There are so many different payment processing choices when selling your handmade items. Which one is the best varies by situation and what you feel most comfortable with for your business. Let’s examine a few of the ways to take payments, from credit cards to cash!
Online Payment Systems
With so much merchandise being sold online, many payment processors have grown over the years. The largest website for taking internet payments is PayPal, which I use frequently. When selling on Etsy I accept both PayPal and their own Direct Checkout System. Direct Checkout allows the customer to pay within Etsy using any major credit card and has comparable processing fees as PayPal. The PayPal website has a few slight differences, including the option for customers use either an “e-check” or to transfer instantly from their bank account rather than using a credit card. PayPal will let you know when the money clears from an e-check and it’s okay to send the order. Etsy did recently merge the payouts from these two systems for new sellers (and also gave established sellers the option), so all funds are available via the same payment account at the same time.
Accepting credit cards will dramatically increase your sales at crafts shows and other in-person events. Many people do not carry cash anymore so I highly recommend using a card reader, the more modern version of the “knuckle-buster” machines which you still see occasionally. The most popular ones include Square, the PayPal reader, and the Etsy card reader. The first two are pretty similar, while the Etsy version allows customer purchases to count towards your total number of sales and for the buyer to leave feedback as if it was an online purchase. All three work via smartphone apps, so you need some form of wifi or cellular phone service to use them.
You will usually have the option of manually keying in credit card numbers with most readers, though the fees are usually higher because the card is not being scanned or swiped. Also keep in mind that since the change to EMV (chip) credit cards over the past year, it’s important that your card reader is the newer compliant version (or that the processor offers protection for these sales if it’s not). Contact your processor to make sure you have the most current reader.
Cash, Check, and Money Orders
Here’s where it gets a little more personal. For online sales, I only accept cash, checks, or money orders from close friends or family. For instance, if I have a friend who wants to purchase from my Etsy shop, I’ll log on and manually change the options so I can accept other forms of payment (besides PayPal and Direct Checkout). Then I’ll deactivate that cash or check option again after they’ve purchased so other people won’t select it.
If you do decide to take a check or money order for an online sale or wholesale order, just make sure that the payment clears before you mail or deliver the merchandise. That will ensure you aren’t out the products plus the money you are owed. For this reason I tend to not take checks at in-person events (like craft shows) where they would take their purchase with them the same day.
Hopefully these tips help you decide which payment methods are right for your business!
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