How to Accept Credit Card Payments at a Fair without a Reader

Whether it’s a hobby you hope turns a profit or a full-time small business you run out of your home, selling arts and crafts isn’t just about your creativity and talent. You need some business acumen, too. Luckily, with the right tools, you don’t have to get a degree in business management to run a profitable small business. You don’t even need to invest in all the expensive tools, like a credit card reader. The next time you’re at a craft fair or festival, offer to accept credit card payments through instant invoices.
Send an Invoice to Their Phone
Sign up for, an online invoicing service that allows online credit card payments. If the customer has a phone on hand, you can simply send the invoice right then and there to her email address and she can then click through to enter her credit card information. You’ll receive instant notification of the payment and you can securely hand over the goods.
Send an Invoice for Later
If the customer doesn’t have a phone on hand, it’s still possible to rely on the online invoicing system if you collect her email address. Send the invoice, hand over the goods and wait for her to pay once she arrives home. While you run the risk of non-payment, if you collect her name, address and phone number too (ask to look at her ID), the chance is minimal. You might also offer to ship the item for an additional charge after you receive confirmation of payment.
Reasons to Accept Credit Cards
A lot of your business at a craft fair or festival will come from impulse shopping. Most people there didn’t expect to walk in and find what you have to offer, after all. When a customer wants to make a purchase at the fair and doesn’t have cash on hand, you want to secure that sale. Handing them your business card and telling them to buy online later isn’t good enough because the customer may forget or second-guess the sale. Accepting credit cards is a must in the modern era, even at something as informal as a fair.
If you haven’t already, build a website or sign up for an account at a craft sale site like Etsy to draw more business year-round. You can also take commissions on your site or social media profile and use an online invoicing tool to send and organize bills and payments. Don’t close yourself off to potential streams of revenue because you don’t have the financial means or the acumen to accept credit cards; it’s easier and more affordable than you might think.


29 year old Quality Assurance Manager Lester Adney from McBride, has numerous passions that include rescuing abused or abandoned animals, business and yoyo. Will soon carry on a contiki voyage that will incorporate visiting the Kasbah of Algiers.