How To Accept Credit Cards for Girl Scout Cookie Sales
These are exciting times for Girl Scouts and cookie lovers alike. The recent launch of the Girl Scout Digital Cookie program allows participating councils and troops to accept credit and debit payments for online cookie orders, and to ship out orders to buyers. This e-commerce experience will prove useful to scouts, and will undoubtedly increase sales, but it’s only part of the card acceptance equation. There is currently no official service offered by the Girl Scouts to accept credit card payments in person, but there are a number of options to consider.
Twenty years ago the idea of handing your credit card to a Girl Scout in exchange for cookies would have seemed far-fetched. But the payments industry has evolved quite a bit in recent years, and Girl Scouts – innovative, smart entrepreneurs that they are – are adapting with the times. Many shoppers do not carry cash with them anymore, and even fewer carry a checkbook. Most of us have wallets full of plastic, but that doesn’t mean our appetite for Somoas has decreased. So when Girl Scout cookie season is upon us, we want to have the same payment convenience found in our daily retail lives. Lucky for us, and for the Girls Scouts, it’s never been easier to accept credit and debit card payments.
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Phone-Based Mobile Payments for Girl Scout Cookie Sales
This is how Girl Scouts are most likely to accept card payments. With nothing more than a smartphone or a tablet, you can accept payments from anywhere that has data service or an internet connection. Most providers (like Square) will require you to use a card reader that attaches to your headphone jack (generally this is free, arriving in a week or so) in order to get the lowest rates.
Most mobile processing services do not charge any monthly fees, so during the off-season you won’t be charged at all for the service, or will you have to cancel the account.
Invoicing for Girl Scouts
Some mobile-based card processors include invoicing capabilities as part of their standard package, including Square (see our review). With this service, you can process orders and send emailed invoices instead of accepting payment in person. This is a great supplement to the official Girl Scout Digital Cookie program, or as an alternative to it in regions where the programs has not yet launched. While most Girl Scout chapters seem to have rules against selling online, invoicing is different. This simply gives customers another payment option. Scouts can receive an order from a buyer, tally the sale, and then send an invoice, automatically delivered via email. After the buyer pays at his or her convenience, the order can be delivered.
To be sure that this practice is accepted by your particular regional rules, it’s best ask the appropriate authorities before utilizing e-invoice for Girl Scout Cookie Sales.
Researching Providers for Girl Scout Credit Card Payment Acceptance
If you follow a few simple guidelines, finding a reliable and cost effective payment processor for your troop’s Girl Scout Cookie sales is simple. Here are some important considerations:
- Fees: Chances are, you won’t be selling $100K worth of Girl Scout cookies each year, so you need to find a service with no (or low) monthly fees and no monthly minimums.
- Contracts: You also will not being selling the cookies year-round, so it’s important to sign up for a no-commitment service that does not include an extended contract and termination fee.
- Fair rates: While you won’t be able to qualify for the interchange-plus rates a larger business would insist on, it doesn’t hurt to do some comparison shopping to make sure the rates you’re getting are fair and in line with the industry average based on your volume.
- Reliability/Functionality: Don’t get too caught up in rate shopping, though. The reliability and functionality of the service are way more important considerations. Low rates don’t mean much if the service isn’t functioning properly.
- Mobility: Finally, you will want to find a service that allows you to process card payments on-the-go, without any expensive additional equipment.
Whether or not you are able to take part in the Girl Scout Digital Cookie pilot program launched by the Girl Scouts this year, you should seriously consider accepting credit card payments in person. By helping your troop to select a credit card processor, you can provide young scouts with useful business knowhow that will allow them to approach the payments industry with confidence later in life.
The resources on our site can help you to lead the troop to an informed decision. Take a look at our top-rated mobile credit card processors. It’s a great starting place as you consider which payment processing service will best suit your needs for Girl Scout cookie sales. With just a smartphone and a free app, you can be accepting payments from anywhere in under an hour.