Otay, gang, I am contemplating taking credit / debit cards at craft /
art shows. What sort of equipment do I need? Not just the bare minimums,
but the features that will make things go smoothly for me AND my customers.
I am reasonably certain that I have been approved for a merchant
account, so that hurdle is out of the way. But, while I can imagine what
I might need in terms of mobile POS stuff, I haven't the foggiest about
what features might actually prove useful.
I'm pretty certain that this topic hasn't been covered recently.
There are two kinds of light--the glow that illuminates, and the glare
There are several options. First off if you have a credit card terminal you
can take it with you to the show but you need a hard wire phone line to make
it go. This option is probably cost prohibitive.
Second what you can do is leave the terminal at home and use a cell phone to
call for an authorization number. That way all you need to do is take an
imprint of the card (if you have NCR forms this is easily accomplished by
setting the card under the form on a flat surface and rubbing the top with
the side of a pencil. (the wooden part) Then look at the back of the card
and copy down the 3 or 4 digit verification code.
Now when you get home you can run the charge as pre approved.
The third way would be to get an addressograph machine and pay the bank an
obscene rate to process a manual charge. You would still need to call in
these to get authorization numbers as the days of floor limits are a thing
of the past.
There may be some nifty laptop solution with a card reader and a wifi
connection or a cell modem but I suspect that option 2 is probably going to
be the best bet.
A laptop and wireless connection will suffice if you
use a service such as:
The service includes what amounts to a terminal within
a web browser. A card reader would speed things up but
is not required.
I'm not sure the Netbilling option would be worthwhile
if this is all you use for -- and at a low transaction
volume. But if you want to offer on-line purchasing,
handle electronic check transactions and more, it's
worth looking at.
You will need a merchant account but it doesn't have
to be with Netbilling (and mine isn't).
I am a pretty satisfied customer of Netbilling but I'm
not associated with them in any other way.
| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
Walk into your bank branch, and ask them what they recommend. It will tell
you whether you have the kind of banking relationship you need pretty
Rates are important. More important are people who can help you straighten
out the inevitable problems that occur.
A friend of mine is in a different business, that works in multistate
regional trade shows. He uses a wireless setup to handle credit card
payments. It works, but he's not certain it's up to date. It's not cheap,
and I suspect his transaction volume would pretty reasonably dwarf yours.
Some folks have decided that a personal check is still a reasonable risk to
take on occasion. I don't know how I feel about that.
Tue, Dec 26, 2006, 11:38pm (EST-1) email@example.com
(Patriarch) doth adviseth:
Walk into your bank branch, and ask them what they recommend. It will
tell you whether you have the kind of banking relationship you need
pretty quickly. <snip>
My first thought was to ask a credi card company. However, being
as I have a credit card thru my bank I never use the card, just have for
actual emergenencies), this would probably be better, or a good starting
It's not hard, if you get your mind right.
- Granny Weatherwax
There are wireless terminals, but they are expensive so you would need
You could have a terminal at your home and call in the transaction to
someone at home. If this is not an option, you could take an imprint of the
card and key in the transactions when you get home.
I did shows last year. I did about 8 shows and transacted about $10k.
Probably 3/4 of that was on credit cards. I just had an old fashioned
card swiping machine and had a terminal at home. I had a phone number I
could call for authorization from the show site and had intended to use
it for any transaction over $100. However, I never used it and took
transactions up to $300.
I never had one bad charge. Not to say it couldn't happen but unless It
was a high dollar amount I wouldn't worry about it.
You can get a remote unit but the cost and charges are big.
P.S Ther is a link to a photo of my booth at the bottom of this page
Bill in Detroit wrote:
I have been taking credit cards for 10 yr now at shows. I used a knuckle
buster until it went belly up, now I just write the info down on the form
from the credit card servicing company and when I get home I call in the
numbers on my at home terminal (sometime as much as 4 days after I take the
card). I get additional info such as a phone number address of the customer
in case there is a problem. My company requires a street number on some
cards, not an address but the house number. Make sure that you get the card
number, exp date and signature for your form. Check IDs with all cards. In
ten years I have gotten one bad card (customer was playing credit card
switch to get the lowest interest) and two refusals to pay, all of which
worked out fine after I had talked to the customer and reminded them where
they had used the card. Very important, LOCK up the reciepts seperate from
your cash, if someone steals the reciepts and uses the card you can be held
responsible for damages. I pay roughly 5% for each card transaction.
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