Credit card woes

After the flap about PayPal being anti-gun I decided to put renewed effort into dumping them for doing Boomershoot and Modern Ballistics credit card transactions then tell them why. The problem was finding a good alternative.

I can’t find the email or comment that recommended them but someone suggested I try a particular bank. It didn’t work out. Here is what their policy says:

NO ADULT SITES OR MATERIAL

The Merchant agrees that CartSquare’s services will only be used for lawful purposes. Furthermore, Merchant agrees not use CartSquare products, online shopping carts, or services provided through or in connection with CartSquare to

d. sell, distribute, disseminate or link to any sites for marketing, sales or distribution of: adult materials, firearms, explosives, ammunition, liquor, tobacco products, food that is not packaged or does not comply with all applicable laws for sale to consumers by commercial merchants, pharmaceuticals and controlled substances, counterfeit, pirated or stolen goods, any goods or services that infringe or otherwise violate a third party’s rights, registered or unregistered securities, goods or services that (i) you cannot legally sell, (ii) are misrepresented, and/or (iii) if sold via CartSquare or Your Web Site would cause CartSquare to violate any law, statute or regulation;

That’s right. I wouldn’t be able to even link to a site that marketed or sold firearms, explosives, or ammunition. In their minds that is in the same as category as “controlled substances, counterfeit, pirated or stolen goods, any goods or services that infringe or otherwise violate a third party rights”.

What about the people that want to exercise their specific enumerated right to keep and bear arms?

I wrote them an email asking abou their policy:

From: Joe Huffman
Sent: Friday, July 31, 2009 8:25 AM
To: ‘support@nmbancard.com’
Subject: Question about agreement terms.

In the terms of agreement (https://www.cartsquare.net/administration/uplinks.php3 ) I found the following:

Furthermore, Merchant agrees not use CartSquare products, online shopping carts, or services provided through or in connection with CartSquare to

d. sell, distribute, disseminate or link to any sites for marketing, sales or distribution of: adult materials, firearms, explosives, ammunition, liquor, tobacco products, food that is not packaged or does not comply with all applicable laws for sale to consumers by commercial merchants, pharmaceuticals and controlled substances, counterfeit, pirated or stolen goods, any goods or services that infringe or otherwise violate a third party’s rights, registered or unregistered securities, goods or services that (i) you cannot legally sell, (ii) are misrepresented, and/or (iii) if sold via CartSquare or Your Web Site would cause CartSquare to violate any law, statute or regulation;

My business is a long range precision rifle event with explosives as the targets (http://www.boomershoot.org/). I have an ATF license to manufacture high explosives. I could, but do not, legally sell explosives. I sell people the opportunity to shoot at the explosives I make. I do link to firearms, ammunition, and explosives vendors who legally sell their products. Do you consider this a violation of your agreement?

If so then I will have to find a different bankcard vendor who is more tolerant of people exercising their specific enumerated right to keep and bear arms.

Please let me know.

Joe Huffman
208-301-4254
—–
http://blog.joehuffman.org/
http://www.boomershoot.org/
http://www.modernballistics.com/

Their reply:

From: Merchant Support
Sent: Friday, July 31, 2009 12:28 PM
To: joeh@boomershoot.org
Subject: Your Merchant Account Application

Hello Joe Huffman,

According to Visa/MasterCard, your business is considered a High Risk Business  After reviewing your application we can not continue processing your application through Cardservice International.   However, we have found you another company that can approve your application.  Please click on this link below or copy and paste the link into your browser exactly how you see it to qualify for our special offer.
http://www.durangomerchantservices.com/Applications/apply_for_free.php?agentid=rwolf@ecommercemg.com
The rates are slightly different, however this could be the solution that you are looking for.

Thank you,

Merchant Account Support
support@merchantlane.com
Phone: 1-866-295-5264

Merchant accounts have fees that typically are on the order of $50/month whether you have any business or not. Boomershoot has essentially zero sales 11 months out of the year and Modern Ballistics is shareware and only gets a donation about once every couple of months. Plus the contract terms typically demand third party audits and intrusions rivaling that of a colonoscopy (been there, done that, don’t want to do it again).

Chet, a friend from work, suggested I look at Amazon’s Simple Pay.

It looks as if my businesses just skate by their acceptable use policies but not my friends selling ammunition or a gun raffle for charity (although this might work for charities):

Prohibited Items and Activities:

  • Firearms and Weapons – includes ammunition, guns, rifles, shotguns, pistols, other firearms, knives (automatic, spring-loaded knives, throwing, etc.), brass knuckles, or other weapons.
  • Gambling Businesses – includes online gambling (including poker), lotteries (including sale of lottery tickets), games of chance (including sweepstakes and raffles), sports forecasting, or odds-making.

Chet also suggested Yahoo! but from what I could tell they require PayPal, a Merchant account, or $40/month whether you have any sales or not.

