PayPal, Square and other POS Accounts – what was that charge?

With the ability to swipe our cards at any POS at a retail business, including: restaurants, salons, antique stores, boutiques, hobby stores, there is an increased opportunity for fraud and confusion. Our poor bookkeepers – having to wade through all of those one-of charges through those devices and decipher what you paid for, is it a tax category and it is really for the company that is on the statement?

I do a lot of consulting business and charge an hour here, an hour there for one-time clients that may hire me in the future. But, first-time, we keep it simple with PayPal. A friend once worded it, “Until I know you, you can PAY to be my PAL.” so no one is waiting for payments. That’s the easy part – receiving money. People send you money. Ideally, you have created an invoice for them and you have their information – address, phone, email on the invoice to cover yourself and help your accounting professionals. Now, if this new person pays through PayPal, there is a HUGE chance that they have at least one account. And a chance that those accounts were set up years ago for Netflix recurring payments and the like. The name that PAYS you may not even vaguely resemble the person you did business with. I have a client who pays me from his COFFEE account. It’s not his name, nor is it the familiar email. Thank goodness, he was able to shoot me a note stating that he used that account so I would match it to him. Not always the case.  I’m a fan of receiving money, but did you know there are scams from people who send you money via PayPal and then through twists and turns make you liable for the money and you end up paying that and the same again back to them. Hard to explain quickly, but you DO need to know who is sending you money to protect your reputation with PayPal, Square and the like. They will side with the purchaser most of the time.

Let’s talk about Square. VERY convenient. I bought some beautiful items from a local boutique. Charming woman. My new bookkeeper asked about the $75 charge. I was confused as I had NEVER heard this woman’s name that was on the statement. It was not the name of the boutique, nor the proprietress. I called Square. They were terrific. They found the transaction, did a screenshot and sent it to me. It had the address. I mapped it and confirmed it was the same shop. If I’m on a roll of adventures in Portland in a day, I may not remember all names, addresses, etc. I’ll look at my calendar, receipts in my purse hoping to identify the purchase and match up the alias name to the transaction. Don’t be that merchant.

If you accept PayPal and Square – PLEASE set up a fresh account with your CURRENT business name or YOUR name. Don’t borrow the accounts of others for quick convenience. It may bite you in the fanny if that relationship changes and it’s tough to download statements from the account of another person. Things happen, relationships change. Make it easy on your customers and vendors and put a note in the odd account that is issuing the receipt – at least a note stating it is from YOU or your company that they will recognize. IDEALLY – your account will match that of your business and your name and company branded email.  This is a way to prevent others from disputing charges or thinking you didn’t pay them on time if you pay invoices through PayPal.