Allowing customers to pay with debit and credit cards is vital, even for artists. Checks are risky (I refuse to take them) and less and less people are even willing to write them anymore. When I owned my gift shop back in the early 2000s, accepting credit cards was an expensive proposition. Thankfully the internet has changed all that. Anyone with a smart phone can now accept credit/debit cards without any start-up fees, statement fees, or equipment rental fees. The only fee you pay is the processing fee, and those are extremely reasonable! So let’s get started….
NOTE: I do not get any referral benefits from any of these links or companies.
Method 1: PayPal
Every artist should have a PayPal account already. If you don’t, you need one. It is a widely accepted form of payment and a trusted brand. It is my default option for sending out invoices via email. Now there’s a new reason to accept PayPal Here: credit card processing with your smart phone. I have ordered my reader but, to date (3/5/2016), I have not used it. Currently I use Square for credit/debit card processing.
Things to Know:
- The small triangular reader is free. The large chip card reader is not.
- 2.7% processing fee for swiped cards (as of 3/5/2016. See PayPal Here for current rates)
- PayPal Here app has an inventory management system and an online store
Note: I have had problems getting PayPal to accept American Express (Amex) cards
Method 2: Square
Square is the company that started it all! By ‘all’ I mean allowing regular people to accept credit cards without a ton of fees and expensive equipment. They are the reason that PayPal Here exists. Personally, I find their app very easy to use, versatile, and I get my money very quickly. Personally, this is my default card reader.
Note: As of 3/5/2016 they are slightly more expensive than PayPal.
Things to Know:
- The square-shaped reader is free unless you buy it in a store like Office Depot. The chip reader, stand, and other options are not.
- 2.75% processing fee for swiped cards (as of 3/5/2016. See SquareUp.com for current rates)
- Square app has inventory management, appointment scheduler (for those who offer classes), and an online store, and you can send invoices via email.
Note: This is my default reader/service when I do shows. I’ve never had problems getting American Express cards to process.
Method 3: Etsy
Already have an Etsy shop? You can now get a free reader to process orders through their smartphone app! This can only be used in conjunction with an Etsy shop but I’m listing it here because many artists use Etsy. This is not something I have ordered or tried personally.
Things to Know:
- The reader is free. Currently (3/5/2016) they only offer one reader type.
- 2.75% processing fee for swiped cards (as of 3/5/2016. See Etsy for current rates)
- Only works with Etsy shops and the Etsy mobile app.
There you have it, 3 ways to accept credit card payments cheaply and easily. Now you have no excuses when it comes to accepting credit/debit cards. Don’t lose a sale because you don’t accept the most common form of payment in the US!