One of the great things about doing my series of large Christmas craft shows is meeting up with so many of my crafty friends from all over the country. I love my studio, I love my work, however sometimes it gets a little lonely in there all by myself. Gathering with groups of other crafters and chatting about our lives is so nice. It`s also a chance to share information and compare notes.
This year the big buzz within the crafty world is the huge selection of new smartphone credit card payment systems that have recently hit the market. I`ve been reading about all the options, now I have talked to people using all the systems and can make some educated decisions.
Here`s the scoop on the new smartphone credit card readers.
In the past those who wanted to accept credit cards as payment needed to sign up for a merchant credit card account. You needed a business bank account (which cost a monthly fee), you paid a set up fee, and then you paid a monthly rental fee along with a percentage of the transaction. You had a special terminal that you could process both credit cards and debit cards with. This was considered necessary for doing business as a full-time crafter, but difficult and too expensive for part time businesses.
Enter the smart phone credit card readers. A smartphone reader plugs into the audio jack of a smartphone or iPad and using either wifi or the 3G network, you can swipe a customers credit card and the money is deposited into your bank account. No monthly rental of expensive equipment. Smartphone card readers do not accept debit cards as they read the stripe on the card not on the chip. Debit cards do not have a stripe.
These have been available in the USA for several years and I`ve been reading all the reports from people using them. It seemed like they were a great option however they were not available in Canada. Well things have changed recently and very quickly.
A year ago I was contacted by the representative of one of the first systems in Canada. As I am a fan of technology, and as I was having a nasty relationship with my expensive credit card system I was happy to jump aboard the smartphone readers. I am currently using Payfirma. This is not an affiliate relationship, I am not making any money plugging their product, I am telling you this so that you know someone who is using the product and is happy with it. I plug the credit card reader into my iPhone and swipe customer credit cards. In the 12 shows that I have done using this system I have had no problems. Connections have always been fine using the 3G network, customers think it`s super cool to use and the money has always been deposited on time.
In the past month 2 other systems have entered the marketplace and both should be considered. PAYD is a system by Moneris, the large company that is the standard credit card system that everyone uses. I think they saw the writing on the wall and realized that not everyone is willing to pay $100/month and they developed their version of this product. To date I do not know of anyone using this system so I can`t tell you much about it.
Square is an American company that has been available in the USA for several years. It always received rave reviews. They recently opened in Canada and they are actively pushing for mass acceptance. As soon as I`m done with writing this I am signing up for a Square account as they gave me a free reader and it is completely free to use. My neighbour at my last show (5 day BUSY show) was using the Square and I was mighty impressed. It is completely 100% free to set up and use. And it`s easy to use.
These new readers are a brilliant option for anyone who is selling. Anyone. Imagine if you were selling a couch on Craigslist and were able to take a credit card as payment!
Everyone reading this who has a smartphone or an iPad should do some reading and then sign up for an account. As I mentioned, this is not an affiliate post. I am not endorsing any of these products for money. If you have any problems with them don`t call me. I am telling you that I have been using these for almost a year. I know of many people currently using them without problems. If I were a beginner crafter, or a small business who sells occasionally, I would sign up with Square as that is the cheapest option. (as in completely free).
Of course before signing up for anything you should do your own research. Here`s a list of questions to ask.
What to look at when looking for a credit card processing system.
- How much is the set up charge
- How much is the monthly fee
- Is there a long term commitment and if so what is the fee to cancel the contract
- How much is the reader
- What is the percentage you pay and is there a transaction fee as well
- Do they charge different rates for different cards?
- One of the biggest scams lately was the extra charge if a customers card was one of the cards that collects some sort of points.
- What phones is the reader compatible with
And the 3 systems that I mentioned can be found here.