How Can I Accept Credit Cards at Fairs?

Seasonal business can be lucrative if you plan carefully. After all, the sales from that one season may have to carry you through the rest of the year. Fairs can be a bit like that. If you’ve been around the circuit for a while, you know when and where they are. But they’re not like physical shops; it’s more of a pop-up model. You may end being a bit of a gypsy, travelling from fair to fair. With the right plan, you could do a different fair every week.

That said, the sales process at fairs is different from conventional purchases. Mostly, customers will buy one or two low-cost items. Meaning you’re unlikely to make a single $500 sale, but, over the course of a 3-day fair, you could sell hundreds of pieces for a few dollars each. This essentially means that fair sellers require lots of cash in small denominations. They also need some kind of security, because you never know who is watching. Someone may ambush you on the way home!

Safety in plastic

You’re not going to have much fun is you’re scrutinizing everyone with paranoia. But it’s a valid concern. Fairs are so hectic and jammed together that someone could be counting each coin you make, noticing where you keep it, and waiting for night-fall. It’s why credit card payments are a safer option. No bulky cash to worry about, no endless concerns about change, and a customer is unlikely to punch a dollar on their card. It feels too weird, so they’ll go for $5, or maybe $10.

The end result is you’ll sell more and feel safer. And it’s far easier than you think. The focus of the fair is to travel light. You’re already loaded with merchandise, and you want to have as much stock as you can. It would be terrible to run out of items just as a school field trip of 30 or 50 approach your stall. So you don’t want to waste valuable storage space on a cash register or safe. Instead, get portable card readers.

Slim and quick

Even better, you can have your customers pay using their smartphones. Many merchant processors now have payment apps, allowing the customer to send cash from their bank to yours via mobile. If you work with a payment processor that offers these apps and electronic keypads at no extra charge, that will cut your expenses.

For more information on credit card payments at fairs, or to sign up for a own merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to

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