I’m going to spend some more time on the Amazon site and maybe convert over to them from PayPal.

10 thoughts on “Credit card woes

  1. I wonder if there’s a business model I can fit into where I handle these transactions in a PayPal type way, but specifically FOR firearms and whatnot. I’d also like to make a Tip Jar system that can handle the smaller transaction amounts. Maybe combine the two, I don’t know.

    My problem is that I have the TECHNICAL know how to do this kind of stuff, what I don’t have is the business acumen to figure out how to make it work so that I’m not losing my shirt. Nor do I have the venture capital to set it up.

    I could see linking in with various gun sales sites like GunBroker.com or the local outfit near me to help cover costs, but again, unless someone with some business savvy could provide their services, I’d end up with a really cool web site and a large bill each month.

  2. Card One International Card1 is listed on the NRA Member Discounts page here.

    They are “NRA Life Member/Instructor owned and operated” – I think a $25 monthly minimum applies.

    I use ’em.

  3. We need to get something rolling with this. The gun community has business people, programmers, internet geniuses, etc… there is no reason why this couldn’t be tackled.

    Gearpay.com offered an alternative to Paypal for a while…I used them and their service worked great…but supposedly once they got to 1,000 users or so, their software couldn’t handle it any more. Apparently, Paypal has some sort of legal stranglehold on Paypal type software that meant they had to write their own from scratch. That was over a year ago. Their site is still up but still has the same page explaining why they aren’t operating.

    We need to find out what the problem is. If they need programming help, financial help, whatever, we need to get them rolling again. Failing that. Surely SOMEONE can get something started along that lines. Heck, if I had any idea how to run a business or write programs, I’d start on it myself. I’m just a lowly retired Sailor electronics tech. We want an alternative to Paypal? Lets either get Gearpay on the stick…or get one rolling ourselves.

    Here’s Gearpay’s whois info. I’m going to e-mail right now. If I haven’t heard back by Monday, I’ll try to call the contact number. If I can’t get them that way, I’ll send a letter to the listed address. I’ll let you know what I turn up. More people contacting them and letting them know there is an interest in their service can’t hurt.

    [Querying whois.internic.net]
    [Redirected to whois.tucows.com]
    [Querying whois.tucows.com]
    [whois.tucows.com]
    Registrant:
    Private
    PO Box 116
    Norris, TN 37828
    US

    Domain name: GEARPAY.COM

    Administrative Contact:
    GearPayLLC, GearPayLLC HitThe10ring@aol.com
    PO Box 116
    Norris, TN 37828
    US
    +1.8654946727
    Technical Contact:
    GearPayLLC, GearPayLLC HitThe10ring@aol.com
    PO Box 116
    Norris, TN 37828
    US
    +1.8654946727

    Registrar of Record: TUCOWS, INC.
    Record last updated on 24-Oct-2008.
    Record expires on 04-Apr-2011.
    Record created on 04-Apr-2005.

    Registrar Domain Name Help Center:
    http://domainhelp.tucows.com

    Domain servers in listed order:
    NS2.GEARPAY.COM 66.225.18.51
    NS1.GEARPAY.COM 66.225.18.50

  4. hmm… check out alertpay.com

    I checked the user agreement and since you don’t sell explosives it looks like it might be cost effective.

  5. My $.02:

    Idahossa.org has a paypal account for donations. When I applied I was upfront with them that we are a firearms civil rights advocacy organization. The process to get approved as a nonprofit account took some time and I had to speak to a Paypal employee over the phone to verify that we were a “real” nonprofit. She and I had a chat about guns and shooting actually. At no time did I detect the slightest hinkiness about the fact that we are advocating gun ownership and use — their concern seemed to be that I wasn’t setting up a fake charity to gull the unsuspecting public.

    From a legal standpoint I understand financial institutions reluctance to process transactions involving regulated goods. I’m guessing that their lawyers are advising them: “What if one of these transactions turns out to be illegal and someone is injured as a result? In some crazy assed jurisdiction you may be the deep pocket held liable by some booger-eating jury for facilitating the transaction.” The bottom line is: How much revenue do these type of transactions generate vs. the potential liability?

    I think that this type of CYA is excessive but it is a (sad) commentary on our system of lawsuit lottery.

  6. Gun Stores take credit cards? Find out who your local gun shop uses. The problem is the fees may be to high.

  7. OK, I’ve e-mailed two different e-mail addresses and called their phone number. I got an voice mail message indicating that gearpay llc still exists, but no response to either e-mail and no call back.

    I’m guessing they’re defunct.

    Time for someone to reinvent the wheel.

  8. Sailorcurt, I’m about three fourths of the way to having all my stuff converted over to Amazon. It looks good so far. AlertPay.com also looks good but the fees are a little higher than Amazon and they don’t have the brand recognition that Amazon does. I don’t think there is a need to reinvent the wheel.

Comments are closed.