Tech tips: Electronic payment
November 16, 2012
Bob asked: I need to be able to receive payments electronically, and I don't have a merchant or credit card account set up. Is there some way I can get paid?
Answer: Yes, getting paid is good, and there a lot of online options for getting paid these days. One of the most popular is to use PayPal. You go to Paypal's site (www.paypal.com), sign up for an account and you can get paid online or using a credit card. Taking full advantage of all the features that PayPal offers takes some effort, but you can certainly take credit cards and get paid with some small fees.
If you want to accept actual credit card swipes, there are a number of different companies that provide little readers that you can attach to a cell phone or a tablet device. Paypal and Intuit both provide simple credit card readers that attach to your device.
My favorite is Square. Their software is easy to use and elegant, they pay quickly, and their fees seem to be the smallest in the business. Go to their site (squareup.com) and sign up for an account, and you can accept credit cards swiped on site using a cell phone or tablet. You'll also need to download their app to your device. The Apple Store sells their reader for $10 with a similar credit in fees, so the reader is essentially free, or you can order one from their site for free.
Include original email when replying
Cindy asked: When I look at email messages, sometimes I see the entire thread of the email conversation. How can I do that in my email messages, and is this something I should be doing?
Answer: One benefit of email over SMS text messages is that email maintains a thread of the conversation, so you have some idea of the context of the response. Generally, it's a good idea to include the entire email thread in your emails (although there are often reasons to "prune" the thread of messages if it gets too long).
Most email systems provide some means of including email threads in reverse order each time you respond to an email message. If you're using a browser-based email (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and so on), find the settings for your email server and look for the option to include original email in response to messages. You can search the Internet for information on exactly how to do this for all of the popular email clients and email systems.
Most email clients support this feature, as well, including Microsoft Outlook and Mac Mail. The exact steps to turn it on differ, depending on the version of the software, but in every case, look in the options or preferences and look for options dealing with replies or responses and turn on the option to include or quote the text of the original message.
Doug Behl and Ken Getz spent years answering technical questions in private, and are minimizing the questions by pre-emptively publishing the answers. Hear Doug and Ken's tech tips on KNCO radio weekdays at around 8:21 a.m. and 5:38 p.m.; find full write-ups including links to the products they mention at blog.techtipguys.com. Submit your own technical questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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