We are using a gift card program for our CSA through Secure Payment Systems. It is pretty seamless. You can contact them on-line at their website by "googling" that name. The gift cards work on a regular credit card terminal. Our CSA is basically a pre-pay/credit system. We have the terminal in our self-serve stand and the CSA members do the swiping themselves and the terminal prints out their receipt which shows their remaining balance at the bottom. The members can also go to Secure Systems website, enter their number and see their balance there too.
The set-up cost is not bad which as I recall is really just the cost of buying the cards. Secure Systems gives you a choice of a charge per swipe or a set monthly charge. The monthly made sense for us and is something like $20. The terminal is several hundred dollars. That we bought through our local bank which is good, should there be any issues with it, help is close by. Once you have the cards and the terminal, Secure Systems does a phone tutoring to get your terminal up and running and do some trial runs.
We zero out the cards at the end of the season and reload returning members in the Spring. We have found it is a good idea to have a back-up alternative, paper Member Checks, should the system be down or for the few members who are intimidated by the terminal. We can enter their info. on the terminal ourselves. A key point is that you should keep a list of your active members card numbers in case they lose their card or if you need to revise their account in any way.
We're fairly rural with lots of members who are gardeners so we keep the membership cost low. They pay $250 up front then get $275 credit on their card (an extra 10%). The members can use their credit for anything we sell at the farm stand which is bedding plants, strawberries and raspberries, vegetables and eggs.
The gift card system has saved us endless hours and allowed us to keep the CSA going. It was definitely on the chopping block due to time in managing it.
Hope that helps. Please feel free to email if you have any further questions.
River Berry Farm
From: Vermont Vegetable and Berry Growers [[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Boyd Family Farm [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 9:47 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: debit cards & CSA tracking
We have a Point of Sale program that allows us to record credits...then the purchases are subtracted each time from the balance/credit on hand. I am interested in farms with standard CSA Models and creative CSA Models...how do they work...current price breaks...etc. We live in a resort valley...locals love the CSA....vacation home owners feel left out...I am trying to offer a price break to farm patrons who would like to pre-pay on an account for a discounted price to be used in the summer on
vegtables and has anyone ever heard of expanding this to flowers, pumpkins, wreaths....or other farm products?
Happy snow day!
Boyd Family Family
Janet L Boyd
[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Home Office p.802.464.5618
From: Vermont Vegetable and Berry Growers [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Sam Lincoln
Sent: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 5:04 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: debit cards & CSA tracking
Hello – Is anyone utilizing electronic means to track prepayments or CSA’s, such as a gift card that can be swiped or a point of sale system? I’m also interested in manual systems (rolodex/file cards) that are efficient and can keep customers flowing quickly past the cash register. I’d like to hear what works and what doesn’t. Thanks – Sam
Lincoln AgriSource, LLC
4884 East Bethel Road
Randolph Center, VT 05061
cell: (802) 793-1206
Farm Machinery*Crop Production Services*Timber Harvesting