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Taking card payment at events

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  • Taking card payment at events


    I'm looking into events for this year and will be doing more than just my local market which is right beside cash machines. To date, due to the cash machines proxinity i've only taken cash and not had a problem. I'm disinclined to take cheques as feel its too easy for the customer to cancel the cheque afterwards if feeling malicious. However, I think i've reached the point where i need to offer more papyment options, ie take cards.

    How do you take card payments? I understand you can rent a terminal, but this costs quite a bit as far as i remember, and also needs signal, and i've been at an event in a city centre where there was troubnle getting any signal for it, so am a bit dubious... The only other option i've thought of is to get an iphone and to take card payments through paypal, but this is something i need to look into more.

    Was just wondering if ppl had any thoughts on the way forward, bearing in mind i'm not a business at this point, so i dont know if this impacts on the options open to me?

    Thanks in advance!
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  • #2
    You've pretty much nailed it.

    You could also go down the 'virtual terminal' route if you can have a laptop on your stand, with access to the internet. While still awkward, this might be cheaper?

    Failing that, you might need to look at "unconventional" methods? We are currently researching the viability of "GLPayments" SMS solution - - admittedly for use in a totally different context.

    It's a shame the barter system is (almost) dead - otherwise you'd only need to worry about transporting your profits!!

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    • #3
      You can also process payments through your mobile phone - it has to be one that can accept downloaded applications (like games).

      I have a couple of mates using this and it works extremely well for them. If I did more live events, I would definitely sign up.


      • #4
        To have a payment terminal , you need a merchant account which you can only obtain if you have a business bank account. The cost will probably outweigh the need for a machine. Put simply and without entering into too much details, rental cost around £25 to £30 a month on average. Then you have fees (between 1% and 3% on average) on each transaction.

        There is chip and pin mobile machine, looks like a phone, aimed at market traders. This is one of them
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        • #5
          I was in exactly the same position as you last year. I decided to do a large national retail fair and was concerned that people would want to pay by credit / debit card. I looked into all the different options :

          Virtual terminals - you need to rent the terminal, have a merchant bank account and a business bank account, all of which cost money

          I also looked into taking payments via paypal on my laptop at the actual event, but when I polled quite a few people about whether they would be happy using this type of payment method, I got a resounding NO. They weren't keen on using someone else's laptop / phone to type in their credit card details - which I suppose is fair enough.

          So in the end, I spoke with the organisers of the event and found out that there were numerous cash machines at the venue and put up signs saying "Sorry - Cash Only" on the walls of my booth. I only had 2 people over the course of 3 days asking if I accepted credit or debit cards, but everyone paid using cash. Generally, people will go to these events with a wad of cash on them and only spend what they've got - if they're desperate to buy from you and you only accept cash - they'll go to the cash machine ! Having said all that, I don't know what it is that you sell or what your prices are - if you're selling high value items that people won't have enough cash for, then maybe you should have a virtual terminal, but if most of your stuff sells at less than £20 - don't waste your money on virtual terminals etc, especially as you're not a business.

          Hope that helps
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          • #6
            Hi guys,

            Thats really useful, thanks very much for all the advice - I will look into the different options and see which is best for me

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            • #7
              You might also ry a product called MobilePOS. THis runs on your own mobile phone and so is uch cheaper than a dedicated Chip and PIN terminal. I have lost the URL and so you might need to google it!

              Best of luck


              • #8
                I wouldn't be with out my terminal - when looking at contracts they usually want to lock you in for 3 years - we asked about buying outright - this works out much less expensive than 3 years rental - plus with chip and pin solutions they will buy it back off you.

                Negotiate with the bank to get a better deal on charges.

                We use ours for website transactions - this means we are not dependent on the dreaded paypal - which many people do not like - it is also much cheaper than paypal.


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                • #9
                  The best deals

                  The best deals seem to be with trade clubs like the FSB or Cardsave if you are thinking of a mobile terminal. They certainly have offered better rates than the banks in my experience.
                  Though I know a few people doing the card transactions via the mobile phone. They got their deal through the Market traders asscociation I think.