How to Take Card Payments at Craft Fairs

Are you wondering how to take card payments at craft fairs and if it’s really necessary and worth the expense and effort? The short answer is a resounding Yes.

If you are not taking card payments, you are losing out on opportunities. Fortunately, it’s easier than you might think and you don’t even need electricity to do it! If you have a cell phone, you can get a free reader to plug into it.

Card Readers for Craft Fairs

In my experience, the best way to accept credit cards is using Paypal at craft fairs. Their fees are comparable to other merchant service providers and their name is well recognized and trusted by most people.

Most vendors I know who use it adjust their prices up a bit to cover the fees. (listed below).

Paypal Transaction Fees

  • 2.7% per US card swipe
  • 3.5% + $0.15 to key in cards

If you already accept Paypal online, it’s very easy to sign-up for the Paypal Here program.  If not, you’ll need to register for a Paypal account and have it verified first.

We personally use the mobile card reader which was provided to us for free when we signed up for the program.  They also have chip readers and other products available.

The Pros of Paypal Here

  • Recognized and trusted brand
  • Fees are comparable to most other providers
  • Simple to use with an intuitive phone app

The Cons of Paypal Here

If you accept more than $500 in payments within 7 days, they put a temporary hold on funds.  Their policy states:

Key-in transactions and sales over $500 in a 7-day period made with the Mobile Card Reader are subject to an automatic 30-day reserve where funds are held in your PayPal account to cover the high risk associated with these types of transactions.

I find that most people at the events I attend do still pay with cash.  It’s very rare for me to take $500 worth of payments in a 7 day period, but this policy is annoying.  If you opt to purchase a chip reader, this policy is not a problem.

I will probably upgrade this year since the “chip and swipe” reader is only $24.99.

Learn more about the Paypal Here program to determine if it will meet your needs.

Square Reader for Craft Shows

This would be my second choice and it is also popular among many vendors.  Their program includes the card reader for free – that’s a nice touch.  Their fees are slightly higher than the Paypal program, but the difference is pretty minimal.

You can accept every major credit card and next day deposit is available.  If you want instant deposit, you have to pay another 1% in fees which I find annoying since their fees are already higher.

While square is recognized by many, it doesn’t have the name recognition that Paypal does.  I want my customers to feel secure when purchasing from me so for now, I personally choose to stick with Paypal.

I would suggest learning more about the Square program so you can compare for yourself and see what better meets your needs.



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