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Accepting Payments via Snail Mail

Can it be 'automated'

     
10:09 pm on Nov 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I'm looking at providing snail mail purchasing capability to customers of a specific website that has a large portion of younger users ( <18 y.o.'s ). I'm thinking that it would be something like the user signs up online, then prints out a reciept, and mails that with the check(money order/etc) for processing. There are unavoidable delays and risks of course, but this is not a serious problem for me.

My only problem here is that I don't have the staff to go and pick up/process mail every day(I could do it some days, but not regularly). The volume would be relatively small - in the range of $20-30/day most likely. Are there any services out there that will handle these types of payments for you? Even at a relatively high rate? If not, perhaps there is a market available.

ann

3:22 pm on Nov 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I believe you need to search closer to home for that kind of help. Have you tried the newspapers, services offered?
5:49 pm on Nov 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Some cc payment service providers also accept cheques and other transfer methods. I'm using Kagi myself, but can't tell you about any experiences about this specific aspect (no complaints at all otherwise). Since my business involves much fewer transactions and larger amounts, I usually have people who want to pay per cheque send them to me directly.
3:22 am on Dec 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Don't know about the payment part, but the more "official" you can make the mail-in ordering process, the better - some sites, for example, have you fill out the same order form as for a CC, then at the very end give you a stub to print out and mail with your check, others just say "to order by mail send a check to the above address". Obviously, the more you can make the person feel that they have committed themselves to the purchase, the more checks you are likely to see.
6:45 am on Dec 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

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All good advice. I think I'm going to give Kagi a shot as it seems perfect for this kind of thing (snail mail payments). I do like the idea of making the paper order as official as possible. Perhaps I could even make the person fill in an address and send them an invoice after a week or so if they haven't paid.
2:00 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

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You can pick up check printing software at an office supply store such as Staples for $19.99 that will allow you to print actuall checks, called drafts. You then would just have the user type in their check number, account number, and routing number. Of course this should be over a secure connection and you should say that kids need their parents to do it. Then all you do is enter it into the program and print it on special check paper (some is included with the $20 software)
4:03 pm on Dec 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Well, heck if you think it will be only $20-30 dollars a day, hire some local college kid to do it for you at min wage, an hour a day or every other day or something like that. It couldn't take them much longer than that to pick up and open that many envelopes and they would be happy for the easy pizza/beer money that does't interfere with school.

Not that I am recomending it, ;) but for so little money, I doubt anyone would care if it was under the table.

11:55 pm on Dec 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

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ggrot, can you have the mail delivered to your place of business? Many banks offer deposit-by-mail. That's what I do with all my personal checks and money orders. You never have to leave the house or go out of your way to make a deposit. You can also buy a rubber stamp with all the necessary account information so you can "automate" the deposit process too!
2:22 am on Dec 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Hmm, thats an idea as well. The only drawback is my place of business is my home. I could just get a PO Box and walk in once a week, stamp everything and drop it in the mail.
2:38 am on Dec 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

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with a PO box you can have the mail delivered to your house at the same time as your regular mail.
2:45 am on Dec 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

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How can a <18 y.o. write out a check? Here in Denmark you can have a credit card and and a check account at 18 (if approved by the bank). Just wondering.

Can't you put a notice of "shipped within 7 working days" on the print out order, and do it yourself?

2:50 am on Dec 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

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mack, that is news to me. How is that possible? I thought it was delivered to your PO Box at the post office. That is how I understand it USPS. If PO Box is possible that would be nice. I do have concerns about privacy and some disgruntled nut might actually pay my house a visit in a rare event.
5:40 pm on Dec 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

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When i was running my own business i wasnt really wanting everyone to know my home address so i used a po box and paid a small extra to have the pobox bail sorten with the rest of my household mail. basialy It all comes to the same address, just one address is a po box and private. I thought it was beneficial and saved a lot of time .