Articles

Processing Credit Cards at Art Shows and Craft Festivals

December 2010

Image Courtsey: FreeDigitalPhotos.netImage Courtsey: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Choosing to accept credit card payments from your art show and craft festival customers can be a great move for your business. Many people don’t carry anything but plastic anymore. If lots of people without cash or checks on them come through your booth, you’re likely to lose their business by not taking credit cards. The process of actually taking credit cards during shows and festivals isn’t that hard, and it’s certainly worthwhile for your business.

The best thing you can do is apply for a merchant account with the bank you already work with. In order to apply to process credit cards, you’ll probably have to consent to a credit check. You’re more likely to get a good account with a bank who knows your banking history, even if it’s just a small local bank. Many banks offer options for small businesses, and these are the options you want to work with.

For shows and festivals, you can actually get a mobile credit card machine. Some of these machines work off of cell phone signals. As long as you can get a signal, you’ll be able to process credit cards at your booth. This can be a good option if you find yourself travelling a lot. You may have to fill out a special application to be able to do this, though.

Keep in mind that when you offer credit card processing, you’ll probably have to pay processing fees. You may need to raise your prices a bit to compensate for this. Another option is to only process credit cards for orders over a certain amount. If you have to pay $1 per credit card process, you may want to steer clear of processing credit cards for orders that are less than $5.

You may have to play around with offering credit cards for a while. Make sure you can take some of the more popular credit card companies. You don’t have to offer unlimited payment options, though. As long as you can take MasterCard and Visa, you should be just fine. The chances of your customers having cards other than those are getting slimmer by the day, and most people will have at least one of these companies’ cards, even if they also have cards from lesser known credit card companies.

Comments

The ability to take credit cards is now a vital business need for most all vendors. I am surly looking into getting one for my business.

By leon partap on December 10, 2010

A couple of years ago, I signed up with an online credit card processing company, and have been very pleased with my increase in sales and the ease of recording and processing the payments.  I have to use a knucklebuster and record the numbers and amounts when I get home.  I have only had one charge that was ever questioned, and I had all of the documentation to clear it.  (It is very difficult to remember everywhere we spend money!)  I am awaiting the dispute’s resolution, but I feel confident that it will be resolved quickly.  Accepting credit cards is an excellent step in building your craft business.

By Quotentials on December 10, 2010

There are other cheaper ways to accept cards now.
1- Set up a laptop and use Paypal or Google Checkout. Paypal now allows credit card transactions for guests as well as members.
2- If a customer has a smart phone, they can access your Google, Paypal or other brand of checkout page
3- If a customer has their cellphone in their Paypal account, they can actually text you the payment instantly. I’ve done it myself recently.
4- there are tiny portable credit swipe modules that hook up to iphones - and probably also other smart phones - specifically made for mobile payment processing.

Quotentials - haha what is a “knucklebuster”?

By Bob on January 30, 2011

what i can do if i don’t have a good credit?

By yasmin on February 1, 2011

I’ve just recently researched this with PayPal and ProPay and ask some other vendors, to me Paypal seems good and easy enough because I already am a member, but the question with that will I have connections to my computer at arts show?
Another question how can I sign up for all these shows, I just started my business…and have so many questions
thank you kindly
Annett

By AnnettsCreations on March 9, 2011

To Annetts Creations

As far as having access to the Internet at your next craft/art show.. 

Here are a couple things to consider:
1. Might neat every laptop now a days has an internal air card that allows you connect to any WiFi connection that is not secured.  (Secured vs. Unsecured) WiFi signals are either locked with a password or they are unrestriced without a password, meaning if you can find the signal on your laptop you can then connect to the Internet.

- Its a common place for the city itself to provide free WiFi to its residents and guests for free within the city. (given the craft/show is in the city)
- Depending on what type of smartphone you have, there is a process called tethering, meaning you can connect to the Internet with your smartphone and use that connection to establish a connection with your laptop. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tethering
If you have a smartphone but do not access the Internet on it, you can ask your service provider to set you up with a data package for that particular month, they are receptive to this, you can tell them you want to test it for 30 days to see if want to commit to it. 
- Of course there is option of purchasing an actual external air card to use in your laptop to connect.  You can get one from all major cell phone carriers, Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, then also have them allow you to test it for 30 days, this prevents you from having to enter in to a year contract.  Today’s external air cards use a USB port on your laptop, plus there aren’t any laptops now a days that are made without at least 2-4 USB ports

- Last but not least would be if your craft show is in a major city and your booth happens to be located in or a business that provides a WiFi signal as in a coffee shop.  (If you take your laptop in to most cities your laptop will pick up several signals from several different businesses) If the business happens to have a signal being prodcasted but secured, you could always ask if you could link to their connection, basically if its secured, they would need to tell you what the password (SSID) is.  For Ex.  Your booth is in front of a business called “ArtShop123”, you open your laptop and your internal air cards finds a wireless signal, the name of the network may be called something like “ArtShop123” and if it’s secured you won’t be able to connect to it unless you ask them for the password.  They may allow you to connect to it they may not but at least its worth a shot, if you’re without any other connection.

I think you should be able to find a connection. 

- I think Pay Pal may be your best option, as you can process it there in front of the customer, and they can in fact plug in their credit card information without you seeing it.
- You could also send them a Pay Pal invoice to their smart phone if they prefer that way.
- I know I take my payments via Pay Pal, since it’s as common as Visa or Master Card these days especially for the younger customers.

Yasmin - don’t have good credit or want to offer CC payments on you Andriod smartphone. Do this..Its Free…
- Last but not least is taking a payment on your smart phone it self, there is well known company called Square - https://squareup.com/
You can download the software to your phone for free.
They send you the free credit card swiping hardware that you plug directly in to your Andriod phone. You can then take payments fro Visa, Master, Amex and Discover

Hope this helps

By Designs by DR on April 4, 2011

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