it and opt out.  I think most won't think twice about it.  

My company does a really big convention every year and used to do something similar when taking credit card payments at our convention store (now we have the swipers).  For the most part, folks were fine with it.

Keith
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Conspiracy of Shadows: Revised Edition
Everything about the game, from the mechanics, to the artwork, to the layout just screams creepy, creepy, creepy at me. I love it.
~ Paul Tevis, Have Games, Will Travel
Luke
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« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2005, 07:31:16 AM »

Well, first off, paypal is the most secure web credit card agent. far more so than 2checkout.

Also, the SAFARI browser for Mac OS 10.4 (what my laptop is currently running) has a RESET option. Doing so "erases your browsing history, empties the cache, clears the downloads window, and removes cookies. It also removes any saved names and passwords or other autofill text and clears Google search entries."

So we could reset my browser after each customer. And we can assure everyone that we have neither the time, inclination nor technical know-how to install key-capture software for stealing passwords. Besides, such an endeavor is bootless. We're all legitimate private merchants who would be tracked down and hounded by the credit card companies (who are very good about pursuing claims these days).

Key20 used this system at Origins and no one complained or balked.



Tim, I agree that two operators would be great. And what I need is a wireless modem, a service that supports it, and hack software that'll allow the Mac to operate it. See, as far as I can tell, none of the wireless modem manufacturers write software for the Mac. I've searched high and low. But if anyone has a lead, I'd love to hear it.

Oh! Another option would be to use a TREO 600/650 with a small business data transfer plan (about $20 a month). We can bluetooth an internet connection into the TREO and use that as a modem. Jason Valore used this method and it seemed to work well enough. Anyone got a Treo?

-L
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Keith Senkowski
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« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2005, 07:36:30 AM »

Luke,

Are you thinking of connecting via Verizon Wireless Mobile Office service?  I know there is a way to use your cell phone as a wireless modem if you get the usb cable for it (which you can get for sure at cellphonemall.net).

Keith
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Conspiracy of Shadows: Revised Edition
Everything about the game, from the mechanics, to the artwork, to the layout just screams creepy, creepy, creepy at me. I love it.
~ Paul Tevis, Have Games, Will Travel
Paul Czege
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« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2005, 07:37:04 AM »

The Treo 600 is not bluetooth enabled.
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Luke
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« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2005, 07:52:47 AM »

Quote from: Bob Goat
Luke,

Are you thinking of connecting via Verizon Wireless Mobile Office service?  I know there is a way to use your cell phone as a wireless modem if you get the usb cable for it (which you can get for sure at cellphonemall.net).

Keith


Yeah, something like that. The cellphone as modem option is there, but I'd like to use that as a last resort. I understand it's very slow.


Paul, it must be the 650 then. Anyone have a Treo 650?

-L
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Andrew Morris
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« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2005, 08:13:09 AM »

Luke, while I agree with Julie that customers might feel uncomfortable with such a setup (I certainly would, if I didn't know the people involved), I don't think making note of the "reset" option would do much in the way of reassuring such folks. All it would really do is remind them of the possibilty that their information could be captured, and that you've thought of this, as well.

Also, as long as someone has a GSM card to a service with a wireless plan, I can provide a phone and cable for the duration of the convention (I have tons of cell phones lying around).

Internet access through a cell phone is slow, slow, slow. I believe Verizon has a higher-speed service than GPRS, though I know nothing about it. Also, they're not a GSM service, so I wouldn't have any neat gadgets or cables lying around that would help.

[EDITED TO ADD:]
Oh, and the "bluetooth to Treo with data plan" should work with any bluetooth phone and data plan. It's the data service that's important here, not the phone. I have a couple of spare GSM bluetooth phones (unlocked Nokia 6820 and T-Mobile Motorola a630) that I'd be willing to lend for the duration of the con.
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Luke
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« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2005, 08:19:52 AM »

Ok, duly noted that some folks might be nervous about their information.  Those folks are going to be in the minority and they'll probably be as reluctant to purchase from us as they would be from anyone else. In my experience last weekend, this was not a factor. Let's move on.

-L
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Michael S. Miller
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« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2005, 08:34:20 AM »

I agree that this is a great idea and we should Forge ahead. One thing to keep in mind when laying out tables at the booth on Wednesday is to have enough table space for the laptop with space next to it for someone to sit and type. The booth's going to be tight and this'll make it tighter, but I think it's well worth it.

BTW, the above encapsulates my entire tech-savvy on this issue, so I'll likely need some help when it comes time to actually set up pages, etc.
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Matt Gwinn
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« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2005, 12:19:55 PM »

For simplicity's sake i think all the paypal sales should go into one account.  If someone want's five games it'll be a pain in the ass to process 5 orders (not to mention time consuming), and doing it both ways will just confuse matters at the end of the day.

I'm pretty sure we all have Paypal accounts, so it wouldn't take much to transfer each of our total sales monies into our accounts at the end of each day.  Granted, this let's Paypal double dip, but it may be worth the saved hassle.

I'd be willing to pony up the $25 for the internet access.  If you think about it, if accepting credit cards gives me a couple extra sales, I'll make that $25 back easily.

,Matt
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2005, 01:13:40 PM »

Hey guys,

Here's another solution, which is very low-tech and inelegant, but perhaps suitable as a fallback plan if the whole wireless thing doesn't work out.

We get one of those slidey-things that process credit cards, and have ONE company be the receiver of all those funds. Then that company pays off the other companies at the end of the con.

Problem #1: accounting; basically this means a whole new headache for the troubled people who have to work the cash register already.

Problem #2: ripoff; the company who's serving as recipient stands to lose money because there's no way to check whether the card is any good through this method.

As I say, it's a backup suggestion.

Best,
Ron
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2005, 01:41:41 PM »

From a technical standpoint - I have no idea what you're talking about with CDMA and whatnot.

Purchasing a wireless connection from the convention center may be our only option, but it's an expensive one. Your other problem is power - no laptop's going to go all day. I have an iBook with wireless that I'll bring - that's 4 hours of power per day there. We'll want two more laptops with wireless service to get us through a day.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
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