How to Accept Credit Cards When Selling Art in Person

By Tanya Torres in Art Business Advice > General Art Advice

Many years ago, I began taking my artwork to art and crafts fairs. . . and I began dreaming of accepting credit cards. Even though most artists did not offer this option (and customers did not expect it) I knew that I could sell much more if there were a safe and easy way to accept credit cards.

At the time, however, my business was so microscopic that when I asked a bank about a plan and the necessary equipment, it was so expensive that I lost any hope of being able to generate enough sales to justify something like that.

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Years passed and the Internet and PayPal made my wish a little easier, but I knew that—for me—personal interaction has always been the easiest way to sell my art.

Bringing a computer, installing extra equipment, and paying for a wireless plan seemed too cumbersome and expensive. I wanted something that was easy, highly portable and, if possible, free.

I’m sure I was not the only person having the same idea, but years passed until I heard about a solution. While talking to a colleague artist at a crafts fair, he told me about this incredible little gadget called “Square.”

And there it was. . . my dreams had come true!

Someone had created a little square that could read credit cards, charge your customer, and even send a receipt through email or text message! It was free, too. . . you only had to sign up so that your money could be deposited in your own bank account.

The company charges a very small percentage for each transaction, and requires no monthly fees, no subscriptions, and no extra payments. My friend told me to visit squareup.com, sign up, and that I would get my own Square in the mail in a few days. I did.

There was only one problem. . .

I didn’t have an iPhone or Android phone to go with my Square! In the past I had been reluctant to invest in a smartphone, but this time I found the cost was quite affordable.

I bought a refurbished, prepaid phone for about $70 to use as a credit card terminal and a $10 card to go with it. With this plan I pay only $1.50 for 24-hour access to the Web and use it only when I need it.

Most people already have this kind of phone and service, and do not need to get it, but even after buying it, the phone paid for itself the very first day I used it.

As an artist, being able to accept credit cards during an open studio, art show, or anywhere else helps me make more sales. More sales mean more freedom and a better life, and for me, it has been a dream come true.

I hope this helps your dream come true as well!

For more from Tanya, please visit her blog at hoy-artista.blogspot.com.

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