Craft Fairs and Square

The last craft fair of the season is over and, believe it or not, I have already started working on my new spring line.  Although not the largest in crowds, everyone was spending and I had a great weekend.  Most popular were the wool hats, and just in time too, as the temperatures plummeted and it began snowing by the last night of the show. My new hand-painted wraps were also a hit.
Square - Mobile Credit Card ProcessingI have to admit though that the most fun thing of my weekend was my new iPhone 4 that kept me busy learning how to work all of its interesting new apps and features. One of the reasons I wanted it was that I had read online about a gadget from squareup.com. This nifty little 1-inch square device fits in the headphone jack on the top of the iPhone and allows you to process credit cards while on the go.  Needless to say, all of the vendors at the craft show were just as excited as I was to test it out.  We first started by using one my neighboring vendors’ card, as she wanted to see if her picture actually showed up on the screen when swiped. Needless to say, the card did not work at all. After three attempts, we finally manually entered her card number and the card did work. Her sister also tried her card and we had the same problem.  I thought maybe I was doing something wrong, so we then tried a vendor who had a brand new credit card and voila it worked great.  The new cards have a different kind of magnetic strip, and apparently Square works better with those.

Square works as follows:

  • Download the FREE app in the Apple App Store
  • Register with Square and they ship you your free reader within a few days
  • Open the App
  • Enter the amount of the transaction
  • Swipe the card or manually enter the card number (if you manually entered the number it will ask for the expiration date of the card and the CVC number on the back.)
  • If it scanned automatically it will ask you if you would like to add options or if the amount is correct and then you hit the process button.
  • If you would like to clear the transaction, you may at any time until the last process.
  • Have the customer sign, right on your iPhone
  • Receipt is sent via email to the customer

The neatest thing about Square is that the customer signs the card right on your iPhone screen and then is sent an email with their purchase information.  You have no paperwork to dispose of later.  At anytime you can receive a report on your transactions and this includes their email address so you can start a customer data base.  The thing I loved most about this company was their low fees, only 15 cents per transaction, versus the monthly fees plus transaction fees I had been paying. They also have a flat fee percentage point.  Once the card is swiped, if the person has had their picture taken on their card that also shows up so that you can verify it is actually them doing the purchasing. As a craft artist of over twenty years, I have worried about taking the credit cards while on the road. I have only been able to take credit card information and run them days later when I returned home.  Most craft shows do not have electricity, let alone phone hook ups for a credit card terminal.  With this neat little gadget (that fits into my purse or pocket) I now have the advantage of knowing I am being paid on the spot and that the card is good.  Now maybe I can get organized and start my email newsletters to go along with the e-store I would like to add to my web site.
Thank you all for your support over the past years and have a great Holiday season.  Merry Christmas!

P.S.  The first spring shows start in March, and I have three booked already….stay tuned for details on my calendar!

 

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