Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Accepting Credit Cards at Shows

My first show of the season is on Thursday this week. Fayetteville First Thursday is the name of the show and you guessed it, it happens the first Thursday of the month. I am considering accepting credit cards this year and have been doing some research on how to go about doing that.

Starting a merchant account through my bank is option number one. This is not the quickest or easiest way as my bank does not offer merchant services on their own so I would have to go through their third party person. While I am not opposed to this, the process takes a while. A handheld credit card reader is pretty expensive. Not all of the merchant account services offer a smartphone card reader.

Option number two is a company called ProPay. They are similar to PayPal but are slightly higher in pricing and there are a few hoops to jump through. They have a smartphone card reader available and that is a nice option. The fees are not too bad.

PayPal is my other option. I have had an account with them for a long time. They have low fees and they will be offering a smartphone card reader very soon. I know PayPal and have worked with them long enough to know that they can and will take care of me.

So, my question for all of you is who do you use and what has been your experience? I would really like to know what you think. Post a comment or email me at MarketMyShop@gmail.com


  1. I would also like to know. There seem to be many ways popping up, but I would love to hear others experiences.

  2. I much prefer the square over propay.

    I had a swiper for propay - would come home and download. Worked fine but very time consuming. No guarantee the card was good.

    Then I got a square.... Love the square - no equipment cost, lower % rate, money automatically goes into my account. The only problem is if you cannot access wifi or 3G while at the show.

    Propay has since come out with a swiper - but there is the annual fee, the equipment cost and a higher per transaction fee.


  3. The Square has been good for me too and might be an easy way to start taking cards without a big commitment or contract. There is a limit on how much money they will transfer to your account per month, but I think the limit can be lifted over time. Works for me, but may not be good for craftspeople who do particularly high dollar shows.

  4. I third the use of Square. I don't do shows, but have used it for other sales that I've done and it works great! I wish they had a web application like paypal. I would completely ignore paypal if they did. Their fees are lower and there are no equipment fees, not to mention people seem to love to be able to sign their receipts on your phone, then get an electronic receipt.

    Stitch Silly

  5. I've been looking at The Square. Based on other comments, I think that would definitely be my choice.

  6. I just signed up for the service and within minutes I can start accepting credit cards. I won't have the scanner until sometime next week but it will be nice at the show tomorrow to be able to accept cards. I will keep you posted on my experiences.

  7. Someone told me you can by the square at Target for $10 with a $10 rebate... not sure but it would be instant equipment in hand....

  8. Square rocks!

    I had wanted to accept credit cards at shows for many years, but just couldn't get excited about all the fees involved with having a traditional merchant account. Square changed all that! Their fees are very similar to PayPal, and the only thing I had to do was buy a smartphone. (I am SOOOO not complaining about that ... LOL!). Square has been responsible for as much as 50% of my sales at some shows, so it has been well worth it! I've only had minor difficulties with getting a signal at one show and that was in Silicon Valley! I was outside but in a roofed area, however when I stepped out from under the roofed area, it connected alright.

    What I would like to figure out is how to convince customers to accept the receipt. Square only offers the choice of an email or texted receipt, and about 80% of my charge customers don't want that. I would feel more comfortable if they accepted a receipt, especially since they'd also have a photo of what they bought!