How to Accept Credit Cards at Craft Shows

Accepting credit cards at craft shows can be tricky, because you need a way to take the card information and determine that the card is valid. For this reason, many merchants opt to go cash-only, which can reduce your sales as many customers prefer using credit cards. Several companies now offer mobile credit card processing which allows you to use your web-enabled device, such as a smart phone or tablet, to accept credit cards at craft shows.


  1. Image titled Accept Credit Cards at Craft Shows Step 1
    Open a merchant account with a company that supports mobile credit card transactions. Several companies offer this service, possibly including your current bank. The company you choose depends on your budget and personal needs. Some companies charge on a per-transaction basis while others charge a monthly rate and may charge additional fees per transaction. If you only do credit card transactions a few times per month, an account that charges per-transaction may be more cost-effective.
  2. Image titled Accept Credit Cards at Craft Shows Step 2
    Install a card reader on your web-enabled device for more accuracy. Some smart phone manufacturers make Bluetooth card readers that allow you to swipe the card directly into your phone. If you opt not to use a reader, you can enter the card information manually using the keypad on your phone.
  3. Image titled Accept Credit Cards at Craft Shows Step 3
    Log into your merchant account online with your web enabled device. Enter the credit card information manually, or swipe the card with the card reader. Follow the merchant account's instructions for processing the sale.
  4. Image titled Accept Credit Cards at Craft Shows Step 4
    Write a receipt for the sale and present it to your customer. Write the last 4 digits of the customer's credit card number, the security code and the expiration date on the back of your copy of the receipt. Record the customer's name and phone number as well. Write the transaction amount and the date of the transaction on your and your customer's copies of the receipt. Maintaining your receipts helps you keep track of your transactions. Having the customer's contact information helps you get in touch with the customer in the event of a charge-back.


  • Do not copy the customer's full account number on your receipts. If the receipts are lost or stolen, someone could use that information to steal your customer's identity.


  • Some companies may offer manual card imprinters. These devices swipe the card onto a carbon slip which you can then deposit into your merchant account. The manual imprinters are useful for record-keeping purposes and you can use them as a means of providing a receipt to your customer. However, you should avoid using them as your primary means of taking payment at a craft fair because the available funds on the customer's card may change between the time you swipe the card and the time you make the deposit. If the money is no longer available, you could incur a charge-back and not only lose that money, you would also lose the merchandise you sold.

Things You'll Need

  • Merchant account
  • Device with built-in web access, such as a smart phone
  • Card reader, optional
  • Receipt book

Article Info

Categories: Managing Your Money